Dear P. Part I: Why are you so awful?

Dear P.

We went to high school together every day for a number of years- I think you might have even been in some of my classes-  gym perhaps. You ‘friended’ me on Facebook a few years ago- back when all the 30-somethings were finally getting online, and I accepted, even though we hadn’t seen each other in close to 15 years, and probably hadn’t had a real conversation ever.  By the time you ‘friended’ me, I had already decided to accept folks I once knew, as I thought it would allow my timeline to offer multiple perspectives.  We tend to spend time with people who have similar values, so allowing folks from my past (jobs, growing-up, undergrad) would give me the opportunity to see/understand different viewpoints about everyday life in a way that is completely different than my engagements on Twitter (which I use as a professional network for thinking and creating). It’s frustrating sometimes, but I’ve only de-friended 1 person for posting pictures of ‘live baby abortions.’
But, back to you, P. I don’t see your updates very often – Facebook’s algorithm sometimes causes you to surface, but it’s pretty rare.  I basically know that you are a single dad –  and from the posts I do see, I can tell you are a dedicated father. You seem really supportive of your children. You are one of a few single dads on my timeline, and though I see the other dad’s updates more than yours, it is a good perspective to have.
So, when I opened my timeline over Saturday morning coffee, and saw your post, I was disappointed, angry, sad, frustrated and not surprised at all.

P.  Just saw a commercial for the LPGA – note to their marketing people – if you want men to care please understand the following: the women who are worth watching wear far too many articles of clothing and the butchy, overweight lesbian looking broads wear far too little clothing. The level of play is irrelevant #morerelevantthanhockey #praypeoplewatch #teachstripperstogolf

The disappointment was for your children to have to grow up with such hate, fear and disrespect. The anger was for having such crap appear in my timeline and knowing I’d have to deal with it. The sadness was for the knowledge that nothing has changed. The frustration was for knowing that no matter what I say, the dialogue between us will most likely just reinforce your stereotypes about women, about lesbians- and which you will then use in threatening ways towards me and my body. And the lack of surprise was because even though I didn’t specifically expect it from you, it’s just not unusual for this kind of statement to be made. The Olympic weightlifter Zoe Smith’s blog post Thanks (but no thanks) really sums up most of what I’m feeling:

“As Hannah pointed out earlier, we don’t lift weights in order to look hot, especially for the likes of men like that. What makes them think that we even WANT them to find us attractive? If you do, thanks very much, we’re flattered. But if you don’t, why do you really need to voice this opinion in the first place, and what makes you think we actually give a toss that you, personally, do not find us attractive? What do you want us to do? Shall we stop weightlifting, amend our diet in order to completely get rid of our ‘manly’ muscles, and become housewives in the sheer hope that one day you will look more favourably upon us and we might actually have a shot with you?! Cause you are clearly the kindest, most attractive type of man to grace the earth with your presence.”

As I wrote above, I felt frustrated by the idea of trying to respond to you in a manner that you would be receptive to.  So, I decided to respond very simply, and although I could have gotten all feminist and queer on you, let’s just begin here:

  1. Perhaps the LGPA marketing team doesn’t ‘want men to care’  Shocker I know, but white cis-men are not always the target audience.
  2. Women do not play golf so that cis-men can enjoy looking at their bodies. Women play golf because they love the sport. Some, I’m sure, also love the media attention, the  fandom, etc just like male golfers do.
  3. Do you know I’m queer? If so, why are we ‘friends’? Did you not ‘mean anything’ by it? (Sarcasm)
  4. Women come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and presentations. Get over it.
  5. Learn to treat all people with respect- not as objects for your enjoyment, and perhaps your children will grow up with respect for others too.

Read Part II: Re-Memory and Re-Connections