HOW IT WORKS
How It Works. comic Randall Munroe/xkcd.
Daughter #3, Kyle, 18, and I are sitting on the bed in my room. It's 1:56 AM Monday morning. Sunday, she and her friend Jessica were at a street festival.
Kyle is pissed.
Kyle (verbal)"Dad... GUYS SUCK!"
I must have got hit on 40 times today.
So there's this old guy on a bike who must be at least 80 and he wolf-whistled at me as he rides past. And I wanted to run after him and push him over and then hail down one of the nearby cops and be like, "This mother-fucker is riding without a helmet."
Jessica and I were just sitting on a bench, chatting with a grandfather named Elton. So then there's this black guy who goes by with his posse and he walks by eying us up and down. About two minutes later he comes back by himself and he says, "How you doing" and I stare at him like, "Are you seriously talking to me?"
He says, "What's your name?"
And I say "Are you really going to ask me my name without offering your own, first?"
He give me his name.
Then he says "How are you."
I say "I'm Kyle and I'm fine." And I shake his hand. To be polite.
He asks Jessica her name to which she replies "Satan."
She's all slumped back on the bench with her arms crossed, glaring up a storm. She looks PISSED.
And he says, "Oh, you gonna be all evil?"
She's like, "Yeah."
And he says, "So am I, just like, wasting my time here?"
She looks at him like, "Boy... you must be stupid." And she says, "Yeah."
Then he looks at me and says, "But not with you, though."
I look at him like, "Boy, you must be REALLY stupid." And I say, "I'm gay." Which is a a lie, though I do definitely like women. (Editor's note: Kyle is bisexual.)
It takes him an entire minute to finally comprehend this. I finally see his "Ohhh" as he gets it. The boy must be really stupid.
He opens his mouth to speak and Jessica says "I'm gay too. We're gay together" and grabs my hand.
I smile and say "Sorry. We're not interested."
He walks about 30 feet away to where his posse's been standing watching the interaction. They keep laughing and gesturing back towards us.
Jessica's been getting really irritated, mostly because she's hormonal and pregnant. She actually shouts over at them, "If you're going to talk about someone, you might want to think about not doing it where they can still hear you."
The grandpa (Elton) we were with laughs and says, "God, some guys are just stupid." We return to our discussion.
About ten minutes go past.
The asshole comes back. We look up at him like "You came back. Are you kidding me?"
Then, joy of all joys... He says, "I want you two to kiss to prove that you're lesbians."
Now I kiss girls all the time. I kiss my gay girlfriends. I kiss my straight girlfriends. Now Jessica's also bi, so kissing girls? It's in the norm.
The two of us turn towards each other and lean in a bit before we STOP. And look at each other. Like... What the fuck?
And then we turn back to this guy like -- What the fuck?
In my head I'm like, "Hold the fuck on. Am I really going to sit here and submit to this asshole to prove something that's really none of his fucking business?"
I take off my sunglasses to get a better look at the guy. He looks me up and down like "Look at you and your sexy self." I ignore the comment entirely.
"Why would it matter if we're lying?" I say.
It's my business if you're lying to me."
I smile a wicked smile. "Actually, it's not your business."
"No, if we're lying to you, it's our business."
In my head I'm thinking, "Don't lunge, don't lunge, don't lunge."
Jessica snickers at his frustrated look and I imagine he's thinking something like... "Bitches with tits like that, in skirts that short, are not supposed to talk back. What the fuck." Only less sensibly.
He leaves in a huff and Jessica and I launch into a righteous fit.
Jessica starts. "What a fucking asshole!"
Me: "Seriously! I mean, 'I want you to prove you're lesbians?' No. No fucking way am I going to be one of those girls who kisses other girls to impress guys. I'm not going to be one of those girls who sacrifices my dignity or self-worth so some fuckass can get a bloody eye full. I mean like, I'm not, we're not fucking here right now for him and his fucking friends to look at. Fuck."
"Dude, I was totally about to go ballistic on that bitch, like no lie. I almost jumped the fuck up and mauled that guy. The only reason I didn't is because I have to protect my baby." She lays a hand on her stomach, snarling.
"Well he's gone now and good fucking riddance. Pfft, like we're going to just kiss because he tells us too. I mean, I totally almost did because it's not even a big deal, not like we haven't before."
"I know dude, like I leaned in and everything."
"It took me a minute to realize and stop myself."
"Yes apple-strudel, they do."
"I am not a pastry. (Pause.) Why do they suck so much?"
"Testosterone. And they were raised to disrespect women. The testosterone poisoning starts to end around 25, but by then it's too late for most of them. The ones that can be saved, you have to look for."
"And usually not very well."
Kyle laughs, but isn't happy. Me neither. It's an unhappy truth she's learning.
She hugs me, gives me a kiss, and says goodnight.
I lean back, and breathe.