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Being nice

By Tony Carnevale
Arizona Daily Wildcat
April 29, 1999
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Arizona Daily Wildcat

Tony Carnevale

A month ago, I opened a door for a female friend. That was a mistake. "I can open doors for myself," she sneered. If I had tripped her and then stepped on her face, she probably would have been happier with my actions. How foolish of me to think that I was being courteous. Acts of courtesy conferred upon the female gender by the male are not acts of courtesy, but sexist affronts to all of womanhood. It's been that way since at least the mid-1970s, and here I was opening doors for girls. (No, not girls - women. At 22, I refer to myself as a "boy," but the instant a girl hits her 18th birthday, she is no more a girl than an eggplant. My apologies.) The fact is that neither I nor any other male living today is a knight in King Arthur's court, and thus should treat women exactly as they deserve - as equals to men.

Last week, when I was sitting in the Student Union, a different friend, also female, came up and started talking to me. There were no free chairs. Should I offer her my seat? Of course not. I treated her as an equal, which in this case translated to "letting her squat uncomfortably on the floor beside me." She's so lucky that I'm enlightened!

Then there was the time that I was downtown with my girlfriend, and she was set upon by a murderous rapist. At least, that's what I think he was. I'm not really sure, since I didn't stick around. You see, he was only half my size, and I've got a black belt in karate. My girlfriend - who is, you'll remember, my equal - could have easily kicked his ass, so there was no reason for me to be there. I certainly wouldn't want her to think I'm not sensitive.

I used to think that it didn't matter why people are nice to you, just as long as they are nice to you. Now I know that if someone's nice to you for the wrong reason, they're not being nice to you at all. Sometimes, I sneeze, and people say, "God bless you." What they don't realize is that I'm not religious. I don't even believe in God. The unenlightened Tony would have said, "Thank you," but the enlightened Tony says, "Fie upon you and your foolhardy, ignorant ways!" I'm sure they appreciate the fact that I want to be treated as an equal.

Since I've become enlightened, I've learned that many words contain some undue reference to maleness, like "woman" and "history." These have been corrected (and rightfully so) to "womyn" and "herstory," but I must confess to shock at the overwhelming number of offensive words which remain. "This," for example, should be corrected to "thers," "mantra" to "womyntra," and "penis" to "vagina." Only then will womyn truly be the equals of men.

I have a dentist's appointment next week. If I have any cavities, I'm going to rip that drill right out of my dentist's grasp and give myself a filling, because I don't need anyone asserting power over me by pretending like they know more about dentistry than I do. Nobody does, because everyone's my equal. Especially dentists.