sarah took this. (at Home)
I really, really love this. Can everyone please remember this?
The ultimate response
That’s a nice way of putting it, actually.
Street art by Miss Van
‘Ore D’Amore’ by Mike Patton is my new jam.
A twenty-year-old man who had been watching the Boston Marathon had his body torn into by the force of a bomb.
Don’t tell me racism isn’t a thing in America.
talk to them like they’re people, not drones. teach them about consent and responsibility and how wonderful sex can be, so that maybe we can have some more upstanding people in the world who will treat others with respect rather than treating them like objects.
does anyone know what steps i would have to take to be able to do that?
(First unedited run-through)
I’m not sure exactly when it would have been chronologically, but I was in my early 20’s. And I almost did something horribly fucking awful.
I was living in my first totally untamed bachelor experience, coinciding with my late-bloomer social status and discovery of alcohol’s power to take the pointy edges off of inhibition. It often felt like it wasn’t so much that the me was drunk, but rather all my fears and social anxiety were. Their reaction time was slowed up enough that my young 20-something self and my id could run rampant. And we did, like a couple of hyperactive spastic children in a young adult body.
My roommate and I were having one of our spontaneous parties in our ratty apartment. It was the perfect location, because you could be as loud and as awful as you wanted to be, and we were. And at this party was my crush object.
She was the first girl that had reached past the Peppy-Le-Pew esque phase of being seriously smitten, and had inspired in me really raw animal lust. I wanted her in ways that shocked me, that I did not know I could feel. It was raw, unfamiliar, and terrifying. And here I was at a party with her at my apartment, and with my good friend alcohol, that terrifying feeling suddenly felt like inevitable awesome. I felt god-like… she was laughing at my every joke, becoming drunker and drunker and more and more inappropriate. And in that wash of booze and hormones swirling around my brain, I stopped feeling like I was going to score, and more like fucking her was my birthright. It was like gravity, like an unstoppable force.
I was going to have her in all the ways my brain had been playing out in my sleep.
And then it happened.
She got too drunk.
It didn’t really compute at first. She was still having fun, maybe she was out of control, and maybe this isn’t how I’d envisioned and fantasized things happening, but it was still going to happen. Okay, she’s really really drunk, but this night will still end in sex. On and on this rationalization went, until I checked myself when the thought of “Okay, she’s being supported by her roommate and can’t stand, but it’s still on”.
I tried drunkenly explain to her roommate that it was okay if they both needed to crash here, nothing was going to happen, it’s cool. I’ll sleep on the couch, you guys can have my bed. Roommate was wisely having fucking none of it, having seen the wolfish vibe I’d been exhibiting earlier. And seeing her mixture of fear and disgust reframing and reflecting back my earlier behavior and attitude, I backed off quickly and with extreme discomfort.
It wasn’t until years later that I was able to admit to myself that what I almost did that night would have been rape. If her roommate hadn’t been there… I don’t know. I’d like to think that I still would have caught myself. But if I’m really honest with myself, I have to admit that I’m thinking about who I am now and placing that person back in that situation. I am not that person who was, and I know he wasn’t capable of being who I am today.
STANDARD ISSUE VILLAINY
It would be reasonable to ask right now, “Why the hell would you ever admit something like this to anyone, let alone the public?” – and that is a really good question.
Growing up in the pre-internet age, all my exposure to the concept of rape was through popular media. Because rape is such a terrible and awful crime, we often immediately leap to the conclusion that it’s perpetrated by awful people. This was reinforced by popular culture, where the rapist was depicted in many facets, but almost always as someone unrepentantly evil. A sociopath who either could not conceive of the harm his actions brought, or someone who delighted in the carnage wreaked. Maybe it was some Machiavellian male. Or sometimes it was maybe a scruffy biker. And sometimes it was a brutal gangster. Through the lens of popular media, all updates on the classic Snidely Whiplash character.
And I was none of those things. I was a “nice guy”! How could I ever find myself in that sort of situation?
But I did. And everyone can. It’s so easy to get there. And that’s why you have to be better than that moment.
ERECTION LEARNER’S PERMIT
When that freight-train of puberty slams into us, we get a barely adequate sex-ed training (depending on where you live, it might be better, it might be worse, or it might not even exist). It’s made very clear to most of us how conception happens. It’s also made clear to most of us how birth control works. There’s also a discussion about the responsibility of sexuality, and when you’re young and some super exhausted and burned out teacher is just trying to get through the next section without another outbreak of giggling, you look at this person telling you to just chill out and not fuck. And even if you take away all the social pressure to have sex, who the fuck exactly is this person to tell you what to do with this thing that’s been suddenly implanted into you? There is no way you can draw the line from those dry and dusty words over to connect with how much you want to fuck (even if you’re not even sure what it’s all about yet). And this person is telling you that girls, who are branded by their male peers as keepers of THE SEX, are people and must be respected. At that point, it’s so hard to think of sex as the act between two people (as rotely recited in a bored monotone by your teacher), and more like the golden idol at the beginning of Raiders of the Lost Ark. And Indiana Jones didn’t exactly respect that temple as he plundered his way through it, did he?
There’s an entire industry devoted to teaching teenagers how to drive, and granting them learner’s permits. That permit is the culmination of hours of lectures and tests. And then at the end, you get a conditional permission to drive.
You get told your dick is a loaded baby-making feel-good weapon, but you don’t even have to pass a test. And out into the world you go.
It’s hard… you’ve likely been raised with a large gulf of misunderstanding between you and girls. That segregation between the sexes that starts with gender roles and continues in more physical ways (boys play boys soccer, and if you’re lucky enough to have a girls soccer team, they couldn’t possibly play with the boys!). On and on it went, while at the same time you’re raised in a giant mix of sex positive signals.
And then you might find yourself at that moment. With a girl who has inspired some seriously deep animal fucking lust. You practically are seeing everything through a tunnel. Sex is finally almost nearly here, and you want to make sure that it stays within your reach. You’d do anything, anything¸ to satisfy that animal imperative inside. You are on the edge of the diving board, with the wind at your back, and the DNA in your bloodstream has coded it so you should fucking dive.
Are you really supposed to stop, turn around and walk back down the length of the board, and climb back down the hard metal rungs of that ladder while all the facets of your genetic imperative are booing and shouting at you to get up there and take the plunge?
BONER INCITEMENT RESPONSIBILITY
Well… fucking YES. Yes you should. I am not saying it’s not hard. I am not saying that it’s not difficult. And I’m not discounting the ache from your toes and your head that meet somewhere in the middle. It’s all there. It’s huge. It’s monsterous. It almost hurts.
And you have to be better than that drive.
I know. I know. But you have to stop and look back.
Yes, it’s hard. You want to fuck.
Yes, you’re getting beaten over the head with sexual imagery all over the place. It makes you want to fuck.
Yes, it’s really hard to actually see her as a person, when girls have been kept in this weird ivory tower of chastity and delicate femininity. She’s not someone I can relate to at all, but god I want to fuck her.
But where we screw up hugely as a society is saying hey, boys are boys and girls are girls, and let’s keep them separate. There are all of these arbitrary fences put in place that keep you from understanding. It’s not until we get older and go out on our own in the world that we start dealing with so many different people and one day you realize that hey, people. They’re people. People with desires, hopes, dreams, problems, issues, all the shit that you deal with on a day to day basis and bitch about with your friends. You cross that bridge. You understand what consent is, because it comes out of the hearts and minds of people just like you.
BUT WHY WAS SHE DRESSED LIKE THAT?
But most importantly, you get to a place where you realize that as much as someone may inspire sexual thoughts and desires in you, those are your thoughts and your desires. There is never, in any situation at any time, a moment where what you want becomes a bill of sale. It doesn’t ever work that way.
Sex is a powerful force. The desire we feel makes it difficult to empathize beyond the range of our own heart and mind. But how someone makes you feel in the way they present themselves is not a social contract between you and her. Whatever fantasies you may have inside your head end there.
Much later in my life, I got introduced to burlesque shows. And at first, it was one of the most awkward experiences ever, because there was a line in my head that, while partially about feeling uncomfortable ogling someone in a way that’s presented (at least in part) sexually, I later realized was just as much about dealing with my sexual desire and boundaries in a public setting… a setting where as much as I might see something arousing, it was completely unavoidable that I could not see the performer as anything less than a person. This was hit home perfectly when a really attractive girl on a dancing block I was trying really hard not to look at suddenly jumped down, raced over, and hugged me because it was my friend.
Gradually, I got to meet and become friends with many of the performers. And eventually, finally broke the barrier in my head over feeling sexual thoughts was that those performers were using sexuality, amongst many other facets in their act, as a form of self-expression. They were having fun being sexy. They were not being sexy in the pursuit of having sex – they wanted to express their sexuality.
They didn’t want to have sex. They wanted to be and feel sexy.
When we find something sexually attractive, it’s so fucking strong that we can easily forget to look beyond that desire. But even though it provokes strong feelings in us, it doesn’t mean it’s for us or about us. Women have every right – every fucking right – to express themselves in any way they want. The involvement of sexuality is never consent. The only time – ever – is this:
When she says “Yes”.
Most of us have to suffer through piss-poor sex ed, and go through a world that’s working very hard to tell us that because women are different. Weaker. And that we’re supposed to be strong and male and in control of everything. And I’m going to tell you that yes, it makes it hard. Real fucking hard sometimes. But you have to be better than that.
You just have to. You have to remember that she is a person. You have to remember that she doesn’t own your boner, no matter how much it feels like she’s the reason for it.
That night, I could have raped a person. A person. And that’s the line in the sand. It wasn’t that I was denied sex. It was that it was not mine to have by simply my choice or my desires. I would have stolen her choice from her in an act of physical and mental violence. It scares the shit out of me how easily it could have happened. And it scares me more that we don’t talk about how we get there, to make us understand why it’s wrong.
everyone should read this
HEY DUDES! Have you listened to Colossus yet? It’s my brain turned into music and Meghan Norine McGrath sings on most of the songs.
I’ve never cared about making money off my music, but I do care about people hearing it, so we’re still doing downloads for donations - you pay $5 (or more if you’re feeling generous) and get 9 awesome songs, plus a bunch of awesome artwork created by Ellie Lane of Ellie Lane: Imagery & Jl Hirten! And if you donate before the end of this week (Friday) we will be doing the first batch through Allstate, which matches our donation at 15%. So if you haven’t bought it yet, do it this week and increase the amount we’re going to be able to give!
All proceeds through May 14th will go to benefit the Center on Halsted, which provides the LGBTQ community of Chicago with everything from volleyball, dance performances and cooking classes to rapid HIV testing, group therapy and vocational training. Find out more at www.centeronhalsted.org.
Get the album here and please REBLOG AND SPREAD THE WORD:
after missing my chance to buy a mint condition copy on my first trip to amoeba records in 2002, i can finally say i own this on vinyl, in excellent condition. (at Home)
Jatinder Singh Durhailay