So, a man asked me for my “stuff” over the holidays. More precisely he offered to do “stuff’ with me or to me. “Stuff” is my word. In the moment I couldn’t quite process that a neighbor was propositioning me for sex in such crude, unsolicited, non-encouraged and awkward manner. But more astonishingly, he assumed access to my body, energy, life, home, bed, and time only required him saying he “likes” me.
Before he got to his coup de grâce of “liking me,” I tried to derail him, and in my mind, had turned him down multiple times in the conversation. I deflected, changed the topic, greeted other neighbors, but he was laser focused with liquid courage (I’m guessing). Men act like they’re too sensitive for rejection, but they are in fact aggressive revisionists who think of “no” as a challenging obstacle to overcome. Or overpower.
He approached me in my driveway late on a Saturday evening as I was stepping out for a food run. It was dark with only one streetlight on my end of the street, and cold as winter was entering its deep freeze in Wisconsin. I thought I recognized him, but my night vision isn’t the greatest, so I was on edge as his dark shadowy figure moved towards me without speaking. As I walked down my porch stairs, I called him by name and asked how his holidays were going. Midway down the stairs, my motion light came on, brightening my driveway. I could see him clearly now, but his lack of verbal response made me uneasy.
He is hard of hearing, but he normally tries to cup his ear and ask me to repeat myself. Or simply wave and shout his own greeting. This time he didn’t speak until he was nearly toe-to-toe with me – far too close for my comfort – he finally responded quietly that his holidays were going fine. Then he stared at me and said, “You’re so pretty.” Almost like a whisper. Somewhat bemused.
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- What are you offering in exchange for access to someone’s body and life?
- What are you willing to accept in exchange for access to your body and life?
- How do you evaluate what you’re willing to share?