I’m kind of torn, because on the one hand I get requests for more of my story, but on the other, stuff that isn’t deconstruction never seems to get as many views or comments. But then, very little of that is personal anymore. Wednesday’s post got me thinking about an incident that happened in high school, so I figured I’d post about it, see what kind of response I get. Let me know if you want more like this.
WARNING: Dubious consent, teen romance
This is the story of the closest thing to sexual assault that ever happened to me. Technically it probably was, but I want to emphasize that I doubt the boy involved had any intention of harming me, it was more like two socially awkward people colliding in a strange way.
I’ve always been more comfortable around boys than girls. I understood them, I figured. In high school, I didn’t date much; instead I’d pal around with guys and tie myself in sexually-frustrated knots about girls who wouldn’t give me the time of day. I dated guys sometimes (never dated girls), so it’s not like I didn’t see them as possible romantic partners, it was more, I had a group of guys I played cards with and didn’t see any of them as being romantic partners because we played cards together. Love was supposed to be sweeping, passionate, all-consuming, not something that grows naturally out of card games at lunch.
(That was a lie. My first two boyfriends also played cards with me. But that was at a different school; after them, I dated online, and had huge, drama-filled tearful adventures in the sphere of love.)
Anyway, so it didn’t surprise me when this guy, we’ll call him C, invited me over to play video games. He phrased it that he and best friend were going to play and did I want to come? So I figured, it can’t be a date or anything, it’s two guys and me playing games, that’s typical enough. This guy wasn’t a close friend of mine, but I believe in giving everyone a chance and he was shunned by the majority of the population so I figured he was probably hurting for friends. He wore a gas mask to school on occasion, as part of a punk look of some kind, and that alone was enough to mark him as “weird” even before you get into the fact that most of the people shunning him went to middle school with him and hated him there too. (I transferred in my softmore year. I knew nobody.)
So I agreed. He lived two blocks from school; I had been waiting for the bus when he struck up a conversation that led into the invite, and I knew there was a later bus I could catch and nobody would even notice if I didn’t go home right away. Worst case, I’d miss the second bus and my mom would have to pick me up from school instead of from my dad’s house where I’d be hiding in my room waiting for her to arrive — she’d be mildly irritated, but it wasn’t overly out of her way as long as I let her know she needed to come.
We walked to his house, talking and joking around. The three of us hung out in his bedroom, playing Grand Theft Auto and listening to his music collection. He seemed eager to show me all his favorite, controversial songs — I remember him being particularly proud of the song “Big Balls”. I myself listened to rap, so I wasn’t impressed, but I smiled and agreed politely that it was a clever song and let him go on about his taste in music. While his friend was playing GTA, he told me he wanted to show me a video in the living room (there were no adults home at his house either, by the way), and I placidly agreed, moving to the couch while he set up the VCR.
The couch reclined slightly, and I had sank back a bit into the cushions. Before I knew what was going on, he was on top of me, kissing me. I was surprised as hell and a little afraid; to his credit, he pulled back and started to apologize, since I wasn’t kissing him back. Knowing I had no boyfriend, knowing that was abnormal, knowing I’d hurt his feelings somehow, knowing I was expected to kiss him back, I apologized, and the next time he kissed me I returned the favor. I didn’t want to be doing this, though. I wanted to flee.
Before things got any further, my phone rang. It was my mother. Any other day, any other time, I’d have let it go to voicemail and dealt with it later, but now I told him it was important, I had to answer it, sorry. She wanted to know if I’d stayed after playing cards, because she was coming a little early and could get me at school if I wanted. I replied, sure, yeah, I’m in the library, of course. She said she’d be there in about half an hour. I hung up and told C that she was going to be at school in 10 minutes and I didn’t want her to see I’d been hanging out with a boy so I had to run back to the library, sorry to cut things short, kthanksbye. He insisted on walking me there, but he did obligingly vanish when we got in sight of the school. I resolved to have a discussion with him the next day about how I really wasn’t that into him, sorry for the misunderstanding.
I didn’t get a chance. The next day I was stopped in the hallway by a group of people who picked on C, demanding to know if I’d kissed him. I told them, none of their fucking business. They insisted, trying to stop me from getting into class. I was fast and pushy and made it to class, but I was taunted for weeks in the halls, being called “C’s girlfriend”. I refused to speak to him again — how dare he lure me to his house, make out with me, then tell everyone about how much he “scored”?
Part of why I stopped telling my story is that I can’t really craft my experiences into a coherent story. There’s no real ending to this. I never confronted him, but I stopped being nice to him and talking to him and he apparently took the hint and stopped bothering me. Nothing further came of it. I wasn’t beaten up or raped or anything conclusive. I don’t have any wise words of wisdom to share (Don’t go to the guy with the gas mask’s house after school, he’s a creeper?). I don’t have a moral; I don’t know what this reveals about the grand conversation between women and men, or about how people interact other than, this is a thing that happened to me. But it was a thing and it did happen and it scared me and it infuriated me and then it went away. Maybe that’s just the point: that these sorts of things are within the normal human spread of experiences, that if something like that happened to anyone else, they’re not the only one. I’m not sure how much that’s helpful, but who knows.