I showed her the bruises on my arms. She shrugged and said, “Well, boys don’t like whores.” Is it my fault that I drank too much? Is it my fault that my shirt was low cut? Maybe, but I didn’t want this. She shook her head and said, “They don’t want women to be in control,” as though it were just a fact of life that boys can fuck around, but a woman who does the same is a slut. The woman who expects control of her own body and sexual relationships is in the wrong. Women shouldn’t expect gratification; women should only seek “soul mates.” A man has needs, but a woman is a sinner. Her desires are an admonishment and she should be shamed.
I wonder if I was really ever in control though, and if I was ever getting what I wanted. I know I wasn’t. I wanted him, but he had rejected me. I wanted to show him that I was desirable, so I let myself be had by any man who told me I had a pretty face or a hot ass. When he said he was hurt and didn’t want me anymore, I accepted another offer, foolishly believing I could incite his jealousy and alter his mind. That offer was more than I had bargained for. I should be ashamed for trying to play these games. If I had just been honest and said I’m sorry, I wonder if I wouldn’t have this surplus, gigantic grief now riding around on my back.So maybe I was wrong then. No, I know I was wrong, but that still doesn’t justify what happened next. “Boys don’t like whores,” she said and that’s precisely why he was rejecting me. I wasn’t his, and he wasn’t mine, but he didn’t want me to belong, however temporarily, to anyone else either. I didn’t belong to them though; it was just my skin and I was still my own woman. He was allowed his freedom, but I was denied mine. I couldn’t have my cake and eat it too.
Why can’t a woman have casual relationships? Why are women denied noncommittal pleasure? It’s not safe for us. Good girls can’t afford to play the same games the big boys do. We wouldn’t have to be so damn afraid if society changed. If we stopped building up boys while berating women maybe there wouldn’t be such a perverse imbalance and abuse of power. The boys couldn’t get away with it and claim we wanted it. Girls can’t tease and girls can’t change their minds because such misdirection and indecision is worthy of retribution.I showed her the bruises, and even she blamed me. “You should never have gone home with him,” she chastised, “You barely even knew him.” Her warning then could not possibly alter the past, shake this fucking beast off my back, so what good was that? Women don’t need to condemn women even further. Women don’t need to excuse men who don’t listen when a woman says no. Why are we still making excuses?
Maybe I made him angry because I was a woman who wanted the upper hand. Maybe I made him angry because I wasn’t seduced by his power or prowess. Maybe I made him angry because I wanted to be safe even though I was playing these otherwise dangerous games. Maybe I made him angry because I wasn’t falling in love. He shouldn’t have expected me to swoon; this was never about love. This wasn’t even about affection or sexual attraction. Two intoxicated bodies momentarily finding each other for mutual satisfaction. Nothing more. I wish it were nothing more, but his lust turned to hate and I suffered for his ire.
I showed her the bruises and she showed me the standards of our society: “Boys don’t like whores.” Men and women are still expected to behave to certain gender standards, and our society justifies any harm to the deviants. We need to end these archaic expectations. We need to equalize the playing field. We need to stop excusing bad behavior. We need to stop making the victimized feel guilty. We need to stop condoning violence through acquiescence. We need to stop admiring “big boys” and branding “bad girls.” Even bad girls feel the sting of the bruises, and an even greater ache from the agonies unseen.