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Saturday, October 16, 2010

Why Am I Making You Nervous?

A friend of mine has an avatar on an internet forum that asks if she's making you nervous. I chuckle each time I see it. I know her to be a woman of intellect and extreme ability in her chosen field. She makes ME nervous.

Yesterday afternoon, taking an early escape from work, I took the spousal unit to see Red. Karl Urban and Bruce Willis. Ladies, I think I need say no more.

On the way home I had to stop by the pharmacy and see if a refill was ready. I had a long wait ahead of me. Apparently, I am the only one who gives the pharmacy sufficient time in which to fill a prescription. I can honestly, say, I'm not an "at the last minute" person, who then screams at the people keeping me waiting because I couldn't be bothered to plan ahead. Such is the bane of my existence.

As I stood replaying the fight scene between Bruce Willis and Karl Urban, in slow motion, in my head, I noted the people in line with me. There appeared to be a buffer zone around me. Running down the stuff I learned about in college psych courses and subsequent reading in the years since then, I determined by the nervous smiles and eyes quickly looking away from me if I happened to make eye contact, I was amazed to find that these people were intimidated by me. I was poleaxed.

I discussed this with my husband later as we walked through a Halloween shop in search of a Holocaust cloak. He says it's my bearing. He told me that I look confident and able. That is enough to intimidate most people, and among a certain section of the male population, engender envy and derision.

Now, we've all heard stories about a woman, joining a field where men have traditionally ruled the roost. No matter their ability, they will be jeered by some men as having slept their way into that position, and then called a whore or lesbian when they refuse the clumsy advances of the Neanderthals. A woman could never get that job on her own merit. No! Even if she's competent at her job, hell, excellent at it, some men will continue to talk her down so that they can feel better for the stellar examples of mediocrity that they are.

It would be a gross understatement to say that I suffer these fools gladly. I take a page out of Westley's book in Princess Bride. To The Pain.

Prince Humperdinck: First things first, to the death.
Westley: No. To the pain.
Prince Humperdinck: I don't think I'm quite familiar with that phrase.
Westley: I'll explain and I'll use small words so that you'll be sure to understand, you warthog faced buffoon.
Prince Humperdinck: That may be the first time in my life a man has dared insult me.
Westley: It won't be the last. To the pain means the first thing you will lose will be your feet below the ankles. Then your hands at the wrists. Next your nose.
Prince Humperdinck: And then my tongue I suppose, I killed you too quickly the last time. A mistake I don't mean to duplicate tonight.
Westley: I wasn't finished. The next thing you will lose will be your left eye followed by your right.
Prince Humperdinck: And then my ears, I understand let's get on with it.
Westley: WRONG. Your ears you keep and I'll tell you why. So that every shriek of every child at seeing your hideousness will be yours to cherish. Every babe that weeps at your approach, every woman who cries out, "Dear God! What is that thing," will echo in your perfect ears. That is what to the pain means. It means I leave you in anguish, wallowing in freakish misery forever.

I like it. It's a very intellectual response to bullies. At times, I must admit, that I feel very like Dagny Taggart at her first ball, sitting on the railing, swinging my legs back and forth, knowing that I could squash any ten men in the room at one time. I don't mean physically... my ass isn't that huge yet. I mean mentally.

I studied the martial arts and self-defense. I loved it, competed in it, won medals and trophies. I know that I can handle myself in a fight. However, I have always used my wits as my primary weapon. Cruel, I know. However, Billy Idol is right, you don't need a gun when the other man is completely, and utterly unarmed.

So be it my confidence, my "step back" attitude, or whatever, I'm glad that I let my light shine. I'm not hiding under a bushel for anyone or anything. If you don't want people to mess with you, just carry yourself confidently. Pretty soon you will be more sure of yourself and your own judgment. You do NOT need the approbation of another thing on this earth to feel the way you do.

But, remember to use your powers for good. Great power brings great responsibility. Uncle Ben had that one right.

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