In the age of the #metoo movement, the word consent has come to the forefront of the conversation or should be addressed so there is no mistakes. Before I start pondering on that I am going to look back at my own time and see if there might be a place and time where I feel that maybe I made a wrong decision.
The first girl that I ever dated, if you want to call it that, was a young woman that I met in Antioch. Desiree, I think that was her name, was 14 and I was 15. Her biggest complaint at the time was that I didn’t move fast enough, we saw each other a handful of times and I was a gawky teenager who never dated before. I heard all the stories from my friends about how experienced they were and all the women that they have had sex with and then they will look at me and ask how many have you been with and I would just reply, I’m still a virgin. A lot of laughter would incur. That would hold true until I turned 17 and so would the fact that I believed my friends about there conquests, who were most likely lying. So with my hands sweaty and my heart beating out of my shirt, I kissed her, a regular lip on lip kiss. Desiree, from the hollow region of East Main street, Paterson, was not having it. It was awkward because her mouth was a little open and I was inexperienced, definitely not suave. We would see each other, maybe one more time but that would be all. It wasn’t until I met Janina, also in Antioch, that I would learn a little more. We dated for three years. I met her when she was 15 and I was 16. Those three years saw us break up and get back together at least 7 or 8 times. It was an amazing experience and I, like all teenagers at that age, thought that this was the woman I was going to marry. Janina was strong willed, intelligent, beautiful (a word that I will repeat a lot) and the type that if you told her she couldn’t do it, she would prove you wrong. Our first kiss was awkward because, like Desiree, she thought I wasn’t taking the initiative. There is no rule book on how to recognize when a woman likes you, you go by gut feeling, and depending on the gut or who possesses it, it might get you into trouble. Luckily, being an awkward looking nerdy person growing up, my gut always hinted towards make sure you’re not making a fool of yourself. So, Janina did what any woman would do, she kissed me and I found out why the French got the reputation of lovers, the french kiss. Our faces locked more like a car accident then what you see in the movies but after a few seconds I got the hang of it and it was amazing. I was glad then, not so much when she broke up with me permanently, but I am glad now that we met. We basically learned everything together, about the birds and bees (trying to keep it PG for her) and she was the perfect person to go through that adventure with. Janina gave me the confidence to be myself around the fairer sex. We joined the military together and our relationship ended. We had our ups and downs, our breaks and our make-ups. In one of our breaks, I think it was a break, I met Betty at a friend’s house. Me and Betty would eventually make our way to an empty room and do what teenagers do, we made out, when things started to become hot and heavy, I asked her if she was drunk. She said yeah and I told her that I couldn’t do anything beyond the make out session. You see I was sober and I didn’t feel right about it. While me and Betty would eventually start up a more physical relationship, it was important to me that we both be in the same state of mind. We both got drunk. That was my first endeavor into the #metoo situation. I would go on to have 37 sexual encounters between the ages of 17 and 35. While that seems like a big number to some, it might seem like a small number to others. But if I put like this, I slept with two women a year during my single years, the average being three, then it doesn’t seem big at all, it seems quite lame. All 37 women, I made sure, knew what was going on and consented. That doesn’t mean that some of the women I was interested in didn’t say no, some did and none of those women are part of the 37. Some apologized. One woman even showed me that she wanted too but that she had a fiance. I didn’t understand why she did that. I told her that she didn’t have to explain her no, that no was enough and that I thought it was ok to say no. I asked her why she felt the need to explain her no and she said that guys get angry when you say no. I remember feeling bad for her and told her, you don’t ever have to explain.
Would a man have to explain if they said no to a woman. So I thought about all the times I said no, 58 times, not all of them were easy to say no to (I mean a stripper never hit on me in my life and she had to pick a time when my wife, then girlfriend, was 6 months pregnant) luckily my friend was kind enough to take the bullet for me or at least he tried (the reason we were in a strip club, is because I asked her, my wife, then girlfriend, first if it was ok, she was amazing and secure like that). Some came with an explanation (mostly that my wife, then girlfriend, was pregnant, 14 times in a span of 6 months, hottest streak I ever had, it must have been the pheromones of an expecting daddy), some didn’t. None of the women got angry though, maybe a little embarrassed, but none threatened me or pouted or called me names or try to shame me. None were my boss or did they have anything to do with anything concerning my immediate future. Some of the women would get a little handsy and footsy. But it didn’t bother me nor am I complaining about it, I actually thought of it as a compliment. It didn’t bother me because I was 5’11”, 185 to 195 pounds, knew how to defend myself and wasn’t intimidated by the 120 pounders. Probably could take them out if they tried anything, actually, it didn’t even cross my mind. That’s because guys don’t see women as a threat, not that way. Since none had any control over my destiny, to be a retired blogger, I just brushed it aside. Is it a double standard, I don’t know, it doesn’t happen at all now. I’m older and my forehead has become a five head thanks to lack of testosterone and a receding hairline. I guess if the woman was 6’5″ and was more muscular than me, I would be concerned, but if that happens, I would be more interested in her freakish genetics than being scared. Plus I boxed someone 6’4″, 240 pounds before, and gave as good as I got, for the first couple of minutes. Then you learn it only hurts when you stop not when you get hit. So is it a double standard, I don’t know how women are going to feel about my answer but I don’t feel that way, mainly because I can defend myself and, luckily, never had a situation where the threat of violence for sex was an issue. I have though, been intimidated, not by a woman and not with bodily harm. It didn’t feel good. The answer was a resounding no, especially after the intimidation factor but since all I had to lose was this blog at the time, I didn’t care. That just made me more resolute in handling the matter.
So when you do have something to lose, your job, your career, your livelihood maybe even the chance of criminal charges, how does one handle that? These people, these predators, that use fear as a tactic to try and control you and do what they want and do what they say, these people that are sexually aroused by instilling fear in their prey, oddly enough, I couldn’t find a psychological term for it, are more common than we like to admit, that’s why I find it odd that there isn’t a psychological term for it. Harvey Weinstein comes to mind. His actions have severely complicated many lives and there many out there like him. So how do we know? With all that’s going on, how do we know when consent is given?
Does it have to be given orally outright or can we decipher if it is implied? I have leaned for a kiss by reading the wrong signals and had my attempts rejected. I didn’t take it personally, I just realized that maybe I was misreading the situation. Am I know in violation of the #metoo guidelines? A woman once said I could lay down next to her, said that it was alright that I put my arm around her, laughed at my silly jokes and when she turned towards me, I kissed her on her lips, she reacted harshly and told me to get out of the bed. I apologized and left and slept on the couch, 5 minutes later she said I could come back, I said no because I couldn’t understand her or the situation. Did she just want a hug? Did I overstep my boundaries? Was I wrong? Didn’t grab her anywhere or rub anything but she seemed like she didn’t know what she wanted and here I am putting the situation on her. I thought she turned to kiss while she turned, obviously, for other reasons. I apologized several times but decided not to return for the encore when she said I could return back to the bed. Now, I don’t go kissing complete strangers while they reporting or even women that I go out on a date (unless I ask and they agree and usually tequilla is leading the charge on those days), but I tend to try to not be as shy as I was once as a teenager when they say that you can lay down next to them in bed and let you put your arm around them and you snuggle but sometimes that is all that they want, so you have to either take it or leave it.
If relationships lose spontaneity then it kinda loses it’s romantic feature. That’s just my opinion and by no means a reason or an excuse to go for it if you are not sure or not take no for an answer. That would be the only time that something like that happened to me. I have had women lean in and kiss me and had to turn them down, would they be in violation of the #metoo guidelines? I didn’t think so, still don’t. Again, I took it as a compliment and it was usually because I was in another relationship and, maybe more importantly, there was no threat involved.
I am by no means the reincarnation of Jesus of Nazareth, if you believe in that, but no one is. I do though, tend to err on the side of caution when it comes to matters of the heart and the flesh.