Sitting at the Dupont Circle metro stop, I had a revelation: I only say I don’t trust people so I can blame them when things go wrong.
Pretty big for a metro-thought.
I didn’t want to go out tonight. I was tired and crappy and menstrual. But this guy I met at Young Dems invited me out with his posse of smart lawyerly types who I assumed would be as cool as he seemed to be at our first meeting. When I realized how tired and crabby and menstrual I felt, I told him that I was probably going to bail. Over and over he insisted that I not be lame. He kept mentioning this friend of his who was in town from Houston and had, the previous day, messaged me on myspace. Strange, I thought, for a complete stranger who is the friend of a veritable stranger. But whatev. Such is the world we live in.
I asked the Young Democrat, you’re not trying to do some type of set up thing are you? “No.” was his reply. Well, if he says “no” and then he must mean “no”. It’s not like he said “not really” or “not exactly.” So I went along. I should have known it was going to be a bad night when my hair didn’t work, I exited the station the wrong way, and I walked the wrong direction to the bar.
Then came the good part.
I walk in and find this group of the Young Dem and his friends. Introductions. I go to put my coat in the coat check, hesitating briefly to decide if I wanted to first order a drink, I heard the Young Dem say “yeah, that’s the girl I brought out for Houston”. I was hurt. Hurt by a stranger no less. But what harm was it? There was still fun to be had, right? Wrong.
Houston was plastered. But worst of all, he was touching me. I told him to stop. I told him to stop again. I walked away. I made sure that everyone in the group knew I wasn’t interested so as to avoid any “mixed messages” but alas…
We were about to leave the bar when Houston came up to me, grabbed my head in both of his hands and pulled me toward him. With my cat-like reflexes, I planted a hand in his solar plexus and pushed. He released his grip. “Stop” I said. He grabbed for me again. I walked out.
Young Democrat, rather than come to my defense, actually got mad. Said he didn’t want to deal with the drama. I was shocked. Appalled. More than that, saddened. He seemed like he could have been an amazing friend.
I realized that my experience is not exclusive to women, but certainly one that more women have experienced than men. The power of a man’s touch: an unwanted touch. The fear that he won’t let go. The worry that you’ve offended him and his friends while trying to save yourself.
Women, the worriers. The warriors.
But this is the moral of the story: I don’t blame the Young Democrat for deceiving me and eventually not only putting me in a terribly awkward position, but one that could have been far worse than it was. I don’t blame him for lying to me at all.
I blame myself for not listening to me. I blame myself for not trusting my instincts.
Maybe it’s not that I can’t trust other people, but that I cannot yet trust myself.