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How to Handle Lady Anger

A primer for the decent man

Sara Benincasa
Sep 28, 2018 · 8 min read
Photo: Tommaso Tuzj/Moment/Getty Images

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Like most rich, conservative, white male Trump voters who’ve lived with unchecked privilege since birth, Brett Kavanaugh is extremely emotional and inclined to hysteria when confronted with criticism. It’s a combination of genetics and the dysfunctional culture that raised him. He probably has road rage. Most of them do. No family values, either. Personally, I find a Ginsburg or a Sotomayor or a Kagan to be a calmer, steadier, more mature influence. But that’s just me.

Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan are the peculiar type of creature known as “woman,” a type of human experiment made out of a spare rib by an all-knowing Sky Daddy to whom Brett Kavanaugh swore he never raped a lady. You may know ladies and thus need to deal with them in the immediate aftermath of the Kavanaugh hearings, in which Lindsey Graham had a meltdown about asking a powerful and privileged heterosexual white man to tell the truth. I’m here to help!

See, I’m a lady*, which can be a real living nightmare, but it does give me insight into lady behavior and lady stuff. And I care. I know many good dudes, as well as some pieces of shit of various genders! The good dudes tend to want to help, even if they sometimes go about it in a funny way because they have trouble controlling their emotions.

Me, a lady. Photo: Sara Benincasa

*Note: I mean a decent lady, not a lady who voted for Trump. They were voted off Decent Lady Island a while ago. It’s not that you shouldn’t treat these other ladies with respect and civility; you should. It’s that they won’t be angry in the coming days, because they will always throw other women under the bus in order to maintain white supremacy, which is their numero uno God and has served them very well over time. They believe their white daddies will protect them, and this is sometimes true. They have no desire to emotionally demolish you, because you are a man, not unlike their Sky Daddy.

But there are many ladies in this country who are decent. We care. We feel compassion and anger and many other emotions that we control very well, all day every day, because otherwise we’d be dismissed for the terrible crime of a single loud sniffle in a work meeting or a slightly wrinkled brow at a quilting bee. It’s also possible you may be emotionally demolished by one of us, especially now.

Here’s how to be good to decent ladies in the coming days, so that we do not end your joy with our feelings-hurting witchcraft.

Be kind and polite.

Say please and thank you. Help clean up after dinner. A little extra effort very rarely hurts a man. In fact, it tends to get you elected president or at least made CEO of something. Consider looking after your own children while the decent lady in your life gets a mani-pedi or talks shit with her girlfriends. Do for three hours what she does all the time! You will be lauded as an actual hero for “babysitting” your own offspring.

A little extra effort very rarely hurts a man. In fact, it tends to get you elected president or at least made CEO of something.

If you already do this stuff — and a lot of you do, which is awesome — do a tiny bit more. Don’t even tell your lady friend person why! It’s just nice. If she’s a little on edge these days, give her some space. If she’s truly nasty to you, that’s not cool and I do not condone that. But maybe she’s extra tired or scared, because this stuff brings back bad memories of what happened to her or to four out of five of her lady friends. So have a little extra patience, please.

She doesn’t need coddling, of course. Though you may want to agree to watch the 800,000th episode of Grey’s Anatomy with her if this is her request. Or the season premiere of Truck Dudes Fuck Up Mudpiles in Alaska, which is probably a show and certainly one I would watch.

We are so tired, you see. We are so tired and our hearts hurt.

Help ladies you may never meet.

How? Run a 5K for a local domestic violence charity. Send some socks, tampons, pads, and panty liners to a homeless shelter (they always need more of these for women!). Whatever you do, do it consistently without bragging about it.

If your good deed nets you a sticker, stick it on your briefcase (do men still have those?) or knapsack or purse or shoe or face. Share the donation webpage on your social media. Drop some grocery store gift cards off at Planned Parenthood and tell them to use ’em however they’d like. I’d say drop off flowers, but some folks discourage dropping off flowers in medical environments for various reasons. Maybe give ’em a gift card to Fancy Coffee Town. Planned Parenthood staff members need expensive artisanal coffee once in a while, too!

If nothing else, buy a bunch of cookies from Girl Scouts. Don’t be weird to the Girl Scouts. Give the cookies to your mother or grandmother. That would be nice.

Don’t say, “I’m so ashamed to be a man” or “I just wanna apologize for all men.”

Tee-hee, that’s cute. But don’t lie to us. You don’t actually want to apologize for all the bad men. You merely want to establish that you yourself are not a bad man but a very good man, probably one we should fuck or at least stay pals with while considering fucking.

If you didn’t hit us, rape us, harass us, keep us out of a job because we dumped you for being an asshole, call our boss to try to get us fired because we dumped you for being an asshole, or falsely accuse us of some bullshit to save your reputation — you do not, in fact, need to issue any apology. You don’t need to issue one on behalf of men who did, either. It comes off like an attempt to earn brownie points by centering yourself in someone else’s struggle.

Chances are we understand the concept of nuance and that all men are not the same!

Also, chances are we actually like some or even many men already. Chances are we understand the concept of nuance and that all men are not the same! Are you the King of All Men or their designated Apologizer-in-Chief? Probably not! You are not allowed to appoint yourself to such a position. You are not allowed to give someone almost exactly like you a lifetime appointment to said position. Other things work that way, but not this thing.

Don’t engage us in debate on social media about our memories of what was done to us (or to our mothers or other women we love).

You have more important things to do, like learning to control your emotions and becoming a better driver.

Apply logic and reason to your behavior. Think of how you can benefit your country. Try to emulate Representative Jacky Rosen of Nevada, who is running to unseat Senator Dean Heller, a Republican who loves Trump and whom Trump loves. Representative Rosen is, to my knowledge, the only former coder in Congress. She’s a big fan of STEM careers for young ladypeople (see definition of “lady” or “woman” above). Let’s send her to the Senate. She can teach them math or how to operate a computer, maybe!

Want to donate to Rep. Jacky Rosen’s campaign? Wow, you can do that right here, right now.

Stop telling us Jeff Flake is a good guy we should admire.

Yes, we know. He did a halfway decent thing once after getting screamed at by victims of sexual assault on television, and after enduring a cavalcade of rage from folks who would abandon all support for him if he didn’t take the halfway decent half-measure that he did.

Skip it. Keep it. Hold it to you close. And then donate to Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.

Let your daughter know that if there’s ever anything scary or sad she wishes to share with you, even if she’s scared she’ll get in trouble for telling you, she should still tell you.

You will do your best to help her stay safe, but you can’t be everywhere. She wouldn’t want that anyway, and you’re a busy guy. But she can tell you whatever she needs, whenever she needs. You won’t be mad she sneaked out of the house to go to a party. Well, you might be mad, but you’ll be very happy she called and asked for your help.

You will pick her up, any time of day or night. You will not beat her. You will not shame her. If she’s drunk, she’s drunk. If she’s high, she’s high. You will pick her up and at some later point, you will address her choice to illegally imbibe substances because you worry and you want her to make healthy choices. You will never imply that her choice to illegally imbibe substances in any way makes her guilty of the victimization or abuse she may suffer. For right now, you will listen while she tells you why she needs you.

Tell your son this, too.

You will do what you can to help her if she’s been hurt. You will do what you can to help her make amends if she hurts someone else. You will not shield anyone else from justice if they willfully harm her, even if sweeping it all under the rug would be easier because you’re friends with the other kid’s father or you just don’t want to deal with the cops.

And by the way, you will not shield her from justice if, God forbid, she ever harms someone else. You will love her no matter what, forever and always.

Tell your son this, too.

Lastly, don’t hit us or rape us or harass us or keep us out of a job.

Especially not because we dumped you for being an asshole. Don’t call our boss to try to get us fired or falsely accuse us of some bullshit or abuse us in any other way — like, for example, murder.

Please don’t kill us. This may seem like a ridiculous request to you, a person who does not intend to kill anybody, but a lot of us die at the hands of men who were mad that we were mad, or mad that we were sad, or mad that we spoke up, or mad that we exist.

We worry about it when we’re alone, and sometimes when we’re not. Christine Blasey Ford worried about it.

Please be good. Please do good things. Please be better. We are so tired. We are so, so tired. Thank you for your time.

Sara Benincasa

Written by

Comedian, author, writer for screens. My latest book is Real Artists Have Day Jobs http://www.SaraBenincasa.com

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