A Mrs. Victoria B. Brown of Haverford Township, Pennsylvania, had a moment the other night. As she relates to readers of the Washington Post:
I yelled at my husband last night. Not pick-up-your-socks yell. Not how-could-you-ignore-that-red-light yell. This was real yelling. This was 30 minutes of from-the-gut yelling. Triggered by a small, thoughtless, dismissive, annoyed, patronizing comment. Really small. A micro-wave that triggered a hurricane. I blew. Hard and fast. And it terrified me. I’m still terrified by what I felt and what I said. I am almost 70 years old. I am a grandmother. Yet in that roiling moment, screaming at my husband as if he represented every clueless male on the planet (and I every angry woman of 2018), I announced that I hate all men and wish all men were dead. If one of my grandchildren yelled something that ridiculous, I’d have to stifle a laugh.
My husband of 50 years did not have to stifle a laugh. He took it dead seriously. He did not defend his remark, he did not defend men. He sat, hunched and hurt, and he listened.
He was no doubt thinking, Oh lord have mercy, here she goes again…
For a moment, it occurred to me to be grateful that I’m married to a man who will listen to a woman. The winds calmed ever so slightly in that moment. And then the storm surge welled up in me as I realized the pathetic impotence of nice men’s plan to rebuild the wreckage by listening to women. As my rage rushed through the streets of my mind, toppling every memory of every good thing my husband has ever done (and there are scores of memories), I said the meanest thing I’ve ever said to him: Don’t you dare sit there and sympathetically promise to change. Don’t say you will stop yourself before you blurt out some impatient, annoyed, controlling remark. No, I said, you can’t change. You are unable to change. You don’t have the skills and you won’t do it. You, I said, are one of the good men. You respect women, you believe in women, you like women, you don’t hit women or rape women or in any way abuse women. You have applauded and funded feminism for a half-century. You are one of the good men. And you cannot change. You can listen all you want, but that will not create one iota of change.
That poor man, Mr. Brown. Has no one checked on him?
Mrs. V.B. Brown continues on like that for paragraph after paragraph. She adds:
No man right now understands the flood that is rushing through women’s brains, and only women in the deepest denial have evacuated their minds before the flood could reach them.
Ah. So if you are a woman who doesn’t agree with this elderly retired humanities professor from a small liberal arts college, then you are an idiot.
It’s just bizarre — bizarre that the author calmed down yet still felt it important to publish what she acknowledges was a “ridiculous” display, something she would have laughed at had it come out of the mouth of one of her grandchildren; and bizarre that the Washington Post would have considered something as berserk as that piece worthy of publication. Of all the op-eds that could have been published from a feminist perspective, they go with a primal scream from an aging member of one of the most privileged cohorts in the country, who says in it that she wishes all men were, um, dead?
If somebody starts a Go Fund Me account to pay for Mr. Brown’s tab at his local bar, I’ll kick in.