Tag Archives: strangers

Consent and Consequences

14 Dec

This is not my first blog about this, and will undoubtedly be my last.

But I want to talk about rape culture, sexual assault/harassment, and consent.

It seems easy enough…right? Consent is consent. You need consent. Problem solved.

Wellllllllll…not so fast.

I could even argue that there are some gray lines with rape. But I won’t. Not today.

The reason I bring this up because the words “assault” and “harassment” and “consent” all make me feel victimized, which is not something I like to feel. You are a victim of assault. A victim of harassment. All because you didn’t give your explicit consent. Here are three scenarios for you to think about:

Stranger slaps your ass.
Person you are hanging out with takes your hand to hold it.
1st date kisses you.

All of these have [sort of] happened to me. Does it matter the relationship of the person? Must you explicitly tell them that something is okay…or does it have to happen once followed by a firm “no”?

The reason I ask is because if a stranger slaps your ass, is it consensually different than if your SO does? Most people say well, yes…it is very different but when do you give your consent if your SO smacks your butt? You COULD do an SO agreement like Sheldon and Amy on Big Bang Theory. OR you could wait until it happens, then tell them no, but that kind of defeats the purpose of consent. Finally, your SO could ask if he/she could slap your ass prior to the slapping.

I don’t expect anyone, ever to take such measures. It borderlines crazy.

That is how I feel about things like kissing, and holding hands, too.

Because apparently, if someone kisses you without asking, that is sexual assault? Harassment? I don’t know the difference. I think a strong part of being assaulted or harassed is the emotional feeling it causes, and I can’t say I’ve ever had that feeling from someone kissing me without asking first. I’m not a victim of anything.

I think it adds drama, unnecessarily. I also don’t think it promotes rape culture.

I also think it would be super awkward if someone asked me if they could kiss me or hold my hand.

Person: Can I kiss you?
Me: *looks around* Uh…sure…

Followed by what would probably be the most awkward kiss in the world.

It doesn’t seem fair to me that women (and probably some men, too) are doing so much to make consent sexy. Yes. You should not be forced to have sex against your will. But a kiss? A held hand? I don’t think it is necessary.

Thoughts?

Strangers & Harry Potter [and a Funny Tidbit About a Penis]

30 Aug

About a month ago, maybe a bit longer, I started re-reading the Harry Potter series. I checked the first book out from the public library, but when I went to get the second book, they were all checked out. Little did I know that when I checked out the second book from my university library, that I would find a note with a phone number (pictured above).

Fascinated and quite intrigued, the first thing I did was post it to Facebook asking if I should call it.

The response was overwhelmingly “YES!”

So I decided, sure. I was skeptical, considering this stranger’s name was Seamus, who just so happens to also be a character in the book. It could have very well been some Harry Potter fan’s idea of a little prank or joke.

Once I finished the 2nd book, I decided to text the number. If it was a joke, or if it was an old number, texting would be best either way. Very simply, I texted:

“Hi…this is Michelle and I am looking for a fellow named Seamus”

Indeed, a fellow named Seamus put a note in a book for folks to call him. And it just so happened that he was spending the summer doing organic farming in the south of France, so we moved the conversation over to email, so that it wouldn’t cost so much to chat.

A month and 5 days after I first sent that text message, we met at a local cider bar named Scrumpy’s.

Believe it or not, I wasn’t even slightly nervous. The great thing about meeting strangers is that there is absolutely no expectations to live up to. You go there, you be yourself, and either they like you or they don’t.

I get to the bar (slightly late…one of my fatal flaws) and he is already there, so I awkwardly ask if he is the person I’m looking for.

Luckily, the first person I asked was him (I had done a tad of background research). He was average height, with strawberry blonde hair accessorized with a strawberry blonde beard and brilliant blue eyes. He was wearing rather short shorts with a t-shirt that had a sewn on pocket in a cartoon dinosaur print.

It turns out he has already eaten, so he doesn’t get food, but they have the best cucumber dill dip so I had to get some. He gets the Hopricot and I get a flight, and we turn our conversation from Harry Potter to the south of France to our respective life goals and what we like to do.

I don’t consider it a date, but it very much went like I would expect a first date to go (with someone who I haven’t previously been friends with). Once we got our drinks and my dip, we tried to play Scrabble, but it was seriously lacking in letter tiles. Instead, we decided to play cards.

I asked him “weird or weirder?” He replied “weirder.”

You see…I always carry at least one pack of cards with me, and on this particular occasion I had two. One deck was a standard set of cards and the other, the weirder set, was a deck of Friskies cards with cat breeds on them.

So we played Rummy with the cat cards. He seemed amused.

After playing cards and chatting for a while longer, it turns out that he had plans at 9 o’clock (we got together at 7). I thought this was kind of odd, but who am I to judge. We got up and hugged (as I find customary), and I bid him off. Neither of us seemed to fully want to commit to hanging out another time, but we made the standard ‘oh yeah lets get together sometime’.

And now, the tidbit about the penis.

Immediately once he left, I texted a coworker friend (Brianne*) with a simple “that was interesting” because…well…it was. How can meeting a stranger not be interesting? Her phone was out of commission, though, so I didn’t get a response and went on my way to run a couple of errands.

As I’m getting gas for my car, I get a phone call from another coworker (Cale*) out of the blue. Curious and slightly confused, I answer. It turns out Brianne was hanging out with Cale, and she got my text message, and told him to respond. Our conversation went like this:

Brianne: What does that mean?
Me: What does what mean?
Brianne: Just the tip!
Me: What? Like…just the tip of the penis?
Brianne: What? Did he just whip it out?
Me: What? No?
Brianne: But you said it was interesting and then when Cale texted you what was interesting you said ‘just the tip’.

It turns out that Cale had texted the wrong Michelle, and she had responded back with “Just the tip”.

In all honesty, if you’ve read my stuff for awhile, or known me any length of time, you know that weirder things have happened.

But Seamus did not show me his wiener. He was a perfect gentlemen. He likes to get out of his comfort zone, be outdoors, speaks French fluently, and might want to be a teacher, or go into the peace core, or who knows. I haven’t heard from him, and I haven’t texted him. I don’t know if I will or not but he was quite nice and I thought we got along well enough.

His reason for putting the note in the book: People often recommend books to each other, and this is a way for books to recommend people.

Ever done anything like this? Ever went on a blind date? How did it go? Would you have called or texted the mysterious number? Are you sad that this isn’t yet another penis story? Should I text Seamus back? 

Pickin’ Up Hitch Hikers

30 Jun

Today, with 3/4 of my 40 minute drive home from work, I happened upon a couple of folks on the side of the road. They were at the mouth of the canyon that I now live in, just sticking their arms out with their thumbs up, looking for a ride.

I looked over at my front seat…piled with everything from wine shooters, to pants, to my purse and a 12-pack of soda. The back seat was no better, being piled so high the stuff was level with the back of the seats.

I kept going. There were two of them, after all, and at best I could only clear the front seat. Something inside of me wouldn’t let me keep going, though, so I turned around and doubled back. When I pulled over, I told them what had happened, and explained that I only had one seat. I cleared it, and they both hopped on in.

It was only a few minutes until we reached our destination, but it turns out, these people that were piled on top of one another in the front seat of my car didn’t even know each other! Her name was Laura. His name was Jared. And Jared was quite attractive…if only I’d had enough swagger to get his phone number. They were kayakers, and while I have no idea why they needed a ride, they were both quite thankful.

I’ve come to really enjoy helping people out like this. I don’t know what that feeling is inside that I get…maybe personal responsibility…but I’m glad I get it.

Have you ever given strangers rides or help? How’d it go for you? If you don’t, what would be the exception? 

That Time I Knocked on a Strangers Door

20 Mar

On my 40 minute drive home, exciting things rarely happen. That’s usually for the best.

Outside of driving off the side of the road, the most exciting thing to happen as of recent was an encounter with a llama. You can bet I was thrilled.

Okay…so it wasn’t really an encounter…more like…an escaped llama minding its own business on the side of a road. But hey, I work for an animal shelter, and escaped livestock can be a real bother. I also didn’t want him to get hit by a car. Llamas are the handsomest of livestock, after all.

There aren’t many things to do when you happen upon an escaped llama, but I decided to knock on its owners door to let them know. It was awkward, but when they didn’t come to either door, it actually felt more awkward. I don’t know why, but it did. Hopefully their chickens are “free-roaming”, too, because otherwise they have an escaped llama AND escaped chickens.

It also appeared that they farm fresh eggs they advertised on their fence were free and kept in a cooler by the door. I didn’t inspect them, but from the looks of their area, I wouldn’t be surprised.

Have you ever knocked on a strangers door for anything? Ever encountered roaming livestock – did you do anything about it?

The Idea of Moving

13 Oct

Originally, moving was not in my game plan. Even still I’m a little reluctant.

The house I live in now kind of fell into my lap. I couldn’t have asked for a more relaxed landlord, but unfortunately I haven’t been living in my house for 7 weeks. Even that hasn’t been a driving factor, and now that I have internet at the place I’m staying, there is pressure to actual go back to reality.

And the reality of it all is that I’m worried that I’ll never be able to get my friends into my house again. I shouldn’t try to appease them, but really…that’s the only reason I have even considered looking for a new place. Everyone thinks its the best idea, and the best thing for me, but all I see is having to move a ton of furniture and stuff, and having to live with strangers and meet people all over again. It’s overwhelming, really…and now, more than ever, I worry about roommates.

If I could find a 1 bedroom house with a yard that accepts pets in my price range, I would jump on it. But that’s so, so hard to find.

What would you do? Should I appease my friends and move, or should I stick to my guns and tell them to get over it?

The Roommate Chronicles: Dealing with Death

19 Aug

I’m not sure even where to start.

I guess I can start at the beginning.

At the beginning of this month, I got a new roommate. I saw him every day for a little over a week, and then my life started to get even busier than it already is. Parties, friends, work, friends, stuff…you know how it goes.

Then, as it started to kind of slow down a tiny bit, I noticed something was wrong. I hadn’t seen him recently.

The feeling came as a smell first. Then it came as flies. Then, I panicked.

But I have great friends, and being who I am, sometimes I just need someone to talk me down and make me actually accept the logical reasons I’ve pushed to the back of my mind as actuality, and that’s just what they did.

But then, it was all validated. On Friday night, at just about midnight, the police came to my house, and discovered that my new roommate was dead in his room.

He’d been there for 5 days.

It’s kind of surreal to get that news, no matter how sure you are that’s what is wrong. Going into this situation that night, two of my friends made attempts to find him themselves, and I’m so glad they didn’t. I would feel terrible if they had been traumatized like that because of me.

I’m so thankful that door was locked.

When I started this series, I never imaged that I would be writing about this. And I almost don’t know what else to say.

Death isn’t something I’ve ever really had to cope with, and while this situation is a little different – I didn’t know him – I still need to deal with the situation.

One second, I’m over it and I just want to go home and continue with my normal routine. The next second, I’m clinging to the friends I was with that night, wishing that they never had to leave my side.

I’m currently staying at one of their houses, because my house is kind of uninhabitable at the moment, but as the week wears on I’m not sure what the next step is.

They keep telling me I need to move, but I don’t really feel that’s necessary. And I don’t know when I’ll be able to go back to my house, but the one I’m staying at kind of has an expiration date that’s coming quickly, and the other friend I can stay with will be out of town when that happens. I’m in weird limbo, and I don’t like it.

Maybe I’ll have more to say later. Maybe this is all there is.

The Roommate Chronicles: Round 3

5 Aug

I’ve officially reached round three of roommates.

The first guys moved out, then I got in 3 new roommates: The J’s (all of their names began with J). Soon enough, however, the last of those 3 will have moved out, and the first new roommate has already moved in.

I don’t know if I’ll be continuing with the chronicling of my ventures; the reason I stopped is actually because one of the J’s was a good friend of mine, so she wasn’t including in the stranger aspect of the series. And the other J had originally added me on Facebook, which is not only weird but prompted me to stop writing.

If there is one thing I’ve learned since living with strangers, is that it isn’t that bad, at least in my situation. My landlord is really good about working with people’s needs, so there is a lot of turnover in the house. I find that I prefer it that way, too. We all get to lead our separate lives, and I don’t have to put up with anyone that I dislike for too long of a period of time.

Let’s hope things continue in that manner.

It’s also nice that the roof over my head doesn’t depend on if I have a roommate, or if that roommate paid their rent and utilities on time.

Ever experienced a high-turnover roommate situation? How did you like it? Ever live with strangers, or any desire to?