What is it about women and sex? Why do our faculties for observation and nuance, so in-tune in public settings, suddenly become akin to a toddler’s?
What is it about men and sex? Why do their capacities to let women take care of them suddenly evaporate, leaving a vacuum in which they surge to prove something about themselves?
When I was in college a young man told me that he would take me to the airport in the morning. Somehow that morphed into having sex in his apartment, and somehow that involved his using my vagina as a prop for his penis, and somehow the shock of the situation muted me, paralyzed me, so that I became that prop. A crying prop, but one who was scared, shocked, and utterly still.
Why I suddenly became terrified of this guy who moments before seemed a bit of a fool, someone I could use to get what I wanted, still upsets me. He could barely get it up, yet I was overcome by such a paralyzing inertia that I said nothing as he put cooking oil on his penis because I was so dry, rather than stop and think about why I was so dry.
My anger at him and my disappointment in myself have never abated because that situation or variations of it seem to keep happening to other women and men.
What are mothers of sons teaching their sons about women and consent?
What are fathers teaching their sons about self-respect and respecting women?
As a mother of daughters, I can tell you that the phrase “no one is to touch you without your permission” was on repeat loop.
How is it that we still f-ck up such a basic interaction?
How is it that women, finally schooled to speak up, don’t?
How is it that men can possibly think that women are vessels for their needs?
What has been the impact of all those lessons on bullying and boundaries and “No Means No” if we are still incapable of understanding a silent withdrawal into self or a hand pushed aside?
What is so difficult about it? I don’t care about a millennia of behavior: we are not in caves and no man needs to overpower a woman to prove anything about his masculinity.
I am fed up.
Time’s Up. #Metoo.
Equality. Feminism. How is it so hard?
We’re different, but not so much.
If the little voice in your head that’s always assessing the situation or critiquing your thoughts and actions suddenly gets awfully quiet or overbearingly persistent, it is time to go home. Straight to sleep.
Do no harm.
Men, how about pretending that your ego doesn’t count? How about always consider someone else’s ego before your own? A variation on the golden rule.
Generalization: women are more reticent; men are more boastful. How about we consider those basic guidelines in all our interactions?
I’m on a loop of suggestions that go out without an echo, but I’m going to ascribe to the butterfly ripple theory. Or the “my voice matters as much as any one else’s voice” theory. Or simply, I can’t be quiet. I have no black dress to wear, this is my black dress.