B and I went downtown today to meet his Dad for lunch and go find some of the ArtPrize installations around Grand Rapids. ArtPrize is a really cool art competition in GR that awards ten monetary prizes to the top art pieces as voted on by the public. The pieces are installed all over downtown GR. The voting starts next week, so, most of the stuff was still a work in progress, but, what we saw was really cool.
The pieces were installed all around GR and the really cool ones just popped from their environment. You noticed them. At the Fish Ladder (a design to help the salmon get around the dam on their way upstream) there was an awesome mobile with orange sturgeon lazily spinning overhead. In one of the parks downtown there were Wooly Mammoth’s made from scrap metal and mirrors. Along the banks of the river was a carving of a face with animals coming out of the interwoven branches of a tree. You couldn’t help but notice the pieces. They were far from invisible.
Which is how I felt for part of today. While we were at his Dad’s office, we ran into several of his colleagues (all attorneys and the like). The standard introduction was, ‘This is my son, B and his new wife K and they are on their way to Germany.’ Following that would be a conversation from 5-10 minutes in length. During which I was never addressed or expected to speak. Even when goodbyes were said I was a non-entity. This was really strange to me.
I’m not good at being invisible. I’m 5’10. I’m cute. I’m noticeable. But to these guys I was just B’s wife, not important, not noticeable. There to be pretty and smile at hellos and goodbyes. Certainly not in possession of a brain of my own. Certainly not important in my own right. I’m just there to make B look good.
Now, B has warned me that important events with his work will be like that. They still have a good ole’ boy mentality and routine. But, I’ve seriously never experienced anything like it. Here are grown men in 2010 treating a well-educated woman like she doesn’t exist. I’ve never considered myself a feminist in the slightest, but, this kind of treatment would make me one.
B and I talked about it later. I got to tease him for not using the line (But, dear, you’re never invisible to me) because he didn’t tell me that. My biggest point to him was that even if I’m expected to act invisible, he’d better be holding my hand, keeping his arm around me, something to acknowledge that I’m actually there. Because otherwise I will walk off. He’s not allowed to pretend like I’m invisible just because these good ol’ boys are. Because, I had better never be invisible to him.
As far as the art of invisibility goes? I’m not very good at it. As far as the Art Prize around GR goes? I was very impressed.