I accidentally encountered Dominant Man while at the Panera today. The members of my own sex continue to irritate me. Dominant Man is a premier example of why.
Dominant Man announced his presence as I was ordering breakfast. I suddenly became aware of a large, looming someone to my right. A guy maybe five years my senior and five inches taller than me was leaning against the counter within my personal space, fingers tapping to announce his presence and, upon glancing his direction briefly, wearing an expression of irritation that I was in front of him and not moving at a speed he would have preferred. I returned my attention to the cashier and went about my business.
I was finishing my sausage-and-egg sandwich when Dominant Man again appeared, this time at the two-person booth next to me. His arm was draped over the seat across from me to let me know he was invading my space again and his legs were outstretched into the aisle so that anyone passing by would have to go around him. I turned my attention to my journal and started writing.
Dominant Man, unhappy with not being responded to, tried to get my attention by coughing and tapping his fingers and jangling his feet up and down–sound and motion–certainly this cretin with the pen and book must recognize his dominance over this space and situation! I kept writing, mostly recording these thoughts.
Annoyed at being ignored (he didn’t have any food or beverage that I could discern), he got up and stomped away, clearly disappointed that I didn’t give him any satisfaction whatsoever. I wish I’d learned this behavior 40 years ago. I might’ve saved myself a lot of aggravation.
Be that as it may, the interaction reminded me of the scene in Avengers: Endgame where Star Lord (a.k.a. Peter Quill) starts to feel edgy and intimidated because his crew start deferring to the larger, more muscular, and deeper-voiced Thor, to the point where he starts to puff himself out, lower his voice, and even take on Thor’s accent in an attempt to reassert his dominance over the crew. The odd thing is, this Dominant Man in Panera was the Thor-sized guy. I had no doubt he was bigger than me and could, if he wanted, have put some serious hurt on me. Fine, dude: you’re bigger, you win, move on. But he wasn’t satisfied with that. He wanted some sort of acknowledgment that he was Dominant Man, and the matter didn’t interest me, which to him was frustrating.
I got raised by my mom, sister, and a huge family full of womenfolk. I didn’t get brought up with the whole tough-guy thing, either how to exhibit or overcome the behavior. I’m left to wonder if I’d be any better off if I’d gotten more of those lessons as a kid, besides the lessons where I end up getting my arse kicked. Is it truly like that for guys all the time: the constant need to prove who’s biggest, baddest, toughest, best-with-women, smartest? (I’ve been in meetings in the aerospace industry where the entire point was to prove Who’s the Smartest Guy in the Room. I guess that’s the geek version.) Jesus, that sounds boring and miserable. You all can have it. I’ll stay in my corner and leave you jokers alone. Just don’t expect me to play. You win, just don’t expect me to say it out loud. You and your spiritual soul brothers got plenty of that ages 5-20.