Let me set the scene: 1AM, Saturday night, sat outside a cab office, eating a chicken burger whilst, of course, waiting for a cab. Sat beside me is my best mate and sat beside her are two rogue fellas we seem to have acquired on the walk to the chip shop. Conversation is flowing and so far these guys haven’t proved to be that dickish, although I’m pretty sure they muttered some disconcerting diatribe in the chip shop but my focus was entirely on the chicken and chips. Natch. A cab pulls up and I hurriedly jump up off the floor to check if it’s ours, only to be turned away and have fella number 1 (we’ll call him Lee because his name was Lee) make some completely unnecessary comments about how nice my legs were. Thanks but no thanks. Conversation moves on and somehow – and I wish I knew how because I have a knack for unknowingly creating this situation – talk turns to equal pay for men and women (as it so often does after several Slug Woo Woo’s). I fairly eloquently quote a stat from Emma Watson’s incredible He For She speech about how, at the current rate, it’ll be a totally gross 75 years until men and women are paid the same, to do the same amount of work in the same position. Like I said: totally gross. Fella number 2 (Andy) jumps on the defence quicker than you can say ‘superiority complex’ and immediately starts barraging me with questions about tennis players wage. I know nothing about tennis players and quite frankly, my dear Andy, I don’t give a damn.
Andy: “Women play 3 sets and men play 5 sets but they should both get the SAME?! How do you work that one out?”
Me: “Well who put these rules in place, Andy? Who decided men play 5 and women play 3? Why are you shouting at me about tennis?”
Andy: “Don’t change your argument!”
Me: “Not changing my argument. There is no argument: men and women should be paid the same for doing the same job. Simple as.”
At which point, the lovely Lee jumps in…
Lee: “Oh my god! Do you not GET IT? There’s no difference between men and women anymore – you get all the shit you want now – so what the fuck are you moaning about?! Why are women still moaning about shit like this?! Why should you get anymore than you already get?!? Women are inferior and women get paid less because women are physically INFERIOR! Fucking hell!!!”
Me: “You are, potentially, the most ridiculous human I’ve ever come across outside a chippy at 1AM.”
Lee: “Oh my GOD. Fucking arm wrestle me then! Arm wrestle me and I’ll prove it!” during all this excitement he feels the need to reach out and touch me.
Note to strange men everywhere: never touch me.
Me: “Get your hand OFF me, you scrote. Don’t you dare touch me.”
Lee: “You’re a fucking ignorant, blonde, Essex c*nt.”
Note the irony: the man calling me an “ignorant, blonde, Essex c*nt” is the same man trying to prove that men’s and women’s pay should not be equal through the oh-so reliable, tried and tested method of ARM WRESTLING. Jesus. Also note that this is the same man who, when he thought I was just a piece of chicken-eating eye-candy, was gushing about my body. Now he knows that I have a voice he has decided that I am, instead, an “ignorant, blonde, Essex c*nt”. The verbal abuse continues even as I get in the cab, further riled by the fact that all I’m sarcastically responding with is “Love you, Lee! Such a babe! I’ll never forget the time we spent together.”
“Fuck you, you stupid, Essex c*nt.”
Suffice to say this isn’t the first or last time I’ll have such a ridiculous exchange and be verbally attacked by men whose debating skills only extend to an extension of the arm (a la arm wrestle). I spent the entirety of my night reprimanding men who thought it was perfectly acceptable to grab ass. Why has this become the norm? Why do so many girls and women just accept the unwanted advances of men? Why do we nervously giggle it off? Sod that! If you touch my ass, I’ll tug hard on your balls. Gonna wrap your arms round my waist, with literally no invitation to do so? I’ll tug hard on your balls. Gonna have a ‘cheeky’ stroke of my vagina as you walk past me (it’s happened)? I’ll tug real bloody hard on your balls. My presence at the bar/on the street/in the gym/on the dance-floor is, in no way, an open invite for your lewd advances and vile verbosity.
Moral of the story: If you keep your hands and your unwanted/unwarranted words to yourself (there’s a total difference between compliments and verbal harassment, FYI) you probably won’t find yourself having a debate with me outside the chippy at 1AM. We’re both just tryna chow down on a chicken burg, after all.