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Tia and I have been drinking. She’s sprawled out on my couch; I’m sitting on a chair I carried the two steps from the kitchen to my living room. Her phone rang and she pulled it out of her pocket. She checked the front and flipped it open. I keep drinking, but I stop pretending not to listen once she starts talking about men.
“I had a boyfriend once tell me he liked that I didn't wear makeup, but then he tells me that I should get better products to wash my face because I have too many zits. This guy also thought that tight jeans on women were false advertising. He wants girls to be naturally pretty, otherwise they’re cheating.
“False advertising, he called it. Something along the lines of ‘Some girls use jeans to pretend they have great asses, but once the jeans come off the butt sags and droops.’
“This guy also had ideas about how proper women should deal with menstruation, but that's a different story.
“Really, it’s not that interesting.
“Well, okay. This jackass told me, very seriously, that women should only ever use disposable pads, which need to be changed every four hours. He suggested setting a timer, and carrying it around! Tampons, he said, leave fibres that make the inside of the vagina feel rough to his penis. He felt that tampons should be banned completely. He also thinks that a woman's tits are largest during her period, so that she is more likely to want a baby to suckle them, so it is unwise to play with boobs while a woman is menstruating.
“I guess because it will make her crazy for babies?
“He thought he was very empathetic and understood exactly how to be a woman. He delivered this lecture to me after he heard me bitching about cramps.
“Oh, and cramps can be treated with ginger tea, according to his wisdom. But don't take pills, because advil will pollute the body and make a woman unable to stand pain. Cramps are preparation for childbirth.
“How would a woman know what to do with her body without a man to tell her? I wonder what he thought I did before I met him . . . bled all over the floor, maybe.
“I know. Me too, but I didn't want to contradict him. Why bother?
“Hah! He also had opinions on women shaving: they shouldn't, anywhere, unless they are really hairy, in which case they should trim to respectable lengths.
“He had delicate sensibilities, I think.
“Yeah, just like that, in the general patriarch dictator sort-of way.
I get up and go to the bathroom. When I return, Tia is done on the phone. She apologizes for being rude, but I wave it off. We sit and drink quietly.