I’m certain that the guy wasn’t trying to belittle me; he was trying to be friendly and make small talk. He was clumsy, but he wasn’t a jerk. But I can’t help thinking that no one would ever make small talk with a man by complimenting his shoes and then asking him to see if he could jump real high in them.From a New Yorker piece titled "Real Everyday Sexism," by Andrea Denhoed. Description of the "skirt-spinning incident":
I was meeting some friends at a bar, wearing a dress with a full skirt. A male friend-of-a-friend in the group complimented the dress and then suggested that I “give a spin” to see if the skirt would puff out adorably. I stared at him for a second, then said, “I’d rather not,” and sat down. Inevitably, the rest of my friends gave me some friendly ribbing for being “tough” and “not taking shit.”Why, really, does Ms. Denhoed keep getting "worked up" about this? Could it possibly be that she's embarrassed that she was so cold to this poor man and that she didn't pick up on the opportunity that her friends gave her, by teasing her in a friendly way, to rethink the situation on the spot and laugh at herself and be sweet? Why wear a dress with a full skirt if all you want is to be treated the same as a man in boring trousers? Perhaps Ms. Denhoed is afraid that the full skirt made her look childish, like a girl who wants to be a ballerina, and she was cold because the "compliment" felt like the man thought that too.
It’s telling that the natural outlet for the tension in this instance was for everyone—myself included—to riff on my abrasive noncompliance, rather than on the cartoonish absurdity of his request.Yes, indeed, it is telling. It tells us that people would rather be absurd and laugh and that they invited you — on this social occasion, in a bar — to dance and laugh, and even when you did not laugh, they lavished upon you even more invitations to laugh, to give up your abrasive noncompliance, but you didn't. You held onto it, you thought and thought, until they were all wrong, and the wrong that was done to you fit a whole template of wrongs done constantly, everywhere hurting everyone. Look! Everyone! See it now!
"Give a spin," he said. And, in the end, she did. She gave a spin, a spin her way, in words. And he got to see if it puffed out adorably. It did not.