"...but what I learned later in life, too late, is that when you have power over another person, asking them to look at your dick isn't a question, it's a predicament for them." - Louis C.K.
I didn't realize I had been searching for the word - the word for those times I wouldn't call rape and that were not exactly molestation. I'm a writer and I still couldn't find the word. But then, Luis C.K. (or someone on the committee who writes things like this) issued an apology and I found it; predicament.
I always just assumed that even outside of a consensual sexual encounter, when a man shows you his penis, you're supposed to do something with it; look at it, touch it, admire it... I believed this, I learned this, with my whole heart, so much so that I made it my love language. I don't remember how, but I remember where and I remember who.
I was fourteen when a family member put me in this predicament for the first time. And other men, including my boss, the husband of a family I worked for, and even a boyfriend, followed along over the years. Each time wondering if other people were seeing the things I was seeing. I wondered if it was normal to feel nauseous while watching someone masturbate. I wondered if it was normal to cry while giving head. (I still wonder that.)
How did you end up in those situations?
Did you secretly want this to happen?
Are you talking about this because everyone else is?
Are you overreacting just a bit?
I know. I ask the same questions. It's okay.
It's just that that word predicament jumped out at me today. It's a word that describes all those really difficult, unpleasant and embarrassing situations many of us have found ourselves in, but it seemed silly, and even benign, to report. That thing that happened that was probably nothing to write home about, literally. Nothing to share with anyone who could and would have loved to help you. Those moments you knew, your whole body knew, that this can't be right;
this can't be the way I become more of myself; This can't be the way men show me love; This can't be the reason I question my own actions: did I lead him on? Did my eyes somehow say, 'show me your dick. You can jack off at me, on me.' What did I do?
I'm not angry. This post isn't even about Louis C.K., or any of the other men, er- boys whom have suddenly - and quite publicly - learned a valuable lesson on how it's not okay to dehumanize people. I'm a little more relieved to have a word, because, words are powerful.
The truth is, these men have been exposing us to them in ways that were seemingly innocent are or at least really hard to prosecute. But now, women (and men!) are finding their voice, finding words to expose these men, to feel a little more human, to move from, "what are you gonna do with this dick?" to, "what are we gonna do with this preDICKament.?"