You are psychologically primed to believe it when someone tells you a woman is “crazy.” We all are. We are inundated from the womb with stereotypes about how emotional and irrational women are. I mean, for a week out of each month, all women are raving lunatics, am I right? (Sarcasm there: that’s a gross distortion of the symptoms of even severe PMS, which only affects a small percentage of women.) When someone tells you some “crazy lady” hassled them about an issue in which they were totally innocent, you most likely believe them unless you have reason to doubt that individual’s credibility.
This post is for everybody who tends to believe it when people tell you they’ve had an encounter with a “crazy lady” or “woman” or “bitch” or whatever. I’m automatically suspicious of claims about “crazy ex-wives” and “this crazy lady at work” and even the “crazy lady” who’s a complete stranger, because I observed from childhood how manipulative liars – male and female – use the presumed “craziness” of women to help themselves.
The other day, I was sitting in my car in a parking lot, getting ready to pull out and leave. My car was running, which should’ve provided a clue that someone was in it. A guy came to his car, which was next to mine, and banged his driver’s door loudly into my passenger door while I was sitting there watching him. I got out and saw that indeed it had left a big smear of paint on my car. I made him roll down his window. I pointed out what he’d done.
He hadn’t done it, he lied.
I told him I’d watched him do it.
Somebody else must’ve done it, he lied. He must’ve denied it ten times, because I kept just repeating: I watched you do it. I heard the bang.
“How hard,” he asked, “would I have had to hit it to leave a mark?”
“Pretty fucking hard!” I confirmed. Seriously, what?
Even more desperate, he said, “Do you think I’d do a thing like that?”
Now, this was just funny, because I couldn’t imagine which stereotype of Perfect Gentleman he thought he was passing for. In fact, he appeared to be of hispanic/Latino descent, and I’m white, so if I subscribed to the sort of stereotypes to which he was appealing, then hell, yes, I’d think some damn “Mexican” wouldn’t have any respect for my belongings or his own. Whatever! I looked at him like he’d meowed instead of speaking English and said, “I don’t even know what you think that means, but yes, absolutely, I sat right there and watched you do it!”
Nope. He wouldn’t say I was “crazy” or confused or making shit up, like a truly innocent person accused of something at total random would do. Nope, he just kept insisting he didn’t do it. But he also wouldn’t look at it, and I think if I were accused of damaging someone’s car, I’d look at it to see if, you know, the paint was a totally different color from my car, or something that would convince this misinformed person I really didn’t do it.
The good news is: my dent resistant panels really do work as advertised. Once I wiped the paint off, there was no mark at all. There was no actual damage in a legal sense; I just wanted him to own up to being a complete shit and apologize like an adult. Unfortunately, I was dealing with the mentality of a four-year-old.
But you know how he’ll be telling this story, right? Some “crazy lady” in a parking lot came up and harangued him about something he would never do, and if he had done it, he’d have admitted it and offered to pay her and bought her roses and stuff because he’s such a gentleman.
Women: if you date men who relay a lot of stories about “crazy” women doing them wrong, do not later whine about how they treat you. “But I’ve told you my being naked and panting in bed with with some other woman wasn’t what it looked like when you walked in on us at your apartment! So you automatically have to stop complaining about it!”
The next time someone relays a story about a “crazy lady”, be very, very suspicious. Not just for the honor of whatever poor woman’s being unfairly painted as “crazy”, but to protect yourself from getting close to the sort of person who thinks it’s rational to deny having done something that everyone involved knows he did.
Men are entitled to get angry and confront people. But women aren’t, so when we behave like human beings, we’re “crazy.” Men have to do far more bizarre things than confronting assholes with their assholery to get labeled “crazy.” And that’s as it should be for everyone. But only men enjoy that privilege.
By the way, I actually don’t think this guy was “crazy” either. I think he’s just an asshole. I think he got away with this “I didn’t do it!” shit a lot in childhood and grew up thinking it would serve him through all his adult assholery, too. These people are common, and they come in every gender/sexuality/race/whatever flavor, but imagine these two cases coming before a judge:
- A woman rightly accuses some guy of damaging her car through ridiculous negligence or deliberate intent. The guy says she’s “crazy.”
- A woman rightly accuses some woman of damaging her car through ridiculous negligence or deliberate intent. The accused says she’s “crazy.”
Will the judge be influenced by the stereotype of the “crazy lady?” Will s/he find it easier to believe a “crazy lady” claim coming from a man? Will s/he find it easier to doubt a “crazy lady” claim coming from a woman?