Paganistan: Notes from the Secret Commonwealth

In Which One Midwest Man-in-Black Confers, Converses & Otherwise Hob-Nobs with his Fellow Hob-Men (& -Women) Concerning the Sundry Ways of the Famed but Ill-Starred Tribe of Witches.

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The Worst Insult

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Really, I didn't mean to insult the guy.

A library book that I'd ordered had come in, but I couldn't find it on the reserve shelf. Finally I gave up and went to check with a librarian.

The cute straight guy with the big beard came over to help me. The book had been misfiled on another shelf, but he managed to locate it right away.

“Thanks: I could have looked all day and not found that,” I say, taking the book and shaking my head. “Librarian's intuition.”

There was an awkward pause. I'd intended a compliment, but instead I'd just insulted him.

I'd been riffing, of course, off the phrase “women's intuition.” Inadvertently, I'd just compared him to a woman, which of course—as every man knows—is the most insulting thing that you can do to another man.

Gods. Two (I'm intuiting here, myself) feminist guys, and it's still an insult for one to compare the other to a woman. I'd probably even insulted his choice of careers by implying that it wasn't sufficiently manly work.

I'm sorry, but that is so f*cked.

It's an old, old story. Famously, in ancient Athens, a youth was tried for having murdered his lover.

At a party—i.e. in public—one night, his lover turned to him and said, “Aren't you pregnant yet?

The court acquitted the youth unanimously on the grounds of provocation. I may give you access to my butt, but that doesn't make me your bitch.

I thank the librarian again, too effusively, and finally just leave. That I find the guy rather attractive only makes matters worse. I've messed up, and there's really nothing that I can do to make it right.

Oh, sexism. So far we've come, and still so far to go.

O Lady, O Lord, how long?


Cartoon: Riana Duncan




Last modified on
Tagged in: sexism
Poet, scholar and storyteller Steven Posch was raised in the hardwood forests of western Pennsylvania by white-tailed deer. (That's the story, anyway.) He emigrated to Paganistan in 1979 and by sheer dint of personality has become one of Lake Country's foremost men-in-black. He is current keeper of the Minnesota Ooser.


  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham Saturday, 15 February 2020

    Don't worry Steven, we're human beings I'm sure that no matter what we'll keep finding new ways to f*ck things up and say stupid sh*t.

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