Monday 19 March 2012

Who ?

I have been repeating that phrase in my mind over and over --"You must know who you are talking to!". This phrase has a story or more aptly stories.

I was with a friend in a restaurant and I overheard a conversation next to me, well actually it was not a conversation it was the guy telling the woman with him - "You must know who you are talking to!" Prior to that phrase they were discussing some thing or the other and he got irritated and that's the phrase I caught.

I went pensive for a while and my friend noticed, he asked me what was the matter with me . So I told him what I just heard, he was was I...but that's not the whole story. The whole story or stories is that I had heard that sentence so many times before, in different contexts  - You must know who you are talking to ! My ears had gotten so used to hearing it, that I had not paid attention before.
It was so common, so much part of the vocabulary, of the discourse...that keeps reminding me as a woman to know Who I am talking to.  As if the man in front of me was some grandiose authority, some emperor of some sort...that he needs to remind me that I must know who I am talking to.

Another sentence that was also very common and am sure is still is for many women, thankfully not me anymore, since I have decided to cross out these men and their culture for good from my life, is the following - know your limits and your place. I heard it so often, during a discussion, or an argument, a quick admonishment for me to remember my place. Setting  limits to what I can or can't say, and constantly reminding me of what my place lest I lose the favors of -- You must know who you are talking to... I still hear that sentence, it is so common, so much part of the daily language, be it in reality or even in films, plays etc...

Today I can laugh about it, it has actually become my joke du jour. As a matter of fact every time this friend calls me he starts the conversation with "You must know who you are talking to ", sometimes I catch him before he does and remind him " You must know who you are talking to". We both find it hilarious...I certainly find it hilarious...pathetic and hilarious at the same time...