Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Prey: An Uncensored Post

This blog is usually written to a standard that literally anyone could read it - my mother, my coworkers, my bosses, my nieces.

This post is written to that same standard.  And it has absolutely filthy language and ideas in it.  Sadly:  this needs to be said.  Again and again and again.

The first coherent experience I had of a sexual predator, fortunately, was anecdotal and not personal.  The Guy in the Yellow Camaro.  It is so general as to almost be an urban legend, but when I was pretty young, maybe nine-ish, there was a guy in the neighborhood driving around in his car trying to get little girls into it.  There were no horror stories (we heard) about his actually succeeding, but the word was out and the word was clear:  girls were for hunting.

I've tried, without enthusiasm, and realized that to catalogue my experience with creeps would be impossible.  I remember them all, but again - without enthusiasm.  There was the guy at the lake, when my family and my cousins' family were all together eating chicken and swimming.  The first stranger who ever told me to smile; we were on a trip and my family were all going to the bathroom or warming up the car - in any case, I was standing by myself in a restaurant and found the experience of a strange man attempting to turn my emotional state into his personal life decor - which must be *pretty* - ineffably horrifying and invasive.  Those boys at that party thousands of miles from anything I understood, whose Maccabee beer-driven sexual desires were more important than mine or my cousin's humanity.  I was fourteen.

The one who tried (and failed) to get in my pants all the while telling me he thought "that smell that girls have must be urine."  Because he found it filthy, as girls were apparently, and his grasp of feminine anatomy began and ended with "wanna grasp" and that was it.

The one my freshman year who fortunately was too drunk, even as huge as he was, to overcome me for meaningless, but still more-important-than-my-personhood reasons.

The one my freshman year I never so much as stood in a room alone with, who sneered a sexual smear against me to one of my best friends.

The one who pulled my skirt up over my waist while Beloved Ex, then my boyfriend, was onstage.

The ones my mother heard, on the night before my college graduation, screaming "I WANT SOME PUSSY" outside my apartment window (not particularly at me).  Mom got to like Beloved Ex, and understood why I was dating a "Townie", a whoooole lot better that night.

The one at that temp job who left anonymous notes on my car, when I worked sixty miles from home and was completely alone.  I never did find out who that was.

The one who walked me to my car, because that's what you do, you walk women to their cars.  So you can then attempt to coerce them into letting you into their cars so you can fuck them, again meaninglessly, because that is always more important than her dignity, her desire (or lack of it), her humanity - than anything about her except her genitals.

The ones who came up behind Beloved Ex that one night while he sat in his van waiting for it to warm up.  They saw beautiful blond hair and said to it, "Hey, baby - you want some cock in you?"

Beloved Ex, bless his very fine soul, was utterly horrified by that.  He was shaken.  I still remember his coming over to my apartment after that, telling me about it, genuinely bewildered, deeply offended and shocked.  "Do men SAY things like that?  Really?"

Yes, B.E.  Well ... not *men*, no.  But human males come up with that sort of thing all the time.

I kvetch a lot, sarcastically, about the whole "there is no war on women" thing we hear all too regularly (from the same quarters who helpfully inform us "it's not about race" when a young black boy is heedlessly murdered).  But it occurs to me ... one declares war on an enemy army.  The men who say these things, who do these things, do not consider women to be anything like an actual force.  We're seriously nothing more than a series of holes to these creatures.  Nice to stick a penis in, but otherwise only to be dismissed, and violently if necessary.


For any male who has read this far - ANY male - and, yes, I am thinking of all those among you whom I know will read this, my family, my friends, any one and every one of you:  this is what it is really like, to be a woman.

I am one of the lucky ones.  I've held my own, pretty much, even through my own utterly stupid years.  No man has ever hit me.  No man has ever called me worse than "bitch".  The man who did that cannot begin to know what it was he wielded, the abuse and damage that was simply by virtue of its being said by a man.  None of you can ever experience what it is actually like, all our lives.  Not even the ones who've heard things like, "Hey, baby, you want some cock in you?"

Because that happened once in the entire lifetime of a person now approaching half a century.

Because even if anything so shocking could be said to a man consistently, for life - merely by that physical presence we women hate to know is so different - the threat and the experience of it could never be the same.  As it is for a girl of nine, walking with a cousin across a parking lot near a lake, family not more than a couple hundred yards away ... but as far as the moon, if things had gone differently.  Being approached by a man pointing out her nascent breasts, being appraised like meat because that is what girls are for for too many men across our society.

Don't kid yourself it's just some creep in a yellow Camaro, either.

It's that rich boy in college, raised and tumescent with his own entitlement to satisfaction - and reared on ideas that women aren't really people.

It's the awkward guy in an office, who ties up a cherry stem, hands it to a woman after everyone has left the building, and says to her (honestly imagining this is a pick-up line ... and utterly unaware that there is no place for this behavior in this - deserted - setting), "NO HANDS."  Or who tells her confounding and gruesome stories, of all things, about his ex wife's bloody and horrific childbirth of their son.

Or the one who walks up behind a woman, again at work, whispering to himself - very archly so she can hear it - "I just have to say something" and then corners her OUTSIDE THE BATHROOM for fifteen minutes, starting off with the question, "are you married?" as if a wedding ring is the sole possible defense for a woman in any possible scenario denying him her attention.

It's the banker who, in 1962 or '63, my mom and all her coworkers have to use a buddy-system to avoid being alone in the vault with.

It's a perfectly nice guy on a date, who begins talking about the sex swing he and his ex had as a viable option for future time together.

It is the stranger in a parking lot, sure, who says "want some cock in ya" to someone he can't even identify as female ...

... but it's also the ones in disguise.  The ones we don't know for sure are harmless.  The ones who force us, every day, all of our lives, to gauge our personal safety, completely aside from "hating" men - but entirely because in order to function normally in an abnormal and sometimes terrible world, it is necessary to keep with us the gift of fear, at all times.  Without the healthy skepticism a certain level of fear for our personal wellbeing provides regarding interacting with other people, no woman can survive our society.


I am one of the lucky ones, and I am richly talented, full of life, confident, even sexy (sometimes ...).  And there isn't a day in my life fear has no role at all.

Someone recently scoffed at me, after a new door was installed in my home.  It has a large window, and I cover that window every night with a towel.  In order to see in that window, it would be necessary to come far up my front walk, to be very close to my house, to be making a stalkerly point of attempting to look in.  I cover the window anyway.

Live for twenty-five or so years of your life, as a woman alone in our country.

Live in that one apartment where the guy across the hall (a "nice" looking person, an upscale apartment building) comes to the door at three a.m., clearly with the intent of getting laid - and shocked that not only do you answer, when finally and awfully you feel forced to do, looking bleary and sleep-mussed (not in a sexy way), but that you evince instantaneous and forbidding hostility at the obviousness of his intent.  That bastard is fortunate I never called the police.

Live for a couple years with a registered sex offender as another neighbor.

Live, essentially, your entire adult life as a woman alone.  Not a woman hideously abused.  Not a woman with unusual experience of others' sexual deviance.  Just an ordinary woman.  In our decidedly non-ordinary world.  And see if you don't feel you have the right to cover a damned window, and let logic be damned.


My experience isn't even remotely encapsulated here.  I share what I have to give a reader ... to give men, frankly ... the slightest shred of understanding what goes into the life, even, of a highly privileged and fortunate woman on her own.  Every single one of you is a RISK, for us.  Every hello in an elevator, every passing car honking, every would-be friendly fellow at the movie theater trying to strike up that conversation we must navigate with painstaking care so as not to offend, and so as not to encourage.  Every.  Single.  One.  Of you.

Every man, whether WE like it or not, at the point of introduction (no matter the introduction) can be a threat.  That one boss who used to like to throw the rubber band ball at the front window of our office when women walked by - and who talked about the most illegally inappropriate things.  The nice guy we go out with once several friends and family are informed exactly where and how long we will be on a first date.  Even the friend of a friend, whom nobody could have known was into "that" ... or the man in the grocery store, who could be perfectly nice, but whose clear attempts to gain our attention will *not* desist no matter how utterly they are ignored.  Even the weird religious guy and his wife who interviewed me for a job that one time and who scared the bejeezus out of me with endless probing questions about whether I went to church and what my social life was like.  In an after-hours interview.  When nobody was in the office but the three of us.  *URK*

You think you are Just This Guy, See.  And we get that, and we aren't hateful about that.

But we require proof.  Just to survive.  KNOW this.  Know that I wrote this post specifically for you, and even to upset you.  For you to show your son, for you to remember if you have a daughter.  Know that nothing you ever do, say, nor consider, where a woman you don't know yet is concerned can be said or done without her having to go through a sophisticated process of calculation and vetting, just to swipe a damned ATM card at the damned grocery store.  Know this:  for your children.

Don't hold it against us because we put as much of a premium on our life and limb - and genitals - as some men put on their random and impersonal urge to domination and sexual release.

But do remember:  our lives are not like yours.

And, no.  Most of us, on the whole, are extremely unlikely to "want a little cock" in us if the approach is anything like so entitled, threatening, and dangerously random.

The man who doesn't even know I am a human being at all, I don't want to entrust with my decidedly human, and spiritually priceless, body.

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