Monday, December 04, 2006

A Meditation on Toad's

So I went to Toad's on Saturday night, dressed up in my best '70's-gym-bunny-meets-90's-fake-gold-jewelry' style to dance. I am not sure exactly what that means, but I can tell you it involved striped pants, a sweatband, and big hoop earrings. But thats not really the point, right? While I was standing talking to my friends, two guys apparently took such a liking to my pants that one of them felt the only way he could express his appreciation was to grab my ass. An action, that was, of course, horrendously predictable considering the circumstances. Fortunately, my story has a surprising turn.

After this guy grabbed my ass, I turned around to ask him what the fuck he thought he was doing, and then turned to my wonderful friend to tell her what had just occurred. Here's where the things got really interesting, in her drunken self-righteousness, she gave him a glare, and then asked him "How would you like it if I did this?" and proceeded to reach for his crotch. He, not surprisingly, jumped back in horror, and then tried to play it off by saying, "Hey, I mean if you really want to, you can."

Fortunately, this all resulted in the two guys apologizing to me for their behavior, and trying to explain that the one guy had just really liked my pants and then the other guy had pushed his hand towards my ass. I encouraged him to, in the future, try tapping a girl on the shoulder and using his words.

What this whole episode made me really consider was actually how unwilling I had been to deal with this situation, without the aid of my friend. Sure, I turned around and glared at the guy, but I honestly might not have said anything to either one of them if my friend had not been there with me. I should also mention that this all happened after we were dancing, during which time, I watched her turn around to three separate guys who tried to grind her from behind and ask them directly: "Do I know you?" I had simply avoided that situation by dancing around and doing lots of turns.

This is all to say, that I was surprised at my own lack of conviction on the ground in terms of actually asserting myself. There was some small part of me that didn't want to argue with the two guys, and come off like an uptight [word removed due to misogynistic tone]. And yet calling them out on their sexual harrasment, was much more positive and empowering then I could have even anticipated, and ended up with them being embarrassed and us seeming totally reasonable.


Anonymous said...

I've had ppl try to grab my butt or paw my "girls" - i've tried not to give them the satisfaction of a reaction but it can get hard not too.

Chelsea said...

Here's how I handled Toad's.

Since it was a place I might be groped and harrassed--and a place where that behavior was tolerable-- I refused to go. If I wanted to dance or be with friends I did it elsewhere.

Sexual harrassment is, incredibly, acceptable at clubs like Toad's. So why go of sexual harrassment makes you uncomfortable, especially if you're not going to protest how you're treated? Either demand the atmosphere change, refuse to go, or go and accept that it's a place that women get treated like meat.

I don't understand going and just silently wishing it were different. Either you should be treated that way or you shouldn't.

Chelsea said...

Sorry, but "tolerable" I meant "tolerated." As in, Toad's tolerates sexual harrassment.