Last night I was at a wonderful Christmas party and then, right at the end, the whole thing was spoiled. I wrote a letter to the person I had a conflict with, but as I don’t know if I’ll ever see him again, I’m posting it here.
Dear Dude from Party
If I were a man, would you have thought to grab me by the arms and physically restrain me when I said I wanted to leave?
I doubt it.
Because then you would have had to consider whether or not you had a good chance of victory, should the man not like being grabbed by the arms and attempt to fuck you up. You would have had to look at the guy, assess his strength, size, fitness level and aggression quotient and determine for yourself whether it was a risk worth taking.
Not so with a woman. That’s a no-brainer – unless she’s the female heavyweight boxing champion of the world, you’re gonna win.
The instant I felt your grip on my elbows I knew that this was a battle I could not win and that yes, if it came down to it you could force me to hear you out. Men have been doing this to women since the beginning of time. Exerting their physical superiority in order to make women obey them, listen to them.
How are women to get men to listen?
I can’t hold you down and make you hear me.
That’s why I feel so passionately about secular society and Western institutions. That’s why I hate all religions and Islam in particular. Because they enshrine man’s physical superiority in laws that give him legal superiority as well.
That’s why I want Europeans and Americans to stop bashing the West and try to strengthen our secular institutions and democracy, however flawed. Because here at least, we have legal instruments that make it so the physical law of strength doesn’t run things like back in the jungle.
Here we have laws that say women can do whatever they want and that men cannot tell them how to dress, what kind of sex to have, who to believe in or what to think. Men cannot tell women when they may or may not leave a room.
Men still try to do it anyway, as you yourself demonstrated, but we have LAWS that at least give some avenue of retribution. So-called honour killings still happen in the UK but the murderers can be prosecuted.
You interfered with my free will and as long as there is no Sharia Law in the UK then I, along with any other human being, have the right to decide for myself when I leave a room.
Although I think you are a nice person and I had enjoyed most of your company up until that point, I must tell you that in that moment you may have had no intention of doing so but you DID in fact, re-enact the entire history of male/female relations and it’s a sad one.
Do you remember when, as a child, everyone could pick you up, put you down, make you do anything at all because they were so big and you were so very small? Do you remember how helpless and angry you sometimes felt when, kicking and wailing, the physically superior beast would carry you to your room, deposit you there, and shut and lock the door behind them? Do you?
That infantile fear of being completely dominated never quite leaves those of us who are female.
I know you did not mean to hurt me and had no evil intent, but the ease with which you gripped my arms and prevented me from carrying out my free will did indeed send me into hysteria. Can you understand this?
Earlier, we had had a brief discussion about Islamism and I explained to you that I was distressed by Westerner’s harsh critique of their own history, at the detriment of the better things that have emerged from it. I told you that it troubled me that people in countries where free speech was “allowed” spent so much time attacking the imperfections of their government instead of realizing that the whole flawed enterprise is under threat and that we better shore up the dams. You and Graeme, both men, were typically unmoved by my words, asking me if I’d read the Koran etc.
In fact, I do not express opinions unless I have thoroughly researched the subject so yes, having studied Islam quite enough, I feel secure in my p.o.v. that it is harmful to the cause of gender equity and the principle of separation of church and state.
You proved my case, inadvertently, when you grabbed my arms. You acted as a man who thinks he has a right over me, that my own choice to leave can be cancelled by your will that I stay, enforced by your body. That is exactly the kind of shit I want to make sure is not considered acceptable.
Speaking of not expressing opinions when ignorant, this brings me to the trigger for the final act last night. You were attempting to opine on the subject of ley lines. You didn’t know what the fuck you were talking about. This is not name-dropping but I happen to have been fortunate enough to be personally acquainted with the person who made everyone, including you (though you don’t know it), aware of ley lines in the 20th century. His name, may you never forget it, was John Michell. He was quite simply the best person I have ever known and none will ever match his intelligence, originality, humour, generosity and sheer brilliance. He died last year and I still weep despondently and with regularity over his absence. I am not alone in this. It may sound ridiculously inflated to state that knowing John was like sitting at the feet of Plato, or hanging out with William Blake, but if you bother to investigate you will see that even the mainstream newspapers made such comparisons when he died. One day, if we don’t go up in flames because of some idiotic “religous” war, his name will be up there with Galileo.
If you want to give me an opinion about opera but say you don’t know Puccini then guess what, I don’t give a shit about your opinion because it is incompletely informed.
Likewise, there is absolutely nothing you can say on the subject of ley lines that will ever brighten my mind because I knew the master himself – of whom you’ve never heard (!) – so shut up.
Instead of shutting up, realizing you were in the presence of someone who had greater knowledge than you, and first-hand intimacy with the modern father of the discipline, you tried to physically hold me down when I realized you were a lost cause and wanted to leave.
I know myself and my temper and it is therefore my responsiblity to handle it in the best way possible so as to have the least adverse affect on others. That is what I was trying to do when I realized you were angering me and it was late, we were drunk and I should probably go home.
How fucking dare you second guess my choice.
I did not want to have an argument in Bella’s flat, knew she was trying to sleep and so acted to avoid this outcome.
But by refusing to recognize me as a sovereign being you caused the very explosion I was trying to avert.
I hope that you will never again in your life use your physical strength to make a woman listen to you or to prevent her from going where she wishes.
Though it was unconscious, you demonstrated an ugly reality about gender relations and I pray that it gives you much food for thought.
And finally, before you attempt to discuss ley lines again, read up on John Michell. Had he not come across a battered old copy of Alfred Watkins’ “The Ley Hunter’s Manual” at some charity shop somewhere in the UK, sometime in the late 1950s, I can guarantee that the book would be unavailable today, rather than in print, and furthermore that every single author on the subject since then would have had to find something else to do with their lives as they would be unaware of ley lines. It was John who rediscovered this work and then devoted his life to meticulously documenting and measuring sacred geometrical topography, and whose numbers and proofs were so elegant and beautifully explained that they essentially founded the modern study of ancient measure.
Your ignorance was stunning but it pales next to your arrogance.
No hard feelings. But I hope you learned something from this.
The Holy Healing Bitch
p.s. Just noticed after writing this that I have bruises in the shapes of fingers on my left arm, just above the elbow. I see your point. Literally.