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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

SL Letter of the Day: Predator

Posted by on Wed, Feb 19, 2014 at 5:00 PM

Originally posted on September 9, 2010.

A few nights ago, I got drunk and knocked on my roommate's door and confessed my attraction to him while he was lying in bed in nothing more than his skivvies. And then I asked him if I could sleep in his room because our other roommate—whose bedroom is directly above mine—was having sex so loudly that I couldn't sleep. Which was true, but it clearly didn't make the bed of the roommate I was drunkenly confessing to the appropriate alternative. Not being able to sleep on work nights is sometimes a real problem, but one to be addressed with her, not used as drunken fodder to get into someone else's bed.

I feel pathetic and embarrassed for having thrown myself at my roommate and completely freaked out that I got wasted enough to do something I have daydreamed about but wouldn't do sober. But much more importantly, I think my behavior did not reflect active consent, trashed my roommate's boundaries, and was generally creepy—all characteristics of sexual assaulters.

I am biologically female, and if the situation were reversed, I would commit a huge double standard because I would back any woman who did not feel safe continuing to live with a dude who did what I did. I feel like I should be held accountable and move out immediately, though my housemate has told me he doesn't feel threatened and that I should stay.

Help. I feel like a total piece of shit for having done this and can't stop wondering...

Am I A Sexual Predator?

My response after the jump...

Calm the fuck down—and no more women's studies classes for you, okay? I think you've had quite enough, and I'm cutting you off.

Look, AIASP, you didn't assault anyone, you're not a predator, you shouldn't have to move out. You made a drunken, ill-advised-in-retrospect pass at a roommate. If that makes someone a "sexual predator," AIASP, then we'd better build walls around our better universities and start calling 'em all penitentiaries.

As for that double standard: In light of your recent experience—you made a drunken pass at someone who wasn't interested in you—you might want to revisit the assumptions you've made about men who make passes, drunken and otherwise, at women who aren't interested in them. Making a pass is not grounds for eviction or conviction. It's how a person makes a pass (did you pounce or did you ask?) and how a person reacts if the pass is rebuffed (did you graciously take no for an answer or were you a complete asshole about it?) that matters.

Of course, men's passes at women—roommates and otherwise—exist in a context of male sexual violence. So it's understandable that a woman might feel uncomfortable living with a dude who did what you did. But if the dude wasn't a creep about it and graciously took no for an answer (if the answer was no), perhaps he should be judged as an individual and not as someone who bears responsibility for the collective crimes committed by members of his sex throughout history.

And even if you were an asshole about that no, AIASP, that still wouldn't make you a sexual predator. You're only a sexual predator—or guilty of sexual assault—if you refuse to take no for an answer and force yourself on someone. (Or if you go after someone who is incapable of granting consent.) You didn't force yourself on anyone. All you're guilty of, AIASP, is asking someone whom you wanted to fuck if he wanted to fuck you. It's a legit question, and no one gets fucked without asking it.

And that simple question doesn't magically become sexual assault or harassment when the answer is no.

 

Comments (48) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
rob! 1
Speaking of predators, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles just settled another 17 sex-abuse lawsuits for $13 million, bringing its total over the last decade to over $740 million.

www.chicagotribune.com/news/sns-rt-us-us…
Posted by rob! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZBdUceCL5U on February 19, 2014 at 5:15 PM · Report this
sirkowski 2
Very problematic. How dare you objectify a man by lustfully wanting to have sex with him? This was a penis-in-vagina attempt. This was attempted rape!
Posted by sirkowski http://www.missdynamite.com on February 19, 2014 at 5:48 PM · Report this
The Beatles 3
When you left the room, did you say to him in a dim-witted Austrian drawl,"I'll be back!" No? Then you're not a predator.
Posted by The Beatles on February 19, 2014 at 5:48 PM · Report this
4
Thank you Dan.
Posted by jaybob on February 19, 2014 at 6:12 PM · Report this
5
In this time when we should be triumphant, the liberal movement has officially jumped the shark.
Posted by MRM on February 19, 2014 at 6:18 PM · Report this
6
Oh, Mr Savage. Calling oneself a monster in order to be reassured and get a pass on being called creepy is quite an old trick.

LW, you are not a monster. However, as it does appear that you expected asking to sleep in his room meant you got to sleep in his bed (wherever he ended up sleeping), you are creepy - at least when drunk, if not generally.
Posted by vennominon on February 19, 2014 at 6:23 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 7
@3,

That would make her a terminator.
Posted by keshmeshi on February 19, 2014 at 6:32 PM · Report this
Ophian 8
A-fucking-men.
Posted by Ophian on February 19, 2014 at 7:56 PM · Report this
undead ayn rand 9
@5: What are you babbling about? Besides that "the liberal movement" isn't a real thing.
Posted by undead ayn rand on February 19, 2014 at 8:01 PM · Report this
10
Wait, What? No Kudos for the guy in this situation? WTF?

Roommate on 3rd floor (workout your own housing layout based on what little we got) having loud sex. Disturbs and gets roommate on 2nd floor horny. Somewhat drunk n stoned roommate goes downstairs to roommate on 1st floor and explains, "I can't sleep cause of all the noise, can I sleep here? Oh btw I'm totally hot for you and way horny so if you want....."

1st floor roommate politely says no to the offer for sex but apparently otherwise doesn't overreact. Who knows maybe even said, "No sex but its ok if you want to sleep over there."

Why no kudos for him?
Posted by Machiavelli was framed on February 19, 2014 at 8:19 PM · Report this
seandr 11
Dan and @vennominon nailed it.

@undead ayn rand: "the liberal movement" isn't a real thing.

I think you're selling Dan short, here.
Posted by seandr on February 19, 2014 at 8:26 PM · Report this
12
Agree with @6. Of course she's not a predator, but I hope since 2010 she's learned to read social cues and maybe go easy on the hooch around certain people.
Posted by dchari on February 19, 2014 at 8:28 PM · Report this
seandr 13
@MRM: the liberal movement has officially jumped the shark.

You're confusing liberals with leftists.
Posted by seandr on February 19, 2014 at 8:30 PM · Report this
undead ayn rand 14
@11: Dan's a force for good, sure, but there's no overarching lockstep "movement" outside of the conspiracy-addled brains of the Right-wingers.
Posted by undead ayn rand on February 19, 2014 at 8:33 PM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 15
@3, 7,

If the roommate had said to her, "You're one ugly motherfucker." THEN she'd be a predator.
Posted by Urgutha Forka on February 19, 2014 at 8:34 PM · Report this
16
It's weird that she doesn't describe the roommate's reaction or what happened. Going totally on inference I'd agree with @10. Good for the roommate for gently sending the drunken girl w/ the unrequited crush back to her room and reassuring her that no harm was done.
@LW (3 years ago): Get drunk and sloppy over someone who's just not interested seems like the most horrifying thing ever in the cold-sober morning but really, don't sweat it. It happens to the best of us and you'll look back and chuckle someday.
Posted by chi_type on February 19, 2014 at 8:57 PM · Report this
17
Any guy who is either unable to remove an unwanted female from his bed or somehow plays the victim after such an occurrence should be castrated.
Posted by Drano - The Freshmakerâ„¢ on February 19, 2014 at 11:22 PM · Report this
18
Is it dickish to say that odds are, if he didnt get seriously annoyed or agitated with it, its that he wants to keep his roommate as a backup option, or FWB should the opportunity come?
Posted by araucania on February 20, 2014 at 12:18 AM · Report this
lolorhone 19
@18: The odds are that either he wasn't attracted to her and politely declined or thought it inappropriate to act on his attraction while she was wasted and politely declined. This was at worst a socially awkward moment between two polite people. Lord, the havoc sometimes wreaked by a liberal arts education...
Posted by lolorhone on February 20, 2014 at 4:09 AM · Report this
20
Why has no-one commented on the "biologically female" thing? It seems odd to add the word "biologically" to qualify the adjective "female". Could it be that this reaction is because the LW feels and presents as male? Because that might put a different spin on it. Not that I disagree with Dan's advice, especially if the roommate is cool about it.
Posted by Fishface on February 20, 2014 at 5:23 AM · Report this
Eudaemonic 21
@18: Yes, it is. But he's male, so we're nonetheless obligated to find malfeasance on his part before comment #20. Even if, as this case, he was in the letter 100% acted-upon, and not acting.

Props to the LW, though, for noticing the double standard, and that most of us here would be shrieking "Rapist!" if the genders were reversed. The correct conclusion, though, is not that she should apply the "predator" label to herself, it's that she should stop applying that label in otherwise-identical situations where the genders are reversed. And, since she now has first-hand experience that the people teaching her otherwise are full of shit, she should, as Dan directed, start taking their pronouncements with a grain of salt. A very large grain.

@ 20: Those same courses taught her that identifying as "female" without specifying whether it's biological or not is transphobic. One hopes that she's learned to take that with the proverbial grain of salt as well.
Posted by Eudaemonic on February 20, 2014 at 5:54 AM · Report this
undead ayn rand 22
@18: "Is it dickish to say that odds are, if he didnt get seriously annoyed or agitated with it, its that he wants to keep his roommate as a backup option, or FWB should the opportunity come?"

Simply because he said no? Should he get visibly agitated?
Posted by undead ayn rand on February 20, 2014 at 7:13 AM · Report this
23
Oh, the benefits of age! Our skin might be saggy, but at least we've gotten over ourselves. with luck, anyway.
Posted by phuni44 on February 20, 2014 at 7:47 AM · Report this
NopeNope 24
The hyper-sensative sensibilities of the far-left in the northwest have lead to a strange new trend of prudish attitudes and behavior. It's something I've noticed both on SL and in real life. These people must be miserable.
Posted by NopeNope on February 20, 2014 at 7:50 AM · Report this
debug 25
I think the appropriate punishment would be to submit to an uncomfortable gender role. She should clean and fold his laundry for a month.
Posted by debug on February 20, 2014 at 9:19 AM · Report this
26
@21 I was #16 agreeing with #10 that he did the right thing. What thread are you reading?
Oh right, the one your martyr complex made up in your head.
Posted by chi_type on February 20, 2014 at 10:29 AM · Report this
Eudaemonic 27
@26: I was #16 agreeing with #10 that he did the right thing.

Sorry, my mistake. Usually when someone says "Is it dickish to say [thing that sounds like a common sentiment here]," they're implying that they don't think it's dickish, not that they do.
Posted by Eudaemonic on February 20, 2014 at 11:12 AM · Report this
28
Still no idea what thread you're reading @16 I said:
" Good for the roommate for gently sending the drunken girl w/ the unrequited crush back to her room and reassuring her that no harm was done."
In agreement with #10, who also gave the guy credit.
Posted by chi_type on February 20, 2014 at 11:33 AM · Report this
Eudaemonic 29
@ 26: Actually, multiple mistakes. 18 is someone else. 16 isn't 18; I assumed, from your general hostility, that you wrote the post to which 21 is referring. I hadn't considered the possibility that you'd read the number in 21 incorrectly, and that I should go back and be certain that you were capable of distinguishing between an 8 and a 6.

For future reference, when someone writes "@#," they mean their post is directed to the author of the post with the corresponding number. If the number after the @ does not correspond to a post you wrote, then they are, in all likelihood, not addressing you.

I'm sorry I assumed everyone understood that. It didn't seem very complicated to me, but I guess I lack your particular talents.
Posted by Eudaemonic on February 20, 2014 at 11:39 AM · Report this
30
Yes, I know the difference between a 6 and an 8. That's why I expressed confusion at you attributing #18 to me when I was in fact #16, seconding the comment of #10.
I assumed you would understand that this was a source of confusion for me since the whole discussion we were having was about at which point in the thread people began supporting the male roommate's actions as opposed to calling him a quasi-rapist (or what ever was going on only in your head when you made your first comment).
I apologize for making assumptions about your intelligence level.
Posted by chi_type on February 20, 2014 at 12:25 PM · Report this
31
And so as not to further assume, my intent at #26 was simply to point out that your statement that "we're nonetheless obligated to find malfeasance on his part before comment #20" had no reflection in reality.
Posted by chi_type on February 20, 2014 at 12:29 PM · Report this
Eudaemonic 32
@chi_type: Good heavens, you're unbelievably dim.

No one attributed 18 to you other than yourself. In 26, I wrote "@18", not "@16," not "@chi_type." No reasonable person would assume I was attributing anything to you. Apparently you do not know the difference between a 6 and an 8, since you still do not seem aware of the fact that you did not write 18, and the posts referring to post 18 are not referring to 16. I do not know how to make this clearer to you.

I assumed you would understand that this was a source of confusion for me...

No, I do not understand why this is a source of confusion to you. It was obvious, and I have now explained the obvious to you repeatedly, and you are still breathtakingly unable to understand very simple concepts.

One last time: 26 was not at you, it was not referring to anything you said, and it was very clearly marked as such. What thread are you reading?

Do you understand that the number 18 is not the number 16? Could you begin behaving as if you did understand it?

I see that you are further unable to understand the content of post #18, or the fact of its existence, or the general trend in these comment threads to which I was referring in 26. I'm sorry. I don't think I can help you. Think more, think better, rage less, act less like a dumbshit.

Posted by Eudaemonic on February 20, 2014 at 12:54 PM · Report this
watchout5 33
Even Dan Savage agrees with me that context is more important than the idea that people ask for sex. It doesn't mean you're automatically the worst kind of person if you make a direct pass at someone, where you do it, how you do it, what you respond with, it matters just as much if not more. The 'mainstream' propaganda is that any sexual advances of any kind means you're harassing them and equally as guilty as a rapist. Unless the other party is literally on top of your junk you're a sexual predator just for mentioning the fact that sex exists no matter where you are. I've in the past defended the kind of person who would do this in a fucking bar and been eviscerated for it, and you seem chill enough to give this lady a pass inside the guy's bedroom on the idea that she was respectful. You probably made more than a few people's head explode here but I really identify with what you're saying. A++

Yeah and a quick check of the comments shows it's already on. You're all creep enablers who can't count or read numbers. Bring on the shame.
Posted by watchout5 http://www.overclockeddrama.com on February 20, 2014 at 1:37 PM · Report this
gueralinda 34
I think a big clue that she isn't a predator is that she KNOCKED on his door, she didn't barge in all drunk and aggressive. People seem to be assuming that were the genders reversed "we'd all be crying rapist" but I wouldn't. How can somebody who a) knocks b) leaves the room when rejected and c) feels bad about it the next day be considered a predator, regardless of the sexes involved?
Posted by gueralinda on February 20, 2014 at 1:56 PM · Report this
35
@Eudemonic

"One last time: 26 was not at you, it was not referring to anything you said"

Yes it's pretty obvious that #26 wasn't referring to me since I am the one that wrote it.
If you are claiming that #27, which you wrote, was not referring to me then why did you address it to my comment?
And I'm the dumbshit?
Anyway this whole thing is too stupid to believe. Have fun with your make-believe thread.
Posted by chi_type on February 20, 2014 at 3:04 PM · Report this
sissoucat 36
@19 I don't think that it's havoc caused by liberal arts education.

Her wanting to know if she's a predator, will also help her discern what a predator is. She's young, she's right in trying to get info over what is being a predator and what isn't.

Besides, young females are often very self conscious of their own mistakes, and prone to exagerate their importance. I know I was. For me, I think it comes from having been raised in sexism - you learn that if it's you doing the same things a boy would do, if the thing is considered fine from a boy, it can nonetheless be bad from you, and if the thing is considered bad from a boy, it's even worse from you.

Good for her for checking that with Dan, instead of letting her guiltiness linger on.

But she might do well to bear in mind that she's highly prone to gilt-trips over the simplest mishaps, and she should right now educate herself about abusers and the assorted red flags, because boy an abuser would have a picnic in getting her worried to death about her every breath.
Posted by sissoucat on February 20, 2014 at 3:07 PM · Report this
sissoucat 37
@chi-type Come on, quiproquo is highly entertaining from the side lines.
Posted by sissoucat on February 20, 2014 at 3:11 PM · Report this
38
Ms Sissou - While I agree with you that people who second-guess themselves (she reminds me of the LW of 2-3 days ago who is being completely led by the nose by a judgmental SO) so readily do make very good prey, please save that message for another day. It does not belong in the conversation that concerns what she did; making her a victim or perhaps even the victim is inappropriate when she was the perpetrator, even if not so bad a perpetrator as she presented herself as thinking. (I actually class this as semi-deliberately putting someone in a socially "impossible" position; what was he supposed to say - "No, you can't sleep in my bed, but you can have the chair"?)
Posted by vennominon on February 20, 2014 at 5:43 PM · Report this
39
@26 et al: Good god, chi_type, could you be any stupider? #21 was NOT DIRECTED AT YOU. Stop making up threads to read in your own head.

And I'm biologically human, but I also present as human.
Posted by Chase on February 20, 2014 at 9:33 PM · Report this
lolorhone 40
sissoucat @36: I was (mostly) being facetious. The "highly prone to guilt-trips over the simplest mishaps" thing as well as the LW's alarmed undergrad diction made the joke kind of irresistible to me.
Posted by lolorhone on February 21, 2014 at 3:54 AM · Report this
41
@20 I took the "biologically female" thing to mean LW may not identify as female, and I think Dan did too. He avoided pronouns and spoke about men and women abstractly.
Posted by Jackmm1301 on February 21, 2014 at 9:24 AM · Report this
42
Funny sideline watching comment.

Have no idea what thread chi_type was referring to as well.
Posted by aeros66 on February 21, 2014 at 9:33 AM · Report this
43
Damn it, Dan, this one started out as a SLLOTD, before you recycled it into the weekly column cited in the header, before you pulled it out yet again for a SLLOTD re-run today.
Posted by avast2006 on February 21, 2014 at 2:31 PM · Report this
44
Yeah, all these recycled letters are getting tiresome. Who knows though, maybe the same problems show up so much that writing individual responses to the ones already answered seems silly. Or he's just lazy.
Posted by Really Now... on February 21, 2014 at 7:33 PM · Report this
45
@36 I took a much too noticeable glance at a co-worker's ass about a year back. (In my defense I didn't know he had a girlfriend.) Anyways somehow it spread through the entire workforce (including to his girlfriend). Fuck, it took me like three months to live that down.
Posted by Really Now... on February 21, 2014 at 7:41 PM · Report this
46
That diatribe between @26 and @27 is hilarious. I mean, chi_type is a veritable idiot, but it's funny nonetheless.
Posted by Frunze on February 21, 2014 at 9:04 PM · Report this
47
The direct analog of a woman drunkenly hitting on a man who isn't interested is not a man drunkenly hitting on a woman who isn't interested because it does not accurately reflect the power dynamic of the woman hitting on the man. A standard that reflects that difference in power dynamics is not a double standard.
Posted by Czechout on February 21, 2014 at 11:12 PM · Report this
undead ayn rand 48
@47: Well, that's concise.
Posted by undead ayn rand on February 22, 2014 at 9:03 PM · Report this

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