Sunday, July 29, 2007

An overdue apology

Almost two years ago, I met a boy at a party. We didn't hit it off right away, but there was a lot of drinking involved all around, and by the end of the night, as they do, people started pairing off. The boy and I started talking, then we started kissing.

That was about it. Some drunk talking and mild making out. At some point it got boring for me, so I decided to head on home. The boy tried to convince me to stay, but stood my ground and walked out to my car. He walked with me, playfully pleading the whole way, even going so far as to dramatically flop down on his back onto the grass above the slightly sloped curb.

Then his lighthearted begging got a bit more intense, and he did something I hope I'll never forget.

He unzipped his pants, took out his penis, started masturbating in front of me, and said, "Why don't you come over here and give me a hand finishing this?" After a shocked thirty seconds or so, I shook my head in disbelief, got into my car and drove away.

It may seem odd for me to say that I hope I never forget that moment. Some would think that that would be a memory I would like to shelve, and not ever think again about how fucked up and sad of an act it was, what level of desperation someone would have to be at to do something like that. Not even sexual desperation, but desperation for love or some kind of connection. However, since the execution was played out in such an odd way, it seems like it is actually a desperation for the rejection that he must be used to on some level.

On my end, the act was despicable and disrespectful. It was, and still is to this day, shocking that someone would behave in such an... an... well, ungentlemanly way towards me. How has our society become so jaded that this act seems like not that big of a deal, like something to laugh about, rather than an extreme insult to the person to whom it was done? Well, to me it was not funny, and I hope that I never forget it so that I never slip into the mindset where that might in some way be ok. It is not ok for someone to do something like that. It's gross.

So last night I found myself at a similar party, with an all-too-similar guest list. I had not seen the boy since the last incident, although I knew he had been teased about it on numerous occasions by his friends. (Who oddly enough say that he is the one who usually brings it up, probably as a way to circumvent the ridicule. A laugh at yourself before others have a chance to beat you to it, kind of thing.) Needless to say, I was not much looking forward to seeing him again.

A couple of hours into the party, he and I found ourselves awkwardly positioned near each other on the deck outside.

"You don't have to worry about me doing anything obscene tonight," he gingerly began the conversation.

"I wasn't worried about that," I half-joked back.

"I apologize for doing that. I really didn't mean to be offensive that last time."

"Accepted. Thank you."

And then, after a couple more mumbled explanations and apologies on his part, we thankfully moved on.

I was happy that he apologized. As cliched as it may sound, there was definitely a sense of closure on my part. I don't think that my level of disgust was unwarranted, and in this jaded era where acts like that have for some reason come to be accepted, it feels liberating to have stuck to my guns and let it be known that what he did was not ok.

After all, if you don't assign a value to yourself and learn to set your own boundaries, no one else will do it for you. And even if the respect that comes from that is long overdue, it is worth it.


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