The Talk

Husband and I had The Talk last night. You know, the kind of Talk where you start out with a tentative, “Hey…” and hope something that doesn’t sound too horrible pops into your brain and flows out of your mouth.

So there I was, poised on the edge of the sofa, Husband staring at me with knife in hand (he was washing the dishes – I get the feeling that’s important to point out, he wasn’t just waving it about for no reason) and me having just said, “Hey…” and looking a tad sheepish as I tried to find the right words to say. The ideal way to start would’ve been, “I love you, but…” but that just sounds like, “I’m not racist, but…” followed by the speaker then erupting with some vile comment about how Australia is “full”. I do love him – there is no but. (Although he has a very nice butt.)

Anyway, I took a sip of water, cleared my throat, gave the cat a pat, threw the dog’s ball for him and hoped inspiration would strike. Meanwhile, Husband is still staring at me with a glass in his hands (enough time had lapsed for him to dry and put away the knife) and I was looking more and more like a deranged person as I thought so hard of what to say next, the cells in my brain were dying.

Then it occurred to me. Just like every other time we’ve had this Talk, there is no easy way to say what needs to be said. So I just blurted it out in the disguise of a question, which was really a statement.

“We’re not doing Valentine’s Day this year, are we?”

“Fuck no!” he replied. “Unless you’ve suddenly decided that after nearly a decade of us avoiding Valentine’s Day like the plague, you’re into that sort of thing. Then I’d better buy you a present and book a restaurant for dinner.” He was beginning to look a little bit panicked by now. I worried that the glass he was drying would shatter in his hands.

“Fuck no,” was my rather elegant reply. “It’s not that I don’t love you, but…” (there’s that awful phrase!) “…the whole day is a gushy, nauseating pile of nonsense.” He nodded enthusiastically, like he does every year when we have this exact same conversation.

You see, Husband and I aren’t really super romantic. Romance for me is him secretly ordering something from The Book Depository and presenting it to me on any ordinary Wednesday. Or buying me a packet of chocolate-coated Scotch Fingers when I get my period and feel like dying. Or running me a bath one evening whilst he does his own ironing. For him, it’s me wearing a low-cut top and a fancy bra so he can stare at my boobs when we go out to dinner. (Guys can be really quite simple creatures sometimes, can’t they?) Or spending a week cooking his five favourite dinners for no reason other than because I can. (And let’s face it, steak and chips with chilli salt isn’t exactly taxing.)

So I guess we have our own style of romance – a more sedate kind. I don’t need red roses, a box of chocolates and a fancy dinner on a pre-determined day. A book and a packet of biscuits will do me just fine.

However, after we had that V-Day conversation, we decided that we should enthusiastically celebrate Shrove Tuesday. Pancakes suit us so much better than mushy stuff.

Public Service Announcement #1: How To Refer To A Woman In A Written Or Verbal Context

I am not a bitch, tart, bunny boiler, gold digger, princess, ditz, prude, bimbo, slut, diva, hoe, broad, trollop, butterface, fag hag, cunt, whore, skank or feminazi.

I was a girl but now I am a woman. Sometimes I behave like a lady. My gender is female. I am a wife, sister, daughter, cousin, niece, granddaughter, friend, neighbour, tweep and blogger. I have a first name, a middle name, a last name, a blogger name and a Twitter handle.

You can call me anything in the second paragraph. The first paragraph is not a sentence full of synonyms for any of the words in the second paragraph. It is just a bunch of words said by someone with a limited vocabulary. They do not apply to me.

It is not acceptable for men to call women derogatory names. (And it goes both ways – I don’t believe women should call men derogatory names either.) I don’t know about you, but I’ve been called a feminazi for calling out misogyny; I’ve been called a slut for (shock horror!) talking to a man who wasn’t my husband; I’ve been called a gold digger for daring to marry a man who was earning more money than me.

I’m willing to bet my Husband that I’m not the only person who has experienced this name-calling for behaving in a normal, fair and friendly manner (or for marrying a man I love).

The frightening thing is that half of the name calling that goes on (in my experience) is woman to woman.

What happened to the Sisterhood? What happened to sticking up for each other? I’m not saying that just because we all have a vagina we have to be best friends who agree about everything and sing Kumbaya around a campfire (there are fire bans in place, so that wouldn’t work right now anyway), but surely if we want to stand up against men putting us down and engaging in misogynistic behaviour, then we need to present some kind of a united front.

If you think a person (male or female) is behaving in a pretty crap way, then call them out on that behaviour – don’t just call them a bitch or a slut or some other nasty name. We have the entire English language (and for many people – a whole second or third language as well!) at our disposal. Let’s use it! It’s full of awesome words!

So ladies – it starts with us. If we want men to stop calling us horrid names, then perhaps we need to stop calling each other horrid names. Let’s lead by example and stop the hateful name-calling towards women and men.