Splitting Headaches

I don’t know how to act when the waiter brings us a check and I’m out on a date with a feminist.

Is it misogynist for me to pay the bill because I’m adhering to archaic ideas of controlling women economically?

Is it misogynist for me to expect her to pay in because that’s not acknowledging the financial privilege I have over her?

I mean, the line is really blurry!

The modern feminist man treads on eggshells for a lot of obvious reasons, we can usually cherry-pick what archaic practice we should keep and which we need to move past.  I’ll hold the door open for a lady, but I don’t think that somehow justifies the wage gap between men and women.  Drawing that line is sometimes difficult, though.

How do we resolve the conflicts that exist between being the egalitarian bachelors of the new age and being the chivalrous gentlemen of old?  How do we advance from being the men we’ve been told since childhood that women want into becoming the modern men that women deserve?  Can we be both?

The clearest example of this is dealing with the bill at the end of a date.  As the existing narrative plays out, the man pounces on the check as soon as it arrives, settling the debt with no mention of recompense.  This standard has certainly met with a widespread level of acceptance; I’ve even had die-hard, Chesler-reading feminists suddenly pull out their phone and pretend they don’t see the bill when it gets brought to the table.  At the same time, some respond negatively and view this as a throwback to a time when men would financially support women in exchange for treating them as second class citizens.  I have zero ability to tell which response my reaching for the bill with elicit, though!

I’ve heard a few coping techniques for this transitional period we’re in on our way towards equality, but I have issues with many of these.

The first sentiment is that whoever requested the date pays for the date.  On paper, this seems like a valid new policy for an age of equality.  This is, of course, wholly inaccurate.  Realistically, because the modern dating world is populated with women who have been groomed to not take the initiative, lest they be accused of wanting male advances, the majority of dates are requested by men and will therefore also be purchased by men.

There is also the practice of Going Dutch, which generally means “pay separately”.  I prefer not to do this for a number of reasons.  You don’t want to go around painting the Dutch as cheap and selfish, regardless of how you may feel about them.  The other issue is that splitting a bill any way but down the middle can be a chore for the waitstaff, which turns this into an issue about gender and labor.  I don’t want to subject the service staff to the messy pen-marks we’ve scribbled on the receipt to indicate who ordered the Old Fashioned and who ordered the Fuzzy Navel.  Also, I would prefer to not have to acknowledge that I ordered the Fuzzy Navel.

As a man of both feminism and frugality, I’ve found some alternatives to these resolutions:

  1. You Travel.  I Treat.
    This is my favorite.  If my date is saving me a trip somewhere, that’s time in my pocket and I’ll be glad to cover them for that courtesy.  Couple that with the fact that I get to pick a place that I know is within my price range, and close to my place if things go well, and this is plan is (sometimes literally) right up my alley.
  2. Gratuitous Cash
    If one of you insists on picking up the bill, let the other party pay just the tip.  Servers certainly appreciate cash tips.  Just make sure that if you’re paying with a card you write the word “cash” in the tip box on the receipt!  If you don’t, they might think you stiffed them…
  3. Halvesies
    Straight and to the point.  Let’s each put a card down and tell the waiter to split the bill in twain.  We don’t even need to tell the waiter, we could just karate chop the air in front of us and they’ll know what to do.  When I’m on a date with another man, we’re going halvesies.  And many feminists would be glad to hear they are being treated with the same respect and responsibility that I give to a man I’m dating.

No matter which of these you do – or don’t do, I find that discussing the matter before you even decide where to meet goes a long way to prevent getting jammed up when the bill arrives.  And that’s one less hurdle we’ll need jump over on a first date.

Navigating the world of feminism as a man can be tough, though!  Did I miss anything in my efforts to find a solution to the bill at the end of a date?  Anybody else do how I do?  Is my opinion on the matter irrelevant because I am passably cishet male?

Leave your tips in the comments, please!

Confessions of a Recovering Adjacent-Rapist

It’s pure luck that I’ve never woke up next to someone I recently assaulted.  There were times I didn’t know a party was consenting until I reached down and felt how excited they were.

I had some great times before I made getting consent a priority.  A platonic spooning party with a friend could turn into a forbidden tryst in the middle of the night.  I could meet someone on the dancefloor and accept their afterparty invitation without knowing their sobriety.  I could let kisses turn to touches turn to wet fingers and clenched teeth and the only sound either of us muttered were moans.

But I was stupid and should have known better.  In my head, I was reading consent in all sorts of places.  But I was also young enough to believe all sorts of bad shit was a good idea.  Whether or not I was committing rape-adjacent sex wouldn’t be confirmed until the pillow talk.  I was getting Schrodinger’s consent.  And I’m a lucky guy that I guessed right all those times.

Now that I’m more grown up, I have distinctly higher developed ideas about consent.  At the time though, I would have defended my behavior fiercely.  I wasn’t driven to committing these acts by any classical rape motives.  I committed these acts because I wasn’t raised not to.  I committed these acts because nobody ever told me it was wrong.

These days, I’m friends with enough staunch feminists that requesting consent is implicit in lovemaking.  For plenty of people, asking for consent does not impede the chemistry of an encounter.  They will glaze over it as part of the process, like queefing.  For some people though, the idea of asking for verbal consent is as destructive to an intimate encounter as whiskey-dick or seeing a picture of Janet Reno.

Some people view the push for verbal consent as an unnecessary version of a sex contract that ruins the intimacy of an encounter; it kills the mood.  Some guys think it somehow undermines the classical male sexual fantasy they are trying to embody.  Some girls don’t do it because social conditioning.  Ladies are more than just groomed to not say “no” when they don’t want something.  Plenty of women are never groomed to say “yes” when they do.

Speaking with my female friends, they seem to be just as unacclimated to giving consent as plenty of guys are unacclimated to asking for it.  Lots of my female friends have told to me that they have frozen up silently when guys have asked them.  The guys went ahead with Schrodinger’s Consent, and things have worked out sometimes.  And just like plenty of guys believe they can read nonverbal consent, plenty of girls have tried to give nonverbal consent by doing weird shit like averting their eyes and starting to giggle.  

Just this last weekend, I was at a Halloween party I was hosting for the Chicago Poly Community.  I invited along a lady that I had been on two dates with.  I thought the dates went pretty well.  At the end of our second date, she even gave me a kiss…in the face!  Third time seeing her, I invite her out to the Polyween party.  She looks to be having a great time meeting people and hitting the dance floor.  I even had some time to share a dance with her.

When I’m dancing with someone I don’t know…or only kind of know, I keep my hands to myself  unless I ask permission first.  So she and I had some of that sweet intimate-but-separate dancing for a spell.  I leaned in and asked her if I could put my hand on the small of her back.  She didn’t respond, though.  I thought she didn’t hear me, so I asked again.  She averted her eyes and started giggling.  Then I told her straight; I wasn’t going to touch her without her verbal consent.  Instead of saying yes or even nodding her head, she instead turned around and began grinding her ass against my crotch.  It was some straight-up tweenstyle frottage on the dancefloor.  To me, I felt like she was more comfortable doing this than saying “yes” which was really unsettling.

I’ve had a date where we were giggling in between sharing a big plate of nachos and discussing our mutual affinity for cunnilingus.  Nachos turn into a motorcycle ride to her place for coffee.  While we were waiting for the lattes to cool, I asked if I could give her a kiss.  When I leaned in to kiss her, it was like her libido was a party popper and I just pulled the cord.  We collapsed on the kitchen floor, frantically snogging each other like ravenous octopi.  She ripped both of our clothes off, pitching them at the recycling bin, the dish rack, the cat.  When I was finally able to come up for air and lay her back on the checkered tiles, I began kissing down her bare midsection.  I stopped at her waistline and said something brazen and ridiculous:

“I don’t mean to be too forward.  But if you’ll have me, I’d be awful fond of slinging your legs around my neck and eating out your snatch like I was wearing a fucking feedbag.
I gave that imagery a second to set in and let her finish giggling before I followed up:
“I don’t mean to make those kind of moves without your blessing, though.  May I?”

She didn’t respond with a “yes”, but I know she heard my question.  She averted her eyes and started giggling.  I decided to shoot her straight.  I told her I don’t like to get involved with peoples’ genitals unless I have aggressive consent.  She still didn’t say anything.  She grabbed a fistful of my hair and stuffed my face down into her crotch.  I know it’s dangerous to go ahead without enthusiastic verbal consent, but I did that thing where I put my faith in reading nonverbal cues.

On the one hand, I was a little put off that she wouldn’t just say “yes”.  I was put off that I put all this work into verbal consent and she didn’t ask if she could ball up my pompadour and put me to work.  I was put off that she was bold enough to ride on a stranger’s motorcycle and let him into her home, strip him naked and decorate the kitchen with his clothes, then let perfectly good coffee get cold; but this whole saying “yes” thing was just too much.  Yeah, I was a little put off.

On the other hand, she was smokin’ hot and I wasn’t fibbing when I made my original offer…

Lots of people believe that nonverbal consent is acceptable if the guy is following the gal’s lead.  But this opens a whole different slew of issues.  Sure, there are ladies who are more comfortable taking the reigns silently than they are with responding verbally to a consent request.  But for one thing, they aren’t as common as girls who just freeze up silently and make no response despite their desires.  The other issue with letting the woman lead is questioning whether women should be held to the same standard of verbal consent as men.  Letting the woman lead without verbal consent operates under the assumption that men can never be the victims of rape-adjacent sex with a woman.

Getting over the problems with consent is going to be tough.  For everyone.

Obviously, us guys are going to need to dramatically beef up our efforts to gain consent.  But we’re all in this together and there’s a lot of work that women have to do to undo this consent bind we’re all in.  Just like guys need to know when to ask, girls need to know when to tell.  Something I’ve learned in my greater efforts to get consent is that girls have been raised to do a lot of confusing shit when it comes to consent.

I’m all but spent with confusing consent issues.  I was reading this great article by Leah Libresco about rape-adjacent sex.  She recommends guys conduct a “reverse-lysistrata“, where we boycott sex with women who aren’t willing to give us verbal consent.  While many may scoff at the idea, I don’t think this is that far off.  I know plenty of my male peers who won’t have sex with a girl if they have to wear a condom, plenty won’t have sex with a girl if she won’t perform fellatio first, plenty who go soft if a gal hasn’t shaved her legs.  If these trivialities can keep guys from having sex, hell yeah I believe we can hold out without verbal consent.

Up until the revolution comes, though, we’re could all try a little more to diffuse some of these issues.

TO THE MEN OF THE WORLD:

Will a greater effort for verbal consent be damaging to the intimate encounters that you have?  Not really.

I’ve been a consent thumper for the past few years and it hasn’t reduced the amount of girls I’ve brought home.  I may have a few novelties to sway the ladies in my direction, but consent is easy enough to get.  In the event that you bring home a gal who can’t say “yes”, you could certainly make a fun game of giving her consent to take charge, otherwise you may just have to spend the night platonically.  It might be better to not have sex with someone who’s got an issue with a push for consent.  Any girl who would get turned off by the idea of you asking first is probably not the kind of person you wanna take home.

TO THE WOMEN OF THE WORLD:

Be ready to say no.  Be ready to say yes.

Nobody is going to call you a slut.  Unless that’s what you want.  In which case you should definitely tell us.

Ask for consent.  Ask for us to ask for consent.  Take the initiative.

If you’re the kind of lady who’s already capable, god bless you.  Help your sisters reach that level of confidence and comfort.

To everyone:

This might mean that I don’t have a whole lot of bedroom skills to be complimented on, but the most common compliment I receive from a new lover is that they really liked how I asked before I did anything.  Flattering though it is, I don’t want to be complimented for this anymore.  Asking for consent shouldn’t be something I get recognition for, this should be a standard practice.  I want people to request/grant consent while fucking as easily as they gloss over the sheets getting ruffled while fucking.  I want girls to feel comfortable owning their sexuality, especially if it means telling guys like me they want that D.  I want to lay in bed with a new lover, catching our breath and I want to be complimented for my cuddling ability, my O-face, my bedsheets…fucking anything except asking for consent.

A consent revolution isn’t going to happen overnight.  It’s not going to happen because of the actions of one gender.  It’s going to happen one person at a time until it becomes the standard.

What converted me?  Somebody asked me.

 

 

 

 

AUTHORS NOTE: I understand that this article was written with a very heteronormative idea of relationships which falls heavily on the false gender dichotomy.  The spectrum of love and gender is vast and wide and yet still unexplored completely!  I apologize if you feel like this article does not apply to you because you do not subscribe to these ideas.  This article is directed towards the sizable population of conventional datership that does.
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