In my last column I told you about a fight outside a pizzeria. After I got my pizza and walked home I was shaking. I couldn’t stop thinking about that man and what he said. I’m not finished yet. He said it in a sort of leering, mocking tone.
Imagine the following:
You are walking at night through an area you know well. Up ahead you see two men, slightly taller than you but built about the same. As you get closer, you notice one of them look back at you. Reflexively, the other looks back too. They exchange a few words. The second one looks back at you again.
You slow your pace down a little to avoid overtaking them. They slow down their pace too. They are walking very slowly now. You’re twenty feet or so away. They glance at each other. One of them casually takes off to the left, and you see him bear round behind you, out of your field of vision.
Take a moment. Think about what you would do.
A few years ago a good friend of mine was assaulted by her flatmate. I remember she told a friend of hers, a man, and he became very angry. He wanted to go around there and hurt him. He asked if he could. He and another man. She told me this story. She said she hated when men get like that. It’s stupid. And I agreed.
But internally I was thinking, yes, we could go around there. We could tell him to get the fuck out, and if he didn’t, we could hurt him. We could hurt him a lot. We could make him apologise.
In the end none of us did, and my friend moved out of her room in that house.
I understand my friend’s aversion and confusion, but I do know that tunnel vision that men get when they feel something has just gone too far, and they must use their strong arms and heavy fists. I wouldn’t have regretted seeing that man’s teeth come out. I wouldn’t have regretted making him think twice before he tried any fucking shit like that again.
But I’ve changed since I started hormones. I don’t get the tunnel vision now, not even when I try, not even when I think about that man and try to remember what I felt back then. A little more alert maybe, but that’s it. I don’t feel ready to fight at all. Not since I started taking drugs that neutralise my testosterone.
I have a hunch, and I worry about it.