“What is it?” Aaron asked. “What’s going on?”
She looked up from her computer to see him looking at her, worry all over his face. “Did you know that they added Dog Day to Women’s Equality Day?”
“Oh, not this again,” Aaron said.
“What do you mean, ‘not this again’?” Kaitlyn said, using her fingers to make air quotes. “Not the continued societal sexism? Not the inequality still rampant in our society? Not asking for similar treatment for your friend and coworker?”
“Yeah, not that again. You notice there isn’t a ‘Men’s Day’?”
“Because every god damn day is Men’s Day!”
Aaron sighed. “Do I have to explain this to you? The whole disparity in incomes is because of babies. Women have babies. So they make choices based on that. And they’re more likely to be chosen for easier jobs. Men have to do the hard work, so they’re paid more for that.”
Kaitlyn was dumbstruck for a moment. She stared at Aaron, someone who, until this moment, had seemed quite reasonable. He was looking at her, condescension painted across his face and flashing like neon lighting. She gathered up every line of rage from its disparate directions and condensed it into a single quiet voice.
“So the fortunes of evolution mean we should be socially penalized to propagate the species? And women are given easier jobs because, what, they’re too weak?”
“Basically, yes.” Aaron looked back to his screen to continue working.
“First off, fuck you and your condescending mansplaining. And you know I hate that word, so I don’t use it lightly. Second, give me one cogent ethical argument. Finally, back that up by anything. And Fox News doesn’t count as a source.”
“Back off, Kaitlyn, no need to freak out.”
“Right, I’m freaking out because I’m a hysterical woman?”
“You said it, not me.”
Kaitlyn stood and stared at Aaron for another moment while he continued clicking and typing away. “Aaron,” she said, making him look up. “I’m going to walk away now. I’m doing this to give me time to calm down, and to give you time to think very carefully about everything you just said. Examine it, please, in your superior manly way. While you do, imagine that it had been said in reverse. That I had said similar to you, about men. Just consider it.” With that, she walked away.
Aaron shrugged, took a sip of his coffee, and looked back to his computer.