It happens every day. Womxn everywhere put themselves at risk during breakfasts, brunches, evening cocktails, and well—fuck it lunch-hour pick-me-ups. The crime? Unwanted figures who seem to abide by the famous “This table is half-empty” philosophy. The culprit? Vacant seats at your table that unbeknownst to us are silently screaming: “Please interrupt me and my co-worker’s after-work dish session and let your dick lead the way!”—Respectfully, The Empty Seat.
Sure you could request the exact amount of seating required to suit your dining party, but let’s face it: in the real world there isn’t a table for every size party. Or a party for every size table? PoTAto, PoTAHto.
Why do we have to pay with our personal space for being approachable?
The evening started out like any other. You know the kind where you and your friends had a long ass week and are on a mission to consume JUST over your usual limit in a public setting in a meaningless effort to protest all the shit and people who got you fucked up in 2020. You walk up to order your drinks and food (due to covid regulations) and take a seat at your assigned outdoor table. Your friend makes a joke about the “cute whiteboys” that she can’t seem to get enough of and asks whether or not she should slide her number to the waiter on the receipt. You both share a good laugh about her toxic white-boy addiction and before you can finish your last chuckle, Justin, the whiteboy waiter with the blue eyes brings out your Manhattan and your friend’s bottom-shelf Margarita (she gettin’ tore up). You stop and wonder if he’s a serial killer, because they’re mostly white, right? In any case, you keep your morbid thoughts to yourself.
The Vacant Seat.
After not enough drinks, you start to feel the effects in which you sought after: slight giddiness, a loss of fucks given, and a subsequent air of grandiosity—the affects of alcohol consumption are arguably synonymous with schizophrenia. You lose your inhi-BITCH-ins (just made that up) and replace them with a great big smile that morphs your usual “diary of a mad black woman” vibe to a more pleasant and less respect-worthy aesthetic. “Smiling womxn + open seat=”You Can Sit With Us!”
We’ve all had that time where we questioned if we really had to curse out that brotha like that—you did sis, you did.
What? You didn’t get the memo? Look approachable and you’ll get just that: approached. I’m not so sure approachability is the move anymore. And as I’m typing this it also sounds like I’m blaming the victim. Fuck that. Why do we have to pay with our personal space for being approachable? Can’t we be approachable yet still not have some entitled person actually encroach on our personal space? The dude who slid into the chair next to my friend and whom we’ll refer to as “dickhead” for the purpose of this article didn’t think so.
He sat down with a smug grin as if he knew we were happy to see him. I thought to myself in third-person, “Poor child. These black womxn are about to eat you alive.” Honestly, I was slightly disgusted at myself because I actually felt bad for dude for a split second. It was that realization that as womxn we are conditioned to make excuses and have compassion for people who violate or harm us to satisfy their chauvinistic and entitled desires. Low-key Stockholm’s Syndrome or naw? We’ve all had that time where we questioned if we really had to curse out that brotha like that—you did sis, you did.
It’s a matter of people with privilege—be it economical, racial, or physical ability—protecting people.
“Did you ask to sit down?“—Sounds like something out of your favorite dominatrix heroine’s screenplay, no? But, nah. We’re back to the uninvited presence breathing down your friend’s neck as if she’s his next snack pack.
“What?” he asked to his obvious surprise.
“DID-YOU-ASK-TO-SIT DOWN?” (In-hi-BITCH-ins intensifying)
Dickhead then turned and looked at my friend who’s body language and non-verbal cues mirrored my own—that of a cornered Kangaroo bout to fuck some shit up. What? Kangaroos are fierce AF AND I planned on kicking dickhead right out of his seat from under the table if he made one false move. So it works.
Today’s Angry Black Womxn Syndrome is starting to become highly correlated with a knack for self-advocacy. I’ll be that.
Let’s talk about how it feels. It feels like a loss of safety and security. It feels like a loss of power. It feels like re-victimization for survivors. It’s scary for womxn who are targets of physical and sexual violence every day. Personal space is sacred. It’s a safety net for you and others and it is necessary. To add two dicks into the equation: Would Dickhead have invited himself to sit down in the empty seat if a man was already present at the table? Or does a lack of adversary testosterone turn his intrusiveness on and respect off? Most importantly: Why was my first inclination to ask him politely to leave so as to deescalate and not upset him? I cannot express the cognitive dissonance playing tug of war in my head and heart at that very moment.
At the end of the day: my inner G won. I took a deep breath from my abdomen and said: “Get the fuck Up” in the most dickhead-affirming tone I could conjure from my ancestor’s collective conscience of generations of dealing with fuck-boys. What happened next? Dickhead got up.
Shout out to the group of men who watched it go down. Then tried to hit on us later. It’s not a matter of men protecting women. I’m also not hear to drag black men as they just so happened to be black. It’s a matter of people with privilege—be it economical, racial, or physical ability—protecting people. Dickhead was in our personal space. We were visibly disturbed and verbally asked the uninvited person to leave several times. Dickhead was drunk and could have harmed me or my friend who was within arms reach. Yet it took us putting our Angry Black Womxn hat on to get this belligerent man to leave our table—and y’all say being an angry black womxn (ABW) is a bad thing.
This literary work is the sole property, ideas, and opinions of the author and do not represent the expressed or written opinions of Lezcronymz, LLC.
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