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Monthly Archives: May 2011

Do. Not. Want.

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As I’ve said before, I am never having babies. Not because I hate babies, but because I would be a lousy parent. I can’t even fathom parenting; my brain gets to the part where I conceive, and then it just stops. It makes a terrible screeching sound, flips over, rolls down a hill, and stops.

But according to one of my co-workers, I might change my mind. Because, you know, she changed her mind. Because one time, she dated a guy who had a kid, and had the magical experience of helping care for his kid, and now she thinks kids = awesome. She used to be totally anti-marriage and –kids, but now she’s pro-both! Therefore, it is likely that this will happen to me.

Which reminds of the assumption drills in my GRE study book, where they give you a weak argument and ask you to identify the assumptions. You know, like:

Argument: Bossy co-worker was once anti-child, but changed her mind. You are anti-child. Like bossy co-worker, you will change your mind.

Assumptions: Uh, since when do I = bossy co-worker? etc.

So she suggested that I would inevitably develop baby fever, and I just shrugged and said something like, “yeah, I doubt it.”

“You never know…

“I have a good idea.”

“Well, just don’t do anything crazy.”

Like what, exactly? Cut out my own womb?

“Once I have health insurance and can find a doctor who will give me a tubal, I’ll have it taken care of.”

“Um, good luck finding someone in the states who will do that.”

You crazy, baby-hating harridan.

But you know what? I’m not a caretaker. I don’t nurture. I love and I help, but I don’t raise. And it’s not because I’m a fuckup, it’s because those just aren’t things that I do. If you’re going to ask me to raise a kid, you might as well use Red Bull to anesthetize a cat—because clearly, you don’t understand that all things can’t do all the things. Caffeine can’t sedate a kitten, and I can’t raise an upstanding member of society. It’s tragic, I know, but there you are.

And pestering people about having kids is so fucking rude it makes my head spin. As Pepper said when I was chatting with her earlier, you might as well suggest to someone homosexual that they could change their mind and become straight. Just try it! Because a lot of people are straight, and that means you should be too! (And really, when it comes to making babies, you can totally go on a test run. If you end up not enjoying the whole parenting thing, you can return the kid to your nearest Target!)

I don’t even hate kids—some of them are great—I just don’t want any. It’s like how I love cabernet, but would never run a vineyard. Or how I enjoy snow sometimes, but would never move to Greenland. Or how…well, you get it.

And you know, unlike bossy co-worker, I’ve never been “anti-marriage.” Marriage is fine; it’s the needy, crying, time-sucking children I’m against. So it’s not like I’m bumbling around being all “I reject intimacy and love!” (not that being anti-marriage means a person can’t have those things, but that seemed to be what she was suggesting)—I just. don’t. want. the babies.

But it’s not like I’m an autonomous 24-year-old adult or anything, so who knows.

Oh, and by the way, Family With the Constantly Shrieking Toddler Who Destroyed the Place Settings on Four Empty Tables, 9.02 on a ticket of 70.98 is not acceptable. You put me through auditory hell. Also, where were you when your kid was playing next to the fireplace?

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Misogyny: A Song to Which I Will Not Dance

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You know how sometimes you’ll be walking along, all chipper and whatnot, and you’ll steal some lilacs from a bush clearly on private property, and you’ll put them in your purse, and you’ll notice how nice the sunset is, and you’ll take a sip of your energy drink, feeling all full from the hot wings you managed to almost-guiltlessly cram into your mouth thirty minutes earlier…and then there you are, thirty feet from the Travelodge, and on the balcony is a group of dudebros.

You hear them before you see them, because they’re loud and boisterous and inane. And then they see you. And then they stop talking. And then you’re like, fuck.

Because of course they have something to say, and it’s not even anything new, and it won’t even make a half-decent story later because it’s so commonplace—but it leaves you feeling angry and gross, and your Java Monster goes all flat in your stomach, and you suddenly feel like throwing things at them and screaming.

Just—why, street harassers? Why?

I don’t have a car, so I’m “the girl that walks everywhere.” (I used to be “the happy smiling walking girl,” but apparently I’ve developed some bitchface.) Sometimes the people who see me every day also think they know me, which they don’t—because I’m not just a body in motion, I’m a person inside a body. Ok?

But whatever—some people just don’t get that. And when I was walking today, with my lilacs and my pretty fucking sunset, I realized that I’m so used to street harassment, I actually know the rhythms of it:

Dudebros stop talking

Brief pause

Them: generic greeting, douchily uttered

Me: no response

Them: comments about my body/overall attractiveness

Me: no response

Them: comments about how friendly I’m not/what a bitch I am

Me: no response

Them: last ditch attempt to get my attention

Me: no response

Them: pouting/dismissal/suggestion that I’m not worth their time anyway

Me: FINALLY.

And it’s just variations on this theme—every goddamn time.

It already angers me that harassment is something women and girls are apparently supposed to expect—but realizing that it’s not only inevitable, but actually follows a formula? Well.

I went home, and I arranged my stolen lilacs in a mug that I set on my kitchen table. And then I sat there thinking, what the fuck.

Because you know what? I love men. I do. Which is not to say that I love each individual man in the world, or even that I’ve loved a single one of my boyfriends (because I really haven’t), but I do love men as a group. You know who doesn’t love men, though? Or even like them?

Men’s rights activists.

I really love man boobz. I think it’s an invaluable cultural document, and I appreciate that Futrelle posts the misogyny right on his blog, so I can read it there instead of giving the source websites more traffic. It makes me happy to see a man policing other men, because it can’t just be women calling out misogynists—men need to take a stand too. Dave Futrelle, you are great.

That said, I find man boobz incredibly difficult to read, and will often ignore it for days, even weeks at a time. The seething hatred for women makes me feel tiny and furious, like a squeaky mouse with too-small paws trying to claw its way up an oak tree. Every time I read it, I want to scream.

And then sometimes I’ll step back a bit, and look at what they’re saying, and just feel kind of sad.

Seriously, MRAs, do you honestly believe you’re all that dumb, childish, unable to distinguish between rape and consensual sex, and unqualified to parent? Are you really incapable of practicing safer sex, preventing pregnancy, and generally acting like a responsible adult? Are you so lacking in self-restraint that you can’t respect a woman’s boundaries? Are you too uncomfortable in your masculinity to cope with people who don’t conform to gender stereotypes? Is that it?

Because it doesn’t need to be that way. Because I think you’re better than that—or at least you could be. You have the power, and the ability, to do better. I know; I’m a feminist, and I’m supposed to hate men and eat fetuses and stuff. But actually, like most feminists, what I really hate is the patriarchy—and so should you, because that’s the force trying to mold you into a specific masculine ideal.

And as for you, dudebros at the Travelodge who ruined my perfectly good mood: I know it’s not about me. Ok? It’s about masculine performance; it’s about power. It’s about you feeling like an asshole, and choosing to direct it at me. But that’s not your only option. You have others.

And I have pretty fucking lilacs, lots of energy, and a low bullshit threshold. So.

You don’t get to be my trigger.

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Hello All!  I’m Ginger Rae, a dear friend of Pepper’s and Paprika’s.  I’m guest blogging about a recent experience that I felt was not only a great example of what women should look for in an abusive relationship, but also as encouragement that you can walk away from abusers.  First of all, let me start by providing a little self-history.  I’m a mid twenties college student studying Child Psychology.  I am  not a fantastic writer like Pepper or Paprika.  As a matter of fact, this post will most likely contain grammatical errors like nobody’s business, but hey.  My apologies in advance.

My boyfriend proposed to me after dating for 3 years.  I was madly in love with him and I couldn’t wait to get married.  While planning our wedding, our life derailed.  He found new friends that negatively influenced him.  He was fired from his steady job and found cocaine to help him pass his time.  Our life went from heaven to hell very quickly.  Realizing his problem with substance abuse and drug addiction, I tried everything to help him.  I tried family and friends, support groups, mentors…everyone.  He spiraled out of control, stealing money from my account and from his family to buy cocaine.  I remember one particular moment…mid-January in South Dakota and the propane heater was running on fumes from the empty propane tank.  I called to order a truck delivery for the house and that’s when I realized he had emptied out both of our accounts, leaving us with out heat and hot water in the middle of winter.  Enough was engouh.  I began to fight back against his addiction.   The harder I pushed for rehab, the harder he pushed me.

The relationship turned physical and I often found myself on the kitchen floor being punched in the face.  I’d cry from the encounter and so would he.  As I sat on the kitchen floor, holding my wounded face, he’d calm himself and kneel down beside me to hold me and tell me how sorry he was; how it would never happen again; how it was his addiction and not him.  He gave every excuse in the book…but the excuse he gave the most:  “If only you had done what I had said…”  It never failed…it was always my fault.  If I had only done the laundry.  If I had only cleaned the dishes.  If I had only fulfilled the duties of a good ‘wife.’  If I had only given him more money.  If only.  As an abuser, he worked to break me down.  He challenged himself to find new ways to scar me emotionally and mentally.  And then…then!…when I was at my lowest point, depressed and lost, he’d be there.  He’d hold me while I cried, wipe my tears, kiss my cheek, and tell me it was all going to be ‘OKAY’ because he was going to help me be better and shed my disgusting skin. It was an ugly cycle.  He’d beat me down, both literally and figuratively, then he’d be there to pick me up and pull me up by my bootstraps.  All too often, women are victims of this cycle.

People always say, “Why didn’t you just leave!?  Why didn’t you just get out!?”  No-no-no-no-no.  You don’t get to ask that.  It’s not that simple.  I used to be the one asking those questions, and now, I know the answers.  When this cycle began, it seemed to have appeared outta nowhere!  Ya, his sketch friends were iffy.  Ya, he was spending more and more time either drunk or high.  But those two factors were gradual.  It seemed like I woke up one morning and his fist was bouncing off my face.  The anger. The aggression.  The rage.  The furry.  All appeared from nowhere.  The first punch shocked me more than it hurt.  It was like a giant “WTF was that!” I didn’t even have time to think about what had happened, why, or if it would happen again.  There was no time for contemplation,  self-assessment, or understanding.  Life stops and existing begins.  It’s feels like your body is going through the motions of life but your mind is floating somewhere above your body, unable to comprehend the psychological abuse, the physical pain, the breaking down and building up, and primarily, the fact that you know everything that’s happening is so very very wrong.  This ‘floating’ phase can last years.  Mine did.  I don’t remember much about that time.  It’s all just a haze of me thinking I was worthless, being hit over and over again, and him telling me “he’d fix me.”

I finally broke through the fog when friends began to ask questions about my secret life.  There were only a few friends I ever let in.  Pepper was one of them.  But it wasn’t until another friend (we’ll call her Debbie), physically burst through my front door, packed my bags, and dragged me out of my house with me kicking and crying the whole way.  Even with all the abuse, I still didn’t want to leave.  Looking back, I think I wanted to stay because I was isolated and scared.  It was heart-wrenching when Debbie pulled me free of that dungeon.  Yet that moment, I realized I had two choices…to go back and continue ‘floating,’ or reclaim my mind and my body as my own and run from the hell I called home.  So, I say to you, women suffering from abuse, you can make that choice.  As scary and as isolating as it may seem, you have the choice to stop floating, return to earth, and reclaim yourself.  Nothing you have ever EVER done deserves abuse, be it physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual.  You are strong, intelligent, beautiful and empowering.

However, if this story sounds familiar and you’re still making excuses, like I was, listen to this.

I left that relationship a few years ago and I had spent time with a therapist recovering from all the abuse.  Some time after that relationship ended, I began dating again.  I’ve just recently became single (from a different non-abusive relationship) but I am certainly not interested in being in any kind of a committment. I want to take a year or two and just have fun, fuck around, and be me.  There are still triggers that remind me of those terrible days and one such trigger shot me in the face just weeks ago.   Recently, a ‘friend’ and I crossed the friendship line and entered into friends-with-benefits.  There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this…as long as both parties agree on the terms of the friendship and the benefits.  Welp….this ‘friend,’  we’ll call him Alan for the sake of the blog and privacy and such, soon became sticky and wanted more than a friendship. I do not want anything more than friendships and fuck buddies.  When I tried to explain to him that we could no longer have our friendship nor our benefits, he lost it.  His text messages served as that trigger.  He’s a text from our conversation:

—I had planned to meet with him after I finished classes for the day, but…

Alan: So, are you coming over after class?

Me: No, I have homework.  Sorry. I’m really busy.

Alan: Relationships work both ways, ya know.

Me: What? What are you talking about?

Alan: Forget it.  Sorry I bugged you.  It’s just I like you.  Sorry.  I’ll leave you alone…have a good summer.

Me: (I suspect he wanted me to chase him, but no…I don’t play stupid petty games like that.) I had planned on it but plans change.  Things came up.  I don’t want you to like me.  That’s a problem.

Alan: Ok Forget it.  You told me you like me.  Great.  Now you can’t even be friends.  Why can’t I like you?

Me: (No. I never told him I like him.  He proceeded to call me multiple times.) Sorry but I’m not going to answer your call.  I just don’t think it’s a good idea to hang out.  You like me and I just don’t want that.  I’ve made that clear.

Alan: Are you serious? We can just be friends.  What did I do? I fucked you like you wanted and now you can’t even hang out! It was that bad huh? I want to be friends at least.  How can you do this? What did I do? (And his aggression begins)

Me: You got sticky.  That’s what happened.  I want a friend w/benefits…not someone ‘clingy.’

Alan: Why are you being like this? How am I clinging? I just want to hang out is all.  I have given you space.  When did I get clingy? I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to.

Me: Please, stop apologizing.  It’s annoying.  I have work to do.  Have a good one.

Alan: Bye then…..(minutes later) You’re pretty mean.  When all I have done is be nice.  Good luck with summer classes and finishing school.  I guess sex was our last goodbye.

Me: (notice how the guilt trip starts) Lol…I’m not mean.  I just know what I want.  Hanging out is not what I want, but you can’t accept that.  I don’t want to hang out bc you like me and are taking things farther than what we agreed on.  So no, this is not me being mean.  This is me knowing myself and knowing when I’m vulnerable and knowing when to step back before I get in too deep and can’t get out.  So no…not mean.  Smart.

Alan:  I can’t believe you.

Me:  That’s unfortunate.

Alan: Dumb down. I still want to see you.  Why would you treat someone like this.  I thought we were friends.  Fine. Bye.

Me:  Dumb down? There’s nothing complex with what I said.  I’m busy today.  You’re insecurities are getting the best of you.

Alan:  Fine.  That’s not how you said it though.  Sorry.  I like you.  Friends is good.  Have a good one.  Fuck it.

Me: I can’t make you understand, but you should try. (Just a note…I never objected to being a friend to this guy.  In fact, we used to be friends.  Yet, I just got out of a long relationship (post-abusive relationship) and the last thing I wanted was a boyfriend.  But he couldn’t take that.)

Alan: I do (understand) and it sucks.  I still want to hang out even though you’re acting like a bitch.

Me: lol and why should I want to hang out after you call me a bitch?  Just because I know what I want and it’s not you, you call me a bitch?  Sorry, you don’t get that privilege.  I’m not being mean nor a bitch.  I’m making choices for myself and not for you.  Sorry you ‘like’ me…but I have a feeling your opinion will change after today.  I have priorities and you’re not one.  Ya, that’s harsh, but I’ve tried to be subtle and you didn’t get it.  I don’t have time for this today.  Seriously.  I have work to do.  I’m not going to text you back.  You’ll be fine.

Alan:  But baby! I didn’t mean it like that.  I just don’t know how I’ve been clingy.  I have given you space.  I’m not sure what you don’t like about me but can’t we just hang out?

—I never replied.  So there it was, the full and complete cycle, laid out like bacon in a frying pan.  The guilt trip, the name calling,  the apologizing, the ‘baby!.’  Most importantly, he refused to accept my decision and pressed the issue beyond annoyance.  This triggered all the memories I had with my abusive ex and in fact lead to nightmares regarding the past.

You do not have to tolerate men that don’t understand the meaning of ‘no.’  You do not have to tolerate a man who chooses to go against what you wish to satisfy himself.  You do not have to stay in that cycle.

The Value of Fucking Around

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So, I was talking to a friend of mine, Ginger Rae, who will hopefully soon be doing a guest post or three for us, and we got to talking about the place after a string of shitty relationships, where you just want to be alone, and figure shit out, and fuck around. You don’t want to spend emotional energy on anything but self care, chasing your goals, and having fun. I think that this is a really important space/time for women to have in their lives, maybe several times, but at least once. For anyone really, but especially women, and especially young women.

It looks a little something like this

Part of why I think it’s extra important for young women is that we are encouraged, pushed, straightjacketed, required, to be carers. Carers for our families, for our friends, for our schoolwork, for our nascent loves. We are supposed to carry lots of things for lots of people, and if we don’t, can’t, or won’t– oh lawsey. The selfish snotty teenager? The selfish bitch? The ungrateful woman, those accusations come roaring out up to 11.

In fact, those particular hideous cultural artifacts, in concert with “slut! don’t be a slut!” often push young women into staying in abusive relationships, and people who ought to be extending help to said young women to get out of said abusive relationships asking— “what did you do to provoke him?” i.e “what kind of care aren’t you providing so you don’t fail and thus deserve to be abused?”

Hey hey! Look at that shiny victim blamery and misogyny, directly proportionate to misogynist slut shaming.

I went through an abusive relationship, and when I left, and finally lived alone for the first time in my life, it was fucking awesome. IT was freeing. I finally understood how cats get so territorial.

I needed to be alone, I needed to fuck around, and not take care of anyone but myself. I needed to be selfish, I needed to be a bitch, I needed to slut it up.

I think most of us to some greater or lesser degree need this. Because this is where you learn some things about wanting, and needing, and boundaries, and having them too high, and setting them too low. You figure out what you believe, and what you don’t, and you can leave shit everywhere, or be operating room sterile for yourself.

Nothing pisses people off like a woman doing shit for herself, because she can. There is often pushback, to the fucking around. It must be disguised as going to school or starting a cupcake bakery or something, and even then, people actually get hurt feelings over you failing to be a beast of emotional and physical burden.

And of course, fucking around is not some universal panacea that makes you do it all right and never fuck up. Fucking up, and figuring out how to fix it, what can be fixed, and what will just hurt, is also kind of the point. Freedom is not freedom unless you also have freedom to fail.

I don’t have a huge overarching point here, because I just had a fucking hysterectomy, ok? 😛

But I hope that everyone who reads this has, or has had some fucking around, slutting it up, living alone, being selfish (self-care is so selfish, yo!) and having fun in their lives. I hope that if anyone who reads this is wondering if maybe they need to cross their ankles, you could drive a bass boat through there, and by god that laundry needs done, woman!  They might feel a little better flipping the bird, mixing a drink, reading a novel, not calling back, turning the phone off, sleeping around, and not doing dishes.

A Brief Note from Pepper

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Hey-ooo

So, I had my hysterectomy, and now my guts are all rearranged, and I’ve been taking it super easy (by which I mean sleeping 12 hours a day), and not blogging, and not doing anything. But I’m patching up, and should be back to regularly and loudly writing about things soon.

In the meantime, a response to the “don’t call animals animals anymore, from the journal of animal ethics” kerfluffle:

You Will Never Take Up Too Much Space

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[TW for fat-shaming, disordered eating, narcissism]

My cousin has three children. Two of them are fat, and the other one is a boy.

I mean, let’s forget that they’re all about the same build, all athletic, all bursting with energy. Let’s forget that they all eat the same food, in approximately the same amounts, with the same enthusiasm. It doesn’t matter. Because the oldest one is “all boy!” and the girls are “pretty chubby amirite?!”

Apparently, pot bellies just aren’t normal on little girls, ok? And the youngest one, well, she likes butter just a little too much. /shakes head sadly

This is what I’ve learned from telephone conversations with relatives, anyway: that my cousin has fat daughters who need to go on a diet, and her son has a baseball game tomorrow, too bad I live so far away! (Trust me, it’s no pity. Southern Ohio is a shithole.)

I don’t know why people keep bringing this up around me, considering how pissy I get.

First, people have been telling these girls that they’re “chubby.” “Chunky monkeys” is apparently a name that gets used by people who are, you know, playfully teasing them. People pat the girls’ adorable potbellies and laugh, and then they diet-police. The girls eat such rich food (seriously guys, you’re a bunch of Germans—you all eat rich food); they’re “stocky”; their legs are “solid.” Not solid in a good way—not “able to act as functioning parts of the body” solid—but bad solid, “taking up too much space” solid.

My cousin’s nine- and seven-year-old daughters are taking up too much space.

Did I mention the nine-year-old had leukemia as a toddler? Yes, let’s body-police a little girl whose body betrayed her early on. Let’s make sure she never gets to just appreciate and enjoy her body, that once it’s able to perform its job adequately, she turns around and abuses it with unnecessary dieting.

I live far away from these people, and visit twice a year at the most. But I know exactly what they’re doing to these girls, because they did it to me. It’s not my cousin’s fault—actually, she’s being shamed right along with the girls, because how dare she not lose all her pregnancy weight? (And as for the possibility that some of her weight gain was caused by depression, uh, whatever.) But as for the rest of my relatives—very few of whom have attained the level of thinness they prize in others—well, I know them, and I know how they delight in fat-shaming.

I’m not “fat”; I never have been. But that made it worse in some ways, because I had a body that needed “preserving.” My gramma subjected me to weigh-ins, and other people felt comfortable saying things like “oh, you shouldn’t eat all that candy, it’ll make you chunky.” Well, no, you see, I eat candy all the time, and I stay this weight—so either you’re suggesting that I already am chunky, or you’re just full of shit.

When I was in my late teens and barely ate, it wasn’t uncommon to hear “you know, for as little as you eat, it’s amazing you weigh as much as you do.” Granted, I was fairly underweight at this point, with jutting ribs, a visible spine, and what I can only describe as “chicken chest,” but, you know, apparently I wasn’t thin enough.

But I didn’t understand how monumentally full of shit they were then, so I believed it, and I lived on somewhere between 20-40% of the daily recommended calories, and every once in awhile I would fast, and it hurt to sleep on my stomach, because, ribcage. I would pass out occasionally, and when I came to I would crawl to my fridge, sit on the floor and eat unwashed grapes out of the bag. My head hurt, I was dizzy, when I got up in the morning I had trouble walking across my tiny studio apartment. I was broke, so dieting saved me money, and I used that as my justification for hurting my body. I was fine, and this was just my normal weight, and clearly anyone who made comments about my skinniness was just “jealous.” I was a victim of “thin-shaming.” (Now I think that most of the people who made those comments were pretty well-intentioned, although they weren’t helpful. I twisted their comments into compliments. I enjoyed being Too Skinny. I thought it was great.)

I also had a horrible…not a boyfriend. I don’t know. A dude who infiltrated my life. And he was an active member of team You Should Lose Weight, even when I was significantly thinner than I am now. So he would say terrible things, and I would believe them, and magic! I would starve and be miserable.

And then I passed out once a day for five days in a row, and I got all dizzy and fell in the shower twice, and eventually I found myself sitting on the kitchen tile eating spoonfuls of sugar straight out of the bag—at which point I said, fuck this, I’m done. And I ordered a pizza.

I’m lucky, you know, in that I never developed a full-blown ED; for that I can probably thank my parents, who are great. But I still have fucked-up attitudes about food, and massive amounts of food-related guilt, and when some stupid dudebro points at my bag of Cheez-its and observes that “those aren’t healthy, hur hur hur” my responses range from hurt feelings to raging anxiety. Not counting calories is a conscious decision, clothes shopping is a miserable experience, I refuse to look at my body unclothed and/or from certain angles, the only shirts I’ll wear with jeans come below my hips (or I’ll wear a longer tank top under a normal-sized t-shirt), and I never prepare full meals because, guilt. I snack on the sly or eat meals prepared by others, because it requires less preparation, which means I have less time to guilt trip myself.

So, my cousin’s daughters? They don’t need this shit, but they’re getting it anyway. And I don’t know what to say to them, except that they will never take up too much space, that as far as I’m concerned, they will never take up enough—that they’re healthy, that they’re beautiful, and that even if they weren’t, they would still be fantastic and important. And that their fat-shaming relatives are full of shit, a quality exponentially worse than being full of food.

Story Hour with Paprika

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[TW for virulent racism, workplace intimidation, racist and ablist slurs, general awfulness]

Once upon a time, there was an unhappy woman named Paprika. Her perpetual displeasure was directly related to the overall shittasticness of the world. She tried to be happy, to eat good candy and drink lots of soda, but nothing seemed to help. And then one day, Paprika logged on to Facebook, and shit went very much awry.

One of Paprika’s friends—let’s call him Matt—IMed her asking if she was ready to be infuriated. She said yes, and he sent her the link to a screen cap he had taken. It showed a Facebook status something along the lines of “those of you who don’t care that Bin Laden is dead are stupid and need to shut up,” which, you know, whatever. But then, there in the comments, was a really trashy woman named Jessica, who was all “Bin Laden didn’t kill the Americans! Some other sand n*ggers did!”—except without the asterisk. Matt had responded with “Wow. Racists shouldn’t have access to Facebook,” prompting Jessica to observe that Matt was just totally not patriotic, and, come on—“even our troops use that word!” (Side note: I’m pretty sure that quite a few of them don’t, and as for the ones who do, well, they should be kicked out of the military. Personally, I have a problem with armed racists traipsing into countries full of people they hate. Call me crazy, but there you are.)

So yes, Paprika was, indeed, infuriated. But as it happened, Paprika was Facebook friends with the guy who wrote the status—Jared—and she also happened to work with Jessica. Jessica, it must be said, defines trashy. Jessica is one of those people who buys herself breast implants, a Harley, and thousands of dollars worth of tattoos, then bitches about the cost of daycare. (Actually, I’ve never known anyone to do that, except Jessica. Thanks, Jessica, for being the beyond-rare exception that Rush Limbaugh contends is the norm.)

So Paprika was all “wow, I kinda feel like responding,” and Matt was all “yeah, I’d feel better if I had backup,” so Paprika swooped in and left a bitchy comment that ended with the line, “Congratulations, you’re a terrible person.”

Well, it could only get worse from there. Somehow, the status devolved into people arguing that it’s “okay to be racist, as long as you don’t act on it” (because apparently, writing racist Facebook comments doesn’t count as “acting on it”), and Jessica being all “yo, we’re gonna throw down at work and stuff.” It was a classy chain of comments.

And then, today, Paprika finally got to work with Jessica.

She walked in, dropped her purse in the office, and put on her apron. Jessica got in her face and explained that they were out of ice, so everything for the salad bar was still in the cooler, and all the ice they had was in the sink, so be careful with the ice, we’re out, no ice, no ice at all. “You think you can handle that? Hmm? Is that too difficult for you?”

“That’s fine.”

Jessica proceeded to follow Paprika into the kitchen and regale her with more questions: “So uh, is there a reason you like to call people racist on Facebook? Can’t you say it to my face? Yeah, you should be fucking scared of me.”

Paprika sighed. God damn it, she thought, Is this the dialogue I’ll have to recreate when I write this sordid tale? This just sounds stupid. This is freshman creative writing 101 dialogue. At least be inventive, you racist dumbass.

But Paprika didn’t want to get into an argument while on the job, because, professionalism. So she walked away, sat in an empty booth, and opened a book. Jessica, however, continued to pace back and forth, tossing out insults. It was a kind of stupid incantation, really:

“You think you’re so smart, but you’re just fucking retarded.”

“How long are you going to be working here, huh? You probably shouldn’t plan to stay.”

“Why can’t you say anything to my face? You’re so pathetic.”

“You do realize that you have fucked with the wrong person, right?”

“Did you just not realize I got married? Did you think you were insulting someone anonymous? Did you think it was okay to call me a racist piece of shit as long as you didn’t know me? Is that it?”

Paprika smiled and continued to read her book. Jessica proceeded to mimic, word-for-word, everything Paprika had written in her “stop being such a terrible racist” Facebook comments. It’s almost like those comments had hit a little too close to home. I mean, I’m just saying. Just asking questions.

But then Jessica won the argument. She did! She looked at Paprika, and she said, “”Do you really think it’s worse to say sand n*gger than to take the Lord’s name in vain? Or is that”—she pointed at Paprika’s book—“the only book you know how to read?”

And Paprika laughed. She couldn’t help it—that was funny. Horrifying, and utterly reprehensible, but funny.

That said, she should probably get a new job. Jessica is the boss’s daughter, after all.

The End.