Note: this is an email I sent to a reporter or hearing they were looking for bad dating stories, but I decided to post it here. The longer version of this will be in a forthcoming memoir.
Most of my worst experiences were caused not by the girl in question, but by the interference of my so-called friends.
One of the worst was in my late teens, when me and two friends were mall hopping (back when that was a thing), looking for girls, which was part of our dating routine at the time. The three of us met three girls and ended up back at one of the girls’ houses (we’ll call that girl Lisa). Before long, one of my friends had sex with one of them, and the other guy had sex with the other girl. Then my two friends informed me that those four had decided that, for this to be a “perfect night,” as they put it, me and the remaining girl, Lisa, had to have sex with each other.
The problem is that neither of us wanted to. Our friends didn’t care. At some point, my friends violently shoved me into Lisa’s darkened bedroom and slammed the door behind me, telling me to have sex with her “or else.” These guys had sexually bullied me before and I knew they’d tell everyone I was a loser if I didn’t go through with it, because they’d done that sort of thing before. In fact, they’d just called me that during my resistance to this plan.
Lisa was on her bed, which was pushed into one corner. She was up against that corner with her knees drawn up under her chin, blanket protectively pulled up. Even as clueless as I could be, I didn’t fail to notice the message in her body language. Still, she was there, alone. She was apparently going to go through with it, a victim of bullying just like me.
It didn’t occur to me at the time, but if I’d gone through with forcing myself on a girl who didn’t want to have sex with me, I’d have been raping her. Incredibly, my two so-called friends were trying to force me to rape a girl. Even more incredibly, her friends were trying to get her to submit to being raped. With friends like this, who needs enemies?
Talking my way out of it with Lisa was far easier, since she agreed with me. I directly addressed the situation, wondering aloud why we had to do this if we didn’t want to. She agreed in surprise; maybe she thought I was on board with this before I said otherwise. I said it wasn’t how I normally did things, joking about dinner and a movie. When she agreed again, I asked if she wanted to do that instead. She said yes, getting more relieved by the moment. I ended up walking out of there with her phone number instead of a used condom, to the immediate mockery of my friends, who did indeed punish me for this by telling others how much a loser I was.
They saw the phone number as a pathetic trophy of my experience as compared to what a condom signified (to them). Funny how we saw it so differently. To me that phone number was a triumph and a used condom would’ve been a horrible defeat for me, and probably far worse for Lisa. They tried to shame me for it, but to this day I’m proud of my resistance. I eventually got tired of this kind of crap and ditched not only them, but the entire scene of people they represented. The funny thing is that, for the rest of that night, I could tell Lisa was now quite interested in me and likely would’ve had sex with me that same night if I changed my mind.
But I didn’t.