Would I have to start planning outfits around the tattoo like I plan for weather?
It’s hard being a woman in this world. We get silenced, pushed aside, ignored, paid less, denied care, called names, and a million and one other bad things.
We have to work twice as hard and get paid two thirds as much as our male counterparts to survive in the dog eats dog world. We climb some ladder that inevitably has a white man at the top who, at best, wants to look down your shirt, and at worst, doesn’t care that you were ever born and might accidentally step down hard with his fancy, shiny shoes on the rung that your hand just happens to be holding on to for dear life.
We still bear the pressures of finding a spouse and settling down with kids while not dating too much less we be seen as a slut shaking our money maker just to get diamonds and top-shelf vodka and private jet rides to private islands with fancy dinners where you’re expected to eat only salad because if you order the filet mignon someone might be more likely to judge your back fat.
Even as a woman in 2015, these social pressures feel every bit as real as they did to my mom’s generation and my grandma’s, and the women who came before them. At the end of the day, we are still living in a man’s world.
As women, we have to walk a line of being assertive enough so we’re taken seriously at work and are considered for leadership positions with the chance to advance on our career paths. But we have to balance that with the right dose of modesty that doesn’t render us meek and subservient lest we come across as bitchy.
When we walk down the street, we have to fear for our safety. We worry that a skirt too short or a sidewalk too dark might mean unwanted advances from some lurking man who might do unspeakable things to us.
We have to guard our bodies and our drinks at bars and our calories so that we don’t get to the point when men stop hitting on us altogether (NOTE: I’ve reached that point, but happily so since I’m a lesbian and generally a hater of all things creepy men).
We have to dodge men spitting and peeing and exposing themselves. We have to watch our backs and our fronts and everything in between.
Even if we’re not being hit on, men often sidle a little too close for comfort, man-spreading to give their giant testicles breathing room, or for some other unknown justification. We have to squish our legs together and endure hairy man elbows in our face on public transportation, in movie theaters and in allegedly cute European-style (AKA, small) restaurants.
I finally got so fed up with the male-dominated world around me and my inability to exert my five-foot-two feminine authority enough to have an entire goddamned seat to myself on the subway, that I devised a solution. In fact, I realized I had it in me the entire time. I would even say it came entirely naturally.
The first time it happened, I admit it wasn’t deliberate. It was one of those days when I had eaten something like fava beans for lunch, and the gas was just mounting in my intestines for hours while I pushed it back in at work.
I was sitting on the train on my way home that evening and my little sphincter ani externus was like the engine that just couldn’t anymore, and a mighty fart gave way.
I was mortified, naturally. I mean, I’m not the daintiest of gals. Not even close. But I try not to do things like burp and fart in public.
I quickly learned, though, that my gaseous excretions were muted by the insanely high decibel that is the MTA subway car merrily screeching along three stories underground. No one heard my fart.
Not 10 seconds after my flatulence escaped me, though, a line of noxious odor that can only be described in subway terms as more-gross-than-unbathed-homeless-person and less-gross-than-actual-feces, and crept along to the unassuming nostrils of the privileged man half sitting in my seat.
Faster than the speed of fart, this man sniffled ever so slightly and then shifted over in his seat, removing the part of his thighs and butt that had been crossing the line into my territory.
It was a miracle.
I became less butt shy and tried my method out again the next day. It worked like a charm. Otherwise bravado men in suits shifted uncomfortably and discreetly moved further away from me. I had cracked the code on women's dominance. It was invisible but had been there all along. Ladies, we can stink men into submission.
Thank goodness New York City is so loud. I fart everywhere now. I fart in the grocery store to get the men behind me in line to back up a notch. I fart on the ferry to get men to take their goddamned arm off the back of my seat. I fart at the gym to get the sweaty men to move on over and not take the machine right next to mine. I fart on the street to get men to slow their roll and keep a respectful distance behind me and not encroach on my personal space.
Humid days are the best because the fart hangs around longer. More bang for my butt. Carb-loaded days also tend to be beneficial as they give me more ammo to work with.
I’m not going to say I was proud of my remedy at first. I was afraid to tell anyone for a long time, months even. But the more I realized that it worked, the more confident I felt trumpeting my secret weapon.
And now I impart to you, lovely ladies of the world, an invaluable and affordable tool at your disposal. Use it well.