Till your mud settles and the water is clear?
Can you remain unmoving
Till the right action arises by itself? — Lao Tzu (via mindfulmantras)
Ok so I like Tai Chi and stuff.. Have any of you tried it before? I’ve asked this question but I just wanted to know if while you’re practicing do your hands become hot?
My palms become hot and tingly almost immediately if I’m doing it right. That’s a good sign.
Sexism every day! Woo!
So, I’ve started playing pool with my boyfriend at a local bar, with some regulars. They are a diverse group of men, early 20s to late 40s, all different backgrounds, super helpful and patient with me. They advise me on shots and if I’m having a really hard time, let my boyfriend give me very detailed instructions, but they hold me to the bar rules otherwise. I have a lot of fun with them.
One of the older men, who, so far, has been really kind and seems like a really good guy, kept putting up quarters for me last night because he wanted to play The Girl. I was taking this as a term of endearment (because I am the only girl who shows up on the regular) and humored him (I didn’t care about playing, I was having a fine time watching them talk shit to each other), because he just seemed like he was trying to include me out of social obligation to make sure no one was left out or bored. I appreciated that so I accepted his quarters.
We were standing around, waiting for my opponent to break and he says, “I really wish my girl would come play pool with us. She won’t come because it’s always only men. She’s not comfortable with just the guys but she’d come if you were here. Would you play with her?”
I told him of course, just give me a call and if I’m in the neighborhood I’ll come by and play.
He says, “Yeah, that’s so sweet of you. She really wants to learn but she’s intimidated. Especially since this group is so good at pool. Way better than her. But you, you’re gonna start beating us all soon. You are so good for a girl.”
I snicker, “OH for a GIRL, huh?” Figuring he’s messing with me (as they all tend to do - but never seriously).
But no. “I believe that men are just naturally better pool players,” he says. “That’s what I believe. Some girls are real good, but men…it just comes naturally.”
I walked away because I didn’t want to make an enemy but it just sucks learning that someone thinks that poorly of you. Oh I do well, for the most obviously inferior person in the group (I’m the newest…but being a girl trumps that). Fortunately, I’ve had so much experience with this attitude in martial arts, it just makes me work harder. It just makes me mad/sad at the same time that this obviously wonderful person has had such flawed thinking bred into him and no matter what I do, it will just be confirming his bias. I’ll either become a great pool player and he’ll hold me up as an anomaly of my gender or I’ll never improve and he will just accept it as a given because, as a female, I never had a chance anyway. Yuck.
Maybe that attitude right there is why your girlfriend doesn’t want to play pool with a bunch of dudes. Maybe being treated like a cute child who is attempting to do something so beyond their ability instead of an adult learning a new skill is fucking discouraging. Maybe being condescended to constantly pisses her the fuck off.
Maybe you think men are better because there ARE NO WOMEN WHO PLAY HERE BECAUSE THE MEN ARE SHITTY.
Maybe less women play pool because men just assume they are bad or don’t want to and so they just don’t get invited.
My boyfriend holds me to the rules and doesn’t give me the quick answer unless I demand it (sometimes I just want him to tell me what to shoot so we can keep the flow going if there are a lot of people in line, otherwise I’ll just stare at the table and think too much). His friend last night said, “Aren’t you going to help her, she doesn’t have a good shot.” and he answered, “Nah, she’ll figure it out” and walked outside to smoke and let me flail about in panic that I was going to choose wrong. I missed but I was really close and knew I had the right idea. Everyone in our group gets high fives for choosing the right shot and getting it close. You get made fun of for choosing the wrong shot because usually everyone is yelling, “NO not that one! What are you dooooing??” so it’s pretty obvious when you’re about to make a bad decision.
In my experience with pool and martial arts, being mostly around males has been good and bad. You learn a lot quickly when people underestimate you, or try to discourage you. Fortunately, I have found little families of amazing dudes but sometimes, someone will make me mad.
Stereotypes suck and I find myself believing them too sometimes. People forget that being a beginner is hard. When a man is shitty at pool, he’s just a bad pool player. If he’s learning, and they know that, they might give him the benefit of the doubt that he’ll get better.
If a woman is bad at pool, it’s because she’s a woman. Apparently, people with vaginas don’t know how to make straight lines. If you are a beginner and do a good job it’s not, “Oh look you’re getting better!” It’s “wow, you’re really good for a girl!” Because they don’t expect you to get better. They pat you on the back and compliment you for being brave but then want you to get out of the way so they can play people who will challenge them.
If you give anyone a chance, explain the rules to them, and HELP them learn…at some point, they will probably challenge you. Vagina or no.
After learning my flight was detained 4 hours,
I heard the announcement:
If anyone in the vicinity of gate 4-A understands any Arabic,
Please come to the gate immediately.
Well—one pauses these days. Gate 4-A was my own gate. I went there.
An older woman in full traditional Palestinian dress,
Just like my grandma wore, was crumpled to the floor, wailing loudly.
Help, said the flight service person. Talk to her. What is her
Problem? we told her the flight was going to be four hours late and she
I put my arm around her and spoke to her haltingly.
Shu dow-a, shu- biduck habibti, stani stani schway, min fadlick,
Sho bit se-wee?
The minute she heard any words she knew—however poorly used—
She stopped crying.
She thought our flight had been canceled entirely.
She needed to be in El Paso for some major medical treatment the
Following day. I said no, no, we’re fine, you’ll get there, just late,
Who is picking you up? Let’s call him and tell him.
We called her son and I spoke with him in English.
I told him I would stay with his mother till we got on the plane and
Would ride next to her—Southwest.
She talked to him. Then we called her other sons just for the fun of it.
Then we called my dad and he and she spoke for a while in Arabic and
Found out of course they had ten shared friends.
Then I thought just for the heck of it why not call some Palestinian
Poets I know and let them chat with her. This all took up about 2 hours.
She was laughing a lot by then. Telling about her life. Answering
She had pulled a sack of homemade mamool cookies—little powdered
Sugar crumbly mounds stuffed with dates and nuts—out of her bag—
And was offering them to all the women at the gate.
To my amazement, not a single woman declined one. It was like a
Sacrament. The traveler from Argentina, the traveler from California,
The lovely woman from Laredo—we were all covered with the same
Powdered sugar. And smiling. There are no better cookies.
And then the airline broke out the free beverages from huge coolers—
Non-alcoholic—and the two little girls for our flight, one African
American, one Mexican American—ran around serving us all apple juice
And lemonade and they were covered with powdered sugar too.
And I noticed my new best friend—by now we were holding hands—
Had a potted plant poking out of her bag, some medicinal thing,
With green furry leaves. Such an old country traveling tradition. Always
Carry a plant. Always stay rooted to somewhere.
And I looked around that gate of late and weary ones and thought,
This is the world I want to live in. The shared world.
Not a single person in this gate—once the crying of confusion stopped
—has seemed apprehensive about any other person.
They took the cookies. I wanted to hug all those other women too.
This can still happen anywhere.
Not everything is lost.— Naomi Shihab Nye (b. 1952), “Wandering Around an Albuquerque Airport Terminal.” I think this poem may be making the rounds, this week, but that’s as it should be. (via awelltraveledwoman)