What did the feminist writer say to the scumbag bartender?

Last week I was walking around in Manhattan looking for a place to grab a bite to eat between meetings, when I happened across a new location of Barcade, one of my favorite beer bars in Brooklyn. This one served food, so I went in and planted myself at one of the empty bar stools and ordered a sandwich and a beer. I chatted with a friendly bartender who told me this branch opened in June, or May—he couldn’t remember.

While I waited, I sipped my beer and journaled into the notebook I always carry, lost in thought as the bar started to fill up around me. I was only vaguely aware of three bartenders huddled together on the other side of the bar chatting until one thing I overheard jolted me out of my writing trance and caused me to look up in alarm.

“Wow, someone’s looking to get raped tonight.”

I stared at them in shock as the three of them all laughed. They dismantled to go about their work again, and one of them started stacking condiments in front of me.

“Did someone really just say that?” I asked.

“What?” he asked innocently, obliviously.

“That one of your customers is looking to get raped tonight.”

“Oh,” he said with a chuckle. “Yeah, well you know, it’s these little girls who come in here and order a wheat beer and a shot of vodka, and then chase it with a shot of Jameson. It’s not very smart decision-making.”

I glared at this 40-something hipster and the smirk beneath his unkempt black beard in disbelief.

“Yeah, well, that’s not very smart commentary,” I said.

He slunk away and refused to make eye contact with me thereafter, sipping a glass of straight vodka at 5:30pm. I tossed a coaster on top of my half-empty beer and walked outside to smoke a cigarette. The comment had activated a kill switch deep within my psyche, and my head spun from the transition of being jerked out of my happy writing place into the menacing world of skeezy rape enthusiasts. The amount of people who can successfully execute rape jokes are few and far between, and, as Lindy West pointed out in an essay following the Tosh.0 debacle, the punch line should never come at the expense of the victim. What planet did these guys inhabit where it was acceptable to suggest, or even logical to think, that any human being would want to be raped? Rape involves the utter absence of consent. It is an unwanted violation of one’s body, by definition. No amount of beverages consumed ever changes the level of acceptability of rape, which is zero.

I walked back inside and sat down, but the thought of finishing my drink made me sick. I wanted to throw the rest of it in that guy’s face and smash the glass on the floor, or walk out without paying. But that would make me the greater offender form the perspective of the law. What could I do to establish some kind of justice for the disruption of my peace of mind, and for whoever was exposed to these dirtbags on a daily basis. I wanted to do something so they would never laugh about rape again.

I hailed my original bartender over.

“Hey, I need to pay for this drink,” I said. “And you’d better believe that if I wasn’t expensing this because I’m here on a review assignment, I would have walked out without paying after what I just heard.”

His face blanched. “What… what do you mean?” he stammered.

“Saying one of your customers is looking to get raped? Look, if you’re going to make jokes about rape in your place of work, you’d better be damn sure you know who’s listening, and this is definitely going to affect your review.”

“Oh my God, I’m so sorry you had to hear that,” he said. “I didn’t say it I swear.”

“But you laughed.”

He continued apologizing and acknowledged the comment was unacceptable. I thrust a $10 bill toward him and asked for my change, then walked out without leaving a tip.

It is hard to believe that these kind of sentiments are circulated here in a city that is often said to be the most cultured in the United States. Then to think of how many other places in America and beyond that this kind of shit happens without anyone raising an eyebrow makes the world seem downright depressing. We have a long way to go, but I’d like to think we’re progressing, one indignant feminist calling out stupid hipster bartenders at a time.

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4 thoughts on “What did the feminist writer say to the scumbag bartender?

  1. Jim

    Wow ever thought about minding your own business? They weren’t talking to you.

    Why is it up to you to control discourse? Why should other people appeal to your sensitivities? What is your definition of free speech?

    Moreover, what context was the joke in? Was it a threatening context or a friendly one?

    Lastly, are you familiar with men and how men talk? Do you understand how men communicate? Did you have any guy friends growing up or now? Can you point out key differences between how men communicate with eachother and how women do?

    Reply
    1. Arikia Post author

      You and the men you think you know so well are totally free to make all the rape jokes you want. I will continue to stay far, far away from you. Good luck with that.

      Reply
  2. Jim

    I posed several objective questions of which you did not answer one. If you read the comment you’ll see I did not advocate rape jokes. I’m advocating overly offended persons like yourself to mind your own business.

    Being overly offended is extremely self centric and a sign of a person who can not handle the real world. In your inability to handle the real world, you make the environment sour like you did for those bartenders.

    Who are you? What makes you special? How dare you interrupt someone elses free speech. If they were talking to YOU then that’s a different story. (Are you familiar with Adria Richards?)

    You think your perspective is the only one that matters. You think other people should conform to your ideas of what is acceptable conversation. You are the judge and jury of what opinions are allowed and not allowed to be communicated.

    Reply
    1. Arikia Post author

      Your questions were far from objective. Your concept of “the real world” is far different from mine. While you could observe a rape joke as such in stride and perhaps even laugh, given that you are not in the demographic that generally does not have to worry about rape, I could not sit idly by and permit such discourse in a place where I was choosing to contribute my commerce. How dare you assume what I think, or that I am obligated to reply to any of your questions. You can read my writings and reply all you want, but if you’re confused about gender differences or the prevalence of rape and how that may alienate a female clientele, you can defer to Google. Kindly move along from my blog and go practice free speech elsewhere.

      Reply

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