I don’t want to write this blog. But, because it’s me, I kind of have to.
Yesterday I spent some quality time with my younger half-brother and my father.
As always, it was awkward.
My father is emotionally closed off, and my brother and I have learned much the same habit. Often during our dinner, eaten at my father’s house with my (it feels odd to even write this) step mother as cook, there were long stretches of silence saved only by the television on in the background.
My (this still feels weird to type) step mother finished her meal before we arrived and did not join us for our supper.
During our entire time in my father’s home, the three of us didn’t talk much, though I had plenty to divulge. My mother’s recent stint in the hospital. (She’s home now and adjusting to her new life as a diabetic.) My plans for my future. (More on that in the next blog.) I brought up those topics briefly, but never did they hold the attention of my eighty-three year old father for long.
None of this was new. I’ve come to accept the limited relationship I have with him, and I endeavor each day to be better than his example.
No, the shitty came in the car ride home.
I love my brother. He is my blood. But, I’m afraid, my brother is also a douche. It pains me to write that, but it’s true.
We spent the first two thirds of the car ride with him spouting on about how he needs to put himself out there more in order to find a relationship. However, he would then admit that he doesn’t really care about finding a relationship, but he feels like he should care. Also, he owns up to being emotionally closed off and not willing to put in real effort into developing anything if it should even occur. In his mind, it should just be easy, no effort at all to have a relationship.
I realize my brother is a twenty-five year old guy with unrealistic expectations when it comes to relationships in general and interactions with women in particular. Thankfully he knew this to be true as well.
I, being the somewhat wiser older sister, have suggested therapy to my brother to deal with his emotional issues. I tried to not get angry when he again brushed my suggestion aside, stating he didn’t trust psychologists, how he knew himself better than they ever would, and how he felt he could fix his own problems without help.
When I pointed out that he had had roughly six years of unsuccessful dating experiences, not to mention a family history he is not dealing with, he still insisted he could do it on his own. I accepted his decision and hoped that would be the end of it.
But he kept talking.
He tangented to another thought: he needs to seek out older women. Why? Because they are more aggressive, being that their biological clock is ticking.
Yes, my brother said that. Yup, it gets worse.
I pointed out to him that an aggressive woman is so because of her personality, not some imaginary biological clock we all have ticking in our brains. I informed him that I found his statement offensive.
And my brother, my twenty-five year old stoner of a brother, didn’t agree. In fact, he protested my argument.
I told him his statement upset me.
And then I pivoted to an incident that happened at my job on Sunday. Everyone had just come back from lunch. One of the guys casually remarked to the group how he had gone to “the titty bar” to have lunch. The food was meh. The drinks were meh. And why would he waste money on a dancer he won’t ever have when he already had a girlfriend at home who puts out for him.
There were eight people on that crew. I was one of two women. The other woman was not nearby when this conversation happened. I felt… angry and yuck and what-the-fuck.
When I relayed this incident to my brother, he couldn’t understand why I was upset. I explained (yes, I had to explain) to him that the conversation was inappropriate. I was at work. My fellow coworkers should talk about work, not their lunch break at the titty bar.
He still didn’t get it. He said if I was upset, I should’ve said something. Trying not to raise my voice, I insisted that I shouldn’t have to say anything at all. My coworker should know that talking about strip clubs was not appropriate for work.
And then my brother made me really and truly angry. He had had some experience working with crews while in college. He spoke about how, when you get a group of techs together, especially ones that know each other, it gets really vulgar. Why should I be shocked or upset when I knew this would happen? It wasn’t like I worked in an office or anything.
I was very happy he was about to get out of my car. My brother couldn’t understand how misogynistic he comments were, couldn’t understand why I was upset, couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t just accept the conversation from my coworkers as normal.
My brother is swimming in privilege. I wanted to bash his head up against my car window. Instead I rose my voice, saying it wasn’t okay. It wasn’t okay that my coworker talked about strippers at work or in that way, belittling those women so. It wasn’t okay that I should just expect “boys to be boys”. And, worst of all, it wasn’t okay that he, my brother, was saying this to me.
I love my brother and want nothing but the best for him. But my brother is an asshole. My brother is a misogynist. And I don’t know if he will ever change.
Before my brother got out of my car, I explained his comments, his thinking, his shittiness was an example of why there is a NOW, why there are sexual harassment statues, and is part of the reason why I am a feminist.
And yeah, it’s also part of the reason why I made an important decision for my life recently.
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