The male feminist sat in a state of confusion, staring at his phone. The sweat was gathering under the LGBTI+whateverthefuck rubber bracelet he wore in solidarity. He sniffed his wrist. The combination of sweat and rubber was unpleasant. He looked at his phone again and wondered why she hadn’t texted him back. He had sent a long text detailing his opinion of the latest piece of feminist shit writing to emerge from the sewers of the Internet. He had been generous in his praise and was certain her opinion of him would only improve and that maybe she would start considering him as more than just a “buddy”. But she hadn’t replied and he was worried she hadn’t received it. Reception could be patchy in his area. The day was windy as well. He killed some time being passive aggressive on social media as well as attacking the institution of traditional masculinity. He received multiple virtual pats on the back from women worldwide but she still hadn’t texted him. He sent the text again. She might be busy with the cause. She was usually pretty good with responding to texts. He thought about the time they had talked for hours in that cafe in the city. She had talked his ear off about some meathead she was dating. He had been a good listener. He hated that guy. He wished he had the arm strength to strangle him.
Four hours had passed and she still hadn’t texted him back. He filled in his time by reading more feminist works and attempting to connect with other minority communities on Facebook. He chastised himself 34 times for thinking she was a bitch. Things were spiralling out of control. His mind started catastrophizing the situation. Had she been murdered by the patriarchy? There was really no other explanation. She was quite vocal in the community and although she was a strong and independent woman, he feared she would not be strong enough to escape the toxic tendrils of the patriarchy. He berated himself for these thoughts as well. Goddamnit. He considered calling her but refrained because he didn’t want to assume that they were that kind of friends. He cursed the patriarchy for making something like a simple phone call taboo. The beast of toxic masculinity always lay beneath the surface and he still considered himself a work in progress. His Ally Handbook had been an important resource in his recovery. A rather thick book, he has already read over half of it and was still coming to terms with things that had previoulsy been completely foreign to him. He had only recently found out that masturbating to pictures of women was wrong because they could not give consent. He wondered whether this extended to all inanimate objects but hadn’t mustered up the courage to ask someone. He thought he might ask her if she ever replied to his fucking text.
Another hour passed. FUCKING HELL. Was she really dead? He considered calling the police but those pricks were an extension of the patriarchy. He texted his mother to check whether his phone was working properly. She texted back with an invitation to dinner. He declined. His family had not accepted his decision to become a vegan and this had hurt him to his core. They had in fact laughed at him when he made the announcement at a family barbecue. He had left immediately, but not before pulling the middle finger at everyone, including his 93 year old grandmother, and calling them patriarchal whores. None of his family had contacted him for three weeks after this incident, which further exacerbated his hurt. He chewed on an organic soy cracker and weighed up his choices. The Ally Handbook was next to him so he picked it up in the hopes it would tell him was to do. He flicked through its environmentally friendly and 100% recycled pages and ran his finger down the table of contents. There was a section on respectful friendships between the sexes. The answer to his problem was not forthcoming because the chapter mainly dealt with consent and touching and other bullshit that he had mastered a long time ago. Fucking hell, he wasn’t retarded. He started getting so anxious that he shed a tear. The tiny stream ran down his cheeks and he tasted it’s saltiness as his took a turn into his mouth. Enough was enough. He decided to call her.
He called her fifteen times before she picked up. He didn’t leave a message the previous fourteen times because he had worked himself up into such a state that he was sure that whatever he said would come out overly oppressive and misogynistic and he couldn’t live with the idea of that being recorded. “Hello?” she said.
“Hi, it’s me. Are you ok?”
“Um, who is this?”
“It’s me. I texted you and you didn’t reply. I was really worried about you,” he said.
“Seriously, who the fuck is this?”
“Who the FUCK is this?!” said a male voice on the other end. He squealed and hung up. Anguish cursed through him as he tried to understand what had just happened. Was it some cruel joke? Had she changed her mind about him when he had mentioned that he had cried after watching Thelma and Louise? Maybe it was because he had admitted to preferring blondes. Or when he accidentally touched her hand and then looked at her tits. He was driving himself mad. He tried calling her again but it went straight to message bank. FUCK. The world was crumbling around him and in his panicked state he picked up the Ally Handbook and threw it against the wall with such force that he sprained his shoulder. He crushed some organic soy crackers to dust with his left hand and watched them drop to the floor like sand. The beast beneath the surface was pushing against all the hard work he had done to be a better ally. He finally succumbed to the urge within him to yell, “FUCKING BITCH” as a slideshow of all the coffee dates and times he had thought he had connected with her played through his mind. He fell to the ground in exhaustion and shivered at the prospect that he would most likely not be able to get through the day without masturbating at least twelve times to porn. He felt his life spiraling out of control right there on the floor of his one room apartment and it was all her fault.