We are arrant knaves all.

Boys will be boys, right? Worlds best excuse for rape culture. Yep – all men are assholes, right? Is that what you’re saying Hamlet? That men are all liars and jerks and worthy of neither trust nor love, right?

Or maybe just all people are liars and jerks and no one should ever be believed, which is an even more exhausting way to live than believing half the people are naturally awful if you let them be. I’m always fascinated by the people who are convinced that feminists hate men – when it seems to me that almost all of us simply believe that men are just as naturally good as anyone else and should be taken at their word and aren’t all arrant knaves.

And then there’s this:

I find myself painfully moved by the #YesAllWomen conversation that is emerging this week. I find I want to contribute to it somehow but don’t really have a tweetable story. I keep thinking about it, though –
And find I’m thinking of this scene in a new light today. Maybe it was seeing a short clip of the killer on the news, ranting in a way that seemed so familiar and which led him to a terrible destruction. Hamlet isn’t this extreme, I’m grateful to say, but the way this scene could tip over into a full on gender assassination, well, today, that is what I return to.
In reading through a handful of tweets, I started to consider my own small moments.

Because, in my bed on the night after my first sweet exciting passionate kiss with my very first boyfriend, I was lying awake planning how to fend him off, not savoring what I had so enjoyed or fantasizing about what might evolve.
Because, I was nearly 30 before I had a real committed relationship with a man.
Because I kept so many men at arm’s length because I could not distinguish who would turn and who would not.
Because mostly only the real assholes knew how to sneak past my defenses.
Because I woke up in a trusted friend’s bed to find him fingering me in my sleep. And did I wake up to stop him? Or feign continued sleep and roll over? Or kick him? I don’t remember. Except I know I didn’t kick him or talk about it later. I just played that Dionne Farris  “Don’t ever touch me again” song over and over. And I’m still friends with that guy.
Because I was groped on the bus to the Vatican by more than one old man.
Because so many men tried to slide past the boundaries I’d set.
Because I didn’t know how to stop them.
Because somehow I felt like I wanted to keep those boundaries always.
Because it was confusing to be attracted to men but also understand that I should be afraid of them.
Because during an exercise at a personal growth seminar, I discovered that the only people I consistently distrusted were men I found attractive.
Because, when I had a car, I always checked the backseat for rapists and I wish I was kidding but that is what I did.
Because New York City seems so much safer to walk alone in than anywhere else because it seems like there’s always someone around. But one night, when I fled my apartment at 3 in the morning, I discovered that there was a point where there were no women on the train, that perhaps I had taken a big risk traveling in the middle of the night.
Because the first time I walked around feeling the most attractive I’d ever been, I suddenly also felt the most vulnerable I’d ever been.
Because boys were pulling down my shirt to look at my boobs before I even had boobs to look at.
Because when the repair guy asked me if someone would be around to let him in to fix something and I let him know I’d be there all week, the look in his eyes made me wish I’d said “My boyfriend and I will be here all week” or “We’ll be here” at the very least. Because I spent the rest of that vacation worrying I’d inadvertently given an invitation to a rapist.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.