I’m alone at a bar, waiting for my friends to show up. I am only 45 minutes late, so the night is still young. I order a High Life, and the bartender scoots one across the bar. My hand closes around it, just before the hand of a handsome stranger. With a winning grin he explains that he always orders High Life because it is the champagne of beer. I heartily agree and we begin to chat. He is funny and personable, and he looks exactly like the guy from Jane the Virgin. After a few minutes, he leans towards me and speaks in a low voice-
“Don’t you think Nicki Minaj is a terrible example for young women?”
I sip from the bottle, eyeing him cooly. “No, I think she’s an incredible example of a successful businesswoman and a talented artist. The Pinkprint was awesome.”
His beautiful brown eyes glitter with confusion. “But she’s a puppet of the industry. They just use her sexualized image to sell records. I feel sorry for her.”
I shake my head. “It’s insulting to assume that a woman who embraces her sexuality is doing so to please you. She acknowledges the fact that sex is a part of her marketable image because it’s true. Also, she enjoys sex and there’s nothing wrong with that. She doesn’t owe you an apology just because that makes you feel weird. Maybe you should examine why a woman acknowledging her sexuality in the context of capitalism makes you so uncomfortable instead of getting mad at the Anaconda video for no reason.”
He sighs and flexes his chest. A button pops off of his shirt and plinks into his High Life. “You’re right. My discomfort with Nicki Minaj stems from my discomfort with the ways I benefit from the exploitation of women. I apologize for questioning her. I will now leave this bar and dedicate my life to promoting the success of women who are better at things than me.”
I close my hand over his and squeeze it, nodding with understanding. He flees into the night, and I get to drink both beers. Since one beer has a button in it, I complain to the bartender and I get a third beer, free of charge.
I am leaving my weekly Yoga class. I’ve spent hours in sea of sweaty blissed-out women. Despite being relaxed and at peace with myself, I trip over my own two feet. I collide with an Amazoness with a strong back and piercing blue eyes who looks exactly like Lucy Lawless in the 90s. I stutter an apology, and she extends a hand to help me up.
“Don’t worry about it.” Her voice is sweet and low. “It’s difficult to leave this space where your body is empowered and celebrated and go back into a world that disrespects you. I stumble as well.”
My heart glows. “Really? Even women that look like you struggle with body positivity?”
She stares in my eyes and squeezes my shoulders. “Every woman has to fight the same battle. It is essential that we tear down structures that support body fascism and unconditionally support all women in truly loving themselves. You are a hero to me, Lucy Lawless from the 90s, the source of all of your adolescent sexual confusion and love of fancy swords.”
I blush and nod. My eyes trail down to her ample chest. “Wow, I love your top. Where did you get that?”
She takes me by the hand and leads me to a discount fashion outlet that has a great selection of active clothes for plus sized women. Everything is under $5, and nothing is leopard print.
The HR department at work hires a new temp to update our personnel records. For some reason, the temp is Chris Evans, fresh off the set of Captain America in a dapper old fashioned suit. He always smells like cinnamon. We have a meeting scheduled at the end of the day, after everyone has gone home, because I am too busy achieving things during our regular working hours.
He meets me in my cubicle, stripped the the waist and sweaty. He apologizes for being shirtless due to a terrible copy machine fire. I mangnamiously forgive hm. We make some small talk about how quiet the building is, and how we are certainly all alone now. Then he flips open his notebook and asks for my maiden name. I state it.
His beautiful brow creases. “No, that can’t be right. It says here youre married. Your maiden name would be different than your current last name.”
I shake my head. “I kept my name when I got married. I’d been working for a long time before I was married and I didn’t want to give up my professional visibility to support a sexist tradition that means nothing to me.”
He nods. “That’s right. I always forget that forcing a woman to change her name is sexist and dumb. But what about when you have children? What will they be named? Hyphenating a child’s name is terrifying and confusing to everyone. If you hyphenate a child’s name, you might as well just sell them to a circus because you have already proved you don’t love them.”
I shrug. “Hyphenating isn’t a big deal. I know plenty of people with hyphenated names and nobody cares. But I’m not planning on having kids. My career is more important to me right now, and I don’t really see motherhood as a long term goal for me. I’m planning on adopting like 50 rescue dogs instead.”
He flexes his chest in approval. “It’s beautiful that you don’t let society’s conventions for women in long term monogamous relationships dictate your behavior. You should keep doing exactly whatever you want to do, and anyone who questions you is an idiot. Also, rescue dogs are the best. I prefer to adopt older dogs because they have a harder time finding a forever home.”
I open my desk drawer and lift out an ancient wheezing chihuahua, placing it gently in his lap. “Here you go, Poppy. You’re home now.” Chris Evans weeps with joy, embracing his new best friend.
Mad Max: Fury Road. Just, like, all of it.