Sometimes dirty thoughts are all you have

It wasn’t my fault, I say to myself crawling into bed beside Joel who is pretending to already be asleep.

I admit I may have taken things a bit too far but I wasn’t the one who insisted on bringing up the outrage du jour and ruined his annual pre-Christmas dinner party. If it had been anyone but a bunch of academics, the whole thing would have been laughed off but that’s not how things work around here, apparently.

It started over cocktails as these things often do. Carl, a brilliant but socially inept professor of physics, accepted his second Manhattan with a cheeky ‘say, what’s in this drink?’ after someone mentioned that the local radio station had gone back to playing ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’ (in spite of lingering indignation from the fashionably offended).

“I’m glad you can make so light of the very real fear a women face every day just by setting foot outside her front door” said Brianna, the iron haired head of Gender Studies. “I wonder why your department has the least number of women of any on campus.” She fixed him with a stern eye doing a spot on impression of a maiden aunt who’s ‘mind is vicious’

At first Carl thought she was joking but his tentative smile quickly faded. “I’m sorry. I guess I was a bit out of line.” He looked so sad and uncomfortable I wanted to go over and give him a hug. Like most science nerds, he was shy and awkward, probably at the tail end of one of those spectrums. A childhood’s worth of bullying had made groveling in these situations his default state.

Too little too late. Brianna refused to be mollified. Not when an opportunity to lecture presented itself. She went off on a tirade about consent, rape culture and even that tired cliché, The Patriarchy, that not even a glass of wine quickly proffered by Joel could extinguish.

“How do you expect boys to act like gentleman when girls refuse to act like ladies?” Lilian, interjected with a condescending smile when the monologue had swung around to drunken frat parties and rape accusations. “Women have always been the gatekeepers of sex, this is why we need to make sure we don’t lose control of our feminine power. The sexual revolution has not been our friend.” Lilian was known for the four inch stilettos she taught in and her controversial research into evolutionary biology. Her smug nostalgia for what amounted to, under the gloss of scholarship, 1950s gender roles irritated me almost as much as Brianna’s grim sexlessness.

“Blaming the victim as always, I see,” Brianna countered bitterly. And the debate went on.

For the next hour, we listened to Brianna and Lilian each try to outdo the other at marching us all back to the Victorian era. I silently dug into Joel’s excellent boeuf en daube, annoyed it wasn’t getting the attention it deserved. All the men around the table were looking down at their plates in shame not daring to do more than pick at their food. All except Lilian’s husband Sergei, but then he’s Russian.

“What do you think?” Brianna turned to me. I guess since I owned a successful business and out-earned Joel by a health margin I was expected to side with her.

I looked over at Carl who was doing his best to become part of the furniture.

“Did you know rape baiting is a thing?” I just wanted her to shut up so we could all go back to slagging Donald Trump and maybe enjoy some tiramisu and brandy. “Look it up. Just the other day some girl on the Internet was talking about going to a bar, pretending to be drunk and teasing some guy into losing control.”

Everyone looked up in stunned silence as if I had just confessed to murder.

By : thirstformisery

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