Two men one table over are talking about a dog. She’s a dog who hasn’t returned the beady-eyed one’s texts, the kind of hound who’ll hump a table if you had to hear him tell it and she’s just as mangy and mean as the most menacing mongrel…but without the loyalty.
All that aside the “bitch” can yell.
I know this because she calls him halfway through a T-bone steak and he excuses himself with a ‘Lemme just talk to this bitch” after pressing the answer button so she can hear and be heard yelling something indecipherable.
I’m sure they’ll live happily ever after.
He has deep grooves of determination around the eyes and I imagine this trait extends to his relationships or at least to his need to get this bitch to return his texts. The call is curt. He cuts it off though it’s barely begun and with a hiss of “bitch!” that sprinkles spit on steak.
I’m eavesdropping and I can see Beady is starting to realize so I pretend to be tres busy sipping my tea and soon I’ve truly tuned out and into a train of thought that asks:
“What’s a woman got to do to be called a woman? Not a girl, not a chick, not a bitch or a thot. Just a woman?”
Though it’s the most neutral and beautiful term for a person who identifies as one, it’s a word I hardly ever hear a man use to describe a dame. If she’s hot, she’s a babe. If God took his time she’s a 10. If she’s not interested, she’s a bitch and if she’s in a skirt she’s a thot.
A million objectifying and insulting names but never the one that reminds men that we are two letters from men. Two breasts, one chromosome, one gender identification, same species. It’s a dazzling detraction. One that reminds me of driving to Kalk Bay in the front seat of a convertible next to a man who was marveling until he called me a dog.
Until he equated me to an animal, a pet and a peeve and found himself home alone with poem called “Duck Soap”. Penned promptly and pleasantly and put sweetly in his pocket by yours marthly before we parted ways until this very day.
Him to a world in which women are dogs. Me to a world in which I listen to my mama.
watch your words my mama said
baking scones and pulling thread
for words grow fangs just like a fox
hard as stone and rough as rocks
letters strung with best intent
she said dusting with rosy scent
enter souls through apprehension
which bend and break their true intention
so mind your tongue, she cautioned twice
buttering bread and boiling rice
for every sentence even whispers
can be the cause of spirit blisters
whats more she said of sticks and stones’
ability to break one’s bones
that words hurt more and aren’t as fleeting
as the bitterest and barest beating
this threw me into great unease
with words being my only tease
I thought perhaps one should choose silence
than run the risk of verbal violence
so mute I sat and mad I got
ideas and words quite left to rot
until one day I met a lad
whose tongue was just as brash and bad
the things he said
the names he called!
at least the man was never bored
and for a while he scratched an itch
until the day…
he called me “bitch”
in jest perhaps, though is it ever?
and even so, it wasn’t clever
for in that word his gold turned black
as mother’s words came rushing back
in every word there is their truth
so watch their words, my darling youth
for once a man has called you duck
you’re out of charm and out of luck
words once said are but the start
of string strung strong and from the heart
and there’s no halt
and there’s no hope
for those whose mouths can do with soap.