Preparing for Surgery (again) and Toxic Masculinity in the Waiting Room

On Monday, I’ll be having surgery #6 at M.D. Anderson. This is the second surgery this year! Luckily, it’s a small one again–this time to remove two tumors on my left hand. Recovery should be pretty quick, overall, but I’ll be unable to use my left hand for about two months, all-in-all.

During the preop appointments this past week, I overheard parts of one particularly interesting and problematic conversation.

An older man was with this wife and daughter. They were talking about Matt Lauer, and the older man exclaimed:  

I don’t know of anybody I haven’t made a pass at! 

He laughed and laughed.

They laughed and laughed.

Such a comment reveals a complete disregard for decency and shows a perfect example of rape culture. I also think his words are interesting because he did not mean “anybody” – he meant people he read and he deemed: young, attractive, and female.

He also effectively confessed–in a room full of people knowing their would be no consequence–to being a bully, at the very least. Now, I’m wondering what else he did to all of these people. What happened if they rejected his advances? How often did he cheat on his wife?

(Well, he didn’t know I would be writing an article about it!)

At some other point, his wife suggested that the women accusing Lauer of sexual misconduct and rape knew what they were doing/what they wanted and only wanted to get money.

People–across the board–can perpetuate rape culture. 

This family also complained about the wait. They hadn’t even been waiting 30 minutes. I’ve waited 4-6+ hours for an appointment many times. M.D. Anderson is full of medical doctors and nurses and others who dedicate their energies to saving other people. I can wait.

Anyway, their daughter went to the check-in station to complain.

They were also complaining about patients who “would get offended” if the nurses checked vital signs and whatnot in the waiting room.

Always remember: Toxic masculinity and privilege/oppression exist every where. bell hooks would remind us that men are also victims of patriarchy. Men cannot be blamed without also blaming–and reforming–culture everywhere. 

Dr. Andrew Joseph Pegoda