It’s been a rough week for men. We’ve laid a lot of knowledge on you and it’s been … a lot. I, literally, can’t imagine. The floodgates are open. What women have known their whole lives is being suddenly laid bare and it’s coming as a shock. I’ve been conditioned through a series of ongoing experiences, and people are responding in various ways to my verbalizing this conditioning. Instead of asking me to change or defend my conditioning, some men have acknowledged the situation and are taking on the challenge of changing the condition. They’re amazing, but they certainly have their work cut out for them.
What got me here? A partial list. Warning; you will not, think of me the same way after reading this. So go carefully. Most of the time, I care about taking your feelings into account when voicing my opinions. This is not one of those times. This is a partial list of times when not only were my feelings not considered, but I was viewed as what many men see when they look at me; a receptacle.
On the other hand, if you want to know why I joke about even the most awful, inappropriate things… look no further! Because, with shit like this, one must laugh.
Between the ages of 5 and 7, I was molested repeatedly. When my mother, rest her soul, finally found out, she blamed me. I should thank her, because multiple therapists (the rapists! I crack me up.) have said that my immediate rebellion against her blame led to my identifying as a survivor, not a victim, and my questioning of authority, which is part of my charm (I made up that last part).
When I was 8, my parents went on a rare vacation. They were gone for a week. The couple taking care of us assigned the household chores to me and my sister, as my brother clearly would not be assigned any chores.
(When I was 12, I began working out 3.5 hours a day. When I was 15, I was able to bench-press my own weight and have never been able to bench-press less.)
When I was 18, my boyfriend anally raped me during sex while I quietly whimpered and said “no”. If you wonder why I didn’t fight back more fiercely, you’ve never had an unlubed dick in your ass that you didn’t want there. Years later, he emailed me to “talk about it”. I ignored that. Last year, mutual friends invited him to an event where I was singing and, though they knew there was “history”, they didn’t know anything specific, and I didn’t say anything because I didn’t want everyone to be uncomfortable.
When I was 19, I left a bar on the arm of a new beau. A jealous woman (not someone with whom he was involved) emailed him later, referring to me as a “sweetmeat”. My IQ is 156.
When I was 19, I was in London with a boyfriend. I wore a miniskirt. We walked by a bar and an African man got his hand up my skirt and grabbed … everything. I turned, screamed, called him the n-word and spat on him. He laughed, and I was humiliated because I’d never called anyone that, ever, before or since. I am still ashamed.
When I was 20, I waited for the 71 (or 7, or 6) on Market after a goth night at DV8. A yuppie in a BMW pulled to the bus stop, pulled out his penis and began masturbating while looking at me. I had a knife in my hand the whole time. I still hate the 3-series. At least the men who thought I was a hooker when I waited bus stops were honest, propositioning and then apologizing and driving away when they realized I wasn’t for sale.
When I was 21, I got my motorcycle license. Please don’t get me started on the ridiculous shit people say (“Do you ride a motorcycle?” WHEN I’VE JUST PULLED UP ON IT) to a woman on my motorcycle. Just know that the chapter starts here.
When I was 21, and Bondage a Go-Go had just been on TV for the first time (after I had been attending for 2 years), my ass was pinched. It had been a safe place. I have been back once since then, wearing long pants.
Between the ages of 24-26, I was in polyamorous relationships and learned how men respond when your answer isn’t “I have a boyfriend” but simply “I’m not interested”. Hint = it’s not good.
When I was 24, I bought my cadillac (now an art car) from the priest who baptized me. He grabbed my ass three times during the transaction, saying “that’s good stuff”. It’s hilarious now because it has to be.
When I was 25, friends watched while my boyfriend screamed at me for minutes upon minutes upon minutes in the parking lot after a thunderdome fundraiser. My response to being screamed at is to shut down; I don’t find responding to emotion with emotion to be productive. He shoved me, though was careful to do it in a way that no one saw it. The only people to do anything were two friends who called me the next day to check on me; one, a male friend with whom I’m still close, was angrily telling me I deserved better. No one ever spoke to him about it, though many people knew him. A female (no longer a) friend maintained her friendship with him and accused me of lying.
When I was 27, I wore a catsuit for Halloween. A drunk male friend grabbed my ass repeatedly. I told him to stop. He said “we grab your ass! That’s what we do.” He didn’t listen to me. He got a talking to by two of my angel male friends who had to be convinced to not physically hurt him. Final resolution came from a personal apology visit with a mediator.
When I was 28, I had a gig at the St. Francis. In a rare turn of events, I was allowed to keep the suite overnight and invited a friend. We pushed the bed up against the window so we could watch the sun rise over the city with nothing between us and the window, like flying over the city. I felt magical, wonderful, overjoyed to celebrate the city. I went out to buy overnight supplies for us – ice cream, wine, contact lens solution. On the way back from the store, a guy walking by grabbed my ass. I dropped the groceries, breaking some items, and cried. The guy kept walking. My friend asked why I hadn’t done anything, hadn’t even hit the guy. I didn’t have a good answer.
When I was 29, Luke left me alone in the car at night to go to the ATM. While Luke was 15 feet away, a man approached the car to talk to me. When I looked away from him, he approached Luke to distract him while another man approached the car. I rolled down the window to call to Luke and only then did he, sweet man, realize what was going on. I was furious with him for not being more aware.
When I was 32, I bought my beautiful home with my then-boyfriend, now husband. It came with a hot tub. My neighbor made sure to tell me how much he likes when my lady friends come over and hang out in the hot tub. We are right now in the process of building a solid wall on that side of deck.
When I was 34, I went to Italy for the first time and realized why Italian men think American women are easy; we are so unaccustomed to positive expression of romantic interest that I’m sure any American woman in her twenties would fall over with shock of flattery, convinced her suitor was in love.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve been called a bitch or a cunt for not responding when someone approaches me with something like “hey, are you spoken for?” or “you wanna get with me?”
I can’t count the number of times I’ve been followed (ladies, if this happens in public, I spit. I want to make myself as disgusting as possible. If it happens in an isolated location, I sing opera loudly. I also walk down the middle of the street, singing and carrying a knife. I would rather look foolish than (see above)).
I can’t count the number of times I have been told to “smile” and then been called a bitch for not smiling.
I can, on two fingers, count the number of times a man I didn’t know bought me a drink and told me I was beautiful. Both didn’t even try to engage me in conversation. It was so flattering, I’m still in shock.
But I’m sure these are isolated incidents. I’m sure most men are great. I’m sure I don’t need to be on my guard, and I should probably fear this equally from women. No need to worry about your daughters.
They’ll just end up on the pole (see how I joke?).