My dear women-friends, I have some unasked-for advice to give you. And I’m not sorry for it.
Because that’s my advice: whatsoever you do, don’t apologize for it.
Do not apologize for not baking cupcakes. “I don’t bake” does not require an “I’m sorry, but” before it.
Nor for baking cupcakes. “Here, I brought cupcakes!” needs no “I know this is not feminist, but” to make people okay with it, or with you.
Don’t apologize for missing class or work. Show up to class or work, unless your baby is sick, or lions are eating your intestines, or three days really isn’t enough to recover from surgery, but don’t apologize if babies, lions, or having your insides take a quick sojourn outside your body gets in the way of being there.
Also? No apologies for expecting your husband to care for the sick baby, nor for scheduling your c-sect for your One Day Off, nor for not sticking around to give the lions a sporting chance at you. Your job or your education is not a hobby that your family kindly permits you to indulge in. Practice saying, “I have to work that day,” and “No, I can’t come home early for that” until you can say it like a man would. Because he does, doesn’t he?
Don’t apologize for crying. Having a breakable heart is a virtue, not a sin.
Nor for not crying. Tact and reserve are kindnesses to those around you, and shame on them for not noticing.
Don’t apologize for having breasts and ovaries, nor for not using them the way Other People think you should. When people ask “How could you give them formula?” and “Aren’t you worried about what will happen to them in daycare?” or “How will you ever make partner??” they are seeking justification for their own choices, not offering help with yours.
Don’t apologize for being single, or for being married, or for being ambitious, or for being modest.
Don’t apologize for keeping your maiden name, or for taking your husband’s last name. Don’t apologize for the femininity, or the outlandishness, or the ethnic derivation of your name. And if people have trouble remembering or pronouncing your name, don’t apologize for their mistake. “My name is . . .” or “I go by . . .” does not require any further explanation. It’s your name.
Don’t apologize for not being available. Unless someone is handing you cash or offering to babysit your children, he has no legitimate reason to expect your time or attention. And even then, don’t apologize for not taking him up on his offer. Do not ever say, “I’m waiting for my boyfriend” when “I don’t care for a drink, thanks” doesn’t work.
Don’t apologize for inconveniencing someone by asking him to do his job. Teachers are supposed to answer your questions, and police officers are suppose to investigate crimes against you, and judges are supposed to uphold justice for you, and employers are supposed to pay you fairly, and your husband is supposed to love you as Christ loved the Church, giving himself up for it. They shouldn’t need the goad of your apologetic tone to do their job.
Don’t apologize for doing the best you can in an evil situation, nor for refusing to countenance it one second longer. Be crafty as a serpent, or prophesy against oppression and injustice with all the rage of all womankind for all the sins that have been visited upon us, but do not apologize for it.
And on absolutely no account should you ever, ever apologize for being smarter, or more effective, or more dedicated than some man in the room. Any male egos that smart because of your competence deserve whatever pricks they get from the experience.
Apologize when you have done wrong. And apologize for the thing you did wrong, but nothing else.
Apologize for harming someone, not for disappointing her. Apologize for insulting someone, not for offending him. Apologize for wronging someone, not for failing not to be an inconvenience to her. Apologize when your behavior is blameworthy, not when someone blames you for his bad reaction to your behavior.
This advice is For Women Only. Men, you have other problems, and I won’t apologize for saying so.