Today’s question du jour is: When is it okay for a man to use the word ‘bitch’?
Frequently, there comes a time in the power struggle phase of a relationship when the man must put his foot down and stand up for himself. Perhaps a boundary has been crossed and he must communicate to the woman that her behavior is unacceptable. She must cease the behavior in question or the relationship will end. The urgency and earnestness of his position must be communicated clearly.
In times like these, my go-to phrase is, “Stop acting like a bitch.”
Rarely does the use of this phrase result in a productive two way conversation in which we come to a healthy new understanding. It seems most women firmly believe it is never acceptable, under any circumstance, to utter the word, ‘bitch’. Perhaps, like the ‘n-word’, the ‘b-word’ is socially unacceptable for certain groups to use?
But what if the woman is, by objective fact, acting like a bitch? Discussing this subject led to the firing my therapist. In our final session, we discussed my first post-divorce entanglement with an entitlement princess–the one I caught neglecting to take her birth control pills (I recently mentioned on Soon2becatlady’s podcast.) My former therapist said that it was “never acceptable” to use the word. Further, we could not find common ground on these finer points:
- How is it possible that acting like a bitch, being total bitch, or even a raging bitch on wheels is a lesser sin than calling it what it is? Is calling a spade a spade really that evil?
- If I should never utter the word ‘bitch’, even when it is the perfect word to use, what is a better alternative?
re: Question #1: Let’s assume that two wrongs don’t make a right and that the b-word should never, under any circumstance, leave my lips. Once I’ve uttered the vile and disrespecting word, the woman has a legitimate grievance of her own. I get that; I can buy-in to this school of thought. But it seems to be universally accepted that the b-word has properties that extend far beyond elemental morality of ‘two wrongs don’t make a right’. Use of the b-word trumps all other offenses, apparently. Once you utter it, the woman is no longer obligated to discuss your grievance. The b-word is magic like that.
Abracadabra, hocus pocus, alakazay;
It’s not what you do that matters, it’s what I say.
I called you a bitch and now you’re free,
of all annoying accountability.
re: Question #2: Honestly, in the heat of the moment, what realistic alternatives does a man have to saying, ‘stop acting like a bitch’? My former therapist suggested I close my eyes, take three deep, meditative style breaths and then calmly explain to the woman that her actions are not acceptable.
Really? A woman is having a complete and total hissy fit; complete with insults, hair flipping, and talk to the hand dissing–over a situation not of my doing–I’m just the man who happens to be in the vicinity–and I’m supposed to stop driving the car to find my inner namaste’?
Assume I did stop paying attention to 8 lanes of rush Atlanta rush hour traffic so that I could meditate, and then calmly say, “You are being disrespectful to me, and it is hurting my feelings. You are being unpleasant and spiteful towards me.” Is that really going to be received better?
Hell No! That wouldn’t have had any better result. In fact, the result would be worse because I would’ve lost respect of the woman who needed to be put in her place, thereby setting false expectations in the power struggle phase of the relationship. According to the dictionary, acting spiteful and unpleasant is the definition of bitch. Whether I use the words, ‘spiteful and unpleasant’ or the word ‘bitch’, the message is the same.
So, fellow bloggers, what’s the answer? Am I off base here? Does the ‘b-word’ contain magical properties that absolve the ‘victim’ of all her sins, regardless of actions? Is it ever appropriate to tell a woman whose having to a histrionic meltdown to stop acting like a bitch? If not, what’s a realistic alternative that can be used?
As for me, I have to think that accuracy of assertions is relevant when considering the b-word’s use. It seems to me there are times when clear, factual, honest communication is warranted. Maybe there would be less spoiled bitches in the world if men would stand up for themselves, and, when the time is right, call a spade a spade, and a bitch a bitch.