Recently a man published his masterpiece detailing how he forces a woman in headphones to listen to his words. Yesterday Apple solved everyone’s problems by doing for women what Bluetooth headsets did for people who talk to themselves. They created AirPods, the perfect excuse for any woman (provided she has long enough hair) to ignore those she does not want to talk to.
In case you, like Dan Bacon, are concerned that by using AirPods women everywhere are ignoring male mating calls and potential meet cutes, let me put your mind at ease. As a woman who has been approached while wearing headphones, I can tell you that women are not wearing those headphones because they are afraid to talk to you. They are wearing them because they do not want to talk to you. They do not want to hear your thoughts on superhero films and whether or not Jessica Jones counts as a superhero.
Wearing headphones and being surrounded by my own personal soundtrack is a perk of my life which I have fought hard and won. I do not take public transport in order to have multiple encounters which may end in meet cutes. I know that meet cutes are a myth which only happen in a world inhabited by characters dreamt of by Nora Ephron and Nancy Myers. Twenty first century women make their own meet cutes on their own terms, because as Nora Ephron herself once said, we are all the heroines of our own stories. I have the power to decide what will be my meet cute, and a man making signs at me that I should pull my headphones out does not fit my ideal meet cute. What I want most in the world is to be let alone.
The time during my commute is my sacred time to myself. Virginia Woolf once said that a woman’s true freedom is a room of her own. In today’s society of roommates and multiple person dwellings, a personal bubble created by your headphones counts as that room of your own. Unlike Thoreau who had the ability to forsake all of his personal responsibilities, I cannot do that, and so this is as close to Walden Pond as I am going to get. This is my time to read my book, the news, or simply stare into space. It is sacred time, and male interruptions pantomiming that I should pay attention to them is not welcome. If I wanted male attention, I would go to a speed dating event. That door is closed, and there is a gone fishing sign on my door.
Earbuds afford women a privilege long enjoyed by man spreaders everywhere, but with one important perk. Earbuds mean we do not have to be overly nice to anyone. The burden of being nice is one which women have struggled with for centuries, and this is the first century in which we as a collective whole are realizing, we do not have to be nice. And now Apple has created a female friendly utopia here on earth, by allowing us all to point at our ears and pretend that we have made our choice to listen to music, and not you.