Rodney Dangerfield by Harville

Letters: No, Your Hips Aren’t Enough

Jose Vilson Jose 3 Comments

Rodney Dangerfield by Harville

Rodney Dangerfield by Harville

Dear Political Volunteer:

I’m going to say it: there’s no situation under which, when you have a serious proposition for me, you can nudge me with your hips while I’m trying to drink a rum and coke. None. I know who’s reading, and I can’t say I care much who it offends, or even if they’d like to get offended for none of their doing.

It’s after work, slight chance of showers, but a humid day nonetheless. My throat’s a little parched, but moreso, my mind is fried from another long work week. One of the school aides comes to me and says, “Mr. Vilson, are you going to the happy hour?” Feigning that I had any idea what she was talking about, I said, “Sure I am.” Then, “Wait, a minute: what happy hour?” She tells me that it’s at a nearby restaurant, a usual spot for the school aides’ crew. I told her I’d be there, in my mind thinking that maybe I shouldn’t. I was a bit ambivalent, but I sought this as a great opportunity to become more familiar with the school staff and show them I could drink with them as well.

Here comes the fun part.

As I’m sitting there, I look around the bar area and see a certain person’s face plastered all over the wall. He happened to teach at my school and he’s running for some office. Props to him for chasing his dream. He wasn’t there until later, but sure enough, his people were shoring up volunteers. One of them kept yelling, “I wish I was a teacher” and “one day, I’ll become a teacher,” to some peoples’ screaming and applauding and others (i.e. me) rolling their eyes secretly. I wasn’t in rebel-rousing mode and my rum and coke kept hitting the spot time and again. Cheers.

Then, the other assistant came through. At first, she completely ignored those who she didn’t deem “Dominican enough” (I’ve grown accustomed to the look). Again, I have no issue with that. Sometimes you have to go with what’s comfortable. Then, I see her heading my way. I’m at the corner of the table, sipping on my drink, and all of a sudden, I feel this nudge. I look to my left and she purposely nudged me. She doesn’t even say a word to me, but keeps nudging me with her right hip and putting her volunteer sheet in front of me. I gave her a look that said, “not really,” but I was thinking, “Hell no.”

Naturally, I’ve told this to a couple of people and that got mixed reviews. The one negative aspect I got that struck me was, “Well, you don’t want to upset the volunteer of someone who’s so well connected, and you don’t know the politics of what you’ve just done.”

In a way, the person’s right. The things I’m about to get into may have political implications for the school (as everything education has become political), and I wouldn’t want my career to suffer because of that nonsense.

Forget that.

I want my respect. If someone wants to ask me to volunteer for their organization, they’re coming up to me and saying, “Hello, my name is … Would you consider joining our campaign for …?” My manhood and respect aren’t optional traits. Do and say whatever you like behind the scenes, but if you’re going to talk to everyone else and nudge me, then I cannot accept that. If they’re not happy that I shook my head at them and want to tell their well-connected friend about me, I’m resigned to that. I have no beef with people, but communicate with me.

Lady, your hips are not enough.

Signed,

Jose, who can’t believe I have to wash watch my ass rear like this all the time …

About Jose Vilson

José Luis Vilson is a math educator, blogger, speaker, and activist. For more of my writing, buy my book This Is Not A Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education, on sale now.

Jose VilsonLetters: No, Your Hips Aren’t Enough

Comments 3

  1. JP

    I’m continually amazed by your personal restraint. (I’m probably envious a bit.) After suffering through the patronizing (“I want to be a teacher!), lack of respect (“I can manipulate you with nothing more than my presence.”) I am afraid I would have ended the conversation with a phrase involving “…..”and the horse you rode in on.” Kudos

  2. Jonathan

    But you know, it must work, otherwise… Well.

    I wonder how many guys, having been given a drink and rubbed up against, will volunteer for a political campaign.

    See how ridiculous it sounds? And yet, I’m certain that it must work… sometimes… with some people…

  3. Post
    Author
    Jose

    Of course it must, and that’s what’s annoying. I’m not passing judgment per se, but I just don’t want people doing all of that to me. It’s a little … much.

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