Too Smart for Me
The other day, a man on the subway noticed that I was reading (This is How You Lose Her by Junot Díaz). Of course, a man is always going to be a man, so random men leering at me or approaching me on the subway/bus/street is nothing new to me (no, I am not bragging. It can actually be frustrating at times – street harassment is degrading, in my opinion). This guy seemed different at first. He seemed genuinely interested in the fact that I was absorbed in that book (side note: he approached me after I closed it to take a break. If he had interrupted me, I would have given him the side eye. And cursed him out in my head. You know how many people I do that to on a regular basis? You don’t know what’s going on in my head lol). I appreciated that. I respected that. I thought that he was truly different. After we talked for a bit – mind you, he didn’t mention any books he had read, the focus was on me – he asked me if I was a freshman in community college or something (SIGH). I told him no – I already graduated from a “Little Ivy” college this past May (I try really hard to give Trinity it’s props lol) and I am now going to Fordham University for graduate studies in social work. Upon graduation, MSW will be at the end of my name, and after I take a licensing exam, I will be a LMSW (and after a couple of years I aspire to be a LCSW). After I explained all of this to him, he seemed flabbergasted. I was confused at his reaction. He then said, “Damn. I wasn’t expecting you to be all of that. You too smart for me,” and then got off at the next stop. I’m pretty sure that wasn’t his stop.
After analyzing this situation in my head for a couple of days, I’m still trying to figure out if that was a joke. Seriously. I mean, if it was a joke, he would have remained on the train, correct? He got up and left, looking dismayed. I couldn’t believe it. I am ‘too smart’ for him.
What is wrong with a sister getting her education? I am trying to make a better life for my future family and myself. Saying that to me really saddened me. He wasn’t expecting me to say that I was getting a masters degree. He probably couldn’t believe I went straight though four years at a college (remember – he didn’t ask if was I a freshman in college. He asked if I was a freshman in a community college). Within a few minutes of meeting me, he automatically placed me in a box, but I broke out of that box. Once I did, he didn’t know how to handle it. I guess he couldn’t comprehend how a young black woman could be working on her masters. Hm. I see elements of both sexism and racism in his statement (I can imagine the thought process in his head: “Blacks don’t get masters degrees…and you’re a woman? Yeah, right.”) That’s quite sad. Honestly…I don’t know how else to say it. It’s just sad. And it shows me his senseless way of thinking.
But we cannot lump all men in the same box…the average man would more than likely respond in a positive manner. They say there’s plenty of fish in the sea…I just bumped into one rotten fish.