A few nights ago, I went down to San Jose to see one of my favorite people whom I haven’t hung out with in over two years. I love hanging out with him. We share a joy for this being human thing.
We were sitting at a restaurant bar and a man came up right next to me to order a drink.
I overheard something that interested me. I commented. He moved around to speak to both my friend and me. He immediately tried a neg (something that not only doesn’t work with me but glaringly highlights “game” with comedic effect). It took him less than 2 minutes to casually drop what a powerful consultant in Silicon Valley he is.
Shortly after, I told him I was ready to focus on my friend again and he politely made an exit.
Maybe an hour later, my friend and I finish dinner and move on to meet up with friends at a place with music. I notice on the way in that Mr. Consultant also happens to be there.
The music is good, and I get to dance! I haven’t been out like this in over two years. The dance floor is empty other than our group. I’m laughing. I’m sweating. It’s excellent.
Consultant dude comes up to me, leans in, and confidently and seductively says, “I can tell from the way you dance that you sex good.”
Out of nowhere.
I’d acknowledged his presence when I saw him when we arrived, but he and I hadn’t talked again. I wasn’t making eye contact with him. Nothing.
But he’s not wrong.
So, I turn directly to him, look him in the eye, and say with cheerful earnestness, “I respect your assessment.” Then turn away and continue my thing.
A minute later, he moves in again.
“Hey… I just gave you a compliment.”
Again, I turn towards him and give him my complete attention. I see there a mixture of anger and hurt. A little accusatory and victimy. Like, this poor innocent guy was just being nice, and, WTF? Why would I treat him like that? He seems genuinely confused.
“Oh!” I say, startled. “And what’s the problem now? I didn’t give you what you were expecting me to?” I look at him kindly but steadily, curious if he’ll be able to agree. But he looks more flustered and turns away.
Now, we can debate the content of his “compliment” and if hearing from a virtually random stranger that they can tell you sex good is actually that, but what’s more interesting is what his reaction to my response revealed.
Dr Betty Martin’s work, the Wheel of Consent, breaks this down. Often, when an exchange feels “icky” it’s because someone wasn’t being honest with their intention. If you present that you’re giving a gift but get upset when someone doesn’t respond the way you hoped, it’s a tip off that you weren’t actually giving. You were really desiring to receive and going about it in a strategic way. You were angling. Your “gift” had strings. If you’re real about that you can’t really blame someone for not wanting to take it then, can you?
I think any woman recognizes this: I didn’t follow the script.
I was supposed to say, “Thank you.” I also didn’t blush or get coy or flirt. Actually, what happened is my Alpha stepped in and handled it. My inner masculine showed right up, conscious, and confident, and rational. And he had no need to be anything but kind. This man was no threat. But there was no reason for my Omega to relate to him. She just wanted to dance. My inner masculine’s presence allowed all of me to feel safe, which allowed me to stay present with myself, and to remain kind – to myself first and also to the man.
I debated writing about this. I wondered if it would be perceived as mean. I decided that’s my “good girl” telling me so – the one that believes the right answer to even an incongruent and presumptuous "compliment" is, “thank you,” and I shouldn’t “pick on” the guy. Shouldn’t pick on him by what? By being really honest and not following the script?
I’m also wondering if anyone will read this and look for where I made my mistakes. What did I do wrong that invited this kind of attention?
Or maybe there’s belief the other direction, that I should have been less kind and more firm with him. But should I have been scared? Or angry? Or righteous? Or offended?
So many shoulds.
I chose kindness. Not "niceness." Kindness.
When the place closes down a bit later Mr Consultant is at the bar closing out and sees me leaving.
“Don’t go yet!’ He calls out to me.
I turn towards him, but the cool air from the open door touches my skin and I tell him that’s what I’m ready for.
“No!” He bursts out. “Don’t leave me.” And I’m suddenly looking at a 3-year-old in a suit. I tell him I’ll be just outside.
This is what happens when the tricks don’t work? This is what happens when I’m fully authentic, kind, and equanimous?
This is what happens when I walk through life in partnership with my own Alpha.
Over the course of 2 hours, I watched a man go from a suave, confident, high-powered executive to a needy toddler.
Social and gender expectations are a trip. Especially on alcohol, where polarity comes out at it's best and worst.