Sunday, September 18, 2005

Boys Will Be Boys? How to Deal With a Feminist Partner

Is teasing your loved one, especially if she is a feminist, a recipe for a successful relationship? I am serious. And, no, I am not being a humorless feminist.

K (aka Goddess o' Universe) and I were reflecting on how our partners tend to tease us when they get around our Friday beer drinking crowd. I brought Za to the P'ok Fest on Saturday night and for the first time he really got to talk to Uncle Ben and Mr. Moderate. He has been around K's husband before, but never have all four of these guys sat down and drink beers together.

Now, as you know, Uncle Ben is "to the right of Attila the Hun," and Mr. Moderate leans more right of center than either Za or K's husband. Yet, when all four of them are together, they quickly fell into a pattern of making jokes that either make fun of feminists or that suggest that they are the pants-wearers. Za joked at one time "Darlin' go get me a beer." And all four of them giggle. Then Mr. Moderate tells me to try the gin "It'll put hair on your chest." Pause. "Well, you are a feminist right?" All four laugh.

Now, I am fully aware that none of them really believes that either K or I should be submissive or serve up their pleasure. Za is wholly aware that he is with a feminist, and a pretty active one at that. K's husband is far more liberal than Za, and has done a fantastic job sharing, truly sharing in the raising of their son.

And yet, when four men gather together on a Saturday night to eat some BBQ'd pork, they can't resist snickering and giggling about feminists.

K and I are good sports. We mostly roll our eyes and talk about something else. But, we were talking about this phenomena today a bit while knitting and womaning our NOW booth at the local Heritage festival.

K says, "do you notice how they like to tease us in front of the other guys?"

"Yeah," I say. And we leave it at that.

Yet, now that I am at home (and avoiding grading), I am pondering this. What drives them to do this? Is it a sort of performance that says to the other guys: "look, we are with these feminists, but it's ok, they aren't uptight." Or, is it a way to broadcast that they are still men, and therefore manly, even though they ended up with feminists?