When talking about feminism, it is impossible not to come to a conflict between sex and gender.
I told you that I have read a lot of feminist theory lately, and some of the major things I have learned is that before we talk about feminism, we need to take it all from the beginning (see The Lost bet part 1). The beginning of feminism is a word called “sex”, and some of you might think that “now we are really talking, man” – but I have to disappoint you. Sex, in this meaning, is closely related to the more academic word “Gender”.
A few years ago I was, together with Anderson on a new forklift conference in Brussels. After a long day of meetings and lectures, we came to our hotel around six o'clock in the evening. This was a shabby, small shit-hotel in a shady area, but cheap and thus we had more money for beer. Anderson booked this hotel too, but unlike Hotel Partenkirchen (see The Lost bet part 3), this was not in the red light district. When we arrived at the hotel, Anderson said that he was both hungry for food and heavy loads of beer, and he told me to meet him at the reception at seven.
Finally at my room I realized it was time for meditation, and I have never been the typical mindfulness-guy going for some Buddhism-bullshit, so I did it the European way; a hot tub, some Godiva chocolate and a bottle of Black Label. Time goes by fast in good company, and since those two are among my favorites, I forgot time, but not place. Suddenly my watch showed me it was ten to seven, and I wasn’t half-way down my bottle.
"Wasn’t it sevenish Anderson said?" I asked myself, sedated by Johnny’s smoky aromas and taste and the pure and intense flavors of the Godivas. With my eyes closed, I forgot that Anderson was a square head and assumed that I was right.
When I came down in the reception area at twenty past, Anderson was angry and had no understanding of my interpretation of sevenish as a way of “do as the Romans”. All my argumentation was stopped by the academic phrase “shut the fuck up”, and I did as I was told.
"When we go out of the hotel, we’re going directly to the first bar we see and have a beer," he said as if he expected that I would contradict him (something I would never do when it comes to drinking).
We left the hotel and had walked more than twenty steps before I heard a voice behind; "Hey, hey hey — where are you going?”. I turned around and saw Anderson standing in the middle of the alley, using the index finger on his right hand to indicate a house on his left hand side. I say the bar sign at the building and understood where we were going. He entered first, ordered two beers and after an initial toast and two large sips more, I thought Anderson was ready to forgive me arriving late.
While we stood there and chatted, my eyes digested the impressions of our bar, and I was surprised there were no TVs on the walls. Usually in a full of men, there is always a TV showing sports. I didn’t think more about it, as it was important to focus on drinking too, until some minutes later. Another sweep with my eyes told me that all the other men in the bar were slim, cute and dressed in white jeans — and I realized sports wasn’t their main focus.
"What the fuck have you done?” I told Anderson in a low voice, as if I was telling him a secret. “Did you invite me to gay bar?". The square head had his eyes wide open, as if someone had told him The earth was flat, and then started to look around. When his eyes finally met mine, I could see he was pale as a dead man and there were fear in his eyes.
"We are leaving," he said with the same low voice as I have had.
"Relax," I replied and took another sip. "Let’s drink up before we go, dammit."
"We're going now” he said to me, louder this time.
“What are you afraid of? We've been here 15 minutes and none of the others have even tried to contact us ", I said and did not understand why he was so upset. He was clearly upset, and couldn’t stand still, and he acted like acted as if It seemed as if he had troubled legs and all the man acted like an eskimo desperately in need for a pee. "Also, they might think we are a couple and maybe that’s why they let us alone" I added and winked with one eye to him. It was probably this drop that spilled the cup, ‘cause one second later Anderson on out the door and on his way down the street in the opposite direction of where we came from. I followed reluctantly after, but only after having emptied the rest of the beer in a large gulp.
"Fucking hell", Andersen shouted and I wondered if he was loaded with homophobia. "It is the first time in my life I leave a beer I have not finished", he continued, and I understood why he was so unstable. "Don’t mention this to a living soul," he sneered into my face with a clenched fist, and I promised. That promise held only to the first lunch break after we got home, and after that Anderson did not eat lunch with us for seven weeks, and he did not talk to me for more than three months.
After a few hundred meters of walking I saw a sign that said "O' Reilys" on and we went in. A toothless bastard behind the counter, with a terrible accent, asked what he could do for us, and the first thing that struck me was "at least not recommend dentists", but I kept that to myself.
"My friend has had a bad experience and he needs a real beer.Can you give him that?”, I asked instead. The bartender looked at me and smiled.
"Blue Chimay?", he asked and held up a bottle with a blue label. I didn't know what the hell it was so I just nodded.
"Make it two”, I said and he opened the first bottle and started to pour. I gave that glass to Anderson, who stood behind me and saw the toothless had started to pour the next one. Suddenly he stopped and looked at me. He must have seen my surprising look, course he nodded with his head towards Anderson. I turned around and saw him on his way to kick down the beer in one gulp, and I turned to the bartender again.
"Seems like we need three of those," I told him, and he nodded. When he was finished to bestow the first of the last two, I gave it to Anderson, and told him to go and find a table. The bartender started to bestow the last beer.
"What have happened to him," he asked. I told the story, and the bartender laughed so heartily that I could see that he had a uvula the size of a tomato. "You’re going to have problem with him tonight", he told me when he had stopped laughing.
"Why," I asked, and when the bartender held up the bottle, I could see that it was 9% alcohol. I realized what he meant.
When I came over to the table where Anderson was sitting, he was half way down in his Chimay #2, and fast mathematics told me he had gulped down about a pint of nine-percent-trappist beer in five minutes. His gaze was stiff and he said nothing, not even when I hit his glass with mine to make a toast. Shortly afterwards I had to send him to the hotel in a taxi. Unfortunately I could not join him, cause at the nearest table was a bouquet of two beautiful Danish girls, who worked for the European Union. I had some eye contact with them when Anderson was present, and they turned out to be extremely kind when he left. When they later showed me the apartment they I felt sorry for Anderson; He experienced an overdose of unwanted sex pressure (or whatever) at the first bar we went, but the two Danish delights executed a dear and welcoming sex pressure towards me.
Now we shall be cautious about extracting too much learning out of this story, but one thing I learnt that night in Brussels, is that there is two sexes. And there the story might have ended right there, if it wasn’t for all that feminist theory and their versions of sexes. Now I know the landscape is more diversified than just "man" and "woman", and that feminist theory distinguishes between biological sex and social gender. Now this is getting more complicated, so as the Good Samaritan I am, I will postpone the discussions around this with biological and social gender until Part 5. Until then; enjoy both strong beer, gay bars and if you are extremely lucky; Danish women.