Tuesday, September 24, 2013

OK, Cupid--Shoot Me in the Head

I "met" someone on a dating website today. He introduced himself and said I was beautiful and asked if we could meet.  

I enacted my what has become my standard response protocol: I went to his profile and sorted on the "ethics" questions. I came across one that said, "Someone you like is drunkenly flirting with you. You know that with a sober mind this person would never engage in casual sex, but now it seems that they're willing. What do you do?"

And his answer was: "Take advantage of the situation."

I am not even making that up.

So I copied and pasted that little Q/A into my reply with a note that said "Thank you for contacting me. However, this is a dealbreaker for me."

I didn't *have* to say anything, of course. I would've just not responded. But I didn't want to afford him the luxury of thinking that I was wasn't replying because he was, I don't know, balding or cadaverous or fishbelly white.

He responded: "So I get shut down based on a hypothetical situation lol ouch!"
And I responded, "No, you fucking moron. You got shut down because you are a self-identified potential date rapist. And because you are stupid enough to think that being a self-identified potential date rapist is an OK thing to admit on a dating website where your ostensible goal is to convince women to go out with you."

But in real life, I just thought a lot about what (if anything) I wanted to say. On the one hand, I didn't want to tip him off that this was maybe not the best online dating strategy and thereby inadvertently help him up his game on the next go-round. On the other hand, I wanted to think that maybe, just maybe, he had never really been forced (against his will. having been overpowered. when he was compromised.) to think about consent, and what it really means, and what it is not (e.g., drunken flirting).

(Yes, this is the part of the blog where I am delusional. Thanks for asking.)

So I decided to take a gamble and actually explain to him why, why, WHY his answer was so...and I don't use this word lightly...wrong. Just in the hopes that maybe, maybe, he might learn something, and that it might make the world just a tiny smidgen less...rapey.  

So I took a deep breath and said:
"Look, I'm going to explain this in the hopes that maybe it will make you look at it from a different angle.

"The point of those questions is to shed light on someone's ethics--how do you treat someone when you have some situational advantage? Would you cheat on a test if you knew there was no way you would get caught? Or would you steal something you really wanted from a store if you knew you wouldn't be caught? Would you litter if no one was looking? etc. These questions basically tell you--is this someone who does the right thing because it's the right thing? Or is this someone whose morality is shaped by hope of reward/fear of punishment?

"In this case, it was a question of sexual ethics--would you take advantage of a woman's compromised judgment for your own sexual gratification?

"As a woman, I don't ever want to be with a guy who would take advantage of mine (or anyone else's) impairment. But particularly in an online dating situation, women are often going to feel like they are taking a risk in meeting someone in real life that they first met online. Women all hear the same advice: meet in a public place, bring your own car, tell someone where you're going...even make sure you don't leave your drink unattended.

"As a guy, you probably never have to think of these things. The odds are very, very slim that some night your buddy Tom is going to take advantage of the fact that you had a little too much to drink at a SuperBowl party and you were broken up about *insert team here* losing and you thought he was just trying to cheer you up but the next thing you knew, you woke up half-naked on his futon..."

[I wanted to add "...with your ass aflame," but I didn't. I will pause while you applaud my impulse control.]

"But for women, this is a real concern.

"I imagine there are women in your life that you value and respect. Maybe you have sisters or friends or whatever. And if they had a little too much to drink one night or wore a low cut shirt or whatever, whatever, whatever...you wouldn't want some guy to 'take advantage' of them.

"So don't be that guy. That's all."

I paused to re-read what I had written. I congratulated myself on taking the time and effort to explain this issue in a way that I hoped maybe he could understand, even if it wasn't exactly the way I would've liked to have said it. And then I hit "send."

Approximately a nano-second later, I got this response:

"I think you're reading a bit too deep into all this lol but hey... Good luck to you!"

Yes, good luck to me, indeed.

Go ahead, Cupid, shoot me. I was on an online dating site. Clearly, I was asking for it.

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