1078 words long
Regrettable dudes. You can only go so long as a woman in this world without encountering one. What's so sad is how preventable they are...
Notes from the author:
So, first, Watchout4Snakes tossed me the random phrase “preventable dudes” (which was, by the way, hilarious, and justifies the existence of Watchout4Snakes for all time). Next thing I know, I’m encountering a million internet articles about dudedom and sexism. Articles about mainsplaining, articles about how the defining traits of a male anti-hero make a female protagonist “unlikeable,” articles about pick-up artists, so-called men’s rights activists, red-pillers, and “men going their own way.”
Of course, this may just be selection bias. It’s not like I don’t encounter articles like that when Watchout4Snakes isn’t uncannily on point. I just notice them more.
“Some guys,” Nancy said.
“Regrettable dudes,” I agreed.
“What’s so sad is how preventable they are,” she sighed, shaking her head wearily at the foibles of dudedom.
We were nearing the drinks table, so I grabbed us both a plastic goblet of red. “It’s been tried. Unfortunately, HR thinks they’ve done quite enough by ensuring a five-to-four ratio of women to men in engineering; they’re not particularly fussed about how one of the men acts around the women.”
“No,” said Nancy, “I mean, with proper assistance, he might have left off at fourteen.” I laughed dutifully—I’ve read my Lewis Carroll, what self-respecting engineer hasn’t?—but Nancy didn’t crack a smile. Her expression was genuinely wistful as she sipped her wine.
I played along. “Right? If only someone had been there to knock him off before he got old enough to knock anyone up.” I laughed again to show it was a joke, please God don’t let anyone take me seriously, I am not advocating murder no matter how satisfying it might be, it’s just a joke.
“Well, not so much knock him off,” Nancy said, “as head him off. This sort of behavior is learned—”
She was interrupted by an enraged cry from the kitchen, followed by a ringing slap, which was in turn followed by a bellow of pain that turned into triumphant laughter. Tony was being regrettable at someone else.
“Come on,” I said, “to the rescue.”
“Wait.” Nancy grabbed my hand. I turned. “We’ll do it my way....”
This has been an excerpt from the Friday Fictionette for May 5, 2017. Subscribers can download the full-length fictionette (1078 words) from Patreon as an ebook or audiobook depending on their pledge tier.
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