my mother, a mediator, always introduces herself to her clients
second —after her male partner, who always says, “hello, I am
a lawyer” first, after which
the people being counseled think, “oh, he must be in
and my mother, who has endured countless men
commandeering her space
gracefully backs away.
my mother, a kind woman, tells her partner he is good at mediating
to which he replies, “you are so good too — I am so bad at being
organized,” and my mother’s heart says
“I am not your secretary,” but she takes the notes, makes the
calls, and organizes anyway even though
she was the lead on this client’s case and perhaps she
could have introduced herself first, and he
could back off.
my mother, a feminist, tells her boss the men must make more space for us
and her boss counters by telling her, “tell him you aren’t available and
he can do the calling and texting,”
and my mother considers this and agrees that yes, perhaps
she should make an excuse because
it would be audacious to imagine a man that could
take direct criticism for taking
up too much space.
my mother, responsible now for demanding space when her partner is unaware
he must make some for her, concedes and continues to hope her boss
will mention space at the next meeting, but of course
not directly, because you can tell a crowd to make space for
each other, but you cannot tell a man
he is taking up too much, and again the cause is
ignored in favor of
abating the symptoms.