So. this guy? Mr. “Oooh-baby-I-wanna-do-the-thing-you-said-no-to-SO-BAD”? We got over that incident and have hung out again a few times since then as friends. We even went to my local sex club together. I did know that he was still attracted to me so before we went, while we were firming up the plan via text message, I told him something like “So just to be clear, I’m open to engaging in some SM play with you, and I’m also open to platonic snuggles and massages and stuff, but I’m not interested in anything sexual with you. If that seems too difficult or mixed-messagey or whatever, tell me and I’ll scale myself back to a hands-off platonic sort of level. Or if you don’t wanna go anymore then that’s also fine, just say so.” He said that SM play and platonic snuggles sounded fine, so we went and I beat him and aside from him asking “so are you sure you don’t feel anything more for me?” several times during the course of the evening, things were uneventful.
And we kept on texting sometimes, as friends do, and a few months later we visited the sex club together again and that night he decided to sexually assault me. Like, a bunch.
Other people’s attractions often seem a lot more…binary than mine. Wants or wants not, there is no “kinda.” But for me it’s not that black and white. There are guys where I feel some attraction but physical stuff just doesn’t really gel with us for whatever reason. Rapey McRapeface here is one of those. So when we were waiting in line to get into the club and he leaned in to kiss me, I thought “Well this is kinda presumptuous butttt what the hell. He’s cute. Maybe it’ll be fun this time.” Nope, still didn’t work for me. I said I wasn’t so sure I was feelin’ it.
Once we got in, stripped down, and got in the pool, he kissed me again. I said I definitely wasn’t feelin’ it and reiterated my “let’s just have platonic snuggles, unless you’d rather this be a cut-and-dried hands-off friendship type thing” speech from the last time we came.
He said snuggly platonic stuff was fine by him…and then proceeded to spend the rest of the night doing (or trying to do) distinctly non-platonic things to me while I froze like a deer in headlights. Well, I mean I froze after reiterating my “no” in several different ways to absolutely no effect. Stupidly, I think part of that is because he’d asked to crash at my place after – he lives in a different city and the buses wouldn’t be running by the time we left – and I’d said yes. And if I revoked his crashing privileges he would have had to wander around downtown for like seven hours or something until he could get a bus home again. I couldn’t bring myself to do that to someone, which meant I was trapped with him until the next morning, which meant I had to make the best of it and just survive however I could until he was finally out of my life. For what it’s worth, if I had it to do over again I absolutely would have left and told him he wasn’t invited along. But hindsight is always 20/20.
Oh, but also? My anxiety issues make big/crowded spaces not make sense to me. I’ve been to that club a handful of times and I still occasionally forget what floor the bathroom is on or just plain can’t find the stairwell. I mean, I’m mostly okay there. But I remember being afraid, at the time, that if I made a scene and tried to storm out, I wouldn’t be able to find the door. Being super upset wouldn’t help me see any clearer, is what I’m saying. So Rapey McRapeface kinda had me held hostage, whether he knew it or not.
Here’s a fascinating thing, though: the minute we left the club, he stopped being inappropriate with me. Maintained a few feet between us on the sidewalk, sat kitty-corner to me on the bus even though the seat next to me was free. Why, it’s almost as if he suddenly remembered that his fate was in my hands that night and figured he’d maybe better stop sexually assaulting me if he wanted a place to sleep.
He left pretty much the moment we woke up the next morning, and I’ve made no effort to talk to him since then. He didn’t talk to me, either. Until last night when he randomly texted me a funny meme.
And mehhhh. I am not a person who enjoys confrontation (when I school someone who clearly had it coming I feel proud of my assertiveness after the fact, but that’s not the same thing). And the meme was funny. And he can’t hurt me from all the way over in [city]. So I briefly acknowledged the funniness of the meme in a courteous enough but not super friendly way and left it at that. Even when I still considered him a friend, we didn’t talk all that often; brief flurries here and there. It seemed like it would be easy enough to just taper shit off and be done with it without having to dredge up that shitty night that I’d managed to put out of my mind.
And then tonight he texted me again, asking why our conversation dropped off. I asked “what more is there to say?” because seriously, “ha yeah that’s funny” is about all you can really reply to a texted meme.
He then spewed off a bunch of philosophical shit that I don’t know what the fuck he was talking about, followed by “regardless, I find our conversation easy and I know I’ve done things to compromise that.” Which, wow. I always did know on some level that he was deliberately trespassing my boundaries that night, but here he was blatantly admitting it. He knew what he was doing and he did it anyway.
More philosophical blatherings from him then, capped with “…I’m in a mood.”
“It would appear so,” I said.
“Well, can’t hardly blame me. I do like our friendship, and recognize any weirdness coming from my attraction to you.”
Now that I’m recapping this I see that he probably meant any weirdness that I was feeling toward him that made me not want to talk to him anymore. At the time though I took it to mean that he was whitewashing the events of that night as just a bit of “weirdness” caused by attraction.
So I said “By weirdness do you mean sexually assaulting me at [club]? That weirdness?” because hey, if he wants to get into it, let’s fucking get into it.
“Yes I do regret that.”
“Well gosh that must be difficult for you.”
“Why didn’t you speak up? I was a crazed man, driven by desire, yet some part of me does recognize feelings.”
I let him have it with both barrels then. I don’t feel like typing out the whole thing verbatim. The synopsis is: fuck you, you sexually assaulted me, stop writing it off as “weirdness” or “craziness” and own it, you ignored several blatant “nos” and my awkward-as-fuck body language and even before that night you have acted as though “I don’t want to do [sexual thing]” means “I totally secretly want it but you need to convince me” and that is rapey as shit. He did finally acknowledge blame and apologize. Which is something, but I really don’t want to talk to him ever again.
Anyway, just for shits-n-giggles Imma give you a little synopsis of all the not-speaking-up that I did that night.
- When he first kissed me, I said I wasn’t really feelin’ it.
- When he kissed me again in the pool, I said yup, I definitely wasn’t feelin’ it, maybe it’s just that I’d broken up with Mine so recently that I wasn’t in any kind of sexy headspace but whatever let’s just be platonic blah blah blah. He said okay, then wrapped my legs around his waist so that his erection was bobbing up against my ass-crack.
- He started kissing my neck; I stared listlessly up at the ceiling. It suddenly occurred to me that it was garbage night and I hadn’t taken the bin out. I then deliberately said this thought out loud in order to get the point across that I wasn’t into what was happening. Indeed, he did say something like “that’s not something a guy wants to hear at a time like this!” and I pointedly said “I’m not in a sexual headspace right now. At all.”
- A short while later he reached down and started fingering my clit. I continued staring at the ceiling and basically ignoring him. He said something like “You don’t seem to be very into this.” I replied “like I said, I’m not in a sexual headspace.”
- A short while after that he was all up on me trying to kiss my face and neck and I was still ignoring him – not moving away, not moving toward, just not moving at all and staring past him – and he said “I’m getting such mixed messages from you” in like a teasing/flirty tone (ugh) And I rallied all my remaining courage and said “There’s no mixed message. What’s happening here is that I told you I didn’t want anything sexual with you and you keep doing things anyway and for whatever reason my instinct in these situations is to freeze up and hope the problem goes away.” By this point my whole panicky play-dead thing had taken over so much that it was physically difficult to say the words. My lips and tongue felt half-paralyzed.
So, five variations on “no” – including me explicitly spelling out that the only reason I was going along with anything was that I was in a panic-freeze – but he still kept on pawing at me and kissing my neck and stuff and I guess at that point I just gave up trying to say anything because it was obviously pointless. So for the next few hours that we were at the club, he was all up in my business while I sat there like a stiff, dead-eyed mannequin. If he’d been too invasive – if he’d tried to put his fingers inside me, for instance – I think that would finally have made a deeper self-preservation kick in and I could have batted his hand off me and said no. But he never crossed that line. He knew exactly what he was doing.
I’m just so pissed off on so many levels. Rejecting someone sucks. I hate having to do it, especially when it’s a friend of mine. But I was brave and I used my words; I told Rapey McRapeface that I was not interested in him sexually. He appeared to accept it, and I was relieved to have done my part in communicating my needs. But then he immediately and deliberately put me in a position where I’d have to do the big scary rejection thing again, under far more intimate circumstances that would make it exponentially more awkward and hurtful.
And so I got up my nerve and said the scary words and rejected him three more times. Fine, I did not use the words “no” or “don’t;” I softened my rejection a bit, as both men and women are wont to do in social situations of all kinds. And he didn’t stop. And then I did directly say that I didn’t want what was happening, and told him outright that the only reason I wasn’t actually shoving him away or whatever is because I was feeling panicky and triggered. And he didn’t stop. My body was leaden and dead and I wasn’t making eye contact and he didn’t stop. He wanted to do things to my body even though there was nobody home and I am just so, so sickened. What is even the fucking point? Why not just go buy a blowup doll if you want to maul a non-responsive woman-shaped thing?
And then to whine at me that he misses our easy conversations. To ask me if the events of that night are what made me stop talking to him (yeah, Captain Perceptive, you just might be on to something). To force me to think about those awful events again because he’s lonely and wants me to talk to him more – and to admit, in the process of courting my attentions, that he was perfectly aware of having violated my consent that night. To then turn right around and claim that I just didn’t speak up, and that if only he’d known I wasn’t enjoying myself…
Tonight’s conversation made me hate him so much more than I did previously.