The good (and terrible) thing about the super-rapid, hyper-digitized, ever-oversaturated flow of info in today’s world is that light gets shed on so many forms of previously shadowed truth, spurring us all to constantly revise and upgrade (or more stubbornly cling to) our assumptions, understandings, and frames of reference.
This in mind, it’s come as a terrible surprise to me that so many of my fellow men, guys, boys, and bros seem to think a lack of sexual consent is not only OK, but actually more enticing than consent. Observe Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump’s words, caught via live mic:
“Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything … Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”
I mean, like — What The Fuck?
When did consent become the 21st-century version of the condom (to those impatient fools who are against condoms) — the unneeded raincoat that takes away the tender sting of “actual” penetration?
Granted, when Trump expressed that bypassing the gates of consent was an exciting form of privilege, he was speaking, in the moment, for himself. Yet let’s not frame him as some form of demon, a subhuman rarity who can allow us to pretend he isn’t also the voice of millions upon millions of other troubled men and boys.
I try to understand such men and boys. As a fiction writer, a screenwriter, and an overall artist, I’ve devoted serious time and effort to getting inside their minds. And the best I can figure is, (1) the pain of possible rejection is so intense for them that they’d rather just carve rejection out of the equation altogether, and (2) the power the beauty of the female form has over them causes them a certain degree of resentment, one they’d like to lash back at with “power” (albeit in crude form) of their own.
So at the risk of getting all muddy, dank, and depressed, let’s dive down to their level for a moment, addressing troubled, aggressive, and dangerous males head-on:
I got it. It’s a rough game. And it seems at times like they (i.e., women and girls) are holding all the cards. They can turn us on real fast. They can break our hearts even faster. If only we seemed half as organically appealing to them as they are to us. If only all of them were so mystified by raunchiness, perversity, smut, and all the other stuff we like to talk about in the “locker room.”
In fact (and I’m back to addressing the general reader here), let’s talk about that locker room. By framing his words as locker room banter, Trump was attempting to evoke a form of Americana — which is to say, a form of innocence. He was calling upon tradition. He was saying what so many rape apologists say, a variation on the good ole’ “Boys will be boys.”
But I’ve personally witnessed locker room talk. And though I’ll freely admit that such talk can be simultaneously offensive to society at large and not ill-intended or carried out by men who are in fact dangerous, I like to think that most men, when engaging in this grand all-American tradition, tend to stop shy of expressing how hot it is when women don’t want what we’re giving them.
I mean — right???
Or is the word not out yet?
If consent’s the new condom — the raincoat on a bright summer’s day — then not only are many guys becoming dehumanized, they are seriously missing out.
Because consent’s the sweet center of sexual hotness. Consent’s how she tells you that she’s really into you. Consent’s how you smile at yourself in the mirror. Consent’s the best doorway to trying new things. Consent’s the clearest indicator that You Are Attractive. Consent marks the difference between confidence and doubt, good times and bad, good guys and bad, cool guys and rapists. Consent’s the original meaning of “scoring”; i.e., you didn’t score her body, you scored her approval. Consent’s a validation of your basic intelligence; for if your fantasy is a woman who comes absent a mind, it’s also an admission that you yourself are lacking in the mind department.
Consent’s being close. Consent’s looking out. Consent’s relaxation. Consent’s literal flow. Consent means You Are Worthy. Consent sleeps like a baby. Consent might want you back again. Consent has no doubt. Consent doesn’t lie. Consent’s not confused. Consent means you’ve put in actual effort. Consent means you’re both human. Consent’s serious, but makes way for laughter. Consent’s delicate, yet as strong as steel. Consent’s a romantic. Consent’s a gentleman. Consent is Romeo. Consent grants real power. Consent’s inspirational. Consent’s honest feedback. Consent is exciting. Consent makes your heart go. Consent marks a real man.
Real hu-man. Real lover. Real partner, honest-to-God.
And consent, for anyone who’s late to the game, is not just what gets you into the gate…
It’s what makes the gate worth going into in the first place.
And if you don’t get why, then…well, I don’t know what to tell you.
But I wish you a miserable life.