Last week, I hung out with someone I’ll call Drew. We had a great time—I really liked him and he really liked me. We’d kissed a few times before but this specific night and it was great. However, this night I was hoping that we wouldn’t. I just didn’t want to.
That night, since I am car-less, he had picked me up.
He had been so sweet and caring and listened to my feminist rants.
All in all, it had been a good night. But I still didn’t want to kiss him.
Finally, Drew asked if he can kiss me and I still didn’t really want to. I have a battle with myself. I didn’t really want to. But, I argued with myself. He’s been so nice. And he picked me up. I can’t just have someone pick me up and drive me around and not reciprocate? Right? No, of course not. Just say no.
I ignored my feelings while I leaned in to kiss him. Then I quickly pulled away. Then I heard myself say,“I’m so, so sorry. Not tonight.”
“Okay,” he said, and we continued to talk about other things.
I went home and I re-evaluated the situation. I realized how ludicrous it was to feel like I owed someone physical intimacy and said sorry for not wanting to do something that I would be an equal participant in. Upon further reflection of the situation, I realized how many other women had told me So he paid for the movie and so when he held my hand I was like, ugh, I don’t want to, but then he did pay 9 dollars or even I didn’t want to even hug him good-bye but I couldn’t just leave him hanging, he was pretty nice and stuff to me.
In society and movies, the culture of romance entails this basic idea that boy meets girl. Boy is nice. Boy listens to girl’s problems and buys her nice things, and in return the girl reciprocates and “pays back” with physical intimacy. Women are inundated with these images in the media (think Twilight and every Nicholas Sparks movie) and believe that their partner is entitled to physical intimacy. Even I—someone who spends a lot of time reading feminist lit and knowing intuitively that I don’t owe physical intimacy to anyone, found myself feeling bad that I didn’t want to kiss someone.
And so I made a promise to myself that night when I got home after hanging out with Drew. First, my body and my physical intimacy is not for sale.
I do not owe any guy I go out with physical intimacy.
I have the right to say no to physical intimacy without saying sorry.
No woman’s feelings and body are equivalent to a nine dollar movie ticket or a car ride.