On yesterday’s episode (#547) of Dan Savage’s Savage Love Cast, the issue of consent was raised in two calls. The first was from a young lady living in Canada that would be time and time again slut-shamed by her evangelical partner for her past and then date raped by him in her sleep, which he somehow still managed to shame her for. The second call was from a guy in his early 30s that was admitting to date raping a girl a decade ago. Both these calls are resonating with me but for other reasons.
Recently I started dating the “perfect” guy. Although I found him on Bumble, we worked in the same building until I left the job a few weeks ago, live in the same neighbourhood, are from the same part of the world, share the same ethnicity and seem to like the same things. I could go on, but even I’m rolling my eyes. We matched a few weeks ago when he was out of town but we shared great banter even over the app.
He was so keen to meet up when he got back on the next Sunday, he suggested a 10pm date. I politely declined and requested the Monday after work, because meeting anyone at 10pm on a weeknight for a first date just seems insane. We met up for a few drinks in the area and it was not a bad date. Good but unremarkable. We decided to meet the following day for dinner and again it was much the same. The only difference was it ended with a kiss. This was a great guy. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I love dating creatives that make little to no money to preserve their “craft”. This was no creative. He had an adult job in an adult industry. For anonymity’s sake, we’ll say it’s finance. His role comes with a great deal of job security allowing him to travel and explore his passions on weekends and after work. Everything just made sense to me.
In the past my biggest peeve about dating guys of my own ethnic background was their unhealthy relationship with their mothers. I mention this in The Polyamorist. Calling this quirk an Oedipus Complex does not begin to cover it. Notably, we shared this peeve about dating within our own ethnicity and that was a huge selling point. I should probably also mention he’s from America’s deep south. Given the current political climate and how I still find the Trump presidency triggering, it pleased me to no end that we sat on the same side of the political spectrum. On paper he really is everything.
I’m giving date three its own subsection because this is important. We went out three days in a row. Generally this isn’t something I would have the time for, but because I’m transitioning roles, I’ve been bored at best, going stir crazy at worst. I’m in no way trying to make it sound like I didn’t want to be there by date three, but this dating pattern is unusually intense for what I’m used to.
He was packing for another work trip and invited me over to hangout. Based on the past two dates, I thought nothing of entering this guy’s space for what could be a very intimate evening for such an early date. When I got there he had the popcorn popped and an iTunes movie rental ready to go. The lack of packing going on was not lost on me, but I thought maybe he’d already done it. We were watching a slapstick comedy, so at least it wouldn’t get awkward. That was until he moved in to make-out mid-movie. But it wasn’t very stealth on his part. I was actually enjoying the movie and wasn’t up for fooling around at that point. But (and I will say women in general need some serious introspection on this front) I relented out of politeness.
I was actually enjoying the movie and wasn’t up for fooling around at that point. But (and I will say women in general need some serious introspection on this front) I relented out of politeness.
We make out hot and heavy until he unclasped my bra. I immediately grabbed it to put it back on and said, “I’m not ready for that yet.” Here’s where I could have woven a quilt out of red flags and placed it on the situation: he chose to ignore me. He kept going for it. He suggested we move to his bed. In a bid to get my bra back on I agreed. When I turned around to his bed I noticed it was unmade. I repeated, “I can’t move this fast. And your bed is unmade.” I’m not sure why in that moment the bed being unmade was such a big deal. Perhaps there was nothing that could be a bigger turnoff than a guy I felt lukewarm about trying to get into my pants and I looked for absolutely anything amiss to get out of that situation.
Things cooled off for a while after that. He proceeded to eat my face off one more time before I left with severe stomach cramps. That was interesting. I can honestly say being weeks away from my next period, I shouldn’t have had any symptoms. Was it my body physically rejecting him? I made it home minutes later, feeling uneasy about the situation.
When he left on his weeklong business trip he stayed in touch. He frequently sent messages of encouragement about my work. But one message that really irked me was a photo of his mother’s cooking and how he was “in heaven”. I thought we were on the same page about this. Why are you sending me photos of your mother’s cooking? Refer back to the paragraph about the deal breaker that is an Asian man’s love for his mother.
In the days that followed I debriefed with friends. One girlfriend I’ve known for more than a decade told me she noticed that I seemed to settle a lot of the time. She felt I should drop him immediately. Another scolded me for rejecting his photo of his mother’s cooking, but told me I was right about his overeagerness to hookup. It came across as desperate, but if I were into it, it might read romantic. It’s worth noting the former friend is the most independent, single girl I know. The latter has been coupled off for nine years. Both came to the same conclusion.
Here’s where I’d like to talk about consent. I told him no and he did eventually stop. But for a period there he didn’t. I would like to reiterate this situation was nothing more than PG-13 rated stuff. The unclasping of my bra and some minor groping was as far as we got but the fact that I said “stop” and he continued is what I’m most shaken about.
Part of me doesn’t want to give up this seemingly great guy just yet, but has he already shown me his true colours? A crime has not been committed literally or figuratively, but I suspect I might have to hold him accountable anyway.