Opening Doors at Mills College

23 08 2011

1. I want to dive into some man’s thoughtful blog about his experiences as a man, navigating the world of a women’s college, but I haven’t found one yet.

2. It happened again today: I got to a door first, reached to open it out, the woman arriving on the other side took it the rest of the way, & I stalled between the choice of switching feet & holding it for her while she passed through the narrow space left for me, or moving to one side & letting her pass through entirely, or passing through myself & saying thank you.

3. I chose the latter, & felt awkward, which is inevitable & strange.

4. As Sr!n! wrote on a bumper sticker sometime, “America is a slow motion race riot.”

5. An odd moment in the grad lounge, 3 men sitting around the table & me at a computer.  Did the atmosphere change in that moment or did I just feel different?

6. Was the fellow who was cussing about not being able to live on campus because of his dog actually the first instance of “bad attitude swearing” that I’ve encountered on campus, or did I just give a free pass to the others because they weren’t coming from a man?

7. Is there a men’s group in the Mills Community?

8. If there ain’t, do I want to start one?

9. No, in answer, I don’t, but I do want to ask for one to be facilitated so I can attend it.

10. During the orientation yesterday, the gender noted comment about Toastmasters–“As women, sometimes we have to make extra effort to acquire public communication skills that don’t easily” (I’m very freely quoting from memory).

My internal answer–“As a man, I think I know the kind of skills you mean; projection, confidence, etc, with public address.  There’s also reception/connection skills involved in public address that I think, as a man, I have to make extra effort to acquire/improve/maintain.

11. When is too early & when is too late to mention that I’m partnered?  Straight?

12. When is too early & when is too late to bring up that I know I’m male/can talk about gender privilege?

13. When… etc… I’m white/can talk about race privilege?

14. See above re: money, working status, many other identity/privilege issues.

15.  I quite like almost everyone I’ve met, both themselves & their manner.

16. I probably raised some hairs with “Oaklander, Anarchist, conservative” as my three word intro yesterday, but I’ll enjoy living with the consequences I think.

17. Met a woman from Texas with an awesome name in line for my ID.  Hope her new neighborhood treats her well.

18. Got redirected by V. from the student services dep’t to the grad student reception, invited there by L. to send in the “Welcome to Oakland” links I’ve been mulling, all fortuitous but not arbitrary.

19. When passing strangers, the balance of when & how to greet without either forcing a socialized deferential response, or coming off as ignoring them, is a constant struggle in my head.

20. I’m not freaking out about that; I’m not socially paranoid that way or having a paralyzing guilt trip.  I just feel nervous, unsure, & uncertain, & also amused at myself for being that way.

21. Hopefully I’m making my rep as “pretty alright for a __________.”

22. I need a good anti-genderboxing mixtape; Dar Williams’ “When I was a girl,” Bare Naked Ladies “My love is a hairshirt,” & so on.

23. I’m pretty alright for who I am.




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