“Yo, I walked up in tha club wit two bitches on my arms, yo.”
On the N train today there was a group of guys my age who were being loud and obnoxious, and then one of them said this to his friends.
Already annoyed with their loud voices and juvenile conversation, I looked at my friend Ariel and said, “Ugh, that kid WOULD refer to girls as bitches,” and rolled my eyes.
The guy overheard me.
“Hey, I’m sorry, I apologize for that,” he smiled as he began to engage with me.
“It’s okay,” I replied. “But it’s honestly just lame that you would describe two women as ‘bitches’ in the middle of this crowded train right now. They don’t deserve that.”
“It’s not what I meant! I mean, you right, they were not bitches,” he offered.
“It’s just a figure of speech,” his friend chimed in.
“Well, there’s a time and a place for bitch,” I said back. “And I just didn’t think was one of them.”
“Well, bitch means female dog!” one of them added.
“Oh wow, thanks for that one, I think I ran around saying that in the 5th grade!” I retorted. Not a great comeback.
“Well, you’re a…” the original offender’s voice trailed off.
“Are you calling me a bitch right now?” I asked.
“No, no, no you ain’t a bitch,” he laughed. “I think you are very nice and intelligent and I actually appreciate this conversation.”
He wasn’t being sarcastic, which was nice.
“Well good,” I said back. “Because you’d sound a lot cooler if you didn’t run around calling women ‘bitches’. Like what if you had two hot ladies on your arm instead?”
“Yea, I feel that.”
We exchanged a few small pleasantries and then I got up to get off the train and we all bid each other nice days and went on with the afternoon.
Everyone who knows me is quite aware that I have a sailor’s mouth. While I am a supporter of feminism and women’s rights, I don’t have a problem with the word most of the time, although I do admit it’s beyond crass, intrinsically nasty, and horrible, and completely inappropriate in most social situations. But I do use the word when I feel it’s right, and like many girls my age, I even jokingly refer to my friends as “my bitches” and use offshots like “betch” and “biatch” (I think it softens the blow).
HOWEVER, I am not okay with guys directly calling a woman a bitch or using it as a synonym for woman, girl, female, chick, etc. Which I guess is why I got so annoyed with this guy today. First, they were already being loud and rude, and I just don’t have time for that. But I was also embarrassed for the guy – he sounded so dumb and ignorant saying “I had two bitches on my arm” – I would have been more impressed if he had said “I had two ladies on my arm”, giving the impression that they were classy, hot, and in revealing cocktail dresses. Calling them “bitches” does nothing to a) make him sound like a hotshot and b) make anyone believe that they were two girls he would even want to have on his arms in the club. And then the female dog retort? Puh leez. Did not help their case at all.
So all in all, I’m glad he overheard my snide remark about him. Everyone on that train who heard this guy refer to women as “bitches” got to witness me calling him out and chiding him for his dispicable choice of vocabulary and self-awareness in public, and listen to him apologize for his blunder. A little victory for women and girls everywhere.