Most Men (But Not Me)
I feel guilty. I should be more shook. I should be crying and shivering and pain and nightmares. But I'm not. I shed more tears for the boy who stood me up the week prior. I wasn't prepared for that. Somehow, I never am.
You’re not like most men, you tell me. I’ll see.
This—this I was prepared for. This is what I train for. This is what we trained for.
This is the war we never asked for. All for the price of what? I spend most of my waking hours defending against possible assaults. And I'm good at it. I see the warning signs, I defend the smallest of nuances and they still shame me. They say I’m projecting, that I’m overreacting.
You’re not that kind of guy. I should trust you.
When initial conversation turns too sexual, I know if I reciprocate most men will hold me accountable for fulfilling such. I don't want to give them an inch. Not an inch. When I avoid, he challenges: I guess you're not into me. He unknowingly manipulates. Manipulates me to prove myself as the cool girl. All because I don't speak enthusiastically about fellating someone I haven't met, my interest is being challenged? What about me? I ask him - what about my pleasure?
I should end it now. Good riddance. I’m better off without him. But I was better off without the last guy and the guy before that, and the guy before that. Their doubts start to add up and it isn’t long before I, too, doubt myself. I’m that game of break the ice. I am the wet tissue that the marbles continuously add to until I break and we start again.
Someone must have done a number on me. Yeah, someone.
His hand is down my pants, but I don’t move. I’m not paralyzed. I am fully aware of each and every movement. I can get up and leave. I can threaten him out the door. But I don’t. Because I don’t want to prove him right, that I was out to make a villain of him all this time. Because I’m tired. Because I’m curious what would happen if I let it continue. I never touch him nor make a noise, but I don’t stop his hands—only my own.
I am the enemy. The crazy feminist out to get you. To call you a rapist. To take away your job. Ruin your life. So then why do you still try to fuck me. Why do you want me? Is the danger intoxicating to know your being hangs in the balance?
It must be American guys. Yeah, American guys.
He yanks my pants down and yanks himself until he spills onto my back. This is after I tell him I’m not into him, but who's counting?
Was it an interesting experiment? To learn that if I let these continue, if I’m not constantly fending for myself, this will happen? This is what happens. This is what happens to girls like me.
Chill out. Try to have fun and enjoy for once. Trust me.
We focus on consent because it is measurable. It is prosecutable. Emotional treatment is not.
I feel a guilt similar to other aspects that prevent me from challenging these individuals. Sometimes I feel I‘m not queer enough, not feminist enough, not enough of whatever it is to fully justify being hurt or mad. I wasn’t raped, so why do these experiences singe into my memory and shape my every day?
My lack of reaction leads me to realize how many times I was sexually assaulted. Not raped. Hell if I’d ever let it get that far. It’s the unconvictable crimes. It is these acts that shape my life and sexual interactions and I am reminded of them constantly. Yet, those who inflicted may not remember the incidents in question. When they brought their friends in to laugh at my cum covered chest. When they went out of their way to message me and let me know how much of an embarrassment I am to be associated with. How they don’t want anyone to know they did anything sexual with me whatsoever. In each of those situations I consented to the sexual act—yes. But I didn’t consent to the treatment that followed. No one “consents” to that. It is these acts that lack human decency which go overlooked when we only focus on the obtaining of consent.
Let me make this clear: I don’t want any of these individuals to lose their jobs or face public scrutiny. I couldn’t care less. Unless they wish to present themselves as a champion of women, there’s no reason for me to challenge their professionalism. Personally, I don't need or want an apology. It feels empty. What I do want is for each of them—for anyone who has wronged me, used me or mocked me—to think about the moments of those interactions. I hope they think of them half as much as I do. I hope they feel ashamed of their former, younger selves and I hope they grew from that experience in how they treat others. If I’m being optimistic, I hope they make efforts so that their future brood or fellow man does not make these mistakes.
Indeed, most men are learning. They're not learning how to read situations better and be better men but they're learning how to skillfully navigate the conversations to avoid conflict. To avoid trouble. They know what's right and wrong—not to avoid hurting someone, but to avoid their own demise. Better them than me.
Last week I had a threesome with two men. They were best friends. They were rough with me. I didn’t want that. I wanted to have sex with them, but not until my vagina leaked streams of red. But, I guess that’s most men.