Gentlemen, this may sound harsh or unfair, but YOU DO NOT YELL AT A WOMAN! IT IS NOT ACCEPTABLE UNDER CIRCUMSTANCES! And I mean *ANYYYYYYY* circumstances! You don’t yell at a woman, you don’t scream at a woman and you DEFINITELY don’t shout the F-bomb so angrily she can see the spit flying out of your mouth! You just don’t!
DO YOU HEAR WHAT I’M SAYING? ASSHOLE?
Just don’t do it. I know there have probably been a few times in your life when you have found a woman so frustrating, so infuriating and just so flipping maddening that you couldn’t help it! You popped your cork, blew a gasket and let her have it, stopping just short of ringing her neck. Controlling your temper is hard with women sometimes, I understand that. But gentlemen, of all the times you’ve ever, ever lost your temper at a woman, has it ever *once* been over PING PONG?
FREAKING PING PONG?
* * *
I’ve never been good at sports. My whole life, I have been stuck in the outfield and picked dead last for any team, in any sport- I accept this. I am no good at anything that requires too much concentration or coordination or much use of even rudimentary motor skills- I can’t help it, I’m sorry. In grade school, I was yelled at and bullied, hated and blamed for fumbling a ball or striking out and costing my team the win. But then it just stopped mattering.
As I got older, I began to notice very little was expected of me in this department- you need an article written, call Brianne. You want help losing weight, call Brianne. Relationship advice, help getting back at your scum sucking boyfriend or designing a float for a parade- Brianne can help you with all of that. You want someone to help get you motivated at the gym, Brianne’s your girl . . .
But if you want someone to play ping pong with? Please call someone else.
* * *
That was actually the first thing I told a neighbor of mine when he invited me over to play ping pong: “I am not very good at playing ping pong.”
“No, it’s okay, we’ll teach you. We’re having beer and music and it’s just gonna be a good time. It’ll be fun.”
Now I don’t want to name names or anything, but this rat? His first name kind of sounds like JAY and his last name kind of sounds like BIRD.
JAY BIRD. THE BIGGEST JERK IN TOWN.
* * *
I *did* end up going over to his house to play ping pong, but he realized very quickly that hey- I wasn’t lying. I really couldn’t play ping pong. He wasn’t even very nice about it, he cut me down, kicked me out of the game, called someone to replace me and I was banished to the sidelines to drink beer. Which was fine, until some point over the evening, when the following words were said to me:
“You gotta suck dick to play ping pong.”
Really. Someone said that to me. Swear up and down, sideways and backwards.
I did not get angry, did not get upset, I just picked up my stuff and left without a word. Screw hanging around if jerks thought it was okay to speak to me like that. Unacceptable.
Over the next few days, I made sure everyone between his house and mine (and I mean EVERYONE) knew exactly what had gone down when JAY BIRD had invited ME over to play ping pong! On the third day, there was a knock on my door at eight am, so I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes, put on a robe and opened the door- I didn’t even have it opened all the way before JAY BIRD barged right in and started spitting in my face. Again.
“Bri, I’m sorry for anything anyone said to you at my house. Last I saw, you were laughing and having fun, but that guy talked to you and said something. It wasn’t me, that was the first time those people had ever come over. I’d never met them! I would never disrespect you! You are a very good looking woman . . . you just can’t play ping pong. I’m sorry.”
I accepted. But he didn’t shutup.
“Bri, you are a very, very good looking woman, so it’s *okay* you can’t play ping pong! Anyone was a dick to you, they won’t be invited back. No one will disrespect you at my house. You just gotta come over soon, we can throw back a few and I can give you some PRIVATE LESSONS.”
“Private lessons.” It’s ALWAYS “private lessons.”
(Thank you, neighbor.)
I accepted his apology (no matter how inappropriate barging into my home at the butt crack of dawn had been), but I never went back. Until yesterday.
I did some shopping downtown and was walking home, when I noticed JAY BIRD had friends over and they were all outside playing ping pong again. I took this as my cue to walk faster. Then some random pudgy guy decided to flag me down: “Hey! You there! Wanna play ping pong?”
“No!” I called back. “I do NOT want to play ping pong!”
“Are you SURE?”
“I am not *allowed* to play ping pong!”
“Well, come have a beer!”
It was a beautiful day in the neighborhood, a beautiful day for a neighbor. Why the heck not?
“You are BE YOO TA FUL, Bri,” said a tubby man in a hat. “You’re on my team!”
“I’m not allowed to play ping pong,” I repeated matter of factly.
The tubby man handed me a beer, then reached back and slowly peeled off his shirt to reveal pale, sweaty rolls and a hairy chest, winking as though it would tempt me. “Are you sure you don’t want to play ping pong?”
I really did NOT want to play ping pong. I said to JAY BIRD, “I’ll hang out, dude, but if anyone is rude to me, I swear . . . I am going to punch them.”
He laughed. “Oh, don’t worry! NO ONE is going to be rude to you. He’s got *hours* left of drinking before he’s drunk!”
“Okay. I’ll have a few beers.”
So I had a few beers and a few more and a few more. People kept asking me to play ping pong, but I knew better.
Bri. Is. Not. Allowed.
I just hung out. There was an interesting woman who showed up and I talked to her a lot because she was not playing either- pretty soon, I was in tears because her seventeen year old son committed suicide . . . in 1995.
“Why couldn’t he just wait?” I sobbed, tears pouring out of my eyes and onto my dress. “Dammit. In the morning, maybe he wouldn’t have done it?”
I was really upset. Don’t make fun of me, I’m sensitive! And in fact, I’m so sensitive, that five minutes later, there were wet spots all over my dress and my eyes burned with salt- I had to go home and change into something dry, take my contacts out so my eyes would stop stinging . . .
I just keep forgetting I don’t look great in glasses.
Then no one seemed to think I was BE YOO TA FUL anymore.
* * *
By the time I returned, the group of ping pongers had dwindled down, only two people were playing now. Jay Bird and Tubby were ping ponging back and forth on the porch, two girls sat in a truck smoking and the interesting woman who made me cry had gone home to turn off a pool. I sat on the porch playing w my phone and drinking a beer . . . obviously because there was nothing else to do.
Tubby looked at me as though I were a piece of discarded rubbish and said, “Why is she here if all she is going to do is play on her phone?”
Jay Bird laughed. “All she ever does is play on her phone. It’s so rude she come to my house and done nothing but play on her phone, but it’s not like she can play ping pong.”
Jesus. Ping pong.
“I think I’m going home now,” I sighed. Some Saturday night!
Tubby pointed out that I couldn’t go home because the pool lady I had been talking to was coming back to see me. I did not want to disrespect JAY BIRD by playing on my phone on his porch though, so I went inside and drank beer while I played on an exercise bike that looked like it hadn’t been used in decades. I have no idea how long I was inside, but eventually the girls came and got me because Tubby and another girl had gone off; they needed a fourth.
“No,” I said. “No, no, no. JAY BIRD is SO MEAN when I try to play ping pong.”
“Well, there’s no one else, you’re it. You gotta’ play ping pong with us.”
I hesitantly joined them and picked up a paddle, while JAY BIRD narrowed his eyes. “Hey, Miss America here can’t play no ping pong. Not on my porch!”
It was down to all women besides JAY BIRD; me, and two other girls. One of the girls explained there was no one else and she handed me a ball. “Here,” she whispered. “Serve. Show him how good you can be!”
I took a deep breath. The pressure was really on and everyone was looking at me- I figured what was the worst that could happen? I played badly, I’d just get kicked out of the game and sent back to the exercise bike with a slap on the wrist? Right? Right?
Oh, how I wish!
I bounced the ball off the table, took a swing to serve and missed it completely. Before the ball even hit the table again, Jay Bird was roaring:
“Nooooooooooo! Noooooooo! Nooooooo! Four eyed bitch! You can’t go to someone’s house and disrespect them by not knowing PING PONG! Just because you’re good looking, it don’t mean you can play no PING PONG! NoooooO!”
“But-” I started.
“Noooooo! Get your fat ass off my porch, four eyes! Now! Go the fuck home, stupid woman! Gooooooo! You can be good looking, IT DON’T MEAN YOU CAN PLAY NO PING PONG!”
OH, MY! WHAT A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD!
This was totally stupid. I had never made any connection between my looks and my ping pong abilities before, but being screamed at about it by a little old man was ridiculous. IT WAS THOUGH I HAD COMMITTED THE UNFORGIVABLE SIN, DESECRATING HIS WONDERFUL PING PONG TABLE WITH MY ABOMINABLE LACK OF SKILL!
I did not react, no one did. We all just kind of stared at this wrinkly old man with stringy hair, all red in the face and screaming bloody murder. He was so completely serious too! He started waving the paddle at me menacingly.
“Fucking bitch, get off my porch! PUT DOWN THE PADDLE, WOMAN! Take your ass home and don’t come back!” He stopped and thought, then warbled on and on in his dissonant little old man voice. “No, sorry, ma’am, I don’t mean no disrespect- go to the fridge, get your stupid ass a cold beer, take it with you and GET THE FUCK OFF MY PORCH! TAKE YOUR ASS HOME!”
I muffled a giggle and gazed at him with nothing but pity. He was so old and skinny, so pathetic; so completely impotent as he was screaming violent threats at a woman! Not just ANY woman either, a little blonde chick in a pink “My Little Pony” shirt and pigtails? Who had spent the night crying because someone’s son put a bullet in his mouth? In 1995?
What kind of sick man would do that? What kind of “man” gets his jollies by making girls cry?
Except I wasn’t going to cry.
Now normally I would have socked the bastard in the mouth, but he was so weak and feeble and sad, so delicate! I just couldn’t do it. I started laughing hysterically, I couldn’t help it.
He waved the paddle at me even harder and the sight was just too much. I couldn’t stay or I would die laughing. He told me to take a beer and there were about seven left, so I went to the fridge and took them all. Then I walked out to the road, calling behind me, “Bye bye, pussycat!”
* * *
Now I realize this story may seem a little anti climactic and that there is no big slam bang finish to it, but that isn’t the point! Boys, the next time you’re close to freaking out and losing your temper at a woman, think back to JAY BIRD and remember how utterly silly and laughable this pitiful excuse for a man looked as he flipped out and lost his ping pong balls . . . at a woman in pink? With pigtails?
Don’t do it, boys. GROW SOME PING PONG BALLS.
Thank you for reading.
That’s all I have to say about that.