In Which The Pedant Trips My Trigger

The Pedant just spent two consecutive nights here, and it was lovely – except right at the end.

He’s generally pretty feminist-thinking, except for a couple of evopsych-based generalizations I can’t seem to shake him of.  One of which is that men tend to be kinda rapey.  Early in our friendship/relationship, he went off on all kinds of gross tangents about how guys (as a monolith, I guess) don’t understand the concept of a woman dressing to look attractive – they see a woman who’s showing a bit of cleavage, or wearing something snug enough to discern the shape of her body, and they assume she’s asking for sex.  From, you know, whoever moves in on her first.  The Pedant also insists that men – as a monolith – actually find dresses and heels ridiculous-looking, and if a guy claims he likes a skirt and heels on a woman it’s only because these garments make it easier for him to do stuff to her (the skirt makes for easy access, the heels tilt her pelvis so it’s easier to stick a cock or fingers in her vagina from behind).

I…actually don’t want to live on a planet where guys see a woman in a short skirt and think “she wants me to violate her and she’s making it easy for me.”  And, despite how my mom traumatized me, I actually don’t believe all men think that way.  I think some guys genuinely like skirts and heels on a woman, and do not consciously think to themselves “I like these items of clothing because they make it easier for me to shove things into a woman’s vagina.”  I think some guys can see a woman wearing a skimpy outfit and genuinely just appreciate that she is attractive to them without thinking she’s “asking” for anything.  It bothers me deeply that The Pedant has such a pessimistic view of men, and it especially bothers me that he’ll keep going on and on about it even though I’ve told him flat out that a lot of my anxiety about leaving the house comes from the fear of men that my mom put into me.

And actually, as we were leaving my apartment today (him to go home, me to get groceries), the subject of my mom’s scarring bullshit came up for whatever reason; I said something about being afraid to leave the house sometimes because my mom basically taught me that all men are rapists.  And The Pedant said “Well, she’s pretty much right” and started speechifying about [his idea of] the way men think and the urges they have.  Which kind of triggered me, and after I got home from running errands, I called him on it via text:

Me: New rule: no more expounding on your All Men Are Potential Rapists theories.  Like, ever.

Pedant: I’m pretty sure I covered it all today.

Me: It’s come up multiple times before, too.  So it’s a running theme for you.  I want to ensure that it stops.  I don’t believe it’s true, anyway.  AND it takes EVERYTHING that makes me agoraphobic and grinds it deeper into my brain.

Pedant: Duly noted.  Also, I don’t think agoraphobia is the correct word.

[We discuss “agoraphobia” vs. “xenophobia” vs. “anthrophobia” for a while.  Then:]

Me: I’ve decided to invent the word androxenophobia.

Pedant: You’re afraid of androgynous strangers?  Or did you men anthroxenophobia?

Me: Think about what the prefix “andro” actually means. [Spoilers: it means “man.”  And “xeno” means “stranger.”  Hence, a phobia of strange men.]

Pedant: Ah.  Now I follow.  Although I see no reason to trust women any more or less than men.

Me: …Says the guy who thinks all men have rapist tendencies.  *Facepalm.*  And you’ve made fun of my hermit tendencies before.  That’s what really kills me.  “All men probably want to violate you.  …What do you mean it’s scary for you to leave your apartment?!”

Pedant: Women are still human, and suffer from the same bloodthirst as men.

Me: Oh, dude.  Don’t EVEN with this.

Pedant: It’s true.  Men are just more prone to letting it run amok.  Margaret Thatcher wasn’t a male, after all.

Me: Doesn’t matter  Society tells women (and YOU’VE told ME) quite specifically and repeatedly that men see a woman showing skin as some kind of invitation, that men are rapists, etc.  You don’t get to say those things and then turn around and wonder why I might be more cautious of strange men than strange women.

Pedant: Fair point.  (The bloodthirst is a separate issue.)

Me: Precisely.  And just FYI, all your rapist talk back in the day was a total red flag that made me way more hesitant to have sex with you.  Because you know what group is most invested in believing that all guys are rapists?  RAPISTS.

Pedant: A rapist also wouldn’t actively warn women to be on their guard, I’d imagine.

Me: Hard to say.  They probably would, actually.  Just not their own victims.

Pedant: What would be their hypothetical motivation?

Me: Wanting the women they care about not to come to harm.  Like a dad (who assumes all men want to attack a woman showing cleavage because HE does) warning his daughter to dress in a wholesome fashion.

Pedant: I never made that association, probably because I know women who were raped by their fathers.

Me: My point is, a lot of the time when people make sweeping statements about others, they’re projecting.

Pedant: News to me…but then, I don’t pretend to think the way people do, nor understand it entirely.

Me: That’s why I’m telling you. 🙂

Pedant: [thumbs-up emoticon]

Later on – because I just can’t leave well enough alone – I resumed the conversation again and tried to argue The Pedant out of his stupid bullshit evopsych ideas (he thinks men are predisposed toward rape because it was “a valid procreation strategy” in cave man days).  I won’t bother transcribing that here.  Suffice it to say that I didn’t sway his opinion.

But y’know, I’m still not sure he really “gets” why it’s hypocritical to go on and on about men being creepy pervy rapey assholes and then get all incredulous when I have a hard time going places alone.  “Women are just as bloodthirsty as men”?  Fuck you, Pedant.  The generalization I’ve heard you make over and over again about women is that they’re instinctively better at childrearing.  The generalization you always make about men is that they secretly want to force their dicks inside random women.  I’m sure women can be predatory and assholish just like anyone else, but you’ve never actually said this before.  

And what does “bloodthirsty” even mean in this context, anyway?  Are you saying that a bunch of chicks out there secretly love the idea of stabbing or punching or killing a total stranger?  Because I’ve never actually heard of a woman doing that.  I have heard of men raping total strangers (sometimes with punching, stabbing, or killing thrown in for good measure).  Plus you just told me that you think most men want to commit rape (or would do it if they had a chance, or have to fight the urge, or…something.  Actually, your hypothesis is pretty vague).

Ugh.

I’m trying not to let this incident overshadow an otherwise lovely visit, but it’s difficult; he just brought up so much old baggage for me.  But my next post will be a recap of the rest of the visit – the good part – and that will probably cheer me up.

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4 responses to “In Which The Pedant Trips My Trigger

  1. Gross.

    Did you happen to ask him if HE feels the way he claims all other men do? I mean, if he thinks all men are secret rapists, then he must be too. If HE is aware that a woman wearing a skirt or form-fitting clothes isn’t actually looking to be violated, then why would he assume that ALL 3 billion other dudes are too stupid and cave-mannish to realize that too? If HE doesn’t want to violently attack women, why would EVERY other man? Is he just that much of a special snowflake in his own mind, or is he “just a guy” too? Ask him; make him give you a straight answer (’cause he sure seems to hate doing that).

    “…I don’t pretend to think the way people do, nor understand it entirely.” Then why does he think he’s got men and women all neatly figured out as being all either terrifying rapists or baby-nurturing victims?

    The Pedant sounds like he’s totally incapable of understanding other humans’ emotions, including yours. And considering what he’s saying about men, that’s scary as fuck.

    There’s a really strong part of me that wants to just tell you that he seems like a douche (for a number of reasons) and this can’t end well for your heart – but seeing as how I don’t even know either of you, I shouldn’t make judgments or sweeping proclamations. 😄

    • Did you happen to ask him if HE feels the way he claims all other men do?

      I did:

      Me: When you say that dudes are all rapey ‘n’ shit, does that include you? (Not that you DO bad shit but that you WANT to).

      Pedant: If by “all rapey” you’re referring to my position that all men have a genetic predisposition to it, then that would include me, yes. I can no more escape my DNA than you can.

      I am aware that his answer is vague as shit, but I didn’t feel up to asking the obvious follow-up (“Does that mean you have actually felt an urge to rape someone?”) because I was in too fragile of a mood to deal with any answer but “No, never.”

      And really, I think The Pedant is confused. I think what it is, is that he’ll see an attractive woman and think “she’s hot and I wish I could touch her/screw her/whatever” – and maybe even picture it – and he thinks that because he desires and pictures these things with someone he knows probably doesn’t want it, he’s having rapey thoughts. I would argue that he’s not wanting to force himself on someone who doesn’t want it, he’s wishing that person was into him so they could have consensual fun.

      Also, he’s kinda switchy and it wouldn’t surprise me if he thought the urge to top a woman was somehow related to this evopsych “all men are predisposed toward rape” bullshit. People who dig evolutionary psychology always want to trace every fucking thing back to the caveman days instead of accepting that some shit is just random and other shit has way more obvious and immediate reasons behind it.

      Obviously I’m making pretty huge guesses about what goes on in The Pedant’s head here, but the thing is, he’s one of the most trustworthy and boundary-respecting partners I’ve ever had. He knows he’s bad at reading people’s signals (possible Asperger’s) and he errs on the side of caution. He made me initiate our first kiss because – even though I’d just told him that I was attracted to him and that my relationship with Minx was open – he still wasn’t absolutely sure he was cleared for takeoff. He would’ve hugged me goodbye and walked away had I not asked if I could kiss him.

      When I told him I was willing to make out with him and nothing more, that is exactly what we did: we’d kiss and cuddle and his hands would never stray to my ass or chest or crotch. Things stayed like that for about a year and a half without him ever getting frustrated and trying to push the issue (and then we moved further with the physical stuff because I gave the okay).

      If The Pedant has rapey tendencies, he’s buried them completely, is what I’m saying. But I kinda don’t think he’s self-aware enough to do that. So I’m guessing he’s just Not That Sort of Boy.

      The Pedant sounds like he’s totally incapable of understanding other humans’ emotions, including yours.

      I think that’s actually par for the course with Aspies. The good ones will take your word for it that your thoughts and emotions work differently from theirs, but they’ll never really understand it.

      There’s a really strong part of me that wants to just tell you that he seems like a douche (for a number of reasons) and this can’t end well for your heart

      Honestly, shit is kinda starting to pile up (his lack of self-awareness; his chronic lateness; his sporadic bursts of evopsych; the fact that I love him but I’m pretty sure that if I say so, he won’t say it back; the fact that if he doesn’t say it back I’ll have no idea if it’s due to a lack of feeling or just a lack of social skills) and I figure at some point the bad will outweigh the good and I’ll have to bail eventually. But we’re not there yet.

      He’s good to me (and, more tellingly, he’s also good to people he’s not screwing). And when he told me, back in the day, that he’s probably Aspie and it makes him offend people sometimes without meaning to, he didn’t end the sentence with “…so if I offend you, tough shit, I can’t help it,” he ended it with “…and if that happens, please tell me what I did so I can try to understand.”

      So, y’know…he tries. I just don’t know if it’ll ultimately be enough.

      And I’m poly, so I can date The Pedant and also look for someone without his particular pitfalls.

      • There’s a really strong part of me that wants to just tell you that he seems like a douche (for a number of reasons)

        Ummmm just out of curiosity, what are your reasons? 😛

        I feel like I’ve stayed too long with pretty much every long-term partner I’ve ever had. My instincts are possibly not so great, so it probably behooves me to listen to other people’s.

  2. Fnord

    If it helps, it turns out empirical research shows you are correct about men and rape. Trigger warning for clinical but frank discussion of sexual assault and domestic violence.

    Despite the high incidence of rape and sexual assault, a vast majority of men are not rapists. Rather, most rapes are committed by a relatively small number of repeat rapists. The linked study of 1,882 men finds they perpetrated 483 rapes or attempted rapes, or one for every 4 men, a rate seems to be consistent with rates found in studies on victims. However, those 483 rapes were committed by only 120 men, just 6.3% of the population.

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