Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The $20 Question

Last week I said that I had two responses to New York’s new “Yes Means Yes” rule, but only had room to give you one. This week I’ll give you the second.

This is that far from “protecting women from unwanted advances”, it totally ignores the fact that women are often the ones making advances…and often on guys who are too clueless to realize that an invitation is being offered. It forgets that the 60s and 70s happened, when women felt as free to pursue as guys…and were just as likely to see how far they could get…or get the guy to go.

With that in mind, I offer an embarrassing experience of mine.

A girl I knew back in the mid-70s had taken a $20 bill from me and stuffed it down her blouse. And $20, as I found out when I went to the online inflation calculator was a lot of money for a teenager back then…almost $100 in today’s money.

Being a gentleman, and liking my dental work exactly as it was at the moment, I politely asked her to give it back. She smiled and refused. I asked again, and with a twinkle in her eye, she smiled and refused again. Finally, after I begged her to give me back my money, she gave me a disgusted and disappointed look, reached in and got out the $20, and threw it at me.

I understand now that this was a non-verbal invitation to “go there.” However, under the new “Yes Means Yes” rules, this non-verbal invitation wouldn’t be enough. I’d have to ask, “May I stick my hand down your blouse to get my money back?” And her replying, with a twinkle in her eye and a lilt in her voice, “What do you think?” would not be considered an “active and enthusiastic ‘yes’.”

And…if while I was naively and single-mindedly trying to get my $20 back without doing anything I didn’t think I was supposed to, she pressed herself close to me in order to force the issue, and maybe finally have the little light go on over my head; because it was non-verbal, it still wouldn’t count as an “active and enthusiastic ‘yes’.”

Even though 99% of us would know what she was implying should happen.

So, should a guy in that position finally decide that this was an invitation to proceed, under the new rules, the Sex Police would pull him over and cite him with a violation.

Don’t get me wrong…I’m a big believer in consent…for both parties. But consent is so very often non-verbal. Flirting and making out are so often based on non-verbal cues or on indirect invitations that don’t exactly spell everything out. Just check out these examples of guys who missed the boat, and the girls who tried to invite them aboard, and you’ll not only see that, but you’ll see that most guys aren’t looking to force themselves on a girl.

Romance is messy. Relationships, and especially sexual relationships, have a lot of gray areas and a lot of non-verbal communication involved. These are communication skills which need to be learned eventually.

And a simplistic “Yes Means Yes” rule doesn’t help that at all.

Finally, next week I'll explain why the combination of 20% of all women and 5% of all men doesn't add up to 20% of all male/female encounters.

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