Get The Fuck Out of My Personal Space.
Last night a guy I don’t know well at all put his arm around me, uninvited, and when I checked him on my personal space he literally said he didn’t mean to touch me.
It’s not not a big deal. And here’s why:
Men are super fucking predatory when they want to be. And the most dangerous ones are charming AF to throw the scent.
Also, still in 2017 some women will second guess their gut reactions, and make allowances and excuses for men who violate them. It’s important to me not be one of those women.
Violation is not always overtly sexual. Sometimes a man needs to establish control and dominance in his surrounding – for his own reasons. I’ve been innocuously cornered between a copy machine, a wall and shelving simply because a person had a tendency to speak with their entire body. I don’t believe he meant me any harm, and even if he wanted to grab my boob I knew I intimidated him way too much for that.
Some men have to speak to all women as though every word is a direction and everything they say is absolutely vital to her. And sometimes this works. Some women like it. Some women respond well and then some men get the boning they want.
I am not some women. I don’t want to be hunted. I don’t even really probably want to be spoken to, but every once in a while I do meet intellectually stimulating people, so I can’t really close off taking entirely.
But more to the point:
Take your fucking eyes off me and don’t you dare fucking touch me.
Last night wasn’t the first time this guy (or any man) has assumed a familiarity with me that simply isn’t present.
Russian Al tried it at Acey Ducey’s when I was at the juke box and he put his hand on my waist. When I told him not to touch me he was super offended. Which works because I too was offended that he thought my body was a place where he could land parts of his body at will. So we were even.
But about this guy last night…
To be clear, we have mutual friends but I do not know this person and this person sure as hell doesn’t know me. I met him for the first time last week. And he made uninvited physical contact then too.
First, he started with the classic school yard move. He pulled my hair. Here, I want to be clear – again. I am 33 years old. This man is older than me. He pulled on my braids, as he came up behind me, having literally only just met possibly (generously) 30 minutes earlier.
Naturally, I recoiled and checked his behavior. Because that’s me. Because establishing boundaries is important.
I believe that if and when something makes you uncomfortable you should speak up and communicate your preferences.
Boundaries should be respected.
He put his hands up. It was all “my bad, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean… (insert eye roll emoji here)
Again, for clarity. I am 33. This man is within ten years my senior. We are adults. (Are we?)
But his bad. He didn’t mean…
He apologized. I let it go. I was pleasant and social enough.
I think somewhere he got the idea that I was hitting on him because I said a nice thing that was a genuine compliment. I can see how, if you’re looking for tail, you could take a compliment a certain way.
I didn’t mean it that way.
So last night he makes a point to shake my hand and apologize again for last week. I told him it was fine, I already let it go. Which I had… until he brought up it again.
Like remember that time I did that thing that you told me made you uncomfortable. Sorry about that. I just want to talk about that again and remind you that I overstepped your personal boundary. I don’t want you to forget that time that I pulled on your hair and came up behind you and assumed an intimacy that we don’t have that you may or may not want. I don’t want you to forget.
And then after that threw his arm over me, and then after that, rubbed my shoulder.
I’m not saying any of this was sexual. It might not have been. I think he’s married. And I’d like to believe not all men are complete dogs.
Still, there’s something predatory about a man who invites himself to a woman’s body repeatedly after being told what she doesn’t like.
Men who don’t understand or respect personal space are the worst.
Unnecessary touching is a big pet peeve of mine. I don’t understand people who are liberal with stranger’s bodies. I don’t require a lot of physical contact, and I don’t need to touch someone to make a point when I speak.
When I’m attracted to someone my body is their playground. And it’s lovely and I’m really into it. Hug me, squeeze me, hold my hand. Whatever you like. I want to be touched by them and touching them about as often as I possibly can. When I’m almost attracted to someone but can’t tell for sure I enjoy being in proximity, and engaging in the dance, reading our body language, seeing how our positions and stances play off one another.
I don’t like being touched uninvited or repeatedly by anyone I haven’t developed a bond with.
Yes, there are deeper issues at play here for me. No, they don’t invalidate certain men’s lack of respect for boundaries and women.
Men who don’t respect women’s personal space are the worst because they know exactly what they’re doing. They’re purposely attempting to strip a woman of her physical space, and power, and security. No one can be that stupid or unaware of social cues or basic courtesy.
If I am 33, and he is nearly 45 any communications and interactions between us are deliberate choices. And if he really is just that dumb at his age, to not comprehend that he can’t enter the personal space of someone he doesn’t know then he probably should just never speak to me because I don’t keep friends with stupid people.
Good day, sir!