It was a Friday. A great day for our family. We had just witnessed my sister walk across the stage during her “black graduation” ceremony. It was a beautiful, emotionally draining experience. I would have been content to go back to my sister’s place, watch a little tv and crash. But the graduate wanted to celebrate. I wasn’t feeling it, but I didn’t want to deny her this opportunity or have her out in the streets by herself. So after a little power nap, I got myself ready to go.
Thank God we got in for free, because this club experience was not a great one. I was tired and the music was sub par. Still, I tried to hang in there for my sister, who by the way wasn’t having the greatest time either. We agreed that we would leave at 2 am. At 1:50 one of my sister’s best friends, and fellow graduates, danced up to her, announcing her presence in the club. Seconds later, another friend came up. Their squeals and hugs let me know that we weren’t going to be leaving at 2. I didn’t say anything but decided, I’d give her a bit more time. I set the new exit time for 2:15 am.
After standing, looking off into space for the last 25 minutes, I was ret to go! I showed my sister the time and told her I was ready to make a move for the door. My sister walked around the entire club…twice saying goodbye to all her friends. And then she realized she’d left someone out. Her “manfriend,” as she calls him. He’d gotten us into the club for free. It was only right that we say our proper goodbyes. Once we found him he said he was going to walk out with us. My sister led the way to the door. I followed behind her, holding her hand like a disgruntled toddler and the manfriend walked behind me.
We were just a couple of feet from the door when I felt someone grab a nice handful of my booty meat and then pat it. Now, my butt protrudes a little bit so people and objects are constantly bumping into it, so for a split second I thought this could have been an accident. But then I recalled the sickening sensation. A distinct grab, followed by a distinct pat. I kept walking, just a couple more steps so I could turn around and see… and confront the perpetrator.
I turned around to see a clearly inebriated, androgynous person at the bar, giving me the seductive/predatory stare I’ve come to associate with rude men. I had to squint to determine the gender. And once I did, I could feel my eyes enlarge as I realized that was a woman. A woman, trying very hard to pass as a man, but a woman nonetheless.
If there was any doubt left in my mind, my sister’s manfriend erased it.
“That was weird.”
I turned to him in a mix of confusion and frustration, “That was a woman, right?!?”
“I was wondering why you didn’t do anything!…It was a woman.”
This was the first time such a thing had happened to me. And I don’t mean people putting their hands on me in public either. I’ve had to snatch up or cuss out a few little boys who thought it was ok to grab me. I mean, this was the first time someone grabbed me and I was too shocked and hurt to respond.
From the time we’re little girls, we’re warned about the potentially shady, wolfish nature of some (!) men. We’re told not to be too sexually suggestive around them, not to let them in too soon, to protect ourselves around strange ones–and even familiar ones–at all times.
I didn’t receive those warnings about women.
Normally, after such humiliating and degrading attacks, I’m simply infuriated. After this one, I was hurt and confused. As a fellow woman, the grabber must have received those same cautionary messages about men. Why then, did she feel it was appropriate to assault me like that? I just didn’t understand why a woman, someone who’s most likely experienced the objectification of her body, would inflict that same type of pain onto another, a fellow woman. The power of sexual attraction and alcohol be damned. It didn’t make sense. Honestly, it still escapes me. It’s sad when we’re confronted with yet another way human beings fall short when it comes to morality. But if that woman taught me anything, it’s that, unfortunately, anybody, man, woman, gay or straight, can be a predator. Every woman doesn’t see herself as your co-feminist/womanist in the struggle, and no matter where you are, you have to protect yourself at all times.
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