Well, color my cheeks pink with the flush of forbidden thought. Here I am, three months into a casual, undefined relationship and only now do I realize how blind I have been to the subtle oppression I have had to endure. It was only through the enlightened prose of Ms. Chopin that I finally understood the truth: I am a slave, bound by one Lucas Singleton, who is currently on tour with his underground emo band Soul Touch and is too poor to own a cell phone.
How could I have been so blind? It was all there! The body language, the regular language, all communicating the same thing: I own you.
How dare you, Lucas, by virtue of your masculinity, assert ownership of me, by way of “I’m gonna be in town again in two weeks so lemme know if you wanna hang.” Nay, Sir, this collar I shall not wear. And further still you bait me with a Facebook invite to your show at Mercury Bar, requiring my “répondez s’il vous plaît.” Who knows what scandal I might start if I, but a woman treading unnoticed in man’s jurisdiction, really réspondezed as I wished, saying “No!” “Not Attending!” “No Longer Shall I Be But Vassal on Your Serfdom!” Man’s paradise is a woman’s prison, and I refuse to surrender the pride of Artemis the Deer Huntress to the petty trifles and jealousies of the domesticated Hera. So find a more supplicant female to fetter with your possibility that you might be able to get me on the guest list or whatever.
The complacency in which I have languished! The free drugs I have felt obliged, by my inferior sexual status, to indulge in while dancing all night to your mediocre emo band, your army of three men and one poor woman, ironically chained to the drum kit, beating out her frustration at being made to sit while you men, you bearers of your false idol Phallus, stand and belt your misogynistic anthems. Chauvinist mantras like “Could My Pillow Be Any Wetter With My Tears (Since My Girlfriend Left Me),” “Feelings, Feelings: Lots of Feelings,” and of course, “Let Me Cook Dinner For You Sometime, Because I Respect You.”
Perhaps it is for my daughter, or my daughters daughter that I fight this fight, that I resist the cold manacles of your occasional late-night text messages, arriving like missives from the asylum, things like “did i leave my misfits hoodie at ur place?” and “my friend jeff’s band is playing in Brooklyn tonight, can they crash at your place?”
I see my girlfriends who are also bound by similarly casual and uncommitted early 20-something relationships. We exchange looks of private grief through rusty prison bars. The sacrifices we’ve made: our individuality, our dreams. How can I possibly pursue my dreams of quitting my day job by making enough money selling things I knit on Etsy if this duty, this contract I was tricked into entering, this being free once every couple weeks when your band is in town, so controls me!
I, lending my body, my temple of womanhood in which resides the blood of my Amazonian ancestresses, to your music the way I lent it to you last time you were in town, when you went down on me on your friend Jason’s futon, eagerly devouring what little self-determination I’d managed to squirrel away from my patriarchal oppressors, and bestowing upon me a pretty good orgasm, the same way a jailer bestows upon a prisoner a look of disdain or a cup of dirty water.
I see what you expect of me, society. I see your norms, your expectations, and I raise you one unabashed, unapologetically subversive woman. And my private revolution began last night, when I slept with that busboy that didn’t speak English. And it will probably continue tonight, because I’m wearing a Slut T-shirt I got at Forever 21, yet another super brazen repudiation of societal norms, because I am 25.