I was driving to Home Depot the other day because I’m a guy, and that’s what guys do: We drive to Home Depot. We look around, find manly shit like auger bits and spackle, buy it, bring it home, then put it in the garage and have a beer. At least that’s what I do. My attitude towards home improvement products is that they should improve my home merely by coming in contact with it. If that doesn’t do the trick, clearly it’s because the home improvement products are defective. Fucking defective home improvement products. Piss me off so bad that I need another beer…
Where was I? Oh yeah, I was driving to Home Depot and stationed at the bottom of the highway offramp was a female police officer. I know that she was a police officer because she wore the uniform, had a badge and a gun, and wore the bright yellow vest with the word “POLICE” emblazoned across it so that people wouldn’t run her over intentionally. But that was the only way I knew she was a cop. She was the same height as my twelve year old daughter, had a face like she’d just walked out of Claire’s, and had her hair pulled back into an adorable little pony tail. She was cute as a button, and about half the size.
I couldn’t help but feel bad for her because she was undoubtedly a bright young woman, career-minded, goal-oriented, and as far as I knew the nicest person to walk God’s green Earth. But holy shit, was she in the wrong profession. A police officer is supposed to project an aura of authority, but as far as aura-projecting went she was on the bottom end of the scale below Convicted Felon, but right above Butterflies. Absolutely not an authority figure. If she pulled someone over for speeding, that person would likely laugh at her, reach over and give her tiny little boobies a honk, and then drive away at top speed throwing trash out the window.
It’s got to be hard enough being a woman on the force without having to worry about things such as a slight breeze blowing you over. I felt bad for her. But so underwhelming was her presence as an officer of the law that I rolled the stop light right in front of her. When I realized what I’d done, I promised myself that I’d apologize to her later. In gym class.
I’m a firm believer that women belong in any segment of the workforce in which they choose to participate. Adorable Officer Buttons has every right to become a police officer, even if her slight stature makes her ill-suited to some of the more rigorous assignments (i.e. punching psychotic felons in the face). But seeing her called to mind an asinine argument I had in college (Warning: “When I was in college” anecdote ahead!)
I was living at the House that Made Baby Jesus Cry and we were, as usual, having some drinks when a roommate grabbed me by the arm. “Hey, come here and check out the argument going on out on the porch,” he said. I went outside, and there was a Force Ten Argument going on between a slight girl with short hair and a young couple with an “Are you for real?” look on their faces.
“You shut up!” shouted the slight girl. “You don’t have any idea what you’re talking about because you’re a sexist pig! But you!” she spat out as she turned her attention from the young man to his female companion, “You should know better!”
Whatever faults my roommates and I may have had as hosts, we did try to keep things civil. After all, it’s really hard to maintain a buzz when the house is being raided by the police, especially when you’ve got more than one closet decorated with grow lights. So with the idea of restoring peace, I waded into the fray.
“Hey, hey, hey…” I said in a placating tone. “C’mon, cool down… Now. This is my house, and everyone is welcome to party here, as long as we all get along, ok?”
The young couple made some conciliatory noises and went inside with smiles on their faces. The young girl, whom I will call Helga, turned to me and said, “Oh sure, take their side!” with considerable venom in her voice.
“I’m not taking anyone’s side. I just won’t have shouting matches in my house, you understand? Besides, I don’t even know what the argument was about. How could I take sides?”
“The argument was about whether or not a man can be a gynecologist,” she spat out at me.
I instantly knew that this is why my roommate had fetched me. He knew damn well that the only absolute in life is that I fucking hate absolutist arguments (and I hate them 100% of the time). They drive me fucking crazy. And so even though I could see my roommate smiling at me from behind the scenes, I puffed up my chest and Got Involved:
Greg: Of course men can be gynecologists. There are many men who are specifically licensed to have that job.
Helga: But they all suck! A man can’t be a good gynecologist!
Greg: Never? All men are incapable of being a good gynecologist?
Helga: MEN CANNOT BE GOOD GYNECOLOGISTS! THEY JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND WHAT IT’S LIKE!
At this point, a crowd had started to form, and it was clear that things were about to get Ugly. I quickly switched gears:
Greg: Ok, let me ask you this: Can a woman be as good a firefighter as a man?
Helga: Better! A woman can be a better firefighter than a man!
Greg: Can any given man be a better firefighter than any given woman?
Greg: So let’s say you’re in a burning building on the 10th floor. Who would you rather see climbing up that ladder to come get you: Karen Carpenter or Arnold Schwarzenegger?
Helga: I’ll take the woman every time!
I didn’t have to finish the argument because the crowd erupted into jeers, highlighted by a young woman saying, “I’ll carry you out of a burning building, and I’ll drop you on your fucking head you stupid bitch!” It seemed that even with a head full of beer and sundry illicit substances, everyone there recognized that the logic that states that a man can’t be a gynecologist, is the same logic that states that a woman can’t be a firefighter (or a cop). And by bailing on that bad logic, Helga proved herself to be nothing more than an inconsistent idiot. And if there’s anything that my friends and I stood for in college, it was consistent idiocy. (And now that I think about it, if I write a book about my college years, it would have to be titled “Consistent Idiocy”.)
The point I’m trying to make is that beer is fucking awesome. No, wait… The point I’m trying to make is that it’s totally fucking stupid to assess whether any group of people is well-suited or ill-suited for a particular job (unless you’re discussing the suitability of having a retarded brain surgeon, which seems like it wouldn’t be a good fit). You’ve got to accept that some people will fit the bill and some people won’t, whether they’re a man, or a woman, or black, or white, or brown, or whatever. And that means accepting women firefighters and male gynecologists, and it also means welcoming Officer Buttons to the force with open arms. But that kind of common sense can’t be selectively applied. If it’s common sense that a woman can be a cop, you also have to accept that the occasional Officer Buttons is not likely to be called upon to quell any drunken outlaw biker riots and Karen Carpenter isn’t going to be carrying anyone out of a burning building any time soon, because seriously, that bitch couldn’t even carry a ham sandwich.