Check Your Privilege — a short story

Posted on 2014 June 26

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So I’m sitting in my favorite vaping lounge, puffing away, when an attractive young woman sits down across from me. I nod at her, smiling, then continue my conversation with the guy next to me. After awhile she starts talking about how she’s going on a two-week trip to Africa to bring medicines to the poor people there. I say, “A friend of mine just got back from Africa, and she visited one of the tribes, and her fellow tourists kidded her about not staying too long or she’d become the chief’s fourth wife.” Heh.

She turns to me, anger on her face, and says, “Check your privilege!”

Check my privilege. Check my privilege … Oh! Got it.

I reply, “Sure, if you check your racism, sexism, and ageism.”

Her jaw drops. “What the hell are you talking about?”

“Well, you just profiled me as an older white male, then you assume I like to keep women in their place, and you spit out a political slogan to humiliate me. Talk about privilege.”

“Yeah, well, you deserve it.”

“So no jokes allowed, then?”

She snorts. “If you think they’re funny.”

I lean back and gaze at her through slitted eyes. “Okay, let’s say the feminists convince their weak men to back them, and of course the rest of the women mostly vote for it, and the entire feminist program gets enacted, and now the minority of strong, independent men can no longer speak their minds without being publicly shamed or sued or arrested. The problem is …” I pause.

“What?”

“…that it’ll backfire on you.”

She frowns. “What— what’s that supposed to mean?”

“I mean that your pliant, squeamish men are no longer attractive to you, but us bad boys, who don’t take any crap, are still sexy.”

“You wish.”

“And now you’re having sex with us instead of them, and you get pregnant, and pretty soon there are more and more sexist boys growing up, and the weak feminist men die out. Now you’re worse off than ever.”

She opens her mouth to speak, then closes it. Then she says, “You’re so full of crap.”

I smile. “So they say.” I turn away and talk to the guy next to me.

A while later she gets up to leave. As she makes her way past, I feel something drop into my lap. I glance down; it’s a folded-up square of notepaper. I look up. She’s already out the door. 

I unfold the note. On it she’d scribbled her phone number. And two hearts.

… Okay, that’s not what really happened. What really happened was she told me, “Check your privilege,” and I said, “Oh really?” and got up to use the restroom. When I returned, she pointed at me, said something, and they all laughed. I went home. Never came back to that lounge.

.

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Posted in: Fiction, Humor, Politics