Right now, I have a group of men in my house, one of whom I know for a fact, strongly dislikes me.
I’m okay with people not liking me most of the time but I don’t like feeling uncomfortable in my own home.
I am in the process of renovating a bathroom. This is Week Four of strangers in my home. My tendency is always to be nice, but as an introvert who works at home it is always A LOT to have invaders in my space. Things have moved along with no overly obnoxious interactions and we are nearing the end of the project.
Over the weekend, I went in to view the latest updates and additions. Much to my surprise, I noticed a penis on the wall. Ok, not an actual penis, but a drawing that looked like a penis. My husband flailed a bit and said, maybe it’s a drawing of a towel handle….no. It looked like a penis, complete with balls.
The more I looked at this, the more annoyed I became. I was grateful that I didn’t have young children around anymore as I am sure they would wonder why a penis was drawn on our wall.
At this point, I did what all normal people do in this day and age, and took a photo of the penis. I sent it to friends and family, asking them what they thought it was. The answers all came back, using various slang to verify that it did indeed, look like a penis.
I sent the photo in a text to the owner, who immediately called me back explaining that it was a drawing to show how something was going to be fitted in the bathtub. I expressed my thoughts on leaving a picture up that looked like a penis, whatever the intention.
I said, “I can’t believe that no one noticed what it looked like once it was on the wall.”
I made it clear that I would be talking to the artist when he arrived for work today. She apologized again.
This morning, I opened my front door, and the contractor entered, mumbled hello and went upstairs. I followed him up, and said calmly, “I want that off the wall.”
He proceeded to tell me how he was called at home, yelled at by his boss (I doubt if she yelled) and he has never, and would never, blah, blah, blah…
I said, “You are raising your voice. I don’t care what the intention was. I can’t believe no one else noticed what it looked like. I want it off the wall. Then we never have to talk about it again.”
I left the room.
The other owner of this establishment we are giving a huge sum of money to, stopped by to check on me and make sure there was nothing else he should know (there wasn’t).
I pointed out that we need to look at things from other people’s viewpoint, no matter what our intentions are. Hmmmm….racism, misogyny, homophobia...all the societal issues we are dealing with also flashed through my mind.
He apologized and said it was now off the wall, and so the work proceeds.
There is a chill in the air.
I do not know what he told the other men about the situation. I assume I was not presented in a flattering light, and a little teeny tiny part of me wishes I hadn’t said anything.
But then what? I look at a penis drawing until the painter gets here, weeks from now?
Speaking out and speaking up is something I feel strongly about. I am 61 years old. I have ignored, pretended to misunderstand and been nice too damn many times.
I am not going to do it anymore. When you live this way, willing to face issues head on, many, many people will not like you. That’s the way it goes.
I don’t like being uncomfortable in my own home, but it doesn’t mean I should have kept my mouth shut.
It just means that people don’t always like my viewpoint. And today, my viewpoint is this: I don’t like penises drawn on my wall.
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