I recently asked a 42-year-old man whether he thought I would ever get married. (What can I say? Four days with my brother had clearly traumatized me.) His answer? “Sure, just do yourself a favor and grow out that haircut. Men like long hair.”
I wish I could tell you that his words shocked me, or at least that I had some American feminism left in my system to battle him out for a woman’s right to a trendy overpriced bob. Alas, after spending the past two months in Russia and thereby being subjected to an unofficial local investigation into why I’m not currently 2.5 babies deep, his statement was mere icing on the sexist, antiquated cake I had grown all-too-good at metabolizing.
Truth be told, attempting to reshape some people’s inherent beliefs is a dire waste of time. After all, is there really any chance of convincing Babushka Nina that women are no longer ranked by their borsch cooking skills? Probably not, which means that it’s better to just smile and zip it. In predicaments that a – don’t involve fragile elderly relatives and b – call for real retaliation, I propose using a non-violent tactic entitled Revenge by Awkwardness, coined by yours truly. The goal: to yield your opponent to extreme levels of discomfort, causing them to quickly withdraw their statements.
Here are some examples.
“Why aren’t you married yet?”
What you want to say: “Because every person I have dated in the past five years has displayed grave mental impediments that make the prospect of legally binding myself to them seem like a fate worse than death. Also, I’m only 30! Also, what if I don’t want to get married?”
What you should say: “Because I’m enjoying debaucherous noncommittal sex for the time that I’m still hot enough to get it. Speaking of which, do you want to see the hot mensch I fornicated with recently?”
Make sure to have a photo of a semi-nude male model saved in your phone. Pass it around, then volunteer graphic details of the time you guys decided to pick up a girl and reenact the cover of Gaspar Noé’s Love. Since the only person who would ask you such a dumb question in the first place is bound to have a stick up their are, this will endure that they will. Never. Ask. You. Anything. Again.
“Don’t you want kids? You should hurry up and get on it!”
What you want to say: “Yes, you moronic twat, I do want kids. You know what else I want? A decent human being to co-raise them and clean out the Diaper Genie!” (Those things reek.)
What you should say: “Nah. I think I’m just going to adopt a family of aye-ayes and call it a day. I’m naming the first one Paolo. Meet my new son!”
“Oooh, you sound upset. That time of the month?”
What you want to say: “Yeah, and you better be careful because I’ve seen Exorcist. I and II and the prequel.”
What you should say: Pretend that you have no idea what the guy is talking about. (Because we all know that only a man would make that statement.) Conversation should go as follows:
You: “What time of the month?”
Sexist asshole: “Um, you know..”
Sexist asshole: “Your period?”
You: “What period? Time period?”
The goal is to get them to explain, in graphic details, what a female period entails. Once that’s done, ask them how exactly this relates to your mood. Hey, they wanted to dish out that medical advice, now is their time to shine!
“If you want to get married, you should learn how to cook.”
What you want to say: “I should! And then I should invite you to dinner and slip some rat poison in your Bolognese!”
What you should say: “Oh my God, what an amazing idea. Can you please teach me?” Cajole them into catering a dinner party for 20, guaranteeing that they will never dare to preach Suzy Homemaker rhetoric again.
“Wear something sexy, you look like a lesbian.”
What you want to say: “This shirt is Céline, you Ann Taylor-clad troll.”
What you should say: “Omg I do? Amazing! I have the biggest lesbian crush.. Have you seen Sasha Grey? The way she uses those anal beads..”
That’s it. They’re dead. You won. Game over.
Photos via Rora Blue.