I have recently had the good fortune to have many respectful and pleasant interactions with men. Men looking me in the face rather than in the figure! Men excited about how my career is going and wanting to help me along with that! Men who are happy to shoot the breeze about current events and our families without ulterior motives or condescension! Men who want to share knowledge and time, and interact regarding professional and social matters as though we are both human beings and not as though the woman half of the equation is there to be stared at/creepily hit on/looked down upon. It’s been nice, you know? Nice and perfectly normal and also strange.
And it’s strange that it’s strange, because that should be normal, right? And oftentimes it is. This sense of this situation’s oddness is, I suspect, coming about because things have been weighed so heavily in a pleasant direction of late, whereas I am used to given interactions, or going about my day, being punctuated by creepy or diminishing comments or looks or some such.
In addition to the wariness, I’m finding myself being disproportionately grateful towards the men treating me like a person, in a way I’d never be grateful to anyone else doing the same. It’s tempting to hand out cookies, but, really, cookies for respectful behaviour should go to all or none, and their distribution certainly shouldn’t be based on meeting basic standards when one is not expecting you to meet them.
More decent human being interactions for the future, please, so I can stop being wary and start enjoying this as the balance tips in favour of niceness, hopefully not just in my life but in everyone’s.