Consent is a funny story – really, I went through school with the notion that no meant no and nothing less or more, and with not much time, free from the wrought iron gates of my all-girls private school, I up until recently carried with me, the naivety that other students were getting taught the same. Perhaps they were, and just don’t care about anything that doesn’t involve self-gain.
I’m writing this two months after the incident – that I perhaps overreacted about but nevertheless, it affected me deeply.
I was on a date, and what I thought would be a normal dinner and a movie turned out not to be quite as expected. Dinner as we had agreed on earlier, just didn’t seem to be on the cards for me – my date said that he wasn’t hungry, something which I thought was an excuse to get out of paying for dinner and so I offered to pay for myself after having skipped lunch – that too didn’t satisfy him and he insisted we watch a movie, he did, however, suggest that I could have dinner on my own while he found something better to do.
Now, all these weeks later I wish I’d agreed and let him be on his merry way. I may consider myself strong, but really I’ve got a myriad of insecurities – and being insufficient is one of them. You see, going to just watch a movie meant that all I was good enough for was a makeout session, to put it bluntly. Anyway, in an effort to make it seem like I was that strong woman that I try so hard to be – I agreed to watch a movie, and hopelessly tried to convince myself that it was my choice and I really wasn’t in the mood for those tempura sushi rolls that I had been craving all day.
Back to the movies, you see over the last couple of months, the cinema had been the place where we made out, hooked up if you may – I was that person, the person that I laughed at and looked down upon, but it was in those horrifically awkward fumbling moments that I discovered something about myself – I didn’t want to be that girl because each time I left the theatre I felt a compounded sense of self-loathing that quickly turned to indifference. I felt absolutely nothing but what’s worse is that I never once spoke up until that day.
I may have agreed to not having dinner, but I took a stand and perhaps it was too little too late. I told him we were watching the movie, with a deliberate emphasis on the word watching, however, my wishes were quickly dismissed with a single look. He asked for an explanation and refuted it by saying he would only listen if there was logic to what I was saying and that I enjoyed making out with him (which was true, but I value myself far more) – what affected me was that regardless of whether or not I made logical sense my choices are my own and shouldn’t warrant me having to explain myself. We watched the movie that night, but on his terms.
I don’t think I have ever felt more self-doubt as I did that day, my personality and presence were insufficient, they weren’t good enough, I was just a warm body and soft lips – I allowed myself to become that and I will regret that everyday.