A first class gum noshing slack jaw

On May 1 I boarded a flight to Detroit. Until last year I traveled a lot overseas so I always get upgraded due to mileage status. Settled comfortably into my aisle seat, I was reading a book on my Ipad when someone said, “excuse me”.  I looked up and a woman, late 30’s I’d guess, was standing in the aisle looking at the window seat expectantly. She smirked. I excused myself and let her in.

The woman was overweight. She was of a diminutive height. Cliché, but she had a pretty face and minus sixty pounds would have been an attractive woman. She was dressed in a black loose fitting blouse and a gauzy pleated black long skirt. Slimming….I guess.

She wore black bejeweled flip flops, and something I find very distasteful, had grown her toenails well beyond the length of her stubby toes and had them manicured into rounded off points and carefully painted a brilliant red. Women, I am not sure where the men are who like toenails that are long like fingernails, and shaped like claws, maybe I’m the odd man out, but those things look like Wolverine. Dangerous. Unattractive. Over done. Anyway…

She was chewing gum. Repeat. She was chewing gum. And how. Mouth wide open, jaw hinging up and down like toy dentures, cracking, smacking, slurping, and constant motion defiled my hearing and my peripheral vision. I sat there knowing myself and knowing that during the flight I’d have to ask, “do you have an extra stick of gum, or IS ALL OF IT IN YOUR MOUTH?”

To go with those things, she was executing some serious moves on the screen of her smart phone. Pecking, scrolling, wiping, pinching, hinging, and the metronome like chewing. If I could rap, just flow a tad, we’d have been golden on Youtube.

She gave off exactly the vibe of the late thirties woman who at once would declare her awesome hotness and insist she be beloved based on who she is on the inside. She was unapproachable. A mask for insecurity? No way of knowing. Either way a no win for even an hour flight, meaning even an attempt to have banal banter would be out of the question, risky on all levels for a man with common sense. Besides, I’m not generally banal banter equipped.

Yashar would say my perceptions were discriminatory. In all of his writing he has yet to drill deep enough to find the bedrock of self-responsibility for women. The woman beside me, her appearance, her behavior, the vibe she gave off….all men’s fault, and any reaction a man has to it….all men’s fault. Women are as they are; men failing to adapt are discriminating. An anecdote about His friend MYchelle:

I was 21 and out with two women friends at an electronics store. As I explored the DVD section, they were seeking to have their questions answered by a male salesperson. After two minutes, they found me and explained their frustration and demanded to leave.

When I asked my friends why they were frustrated, both of them explained that the salesman (this was a store that didn’t pay commissions to salespeople) was unhelpful, giving only short and clipped responses to their questions.

My friend Mychelle told me, “It’s a woman thing.”

I remarked that I was confused by what she meant.

“He doesn’t want to deal with two women, he hates women.”

I combined the scenarios. The woman beside me was the one shopping. She was signaling her awesomeness using her aloof slack jaw chewing and don’t forget those talons. She was a conflicting mess of images. Unapproachable but imminently desirable, a set up for discrimination no matter what a man says or does. He didn’t take her seriously, he was shallow and noticed how she looked and was hitting on her, he was shallow and noticed how she looked and conveyed disinterest hence overlooking the precious inside. No way for a man to engage with her, even in a sales clerk situation, and not come away in the wrong. But Yashar would have none of these claims that suggest that maybe SHE adjust herself the way men are compelled to do daily.

Why is equality defined as men accommodating women?

The strong independent woman maintained her chew pace while we learned the plane’s computer was busted and we had to get off to make other arrangements. My other travel arrangements differed from hers. I saw her sitting somewhere waiting for her next attempt to reach her destination. My next leg had me at the window in a regional jet with a very big man occupying 30% of the cubic footage allocated to me. But he was being himself.

The charms of the strong independent woman were being wasted on another.


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