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To call the Aziz Ansari date from hell sexual assault in an insult to survivors of sexual assault.

 

A couple of days ago a the website babe published an article entitled

“I went on a date with Aziz Ansari.  It turned into the Worst Night of My Life” The premise of the article was about a young photographer referred to only as Grace who went on a date with the television star Aziz Ansari.  I admit I don’t know much about Ansari’s work.  Apparently he’s fashioned his image as some sort of woke male feminist.

As soon as the article hit the internet the outrage machine was in full force.  People were decrying that Ansari was a rapist and that if anyone disagreed with them they were a rape apologist or supporting rape culture.  The term “victim blaming” was thrown around quite a bit.  I read and then re-read the article and kept coming to the same conclusion.  This doesn’t read like sexual assault it just seems like a bad date.

When I posted my misgivings about the article on my Facebook page, a few woman I know shared similar views.  Some even said they found it insulting as survivors of sexual assault themselves that something like this was being lumped in with real abuse.

I won’t break down the whole article beat by beat as I’m sure many others have done the same.  What I couldn’t help but notice though with each re-reading:

 

  • Ansari was overtly blatant about his intentions.  He went for sex almost as soon as they entered the apartment.  He mentioned a condom and performed oral sex on this woman within 10 minutes of them being alone together.

 

  • The woman was playing coy.  She had high expectations for this date.  He was a celebrity.  She had bragged about this date to her friends.  She was under the impression that Ansari would be more like his stage persona, and less like the man who was acting like an entitled prick.  She never really gives him a hard “No, I don’t want to do this” until after she’s performed oral sex on him twice, admittedly not whole heartedly.

From his perspective he’s not going to necessarily know she’s not into this if she has had his penis in her mouth twice that evening.  Of course any woman at any time during a sexual encounter has the right to slam on the breaks and end it.  Just because a woman agreed to make out with a man doesn’t mean she wants to have sex with him.  Just because she might consent to oral sex, doesn’t mean she wants to take things further.  What’s missing here is communication on both of their parts.

Ansari isn’t being subtle.  If anything he’s being too overt.  He’s acting like an spoiled brat who is used to having women throw themselves at him.  He’s probably assuming this woman is a huge fan of his and this is just as exciting for her than it is for him.  Ansari with all of his flaws is communicating nearly everything he wants.  He isn’t telling this woman he’s madly in love with her.  He didn’t bother with any pretense of wanting to get to know her better as a person.  He wants sex.  He wants sex immediately and keeps stating his intentions openly.

The woman is not communicating her needs as clearly.  She only does so when things get so bad for her that she finally snaps.  She moves away and mumbles, she tells him to “chill out” but she doesn’t tell him NO.  She doesn’t use the one word that can’t be mistaken for any other meaning.  The one word that he cannot misunderstand.  She continues to make out with him and engage in sexual contact with him.

The real tragedy for me in this whole thing is not that she was sexually assaulted.  I still don’t think she was sexually assaulted.  Honestly if this really is the “worst night of her life” as she is quoted in the article then she has lived a charmed life.  By the time I was 22 years old I’d had several bad dates like this one.  I’d also survived molestation, sexual harassment, sexual assault and attempted rape.  In all of those encounters I had no control whatsoever.  It didn’t matter what I said or did, the men who were abusing me wouldn’t stop.   I wish I could have started crying and asked for a cab to make it all stop, but no amount of tears or denials worked.

The real tragedy is that as a woman she’d been conditioned, probably since birth, to not speak up for herself in the moment.  She somehow thought she could turn this horrific situation around by playing coy.  She also thought that he might pick up on the fact that she “went cold” and stopped responding sexually.  Again she was answering clear oral communication with vague non-verbal cues.  She thouhgt she might change his mind by staying in sexual encounter but still stopping short of sex.  She felt she had to “play nice” and not speak up for herself.  The other tragedy is that Ansari had also been conditioned to believe that women can be coaxed into sex if men just keep pushing.  Although her actions would be confusing to most men, when she finally said “Let’s chill out.” that should have been a cue for him to maybe ask her directly and bluntly what she wanted in that situation.  Instead it was his turn to be vague and pretend they were really going to just watch television.

This was not an assault, it was a miscommunication of epic proportions with both sides making mistakes.  I also honestly feel bad for the woman in this situation.  I’m sure she was hurt and disappointed by all of it.  He didn’t treat her well but sadly there will probably be far more dates like this one in her future.   If a man says he wants to have sex 10 minutes into the encounter very little is going to dissuade him from his mission.  He made his intentions clear early on.  If she didn’t want to have sex with him, that should have been her cue to leave.  Most women will find themselves in these situations countless times.  At least Ansari didn’t mislead her, lie to her and tell her he had deep feelings for her, have sex with her and then never speak to her again.  That move is also quite common and insidious with men of all ages.

If women want to be taken seriously as equal members of society we can’t pretend we are suddenly hopeless lambs without agency or power.  If we don’t want to do something we have to say NO.  We have to sometimes say no loudly, repeatedly and say it with purpose.  Women don’t owe a man sex if he just bought us dinner, lives in an expensive apartment or is a television personality.  We don’t owe a man a reciprocal blow job if he’s already gone down on us.  If we aren’t comfortable we need to say so and not wait until the next day, ruminate over the whole thing and then decide we are violated.   If a man has made it clear to us that he wants to have sex and nothing more, then we can make the choice to agree to it or not.

Honestly I fear that the article will be used by MRA (Mens Rights Advocates) who try to argue that date rape doesn’t really exist.  That date rape basically boils down to women regretting their choices from the night before and then crying rape/sexual assault after the fact.  Sexual assault is a vicious and ugly thing to endure.  It robs people of control over the most personal part of themselves, their body and dignity.  I don’t see that type of ugliness in this scenario.  I see instead a young inexperienced woman who was still holding on to an idealized fantasy of how the date should have gone, and a entitled, immature man intent on getting laid.  When she finally gave him a forceful NO he stopped.  She went home and cried and he probably jerked off to porn.  It was an awkward and uncomfortable sexual experience for both of them, not a criminal act.

This whole thing reminds me of a time when a friend of mine went out with another celebrity I won’t name.  He was quite a bit older and also presented himself as a woke type who respects women.  On their date after dinner and drinks he sat down next to my friend in her apartment and put his arm around her back.  Before she knew it he was on top of her and had whipped out his erect penis.  Now my friend is an athlete.  She used to compete in professional pole dancing competitions.  Before he knew what hit him, she shoved him off with all her force and screamed  “GET OFF OF ME!  WHAT ARE YOU DOING?”  His response was a meek “Sorry, sorry, sorry.  I thought that’s what you wanted.”  It wasn’t.  They never went out again, but now my friend had a hilarious story to tell at parties.  In her case he wasn’t a rapist either, just a clueless entitled idiot who backed down the second he got a hard refusal.  These things happen, they’re called bad dates, not sexual assault.

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Dating in NYC: The Honest Sinner vs. The Phony Saint

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Disclaimer: To protect the identity of the men involved in this article – I am leaving out some specifics about them and these events. I will not disclose anything more about them publicly.  I don’t really want to get sued, or have anyone accuse me of slander…I didn’t write this to attack anyone – just as a cautionary tale.

Why do so many people deceive others when it comes to dating? I’ve heard countless stories about men and women who lie about their age, job, marital status, a previous divorce, a live-in partner, even children. People also hide their true intentions. They might act like they are looking for a serious relationship when they are really wanting no-strings attached sex. A man or woman might also pretend they want a casual relationship when he or she is secretly hoping for a committed one. I’m a huge advocate for truth. Honesty will get a person father than secrets and lies. I have two examples in my own personal life that illustrate this perfectly.

The Honest Sinner – An absolutely beautiful man who was over a decade younger than myself and someone I knew casually. When he approached me he was upfront.  He was looking for a casual sexual encounter, no strings, no expectations. Before our hook-up, he even sent me a text with the rules of engagement. It wasn’t exactly romantic, but I knew he wouldn’t try to coerce me into anything I didn’t want to do. I weighed my options, and considered I would take him up on his offer. It wasn’t just that I found him incredibly handsome, I also genuinely appreciated his candor. We ended up meeting, more than once, and the sex was great. I didn’t care if he was hooking up with anyone else, as I never really saw him as much of boyfriend material due to our age difference. I also knew he didn’t have a serious girlfriend so he wasn’t cheating on anyone. There was never any pretense. We didn’t go on dates, and neither one of us indicated that we wanted more out of the situation. I decided to cut it off when it wasn’t working for me anymore, but I actually grew to like him as a person. Sometimes these arrangements can lead to all sorts of misunderstandings and misery but in this example it worked out. His looks were definitely a factor of why I had a casual relationship with him, but his honesty is what sold it. Had he been sleazy or deceptive I wouldn’t have gone near him.

The Phony Saint – A moderately good-looking guy who I thought I might want to date seriously. He was closer to my age, had a good job and was extremely well-educated. He overall was a much better match for me on paper, and I was physically attracted to him. We seemed to get along well, but I barely knew him, so I honestly didn’t have strong feelings either way.

Things went South on our second date when I made the mistake of going back to his apartment. Within minutes he got extremely physical and I felt uncomfortable. His sexual energy made me feel like some sort of live action porn doll – and I just wanted it to stop. My instincts were correct when right before he actually tried to have sex with me, he called me Gillian instead of Juliet. As soon as I saw the condom, I shut everything down. Then I completely humiliated myself and burst into tears. It honestly was the first time I can remember, since maybe college, when I have had a total meltdown while on a date. I was mad at myself for letting things get this far, and I felt like a total idiot for crying. Deep down I knew something was incredibly inauthentic about him so I asked, “Do you do this all the time? Is this what you do with women?” He looked at me sheepishly and said, “Well yeah. I’m basically a child, I can’t have a serious relationship.”

This man had a professional job and was in his mid-thirties. He had also asked me out on a date, he wasn’t upfront about wanting just a hook-up. Unlike the Honest Sinner who kept all his correspondence sexual and to the point, The Phony Saint laid it on thick with multiple emails and texts as if he had some real interest in me. He even claimed to have looked me up online. When I point-blank asked him, “Which videos did you watch of me?” he responded, “Um, two. One of you getting interviewed on television and another one – I don’t remember.”  Now I don’t know how he couldn’t recall a short video he claimed to have watched just the day before, but I really didn’t care.  I knew he really didn’t really give a damn about me when he called me by the wrong name, and treated me like some sort of masturbation toy.

For the next extremely awkward hour, or so I apologized for crying while he begged me for various sex acts.  Even at the time I was unsure why I didn’t just walk out.  I got repeated inquiries from him to “jizz on my ass, stomach or tits”. He actually used the term “jizz” and seemed shocked that I had no interest. I might have honored his requests if I actually liked him, or if we had sex, but at that point it was just pathetic. I was just in shock that things had gone so badly so quickly and I wasn’t really sure what to do.  During all of this he danced around the room naked while speaking to me in a sing-song jokey way. I guess he was trying to cheer me up, but it just made him lose any remaining dignity. He then offered me leftover take out from his fridge.  When I say leftover takeout, I mean takeout that was at least a day old if not older.  I told him I didn’t want his “used food” and I refused to drink anything.   Any spark of sexual attraction I had towards him vanished, but I also calmed down and realized I was in no danger.  Things got even stranger when I realized he seemed to enjoy being chewed out by me. The Phony Saint just became a test subject to me of sorts. Thankfully I was completely sober, but my sobriety just meant I would remember every horrible detail of what was now, the worst date of my life.

So which man got what he wanted? The Honest Sinner got free sex from a consensual enthusiastic partner. The Phony Saint experienced an extremely embarrassing and sexually humiliating evening. If I could scrape that night from my brain I would, and yes it will make great material for my stand-up, but I have SO MUCH material already. HA!!!!!! I would have much rather had a lovely evening than another horror story to share onstage. Had he been honest from the beginning, I probably would have turned him down for sex as I get offers for that from total strangers all the time. The Honest Sinner was someone I knew already and that factored into my decision to hook-up with him. But even though I would have turned down the The Phony Saint, plenty of other women would have taken him up on the offer. He was good-looking, had a nice build, a great job and his own apartment – he had plenty of qualities that would get him laid in New York City.

The moral of this story: When in doubt, just tell the truth – everyone will be much happier for it, and no one will end up dancing around the room naked begging a women to let him – jizz on her butt.  Also, never call a woman by the wrong name when you’re trying to seduce her – it’s just bad form.
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Dating in NYC: How to self-sabotage a date

English: (ship) half-submerged and sinking.

English: (ship) half-submerged and sinking. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Anyway this is meant as self-deprecating humor.  I am after all a comedian.  I am a lousy dater because for my entire adult life I have been a serial monogamist so I really don’t know how to do the date thing.  I talk to much, I reveal too much, and I am too hyper…but I am hardly nasty and I have heard so many stories from both genders of people being extremely mean or shallow on these dates…so please anyone reading this…the piece was meant as satire, self-parody…don’t take it so seriously!  YIKES! 

Dating is not marriage, dating is one big job interview after another.  Marriage is trying to keep the job you have had for years already have interesting and exciting.  Going from a long-term marriage to the dating pool is rough, I have no idea what I am doing, but I do know when a date is clearly not going to work out.  And to avoid having “the talk” with some guy I barely know, I tend to instead self-sabotage the whole endeavor.   The “talk” is the short brief chat about why I don’t think we are compatible as a romantic couple.  I don’t like getting “the talk” from a man who isn’t interested in me, and I hate giving it.  Since I date mostly men I meet online, it is a total crap-shoot.  I can’t really tell much from a profile, and I have no idea if I will end up having any type of connection with the person.  Most of the time I don’t, and that is not their fault, but merely the nature of the beast.  I don’t get offended or upset when I can tell a man is not viewing me as a potential match.  It is the meeting of two total strangers, it is rare when sparks fly.

I don’t really understand what makes attraction work, but I do know that on a few dates I wanted to crawl over the table and start making out with a guy I had just met.  I didn’t publicly make-out with a total stranger, but in the two times that I have felt that right away, I ended up briefly dating those men.   The two suitors looked nothing alike and had totally different personalities, I can’t explain why both of them were appealing to me, but there it is.  When the initial attraction is not there and the conversation is forced or awkward, then it is time to have “the talk” or resort to self-sabotage.

There are generally two methods of self-sabotaging a date.  The first I call the super clingy needy crazy girl, sometimes the super clingy needy girl act can backfire, and it also makes you look crazier.

  • Talk about marriage immediately
  • Talk about babies immediately, wanting to have babies, your friends babies etc. anything about babies
  • Discuss with your date things that you will do in the far future, things like “I can’t wait to hang with you at Christmas!”
  • Ask way too many super personal questions right off the bat, such as “How many women have you slept with?”, or “How many girlfriends have you had?”
  • Talk about how much you love the man’s neighborhood and would love to live there

The dark torpedo – my preferred method and honestly I do this a bit subconsciously when I don’t even mean to go there.

  • Go on and on about my divorce
  • Talk about being on medication for my clinical depression due to my divorce
  • Ramble on about every ex-boyfriend I have had, or my ex-husband
  • Don’t ask the man any personal questions about himself
  • Discuss politics, history, world wars or something incredibly dark or horrible
  • Lament on all of my family drama and dysfunction
  • Say things like “I really shouldn’t be dating anyone right now”

The torpedo of darkness usually works, and the sad thing is that it sort of comes on me automatically.  It isn’t that I have a master plan and want to be mean, I just don’t watch my bad habits if I am not really into a guy.  And if he isn’t getting the hint I tend to lay it on even thicker.  I would rather have him think that I am broken and not available than to think it is something about him that I don’t like.  Because usually I don’t know why I am not attracted to the guy, I couldn’t tell you if you put a gun to my head.  It is just a quality that can’t be explained, but if it is not there, then it is not there.   I know I have gone through the opposite myself.

Some of my worst dating stories involve the following

  • A date who got noticeably offended and disgusted when I revealed I was from Missouri
  • Another man who bitched about an ex-girlfriend from….20 years ago.
  • A date who said his ex-wife was a bitch in the first five minutes
  • A date who proclaimed  “I don’t get emotionally attached” and then kept trying to steer the conversation to sex
  • A date who told me how much he missed his ex and hoped they would get back together
  • A man who openly told me he wanted to date a friend of mine – and yes this did happen.

If you are stuck in a situation where you think a guy is a decent fellow but you don’t really feel the urge to take the relationship further, use this as a simple guide to drive him away.  So far it has worked every time.  I accidentally learned these techniques from having one horrible date after another and trying to date too soon after I got divorced.   And if you meet a guy you actually want to see again, I strongly suggest you avoid doing any of the above, because you really want to look your best and not like a crazy clingy woman or a dark cloud of doom.