An overheard conversation
I live in a high rise building. It’s literally a glass tower. I see the irony of my liberal tendencies contrasted against the perils of gentrification and the increased pressure my presence raises on the people and families who settled here long before I thought of coming to California. Yet, it’s the best place for my family right now, and probably another topic for another time.
We have a viewing deck on the 18th floor. I enjoy sitting on the deck and watching planes come in to land at San Jose airport. One afternoon I took my son up there for the first time to see airplanes land.
While we’re waiting for planes to come, there is a young man and woman standing just a few feet away. I couldn’t help but hear their conversation, and admittedly, I listened.
The young man was explaining the perils of being a young man in society to the young woman:
He spoke of being afraid of what to say for fear of being misunderstood and branded mysogonistic.
He told her it is a common feeling among young men in Silicon Valley that they need to make big salaries before they will get women.
He told her about meeting another woman and starting a relationship, but when she wanted him to meet her parents, he ended the relationship immediately because he did not want her to think he was ready for marriage.
He told her how he came from a traditional family, and how he doesn’t think his parents understand today’s dating and the role of women in modern society, although he would willingly be a stay at home father.
He went on to talk about how feminism is dying, that in ten years feminism will be no more. Then in the same breath, went on to say women are taking over the world, and he just wants to be treated fairly.
This rather one sided conversation took place over ten minutes, about fifteen feet from me as I played with my three month old son.
Meanwhile, the young woman said almost nothing.
I don’t know and don’t want to speculate what she was thinking. She seemed to be a willing participant in the conversation, and I perceived the two to be new acquaintences, so I wasn’t sure what brought the two of them to the rooftop.
To my amazement, the young woman listened. She listened quietly, as I imagine many women around the world do, as men spew self-absorbed garbage about how advanced they are from the rest of their gender. I’m sure I’ve spewed my fair share of it out there – hopefully less today than when I was that young man’s age.