A Spot of Social Commentary

347 hours away from the restaurant. Don’t ask how I survived it, because I’m not entirely sure. On the downside, I’m very sorry to say that Chef is under the weather. We would highly appreciate prayers. On the upside…

I had a good 30 minutes to catch up with Jason today. Ok, maybe I should backtrack a bit.

I’d been looking forward to Nutritional Biochem because Jason had predicted [correctly, as usual] that I would enjoy it. The main component of the course is a literature search and consequent presentation on a nutraceutical and its purported health benefit. Professor Kryman approved [the first draft of] my topic for Nutritional Biochem, Vitamin B6 in Food Products to Treat Women’s Infertility and/or Maintain Fertility. His feedback was as follows:

I think you are on track for a good study.  As you search the literature, you should consider narrowing the topic from ‘food products’ to a specific few or class of food products.  Be careful to ascertain that it’s B6 that’s solely responsible for positive effects and not B6 in synergism with other [nutraceutical] compounds which may or may not be present in  fortified food products.  Also your search should include by way of mechanism of action what research shows in regard to the mechanism[s] of ‘promoting hormonal balance’ by B6 as it relates to fertility.  Keeping in mind the water solubility and elimination rate of the B-vitamins whether or not B6 can reach theraputic levels.

In light of the fact that Jason is fully aware of the requirements for the aforementioned project, and that he was testing me on B vitamins the last time our hours coincided, the following conversation should make sense:

Jason: So what’s Vitamin B6?
me: Uhmmm…. pyridoxine… hydro… chloride?
Jason: Eh. I can’t remember. So what does Vitamin B6 do? (<– Note to self: I don’t think Jason heard the latter half of the premeditated title when it was the topic of conversation two weeks ago. Either that, or he heard it, it didn’t register, and he promptly forgot about it in light of what did register – hence the testing of B vitamin knowledge.)
me: Well… it’s… hormonal balance stuff-
Jason: WHOA, woman.
me: What?!
Jason: Not sure how Jesus would feel about that topic.
me: Now hang on a minute! It’s science- (some incoherent… something… from Jason) Our bodies work a certain way and it’s nothing to be ashamed of!
Jason: Hm.
me: I think Jesus would approve.

And I do.

At the UC Students for Life meeting last week – at which I gave a brief intro to 1Flesh, naprotechnology, and Creighton – I was faced with five men and four ladies. I felt completely comfortable speaking as I did, and I did not pick up any negative vibe towards my candidness with regards to the fluctuating hormones of females.

And then we have that segment of the male population who think that they’re entitled to joke about it, and yet cannot handle the topic the split second that it becomes serious. A perfect example of this would be when one of my male co-workers was the unfortunate victim of my annoyance one night. (I do wish to note that this co-worker was not Jason. Jason has always been one of the most respectful men I’ve ever had the privilege of working with, and it amuses me when he not only censors himself for my benefit, but censors me when he thinks I ought to be censoring myself… as in the conversation outlined above.) I was in the wrong, and I apologized. I – sadly – wonder now if I ought to have saved my breath. “Were you menstruating?” he asked, straight-faced. I glared. “No; I just ovulated a few days ago,” I retorted. “Whoa, Ais, I don’t want to know you that well.” He walked away before I could say what I wanted to say – that if someone asks me about my health as a woman, then I should be able to respond about my health, as a woman. I was thoroughly miffed.

In short, if a man can’t handle the truth, then he has no business affecting nonchalance when he jokes in favor of himself on such a subject.

But then, of course, boys will be boys, but men will be men, when women hold them to the right standards. And girls will be girls, but women will be women, when men hold them to the right standards. If I were so inclined, I could give him the benefit of the doubt, and speculate that no real women have held the person in question to the sorts of standards  that would enable him to  attach the proper dignity to the subject.

As it is, that is not my inclination… I’m still a little miffed. But his conduct certainly causes me to be more deeply grateful for the company of those men who do speak with respect and genuine concern, and who are not only able to meet my eyes when speaking so, but men who will – and do – speak out as well, on behalf of their mothers and sisters, significant others and friends.

And there’s my little spot of social commentary.

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