|Lela Lee’s Angry Little Girls|
Last night at ‘the club’, as I was dancing, a stranger slapped my ass.
Learning how to respond appropriately to inappropriate touching is really, really difficult.
For most of my life (long-short as it has been), my strategy for unwelcome touching has been to laugh nervously, sidle away and grab on to the nearest friend I have. I would never, ever have gotten visibly angry. This is probably a combination of two main factors: not having the base instinct that what has happened was really all that wrong in the first place, and being scared of how the other (male) person might react.
Both of these are massively problematic. I think the former is rooted in a sort of “boys will be boys” and “time and place” attitude. As though, when some strange man grabs my waist to pull me close and ‘talk’ to me, he’s somehow just doing what’s expected of him and can’t really be blamed for not knowing better – especially at a night club or a bar if he’s obviously drunk. This is terrifying when combined with the latter of the two main factors – fear over how he might respond if I told him off or got upset with him.
Guys do tend to be larger than girls. The ones who are doing some sort of inappropriate touching also tend to be very close and exuding some kind of dominant male pheromone soaked in a few hours worth of booze. My old standard response felt like the safest way to get out of an uncomfortable spot without potentially further aggravating things. But my old standard was used on guys who stood too close and talked, not guys who actually touched.
In the past few months, I have seen a nifty trick guys really like. They see a group of girls dancing (low male-to-female ratio in the group is essential), pick a target and start dancing up behind her. No permission asked. Face unseen. A girl suddenly acquires a crotch on her butt. Signal received loud and clear, turdface: you want to get laid tonight, and you don’t care a whit about who you shag. How charming.
|image from cynicalwoman.com|
Once, this happened to me as I was walking to the bar in a pub. Let me emphasize that – I wasn’t even dancing, and I suddenly had ‘surprise crotch’ happening behind me. My old strategy would not work on this – no giggle and awkward hand waves for this tool. Instead? I elbowed him in the ribs without breaking step on my way to the bar.
When that stranger slapped my ass in the club? I turned around to the group of people (men and women!) there (who had been arseholes all night) and looked them in the eyes. I just turned and made eye contact and, as they held up their hands in mock innocence and tried to blame each other for their ‘harmless fun’, said “No. I don’t care WHO did that. I don’t give a shit. You don’t do that. Fuck off.” Even-toned and pointing my angry “Geld” finger. I didn’t scream or shout, I just let them know I was angry, and they knew that I had every right to beangry about being touched inappropriately. Then I just turned around and kept dancing, mood ruined but making a point. They left us alone after that, mostly.
At that point, I wanted to stay where I was because I was making a point. I will not be scared out of my night out by some boy who does not understand that my bottom is not up for grabs. My body is not to be touched without express permission. When I go dancing at night, no matter how I am dressed or how I dance, or even if I make eye contact and smile at you, you do not. Have. The. Right. To. Touch. Me.
After years of being ‘nice’ about getting rid of unwelcome attention, I’ve decided to get mad about it. Being nice left me feeling vulnerable and uncomfortable. For the most part, my angry response has been effective because these men, they do know that I’m right and they’re wrong.
I’m not sure it’s an appropriate response. I do still get nervous that the situation might escalate. So far, it hasn’t happened … I’m not sure why. Hopefully it’s because the guys know they’re in the wrong and are embarrassed by me calling them on it. On the other hand, they might just be moving off for an ‘easier’ target.
THIS IS WRONG. MEN – THERE IS NO ONE YOU SHOULD EVER TOUCH WITHOUT PERMISSION. Don’t grind your crotch up against her from behind. Don’t (as has happened to me TWICE) walk past her and grab her ass on the street and then keep walking. What is wrong with you, random ass-grabbers?
Go for it – try to get laid. Ladies are out looking to get laid too, you know? In order for it to happen, you will need to see each other’s faces at some point. You will probably exchange names (even if you don’t remember them the next day). Make eye contact. Scream unintelligibly into each others’ ears about how “ILOVETHISSONG!DANCEWITHME!”. Engage in flirtation. Seriously – it will work better than attaching your ass to her crotch, or just grabbing on to her as she walks by. Grow a set and treat her like a woman, not a female. Otherwise, you deserve to be shouted at and elbowed away. You’re being a dick, not a man.