Posts Tagged ‘discrimination’

No it wasn’t.

I didn’t mean to cause anyone so much upset just because I walked into a club with a vagina.

Had I known it would have upset them so much, I would have left it at home.

But I was on the road and had arranged to meet my friends halfway. I had gotten lost and this was years before cell phone existed, so you had to do the old-fashioned thing – stop somewhere and get directions and hope everyone made it.

I was going along on the freeway and was on a section of it that goes through a very expensive and exclusive part of the Bay Area. Everywhere you looked were these beautiful hills, huge houses and a golf course that has a lake.

Just the kind of area that you knew they made their money either in the high-tech field or they were all drug dealers. Maybe both, by the looks of their houses and gated communities.

I was born and raised here, so being out in this area was nothing new to me. So you think I would know where I was going, how to get there and how to give correct directions.

Not true. I had been driving up and down the same stretch of highway, trying to find the location I told my friends to meet me at. Apparently it no longer existed and now I was beginning to think it never had.

I finally pull off the freeway and followed a road up a small hill because I could see that there was some sort of business there and I figured they would know where I was trying to go. Plus the next gas station was over 20 miles away, so up the hill I went.

I pulled into the parking lot and looked around. I was a bit panicked because I was already 30 minutes late and confused. It was a small building and there were several cars in the parking lot. I saw that the sign said it was some type of country club and I figured it had to do with the golf course that was running through the area.

I walked into the lobby and looked around. I was in the reception area and no one was around, but it was beautifully furnished and pleasant. I pulled back my mane of hair and tied it back. I had been driving with the windows down and under normal circumstances my hair is out of control. The wind had made it worse and I didn’t want to scare anyone.

I walked up to the counter and waited. I was tapping my fingers and getting more and more concerned about how late I was in meeting my friends when a man came out from an office, saw me and stopped. Dead in his tracks and stared at me. I immediately checked to make sure I had tied all my hair back and quickly looked down to see if my blouse had gotten unbuttoned and my breasts were hanging out. No, my girls were fine, I was decently dressed and my zipper was zipped. I looked back up at him and said hello.

“You can’t be here. You’re not allowed in here, so you better go.”

“Huh? What did you say? What do you mean?” was all I could figure out to say. He wasn’t making any sense at all.

“This is a club for men only and you’re not a man, so you have to go.”

I shook my head. This can’t be right. “Really? You figured that out all by yourself. What gave me away? My hair? My breasts? What tipped you off?” I couldn’t help it. The man was an idiot.

“Don’t get smart with me,” he said as he hurriedly scooted (yes, scooted) past me and opened the front door and motioned for me to leave.

“No,” I said and folded my arms across the breasts that had given me away. “You can’t make me leave. This is a free country and I only stopped here to get directions.”

“Look here young lady, only men can be here,” he said and then made a sweeping motion with his arm to get me to leave.

I was furious. Never in my life had I ever heard these words before. I grew-up in a country club as a kid and I was well aware of the subtle discrimination that some people had towards women or minorities or people who were deemed not good enough because of their income level and/or job.

I was also raised with a family that would have no part of that and threatened to sell their membership if the unspoken rules weren’t changed to allow people of all walks of life to join. They changed the rules and I learned how messed up some people can be that think they are better than anyone else.

So, no one was going to kick me out of anywhere and certainly not this little pip squeak that I could easily drop-kick across the parking lot.

“I just want directions to this place I am supposed to meet my friends. That’s all I want, but now I want to stay here. You can’t bar me from this place just because I have a uterus. I think that’s against the law, if I’m not mistaken.”

He turned beet red. I think the word “uterus” did him in. He got flustered and looked around and then closed the door and walked back behind the counter and picked up the phone. I felt a moment of panic as I saw myself in the back of a police car and spending the night in a holding cell because of using the word “uterus” without written permission.

But he wasn’t calling the police. He whispered to someone that there was “a situation” in the lobby. I sort of liked being referred to as “a situation.”

I then heard voices behind the closed-door. I smiled and walked up to the door and opened it. I think he squealed a bit.

Sitting there were about six men, playing cards, drinking and having a good old-time. They looked up when I came in and everyone stopped talking and just stared at me.

“Sorry to interrupt your game, but I am lost and I was hoping someone could give me directions.”

You would have thought that I looked like an alien that just stepped off of a space ship that landed in the parking lot. No one said a word and I just stood there. I cleared my throat and looked back at them.

The idiot behind the counter had hung-up the phone and rushed in behind me. Fortunately, for him, he did not touch me or try to haul me out of the room. He was babbling something about it not being his fault.

They were just a bunch of old, fat, white men that had nothing better to do than have a little club to play poker. I don’t have a problem with that but I do have a problem with someone telling me I can’t be somewhere.

One of them spoke up and asked me what I wanted. I told him and he gave me directions. He knew just what I was talking about. I thanked him and then said I thought it was illegal to have a club like their’s and didn’t appreciate being treated like crap.

No one said anything and that was my cue to leave.

When I finally met-up with my friends a few minutes later, I told them the story. They wanted to get their pitchforks and go storm the place.

I wanted food and wine.

I wanted to change the world, right then and there, but I couldn’t. I did, however, stayed where someone said I couldn’t, got what I wanted, said my peace and then left on my own terms.

I always think about this when I drive on that section of freeway. I think the next time I do, I will stop in and say hello.