We're Not Pleased, Aziz
The collective “we” of “Women” have yet another handsy comedian to deal with, and this time, his response hardly came with an apology.
What’s interesting (in a terrible, sad, kind of way) is that Aziz’s case – a situation filled with “misinterpreted” signals and nonverbal clues that seemed obvious to the other party involved, is our collective, depressing understanding as women about the exact feeling that left his date reeling the next morning. It’s all so, so familiar.
There’s a clear line in many sexual assault stories – a moment where the good guy quickly becomes villainous, and blatantly, gleefully even, disregards the desires of their victim. These are horrible, unforgivable moments, yet they are moments where we all know who to point the metaphorical finger at. We know who’s at fault, and the "good" men can disassociate themselves from guys "like that."
The story of Aziz and the photographer, who goes by Grace in the Babe article where she describes the encounter, however, is an experience that, I would say, has more familiarity than a cut-and-dry instance of rape. It’s also more telling than cases of brutal sexual assault, which are done by brutal, evil people. We can clearly see the ingrained nuances of a destructive sexual culture where decent, familiar men participate in behavior that is not only unappreciated, but unacceptable.
It’s easy for a man to look at a rapist and insist they’ve never done anything of that nature. I imagine it is not so easy to read a story like Aziz and Grace’s and feel squeaky-clean about your entire sexual history. This kind of “pushiness” is taught to men, because we women are “only playing hard to get” or “trying to be good girls.” Men are told that women really want sex, even if their body language says no, because they’re afraid of being labeled as slutty, or for various other undisclosed feminine reasons.
There are hundreds of better articles which can break down the cultural implications of nights like this. Nights that I wouldn’t hesitate to say have likely been experienced by over 90% of women. I’ve had these nights. I’ve had the tearful mornings where I felt gross, and wasn’t sure how it got to where it was. So, in an effort to do my part by clarifying for men, what often seems so hard to hear, I am going to break down a list of behaviors that you should stop doing, immediately. No need to come forward, or publicly apologize on Facebook for past wrongdoings. Just stop doing these things. Right now.
1.) Pulling my hand toward your dick after I have pulled it back.
No, I wasn’t trying to be sneaky. I didn’t lose your penis. I know exactly where it is, and if I wanted it there, it would be. Let me also point out, that if we were in a romantic moment, and you pushed my hand away, I would not put it back. Because I am not an asshole.
2.) Taking “baby-steps” to coerce me into sexual acts that I said I did not want to partake in.
You should assume, men, that if you attempt to have sex with me, and I say no, it’s also unlikely that I want to sit on the couch, let you unbutton my pants, and fondle me. That action will not be met with a smile, or excitement. I might break your fingers. I might cry. Neither one of those possibilities sounds like a good time, does it?
I also don’t want to do things like, go cuddle in bed while watching TV, if it really means you’re going to take that moment to wedge your erect penis against my behind and thrust at me until I either relent or leave.
(I’m just going to point out that I’ve had multiple boyfriends pull this maneuver on me. Want to know what makes me SO EXCITED to have sex with my man? It’s NOT being exhausted, saying no, and then having your poker prod me until I feel like the shittiest girlfriend of all time because I won’t just have sex with you. Oh, you like getting it on with a woman that is half in tears because she’s beating herself up about being too tired to be horny enough for you? Then never mind, move on.)
3.) Grabbing at my tits like they’re the on-button to my sex drive.
If I want some boob action, you will know. I might ask you to take off my bra, or suggest lightly that touching this area is something I enjoy. I know they’re good looking, men, but I’m telling you, if you go at my hoo-has before they’re ready for you, or even want you, then you will never be sexy to the three of us. I especially don’t appreciate the 15-year old mentality of grabbing one of them as a “humorous” intro to sex. We both know it wasn’t an accident, and throwing your arm over my shoulder while really reaching for my tit isn’t smooth. It’s weird. You can’t do anything worth shit from that angle, and when you eventually do get a hold of one, it’ll be so shriveled up from your lack of game that it might go concave to avoid your grubby fingers.
4.) Plying me with alcohol to “loosen me up.”
Do I have to explain this one? Really? It’s not some great, big, secret that alcohol inhibits good decisions, and confuses the mind. Want to know why Grace struggled to leave Aziz’s apartment? Because she had been drinking – a normal human response to feeling uncomfortable – and was trying to reconcile the man in front of her with the humanist comedian she’d watched and read about. Celebrity presence is a whole new level of power dynamic, not just because us non-celebs are intimidated, but because we can’t help but feel like we “know” them. It’s human nature to struggle to sift apart a “character” from a real person – why do you think the film and TV business does so well? Because we become invested in the characters as if they’re our own friends and family. Adding alcohol to this entirely normal confusion would make the situation even more blurry. I’m not saying Aziz poured the alcohol down her throat (though he clearly wasn’t afraid to jam his fingers in there) but he did offer it as a tool to change the vibe. He wanted her to want him, and if she didn’t yet, maybe some alcohol would do the trick!
An additional problem with this move? It works, all the time. Why? Because women are raised to be polite. She may be interested in another date, but not sex, and turning down a drink could potentially be interpreted as rude. She doesn’t want you to get the wrong impression or think that she’s uninterested! Plus, you’re her friend Mary’s friend! What if you tell Mary that she was rude?
How fucked up is that, though? Women are so hyper-conscious of misreading your signals (maybe he really does just want a drink? He is, after all, Mary’s friend?), sending the right ones (that we want a second date), and flattering your ego (we just don’t want sex), that we end up accepting drinks we don’t want. This is something women need to work on (and we are), but in the meantime, here’s a pro-tip, men. If you find you’re offering a drink to a woman in a setting where she has expressed she may want to slow things down, or seemed hesitant to take “next steps,” like go up to your place, invite you back to hers, take a piece of clothing off, etc., then stop. You’re probably doing it to “loosen her up,” when she knows where the alcohol is and can handle the pour herself.
5.) Describing, usually in vulgar, porn language, or with gestures, what you want to do to me or have me do.
First of all, it's generally better to let women lead sexting situations, because we read romance novels and are probably better at it. We don't want to hear about your giant dick, we want to read the words that made 50 Shades so popular - except don't use that novel as a guide to non-pressuring behavior, because it's actually the total fucking opposite.
But back to the point! I’ve just state that I want to slow things down, and now you’re asking me where (I mean later, not right now!) I might potentially want you to put your penis. Maybe I’ve just left your apartment because I wanted to take it slow, and I have now suddenly received a text message about how you’re going to rip my clothes off the next time you see me and stick your tongue blah, blah, blah. Or, we’re at your place, and you fall just short of masturbating in front of me because of how much gesturing you’re doing toward your groin. I get it. As mentioned before, I was never confused about where your penis is located. I did want to continue getting to know you, but at this point, if you’re going to insist on bringing in a hyper sex-drive vibe to further interactions until you get what you want, then I’m probably going to walk away from the whole thing.
I didn’t always, because again, I wondered if I was the bad person, refusing something you so clearly wanted, but these days, I don’t have time for that shit. And if you’re demanding it from someone who wasn’t ever fully on board, then get a grip, and maybe reevaluate your life choices. No woman ever ended up with the man who shouted, “Nice ass!” from his car window, and it’s unlikely you’ll get to marry the girl who wanted to go home early by texting her 20 minutes later telling her how badly you wanted to put her tit in your mouth and asking for pics.
Some of my experiences are hard to bundle into grand, sweeping statements, so I’m just going to relate the actions of a few folks and reiterate that as men, you should never do any of these things!
- Inform me that if I want to cuddle or be romantic, we should get sex out of the way first, so that you can “handle it.”
- Ask me for “at least some pics” since I’m not ready to do the deed yet.
- Tell me that all your friends have done a sexual act, and you can’t believe I won’t participate, because all their girlfriends did. (Side note: most of your friends are probably lying, dipshit.)
- Harass me via social media and over the phone asking why I didn’t go home with you, or didn’t have sex with you, after we spent the entire evening at the same party and you spoke to me zero times.
- Ask me how many people I’ve slept with, then use that as fodder for your reasoning that adding to my list is hardly consequential and shouldn’t matter to me. (It’s not the number, honey. It’s you.)
- Squeeze my ass as you walk by then, when I protest, insist that your girlfriend is wayyyy hotter than me and I’d be lucky to fuck you. (Yeah, because that’s what’s going to get me ready for ya! I’m ugly and you’re taken!)
And these are just the few off the top of my head that I can think of. Some are clearly worse than others.
Which lends to my point: you may think your actions aren’t as aggressive as Aziz’s, or as bad as some of those listed, and weren’t unwanted at all, but if you’ve found yourself doing anything even slightly like those mentioned above (yes, even within an established relationship!), then maybe what you should be asking yourself is if you were thinking from the other person’s perspective, or just within your own concept of what’s acceptable. If she pulled back at any moment then, maybe… she didn’t want to have sex?
Mind blowing, right?
Don’t worry, men, we’re here for you as you try to work your way through this.
And no, I don’t want a drink.