Issue 11, Volume 17
The year was 2030.
Jared panicked as he reached up to pat his bean, his eyes darting left and right at the sea of wom*n surrounding him, all hairy armpits, FemmeParty-slogans-on-pins and smock dresses. “Oh Christ. Please tell me I didn’t forget my pussy hat!” he thought.
You may be thinking, Dear Reader, that it’s rather odd for a man to be forgetting his pussy hat, or, if you are like me, your noodle may be bamboozled by the notion of a man having in his possession, let alone lamenting the absence of, a pussy hat. But cease your cerebrations and withhold your judgements, for you must remember that Jared is a creature of his times, not our times.
Indeed, as Jared’s fingertips reached his head and he felt the soft, crocheted textures of the grotesque, pink titfer which ensconced his manly bonce each day, he realised his fretting was in vain. He had remembered it. “Thank God. That could have been the gallows for me.”
Aside from the momentary panic, this Monday morning had been like any other for Jared, a student of Melbourne Law School and a man incognito – well, I say ‘man’, for he was endowed with the old meat and two veg, but these days that is neither here nor there. True, Jared identified as a man in private, but publicly he was one of them. You had to be one of them. It was FemmeParty policy. He had risen at 7, rinsed his face and brushed his teeth in the wom*n’s bathroom on his floor (the spelling of that sacred word had been one of the first changes of the FemmeParty when it came to power – wom*n don’t need men to spell the finest of plural nouns, after all) and joined the rest of his fellow collegians for the Feminist Dance Theory class which preceded breakfast each AM. These classes were officially optional, but they were optional in the way that the customary three waves (one wave for each wave of feminism) to the mounted portrait of Josephine Steele, leader for life of the FemmeParty, at the end of dinner each day was optional – he did it because everyone else did at and the last thing Jared wanted to do was stand out from the crowd. He had always known that the less attention he drew to himself, the better. Hence the pussy hat, Dear Reader. You know how it goes, trees hiding in forests and so forth. He was a veritable chameleon, sans 360 degree vision.
On this morning Jared had gone straight from his Feminist Dance Theory class to breakfast, back to his room to get his belongings for university and out onto the street, where he waited for the bus to Melbourne Law School each morning.
You can imagine the almost orgasmic sigh of relief which coursed through Jared’s body as he lay his digits on his pussy hat atop his melon. He had remembered it. With that not insignificant crisis averted he could get back to doing what he did best – blending in. His preferred method, and the one which I would recommend, was to stare with a thin smile at the ever-open Everyday Feminism tab in his phone’s browser. As he tilted his bean downwards to do just that he caught sight of a tattoo in the most distinctly cursive text on the forearm of the wom*n opposite,
Zie Zim Zir Zis Zieself
“That’s odd”, thought Jared, as the scales fell from his eyes and he detected the masses of tattooed forelimbs around him, “FemmeParty must have released a new policy over the weeke-” SCREECH. Thud, bump, crunch. Down goes Jared amidst a throng of Dr Martens, high waisted jeans, blue hair and lip piercings. All lay still for a moment, frozen in time like a Liberal voter’s social views, but slowly bodies stirred and lucidity returned. Scarcely a few seconds later, though it felt like an eternity, a cry came from the bus drivess, “Look, ladies, it’s a SlutWalk!” Suddenly, the pain from tender têtes and battered bosoms, in these times no longer protected from bother by brassieres, were precisely at the bottom of the agenda. The passengers heaved upwards into a frenzied maelstrom, crashing against the walls of the bus like a merciless ocean upon jagged rocks, seething and foaming hither and thither. The outward crush at the at the bus doors was only relieved by a merciful onlooker pulling the external emergency exit lever, the result of which was a truly monstrous cascade not dissimilar from pus leaving a boil. A truly ladylike scene, Dear Reader. The one-time bus-goers joined what was once a trickle, but now a torrent, of wom*n dashing out of shopfronts and cafes to line the footpaths in honour of the glorious, truly glorious spectacle of scantily clad wom*n flowing down the street.
Truth be told, Jared, who was, without question, a simple man whose intelligence was often pointed out to be a distant second to the nearest lamp post, never quite understood the logic of SlutWalks. To him the concept of getting mostly naked and parading around was a rather odd protest against rape culture. In fact, when Jared thought about it he realised he had never even seen rape culture, or heard any first-hand stories about it. “But” he rationalised, “If it is in the FemmeParty’s Official History of The Nation, it must have existed.” In any case, Jared wasn’t one to complain about wom*n stripping down and taking to the streets. It suited him just fine and was a worthy distraction, something he always welcomed.
After a few minutes of incoherent yelling interspersed with the occasional bleating of, “Yaaaaas queen” – he was adept at fitting in with the frenzied mob by now – Jared slinked away to continue his journey to Melbourne Law School à pied. Unfortunately, Melbourne Law School was no longer the august organ society once knew it to be. Nevertheless, he would need to crack on tout suite if he was going to make it to his Discrimination Law: Continued, Continued, Again seminar.
And make it he did. Most of the class passed in the usual way, in a padded room, Safe Space 106, with each class member afforded their choice of three comfort animals, and a mounted portrait of Josephine Steele front and centre. Jared was feeling rather adventurous on this particular Monday and so chose from amongst the menagerie the pangolin, Pytor, a beast whose reputation he thought had suffered something of an undeserved thrashing since the coronavirus saga of the past decade. I would be lying to you, Dear Reader, if I told you Jared passed the entire seminar in the company of this beast, for by the 3rd interval – it was FemmeParty policy, who had by now seized control of the means of education, to have 3 intervals for each 2 hour seminar – Jared had had a gutful of this wretched squirmer and understood why he was usually neglected. He opted to spend the remainder of the seminar solus homo.
There was one part of each class which Jared dreaded: the end. Though his timetable said his class finished at five-to-twelve, in practice the matter was decidedly different. Never content at showing their dedication to the FemmeParty by a mere three waves to the portrait of Josephine Steele, the competitive nature of Melbourne Law School’s students had mutated into such derangement that nothing short of rapturous applause would suffice to show one’s devotion. Indeed, such was the potency of political orthodoxy of the student body that she who stopped clapping first was deemed least-dedicated to the FemmeParty. It was survival of the fittest; may the strongest woman survive. Though Jared did not feel any particular affection for the party which had single-handedly brought about the cessation of his, the unfairer, sex, he could not afford to be noticed. The consequence of what you must agree is a frightful predicament in which to find oneself, Dear Reader, was that Jared would often have to spend upwards of seventy minutes, the period of time until the next class was due to start and the room was forcibly emptied, clapping like a loony just to avoid the wrathful gaze of his peers. The callouses do not bear imagination.
And so, with the forcible removal of Jared and his, by now exhausted, classmates from Safe Space 106 came the conclusion of Jared’s morning. A morning like every other in the life of a student of Melbourne Law School and the last man in society.
John Satura is a third-year JD student.