26th May 2023
I don’t think I’ve ever come face-to-face with such blatant misogyny as I did on this night. Not in my memory at least, although I’m sure there is plenty that I have buried.
I met a guy on a night out who was a long-term childhood friend of friend. He was visiting him for the bank holiday weekend so had been with us for a few hours but I hadn’t spent much time talking to him myself. After the bar we were in closed I invited our small group back to mine. Me and my husband, two male friends and this guy.
As soon as we were home I started to get weird vibes from him. He made a few off hand sexist comments. One was “the problem with all females” being that they can’t change a tyre. Later when he said he was hungry and I offered to make us all some food there were a couple of “get in the kitchen” comments.
I let them slide but his comments prompted one of the men to point out the work of Reclaim Blackpool. This provoked a strong reaction in him. “What about men?” he asked. “I was harassed at least seven times tonight by thirsty bitches”.
He was horrified by Reclaim and said this is why he “hates women”. I called him out on this but he was talking in circles. He didn’t hate all women he said, but “generally” all women were evil and heartless. I continued to challenge him and ask him to explain his views. He loved his mum, he said, “she’s an angel” and he didn’t hate his exes. I suggested he suffered from a Madonna/whore complex. He was clearly agitated because he didn’t know what it meant. I explained.
I managed to remain fairly calm until one of his comments was directed at me. I can’t remember the exact insult but rather than saying “women” he said “you”. Then I got angry at him. I was shouting at him, told him he was a misogynist and told him his behaviour and attitudes were not ok, especially in my own home.
He became defensive and began denying insulting me personally. He said this was the problem, that women are irrational. He said to my husband “is this what you have to deal with every day”. The other men in the room were clearly on my side but were letting me hold my own rather than swooping in like white knights. I tried to get the conversation back on course, asking him to explain himself because I knew there was no explanation or justification and I wanted him to come to that conclusion on his own. I realise I probably should have asked him to leave at the start of this argument but for the sake of my friend who had brought him, I was hoping to diffuse the situation. My friend sat there mortified and in shock through the whole thing.
He continued to go on about what he hadn’t said to the point where I conceded that perhaps I had heard him wrong (I hadn’t), said I was sorry (I wasn’t) and asked him to please continue. He had nothing and just continued on his pointless rant. At this point I told him to leave. He couldn’t believe I was kicking him out and he was clearly affronted by this. Our mutual friend began to take him away and my husband saw them to the door while I stayed back but I could hear more commotion at the door.
“I’d fucking punch her!” he said to my husband while walking away from the house. He’d already made a few violent suggestions. At one point he said “this just makes me want to fight. I wish xxx was here.” The name he used was a woman’s, which was quite alarming.
My husband wasn’t sure he’d heard him right and asked him what he’d said. “You heard me, you heard me,” he said before walking back to him and swinging at him. He missed and punched him in the shoulder. He then took his jacket off, put it on my neighbour’s car and started trying to get my husband to fight him. My husband came inside and we locked the door.
The whole ordeal was terrifying. As soon as the door was locked I burst into tears – just a total release of emotion and relief. I’m really conflicted by the way I dealt with it. To a point I was trying to engage with him and challenge his views because this feels like the right way to deal with ignorance. But when there is so much hatred there it’s impossible to reason with and I escalated the situation by getting angry. If it had been anywhere other than my own home I’d probably have walked away at that point. It was a startling reminder of why the work of Reclaim is important and I’m glad I’ve not come across this kind of reaction from men from the town, although I’m sure they exist.