Recently, I got into a car accident. Don’t worry, I’m fine. My car, however, was not. My poor baby crumpled when I rear ended another car, and I found myself in an interesting position. I had to deal with a body shop for the first time. As hard as it was to watch them tow my baby away, front end pushed in about a foot farther than it should have been, it’s been even harder to deal with the guy who owns the body shop it was towed to.
This guy is absolutely the most backwoods, patronizing, frustrating man I have ever met. I’m not big on pet names, I’ll be honest. So when I walked into the shop to sign some paperwork, I was surprised to hear a voice call out, “Come on in, baby girl!” Excuse me for using a basic girl mantra, but you literally do not know me, and while I understand that this is the south, I’m pretty sure you’re still supposed to be professional and not patronize the people who are paying you to do things. And the nicknames didn’t stop there — darlin’, sweetheart, princess. While I appreciate you acknowledging my regal disposition and my future political position in Europe somewhere, even my own father has never called me “princess.”
But even more frustrating than his pet names for me were the comments that he made. I, like probably a large majority of you, have letters on the back of my car. I proudly display them as a sign of membership to what I believe to be the greatest organization in the world. I’ve never thought that they apply a certain stigma to me, because I’ve always been so proud to have them there (and on straight. Does anyone realize how hard it is to actually get those things perfectly straight and centered?). But this man looked me in the eyes, after explaining that it would need a new radiator, and told me that I “shouldn’t worry about it, Daddy will handle it.” I let that one slide, mostly because my dad actually was handling it. But he continued on, “you probably don’t even know what I’m talking about, most of y’all don’t.” And I thought to myself, “there is no way this man actually said that about women.” I honestly thought that he was being just being sexist, or that I had mistaken what he meant by it. So I looked at him, innocently smiling, and said, “Most of who?” “Y’all sorority girls. Y’all don’t know much about cars and real stuff like that.” And I thought to myself, less innocently, “Who in the actual hell does this guy think he is?” I couldn’t believe that he had the audacity to talk to a paying customer in such a way.
And then, as I sat the next day waiting for him to send a mechanic to fix the car that was overheating for the third time that day, because he had clearly not done something right, I started to think about all of the people who tend to think I’m stupid because of my letters. And I realized how I needed to handle the situation: I should say absolutely nothing. There’s no need to fight back against people like that. There will always be people who think poorly of you because you’re in a sorority. There will be people who think you’re stupid, who think you’re a slut, who think that you have to pay for your friends and who think that you’re a vapid little girl who runs around spending Daddy’s money and whining when things don’t go your way.
Here’s the real issue: why the fuck do we even care? I don’t know this guy. As soon as he fixes my car, he’s out of my life. I will never have to deal with him again. Why do we argue with people on the internet, in class, or drunkenly in bars about what being in a sorority means? You know what your sorority means. You know that you’re not vapid, that you’re (probably, no judgment zone) not a slut, and that you’re better than their opinion of you. And when you argue, you look like that spoiled little girl they think you are.
Get over it. After all, I may be a “dumb sorority girl” but at least I know what my car should or shouldn’t be leaking, and that’s a hell of a lot more than that mechanic can say. .