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The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Life as a Woman

With our much-anticipated Real Talk event, Women in Power: How to Get it & What it Costs, finally approaching (March 18th, 7pm, at Loyola Marymount University in The Living Room) I can’t help but have feminism on my mind. Recently, there are two images from my past that I just can’t seem to shake from my memory.

I am about twelve years old. It is dusk. My brother is in a golf tournament in Las Vegas, and my mother and I have accompanied him. It is my first time in Las Vegas.

Wearing a jean skirt and tank top, I am standing on a concrete ledge, holding onto the metal railing, leaning forward so the mist from the spouts reach my face.

I am watching the Bellagio water show. It is my first time seeing it.

I remember my mother’s yell, and then a forceful yank of my arm that brought me closer to her. There was a swift gust of wind as something flew by behind me. I turned my head to see a short, stout, bald man with a camera blur quickly out of sight.

The man had taken a picture under my skirt.

I instantly burst into tears. But no one consoled me. My mother was quiet, and my brother told me it was my fault for wearing a short skirt. Even at the time that comment infuriated me.

I remember I was wearing white Limited Too underwear with little cartoon frogs on it. That’s how young I was, that’s how innocent. When my tears finally subsided later that night I remember coming to a scary realization: This is life as a woman.

Fast forward seven years....

I am nineteen at my job as a beverage cart girl at the Grayhawk golf course in Scottsdale, Arizona. I have been working there for a few months, and at this point had become used to being hit on by men. Everyday there was a new awkward pick up line or marriage proposal. The men were constantly staring at my body, which, by the bold ones was usually followed up with degrading comments like, “Oh gurl, you be packin’ like a sista.” I could go on forever.

I remember this day was different. This crowd of men was particularly rowdy. It was 8am and they were still drunk from the night before. They were all ordering vodka redbulls. One guy was simultaneously puking and peeing on the tee box of the first hole.

My female boss pulled me aside and apologized that I would have to be dealing with these men all day. However, this was quickly followed by “But you can tell they will be good tippers.” This was our M.O. You had to put up with the bullshit because you needed the money. I got paid three dollars an hour, my livelihood depended on these men tipping me well, which meant I would have to be nice and deal with it.

There was one guy who stood out. I could tell was the ‘ring leader’ of the pack. He was tall, muscular, blonde and tan. He had piercing blue eyes and a loud obnoxious voice. I could tell he was a ladies man. When he came up to order his drink from me he already reeked of alcohol.

“What’s your name pretty thing?” he asked.

“Hi, I’m Courtney. I’ll be taking care of you today.”

“I bet you willll…God you have a hot body. Here give me a hug.”

Before I could dodge him, he had me wrapped tightly in his arms. I tried to push away and wiggle my way out of his grasp, but that just caused him to pull me in tighter. He was beginning to make me nervous, but I knew how to handle guys like him.

“Listen,” I said sweetly, “If you don’t let go of me, I’m not go to serve you any more alcohol or come and give you another round in four holes.”

He let go of me. “Spicy,” he said, winking, “I like that. Give me a vodka on the rocks, puhlease.”

I turned around and began to make his drink. Seconds later I felt something go down the back of my pants. I turned around quickly, shocked. He stood there smiling. I pulled the golf ball out of the back of my pants and threw it into the desert.

“Looks like you’ll need a new ball,” I said, handing him his drink.

He paid with a $20, leaving $14 as a tip. I remember thinking; this is why I deal with men like this.

This is my life as a woman.

As I reflect on these memories, I am beginning to realize how much these moments have defined me. Not only have they caused me to distrust most men in general, but they have also taught me that I have been choosing to ‘deal’ with objectification rather than stick up for myself.

I’m writing this blog to encourage all women to put their foot down. Above are only two stories of the million I could tell…of the million all women could tell. Whenever these memories reenter my thoughts, I always think about my little sister. If a man ever treated her the way I’ve been treated, I would kill him. So, then, why should I allow it for myself? The time has come for me to stand my ground; my passivity ends now.

Courtney M. Myers

2 Comments:

Anonymous Alex M. Mead said...

CMyers,

What happened to you in Vegas was beyond awful and Blairs response was worse. But it seems as though that's everyones initial reaction to a woman being degraded. Girls that wear short skirts are deemed "slutty" by both guys and girls. And girls, especially our age, only hurt ourselves more by referring to each other as sluts and whores. For Logans sake and for the sake of all other girls our generation and younger, we need to lose our passivity and our disrespect for each other and start to stand our ground and respect and defend each other.

March 15, 2010 at 12:20 PM  
Anonymous Heather Maupin said...

Great storytelling and a poignant message for women of all ages. For so long we have been told to keep our voices down but if we're ever to overcome our degredation, it is imperative that we stand up for ourselves because, sadly, it's likely no one else will.

March 17, 2010 at 12:30 PM  

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