Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sarcasm and Teeth Marks

The comment appeared before me on the monitor, ready to go. I only needed to click on 'post comment.' My wonderfully crafted response, every line intelligent and filled with superb sarcasm, would be out there. I had in mind one particular guy who had made some outlandish comments in response to my first post regarding Peggy Drexler's The New Father/Daughter Dance: Changing Lessons in Power ( I largely
agreed with Drexler that while there have been some changes in the relationship between women and men, we are not now post-gender or post-sexism. The second shift, the household and child care that married women often do at home,following their out of home work day, with minimal contribution from husbands, remains an issue for many couples. Hotrod (no joke, his screen name) says "every study has debunked the second shift," and comes back later to say in essence that men will do more second shift work when women stop trying to get the same pay and benefits for doing less work.

I hated to let his comment about studies disproving second shift stand, but last night I chose silence. Why bother throwing my voice to the wind?

But then comes a new day, and I went back to the scene of the crime to see what else had happened. I got the idea that rather than rebut his points I'd just concede that he was right, re-making his points in their full ludicrous glory. What a delicious satisfaction to abandon the straight up debate for a facetious concession. Sarcasm has skills. It delivers anger cool on the surface, seconds before the sting hits. I admit, I'm rather fond of it outside the therapy room.

But then I thought. This will not be the end, even if it's the end for me. Hotrod will be incensed. I mean after all, there would be teeth marks from my comment. It will likely get uglier. And I will have contributed to that, and to what end? I felt a tug, and the wrestling began, slow and strenuous,the advantage going one way then the other.

The match was called when I clicked the 'cancel' button. I felt no thrill or exhilaration, nothing like the pleasure of writing the aborted comment. Still, I feel I won, because I know that as the day wears on, I'll have a peace about my choice to keep my teeth to myself. I don't always win this battle and I don't always want to win it. I leave space for this, but I'm downsizing.

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