Some months back, I agreed to meet a stranger for coffee. After a week of Whatsapping, something felt off-centre, so I cancelled the date before it happened. With that, my guy descended on my inbox with great vengeance and furious desperation. He nagged me to meet him for the hour it took me to hit block. In one pathetic moment, he’d demonstrated precisely why my intuition was pulling at my sleeves so hard: He thought my autonomy was a horse he could break.
Somewhere in an alternate universe, I got involved with a stranger after meeting him for coffee. He ignored my “no” at every turn, put his needs ahead of my rights, and pushed at anything that detracted from his selfish wishes.
I have many alternate universes like that because there’s an entire subspecies of men who think nagging is a perfectly legitimate way to gain the attentions of women. ”But we don’t even know them yet. But we should just give them one chance. But they didn’t do anything wrong so they’re entitled to a hookup.”
Lemme just sweep all these buts into the corner so we can talk about assholes without all that clutter.
Last week, I told an internet stranger I wasn’t interested in a cyber-dom. He said, in not so many words, that the fact that he’d done nothing wrong meant he’d earned my time. He’d not behaved like an asshole, therefore All the Wimmenz were obligated to click through his selfies.
Rejection has always shown me where a man’s ugliness hides. People who accept “no” with grace are scarcer than they should be, and boundaries are foreign soil to the vast majority of us. That degree of sensitivity is irreplaceable in a kink relationship, though, so it’s not the kind of thing you can do without. A good top is one who checks in because he can read your emotions like braille; who respects your safe word unquestioningly; who steps back no matter how much he wants to move forward. That’s the man who will honour my consent.
The man who thinks not being an asshole is enough has no reason to feel your emotions like braille. As long as he’s not raping you, he’s doing just fine. As for respect, well, why would he bother with such things when you owe him your presence? Life is easy for the man who’s proud of not being a douche. The only thing he has to do to earn your sexual attentions is insist on them. Women only deserve autonomy around the very worst behaviour, and he’s not criminal, merely infuriating.
He’s the guy who sells a house by telling potential buyers it isn’t totally crap. Sure, maybe the floorboards are all broken, but at least they’re there. Maybe the tiles are falling out, but at least there are walls. Crumbly walls, certainly, but he wants you to buy this house, and therefore you’re obliged to.
And maybe we’d all buy homes like that if the market wasn’t flooded with gorgeous properties and wonderful men.
But it is.