Why I've Never Been Kissed
a list of psychological reasons and the men who've sexually harassed me
I'm 25 years old, and I've never really been kissed.
I'm one year away from being Josie Grossie. Except I was semi cool in high school.
So how did a conventionally passing for attractive girl, who was kinda cool in high school get to 25 without being kissed?
The patriarchy. Also why I'm a feminist.
A geek to core is something I'd prefer to be known as than the girl whose body developed faster than her mind. At 13 I had the body of a 19 year old but the mind of a responsible 9 year old. I'd just gotten rid of my Barbie dolls and was being accosted by men and boys. I didn't know how to handle that. I was a child.
I distanced myself from all people - mostly men - so I've never had a real boyfriend, never gotten drunk at a bar and hookup with a stranger, never been on a real actual date (disaster coffee date during high school final exams doesn't count).
I blame my distrust of men (and everybody) on the unwanted attention I received during those formative years. I felt favoured for my appearance alone, and not anything that actually holds value. Intellect. Creativity. Humour. Ambition. Nope. Just ass and titties.
I felt like the harassment was my fault. I was fit. I dressed trendy. I was friendly. So I stopped.
I started to act harshly and cover up, I intentionally gained weight; which added more to the curves the boys frothed and pushed them to request I undress - so my attempts were counter intuitive.
I've since learned that it is in fact, not my fault; that the boys in my life were just pigs and there was nothing I could do to change that. I dress for me. I dance for me. I am healthy for me.
But I still think it's worthwhile for readers, and quite therapeutic for me to write what I experienced throughout high school and after.
I was 13, he was 12, and he decided it was a good idea to tell me 8 year old brother he thinks that I'm hot. My brother tells me. He is confused and I am also confused.
M's behaviour escalates quickly as he begins accosting me when we pass each other at school and on the bus -
"nice tits", " your boobs are amazing", "what size is your bra?", "ba-bam", "you don't need airbags, because, babam", "twerk on me", "let me squeeze them"
and an assortment of other lewd, disgusting words and gestures. I consistently told him off for it, and asked him to stop. I was nice, I was rude, I was gentle, I was harsh, I ignored him. Any response, even no response, only spurred him on.
We had friends in common, but I avoided him whenever I could. Whenever he was with my friends, I made sure to be far away. But when you go to school with someone, you can't always avoid them.
C was a female friend of mine and M's, who ignored how upset M's advances made me. I told her it bothered me and made me want to cry, but she said,
"He's just flirting. He really like you, you know. You should be nicer to him."
When I protested that it's actually not ok, she insisted it was ok. I was too afraid to bring it up again, and too afraid to do anything about it. And I still hold some resentment for that friend of mine who didn't care to hear me when I said I was upset.
This one wasn't as extreme, but really hurt because we were friends. He'd "woop" when I arrived to school in mufti (literally jeans and a T shirt, not that I have to defend what I was wearing), he'd make comments in PE when we had to do the beep test, he'd text me late at night asking weird inappropriate things. He made me feel like a spectacle when I just wanted to disappear behind everyone else. I just wanted to make fun of our english teacher. I just wanted to be friends. Now that I look back on it, I value elements of this friendship, but see that he didn't value me.
We were friends and he was telling people we were dating. I thought it was a joke. I should've known.
While at our year 10 formal, he asked me to dance, and no one had asked me to dance, and I was glad it was a friend asking. We danced a bit, and people asked if we were dating. He said yes, I was quiet because I wanted them to think I was cool. I didn't want to ruin his game. Then he tried to kiss me in front of them. I pulled away. He leaned in again and I practically did a backbend. He kept leaning in and I kept pulling away. Then my mum was there to take me home and we left. I never saw him again, but he likes my instagrams every now and then. It's a bit weird.
Another female friend, who I wasn't all that close to at the time, saw M make a lewd comment to me, then she saw my face change. She saw me avoid him as walked by us, she heard what he said, and she saw how upset I was. She instantly said,
"What the hell. He can't talk to you like that!"
I immediately felt vindicated. Years of being told my feelings were not real, and that I was overreacting, GONE. I bust into tears.
C went with me to tell a teacher we trusted, and this teacher handled it discretely and gave me options. I could involve parents, or keep it quiet. I chose the latter. I was embarrassed enough, and I didn't want to cause a scene.
C was a huge support for me, and after we spoke to that teacher, the harassment from this one boy stopped. And that's on C.
And I am always going to be grateful to Mr Scotney for being great in that situation.
K was a very good friend of mine. We had a bunch of classes together, and studied together a lot. He was flirty with me, but he was flirty with everyone, so I ignored it.
After our year 12 formal, most of our grade went to the after party a few of us had arranged. There were two 6 packs shared among the 40-50 of us that went (our grade was only 65 kids), so no one was even remotely drunk. There was one room where most of us hung out and slept. A bunch of people on the bed, some on couches, and a few of us on the floor. I was on the floor and K came to lay down next to me. There wasn't much room, so I didn't think much of it. I thought we were good friends, so we shared a blanket. He kept trying to spoon me, and I kept saying no. I didn't want to go sleep anywhere else because there was nowhere else.
After I said to stop trying to wrap his arms around me in a variety of tones (gently, playfully, strong, "I'm not kidding. This isn't a game. Don't touch me.")
I tried going to sleep. It was late and I was tired. As I was dozing I felt his arms around me again, and I'd already made a big deal of it and didn't want to cause a scene. I was scared because where else am I going to sleep, and people are going to think I'm being dramatic. And maybe it was just a nightmare because my friend wouldn't take advantage of my sleeping body like that.
He did. People told me the next morning saying,
"You guys were so cute last night"
I was sexually assaulted last night, but good to know you thought it was cute.
I'm not saying I blame ALL of my trust issues on these people, or even that it's all their fault; only that they negatively affected these things. They didn't help. They left me with a collective trauma. And that's not cool. Yeah, for the most part we were children, but that doesn't excuse it.
I was a bitch and a bully. I made the choice to behave that way, and it wasn't ok. Just like it wasn't ok that these people I thought were my friends, ignored my wishes to not sexually harrass me.
I was at a shoot for a short film I was really excited about. J only had a few lines so he wasn't there for long. As soon as he arrived, he was he focussed in on me, telling me how beautiful and talented I am, and how he'd love to work with me again. I was nice. I said thank you and gave him my instagram. Gotta get that follower count up.
He then harassed me on instagram. He slid into my DM's and wouldn't slide out. He was extremely forward and refused my refusal multiple times. After a few weeks of gently letting him down and realising he won't take it, I blocked him, but not before he sent unwanted sexual messages. I should've been harsher.
randoms (2007-present - O God I wish it'd end)
Too many to list them all, so here are a few dishonourable mentions.
I was 19, walking down the street in Washington, DC, when a man, maybe 50 years old, said to my face, "Daaaaammmnnn girrl."
I was 21, on my way home from university, I crossed the road from the train station and heard a car horn honking. I ignored it and continued walking home. Until a car pulled up beside me and asked me to get in. This man said he thought I was beautiful and we should be friends, so I should get in his car. I politely declined until he got out and tried to usher me in. He said he'd drive me home. I'm thinking, there's no way IN HELL you're driving me anywhere, let alone, my house. He kept saying he's new to Sydney, and is looking for friends. I told him this is a bad way to make friends. This is scary for me. Don't do this. By some miracle I got away.
And then a caveat of times someone has honked their horn, or yelled out the window at me as I'm walking. I don't want no scrub. But also, what is that supposed to accomplish? Because if it's supposed to make me feel like trash and go home crying, then by golly, successful mission.
So if it's not these boys fault, why have you never been kissed?
Because I keep people at a distance and intentionally come off harsh in order to test people. I want them to know ASAP that I won't put up with their bullshit like I did before, and I will not be taken advantage of. Men think I'm too intimidating. I scare most of them away with this approach. But in my experience, the gentle approach gets you assaulted. I'll take single and safe.
I don't want this to sound feminist preachy, or like I'm some basic girl complaining about male attention. But that is in fact what I am doing.
These experiences I've shared here, are all too normal. It was normal for those boys at school to treat me the way they did. It was normal that my feelings were ignored and invalidated. It was normal that a guy wouldn't take no for an answer, in my DM's or on the street. It was normal for guys to honk as I walked home, or express their rude instincts on the street.
But it shouldn't be normal.
Don't comment on a persons body.
If someone says they're upset, don't invalidate them by saying they're overreacting. Let them feel. Listen.
If someone asks you to stop touching them, or to stop saying lewd things, bloody hell stop.
Thank you for coming to my ted talk.
Hit me up and treat me like a person.