Here in Boston, our minds and hearts are with the family of Jassy Correia, a 23 year old mother who was first reported missing after getting separated from her friends at a local club, then tragically her body was found in the trunk of a car of the suspect in Delaware. This coming just over a month after another woman, Olivia Ambrose was reported missing after getting separated from her friends at a local bar. (Thankfully, she was found alive several days later, and tragically she had been taken and held against her will). In both cases, I couldn’t help but be taken aback by the immediate reaction of “so where the fuck were her friends?” I’m sure people reading this right now had the same reaction. I’m not even going to say that it’s wrong, just misdirected. The only person responsible for Jassy Correia’s death is her killer. Not her, not her friends, not her babysitter, not the club. It’s the reality of rape culture, in a perfect world women wouldn’t have to be taught to travel in packs, never take your eyes off a drink, send locations to friends…but this world is far from perfect and if Jassy had not been separated from friends, she could’ve got taken in a uber, just snatched walking down the street, attacked in her home by someone she trusted. We’re surrounded by monsters.
It’s a fear I don’t have as a man. I’m far enough removed from the life I used to live that I don’t even think about other hoods. If my boy leaves the party with a random woman, I don’t fear for his safety. Hell, I tell a nigga be safe he might get offended (when you think about it, it is ridiculous that we get defensive about that but hey, fragile masculinity or whatever). Our monsters are the ones who are supposed to protect and serve but that’s a topic for another day. I think about how I had the same curfew as my older sisters, the reaction to me dating in comparison to theirs and how women are raised to survive rape culture more than men are raised to fight it. Even as someone who likes to consider himself as being raised with some got damn sense.
Jassy should be home with her daughter right now. Olivia is going to have to deal with those horrifying 3 days for the rest of her life. Women across the world constantly having to deal with living among the monsters. As a man, I’ve had to accept that while I’m not a monster I fit the description of one. While I’m in the party with good vibes and intentions, to her I’m still a stranger and possible monster. I think about how men talk about the cockblocking homegirl, the girl with the RBF who ain’t trying to talk to anybody, the girl who is only there to dance with her friends and the mild inconvenience of not being able to get a shot off pales in comparison to her overall safety and comfort. Screaming #NotAllMen to the heavens don’t erase the reality that there’s still men who are. (Probably the main ones screaming #notallmen). The energy used to show you aren’t a monster can be used to hold accountable the ones who are, and being aware and vigilant. You don’t have to be a hero, but you have to be decent. If not, we’re coming for you too.
I always abhorred the idea of “men are dogs”. Men are trash… Well, we’ll get to that one another day. The idea of a man being a dog though, I always found to be simplistic. It’s the logic of the Steve Harveyisms of the world, a man don’t know no better he must be taught like a dog, good deed for treat. Give him too many treats and he becomes spoiled and now doesn’t know how to act. Don’t give him treats at all, he’ll leave. Either way whatever this grown ass adult does will be your fault. Plenty of men also accepted this logic as fact and so they are raised that the only incentive to court, listen or even just respect women is for a “treat”. Primary incentive to being successful, is for a “treat”. It’s why President H.W. Bush is well into his 90s and doesn’t see why groping women and calling himself David Cop-a-feel is wrong. It’s why President Dotard thinks it’s okay to grab them by the pussy. It’s why President Underwood feels empowered to sexually assault staff on set. (and teenage boys) It’s why President Clinton… (let’s be real here you KNOW a story is coming). They aren’t able to process being told no because they’ve excelled at their craft, received power and influence and therefore are entitled to treats. Woof.
What I find most baffling is like, I know better. I always knew better. And I’m not special. I didn’t need to take a feminism course in college, have a daughter or get dragged by the internet 18 times in my 30s to know better. I just know right and wrong and respect people. Sadly, that’s not as common as I thought it was. Even if I hit for a lick I can’t see how I would ever be so comfortable just whipping it out and masterbating in front of strangers or groping my Twitter followers at a day party.
It’s a new day, now. Even as society (slowly) progresses and proceeds to get all of these creepy dudes up out the paint (except the Dolt45 apparently)…I find myself wondering aloud:
Men don’t know how to process a “reward” from a woman that isn’t sexual.
It’s why so many struggle with the idea of a platonic female friend. They lament the idea of a friend zone because it flies in the face of the logic they were raised on. I’m… Nice to you and you don’t…want to see my dick?404 Error. It’s why so many men struggle with holding a conversation with a woman without flirting. (okay I do this but really it’s because there don’t be shit else to talk about) “What do you bring to the table besides sex” is a common quip but most won’t even notice the new plate setting. The women in their life nurture or fuck them or a mix of them both.
It also speaks to modern dating and being unwilling to put forth any effort to anything that isn’t going to be worth while. It’s something I found myself struggling with at one point…I show interest by courting, she showed interest by affection. After a few dates if there wasn’t any of the sort, I took the curve and went home. Then over time, I met the girl who just wanted sex and company, the girl who “wouldn’t be here if she didn’t like me”, the girl who loved me but didn’t want to be with me. Like…. None of this was in the manual. I was told by apple care that sex was the closer. But it isn’t. For some it might be, others you just caught her on a good night. It would be like if women were individuals who you should treat as such and not just assume they all kick it the same way. Otherwise, you go decades thinking your David Cop-a-feel joke still kills because it worked one time 30 years ago. But maybe, that’s too much like right.