Dan Empfield’s equivocating notwithstanding (oh, here are some stats but he doesn’t really know the answer but he thinks adding slots is less important than access at low levels, completely ignoring the fact that we need BOTH), the end of the article is basically him saying that the people (women) asking for equality on the pier need to be nicer and more humble.
The old canard of “Why do you have to speak so loudly?” “Can’t you be nicer about this?” “If you were less strident then this would be easier for you.” “You need to see it from their position.”
No Dan. Being nice doesn’t get us anything. Sitting down, crossing our legs, and being ladylike is exactly what we do not need right now. We are not here to make it easy for WTC to ignore us. We are not working to fulfill your expectations of what the discourse should look like. Getting things done isn’t pretty and sometimes it isn’t nice. It’s about effectiveness.
I have personally been told that I just need to speak up and I’ll get “Goal X.” Then I speak up and I’m told that I’m being too loud, I’m not asking for the right thing, I’m not asking the right way. This is how people and organizations in positions of power attempt to exert control over people who do not have that power. This is a tactic that has been used to try and shut women (and a lot of other people) up for millenia. It’s old hat and it’s not going to work.
I don’t give a shit if Dan Empfield or Andrew Messick or anyone on this planet thinks I’m too loud or that I’m not engaging in the discourse in the right way. The right way is the way that gets it done. It may seem out of scale but I’m thinking of the March on Selma, fifty years ago this year, and of the Civil Rights Movement of the 60’s. They didn’t sit down and shut up when power told them to be nicer, to just be patient and it’ll happen.
I’m not patient, I’m not quiet and I’m not yours to order around. I’m here to get shit done.
Tuesday was my birthday!! It was quite wonderful. I had a low key brunch with my family on Sunday. Cupcakes were made and consumed with and by the almost three year old. Fortunately, her frosting induced hyperactivity was charming.
Wednesday morning I headed off to Masters swim at the pool. When I first joined Masters I had not swum laps for three years. I was very nervous and the encouragement of the lane dwellers was welcome. “Do what you can!” “It’s ok if you do fewer sets, you’re doing great!” I have had some minor beef with my lane mates in the past. Things like getting lectured about pool etiquette by the person who is always kicking me with her fins.
Well Wednesday it kind of blew up. I did a swim workout by myself about ten days ago. In one hour of Masters I can get in 1400-1600 yards. In 55 minutes by myself I got in 1900 yards. That seemed weird. Now we do more than just front crawl in Masters, and not everything is as fast, but that seemed like a big discrepancy. I realized that I was losing yards because I was waiting for the whole lane to “get” the workout. They wouldn’t pay attention to the coach for some reason, then would have a chat to determine amongst themselves what the workout was, then realize that they needed to ask the coach, then start swimming.
I used to wait for the whole lane to have it down. I stopped waiting a couple of weeks ago. After trying to tell the group the set, because I had been paying attention, and having them ignore me, I started leaving when I knew what to do. They were still faster swimmers, but not fast enough to make up thirty seconds to a minute on me.
So I was swimming in front, cool, right? I thought so. Wednesday we get assigned a set of kicking. I hate kicking, so I grabbed some fins to make it bearable. One of the lane dwellers always wears fins of some sort so I figured this was cool, in terms of etiquette, she being the Emily Post of the Pool. Well, Emily Post and her buddy were going down, side by side with kickboards, almost completely blocking the lane, chatting during the kick set. I thought “Seriously? You gave me a lecture on what not to do and you pull this blatant shit?” I passed them going down, then had to thread through the gap on the way back while they nattered away.
We move on the main set which is this weird down, stop, jump, down, dolphin dive, thingamajig that took a lot of instruction from the coach. We finish the instruction rep and then start the main set. We finish a rep and suddenly there’s the question “How many was that?” I said it was three, the instruction set plus two. The Queen of the Lane (Emily Post’s friend) says it was two.
Well I can fucking count to three. QoL and I say “3” “no 2” to each other and then Emily Post reaches the wall. She comes up and is asked how many reps that is and says “3.” BUT then QoL says it’s two and she changes her story. Because she is there to be buddies and I am new and can’t be right (interpretive license ahoy I know, but fuck them). I was done. “Well, it’s just fucking math” I say and then leave on the next rep (that, by the way, QoL is doing wrong because once again she didn’t listen to the coach).
I finish my workout and go to the locker room. I’m pissed. QoL is in there and proceeds to tell me that I shouldn’t get upset. There’s no reason to get upset. It’s just swimming. I say “It doesn’ t matter” because I don’t want to get into it. She didn’t ask “Why did you get upset.” She had no concern for me. She communicated to me that my feelings were wrong and that I was wrong to be upset over swimming. She gaslighted me and tried to emotionally negate me. No compassion, no camaraderie, just someone who felt they needed to dictate what I did and control how I reacted in the future.
Now, I know that what other people do shouldn’t matter to me, how many reps they think we have done should not be important, but I’m exhausted by these people. Every week they miscount something, they have gone out of their way to communicate that they know what to do and I need to learn what to do. People who don’t take the rest intervals, people who think 4 * 2 is the same as 8. People who are here “just for fun” and “it doesn’t matter.” Well that’s them and that’s fine _for them_. I am in deadly earnest in the pool. Yes, I think it’s super fun! It’s also really, really important to me. What I do is not a commentary on them or their correctness or their righteousness. I’m here to get coached, to get better, to get FASTER. Frankly, I’m here to win. I don’t know what I’m gonna win, but I’m fucking going for it.
I’m leaving my Masters group. Yes, it’s a very good deal financially. It’s a crap deal emotionally and I won’t go back until I can move up a lane and not have to deal with these people. To quote my brother “You do not have to prove anything to anyone.” I don’t have to keep going to an environment that is somewhere I don’t want to be.