On a recent Disability After Dark, Andrew Gurza talks about consent in light of recent sexual allegations in the news recently. He address the very direct types on intrusive use of power to force ones sexual needs on another, supposedly weaker or more vulnerable person. “You want to work in this industry you better put out.” or “You’re a helpless cripple so you should be happy anyone would want to molest you.”
Andrew recalls doing things or accepting sexual behaviour that he didn’t feel he should decline. This I fully understand from when I first ‘came out’ here in Toronto. Having sex I didn’t enjoy, with men I didn’t really feel attracted to, just for the sake of having sex. Or when I was with a guy I found attractive letting things happen than I really wasn’t enjoying just to be with them.
As I became more confident & comfortable this happened less. Now it is easy for me to state boundaries & face the consequence of being not wanted – telling men you aren’t into poppers etc. puzzles them. Sometimes they show up with pot, poppers, sex toys: things that I have already said I’m not into & expect me to give in, to be a nice guy. Not going to happen.
Odd how consent becomes a situation of coercion or gradual accommodation: just rub my shoulders or I’ll just rub your shoulders turns into – you led me on by letting me rub your shoulders. ‘btw autocorrect turned message me or else to massage me or else in all those emails.’
The manipulative tactics of the predator often start out so innocuous. He drove all the way from Oshawa or Brampton to see me, so now I should do what I already said I wasn’t into – it’s my fault for leading him on – so be a nice guy, polite, do I give in or give him the shove, or rather not give him the shove, or anything else. (By the way I am worth the drive for what I do enjoy.) Just because I let you hug me doesn’t mean I want to fuck.
“What are you looking at?”
Mike wasn’t looking at anything. He was trying to follow a tread of thought, a thought that had lead to his nickname – Muttman.
“Then look at nothing the other way.”
The young man who had snapped at Mike put his arm around his girl friend’s shoulders and pulled her closer to him.
The sound of the train clanked Mutt man Mutt man.
Was it the pleasant face of the young man that had started the thought process? The man had to be mid-20’s, maybe younger, fresh and attractive. With what he supposed was an attractive girl friend.
The Muttman name had sprung up in fourth or fifth grade and stuck to him to university. He hadn’t been able to shake it till he graduated. Now he was called either Mike or Mr. Poole. But something besides this pretty couple had to have set off the Muttman echo.
What had he been thinking of a few minutes ago?
He’d put his train tickets away and had checked to make sure he had the address of L’Assoupir, the bed and breakfast he’d stay at in Montreal. He’d been reading in the paper about the biker turf war in Montreal – cafes and clubs being blown up and had wondered if his b’n’b was near any of that. But they had a dog to protect them, right.
Right! They had a dog there. He’d heard it bark in the background when he made his reservation last month. Dog to – what kind of dog – to Muttman – a short jump.
Muttman Muttman. He hated that name. Even his teachers would call him that. He had Mutt embroidered on his high-school jacket. It had been easier to give in, to pretend to be okay with the joke than to pick a fight with everyone who called him that.
Muttman was better than some of the other names he’d been called. Pizza face, vomit puss. All because of the port-wine stain splash on left side of his forehead.
When he had asked his Dad why the kids picked on him because of his looks, the reply had been he might as well learn to live with it. It could be worse, at least he didn’t have a limp or need a wheel-chair. Now that’s a real disability. Some people got looks, some got brains, so he’d better hope he had some brains. He did but found that if he was too smart in school it made things worse not better. It was easier to be stupid and ugly to get along than fight them.
He had hoped that by university, when his adult body filled in, he would gain some sort of decent looks but that hadn’t happened. His shoulders remained uneven, odd ears that couldn’t be hidden with his thin hair. Nose with its bump and bend and a chin that jutted and rounded at the same time. Plus the discolouration which had faded some thanks to laser treatment but would never disappear.
The only thing his adult body was able to provide was some hair to fill in his face.
Gym work didn’t suit him. He tried but all he managed was to get hairier and thicker. Muscles just refused to form. His shoulders took on enough mass to look even so shirts fit him better.
Looks only a mother could love. At least with his looks he didn’t have to make excuses for his lack of lucky at the dating game. His Dad comforted him by saying that someday the right girl would come along. One who didn’t worry about looks. That was the only kind of girl worth having anyway.
Trouble was that girls didn’t appeal to him. All through school he saw them giggling behind the boys who taunted him with Muttman. They were as cruel as the boys, worse because they didn’t have the honesty to speak for themselves.
The boys were another story. Being bullied seemed a natural way to relate. He could stick up for himself when he had to, but avoided physical confrontations. It was easier to be a part of the joke than to fight it. He became the best bud of several of the most popular guys at different times. The brains that would help them with essays, hang out till they guys wanted to date.
He never wanted to be one of the popular guys. The pressure of looks and sports and dating didn’t appeal to him. It seemed like a lot of work for such a small reward. He understood what it was the girls were attracted to. Those perfect males bodies so unlike his.
He wanted from those boys what they bragged about giving to the girls. Tongue kisses, touches in private parts, sex. Fucking. Sucking. He wanted that and knew it was another thing to hide.
It wasn’t till his second year at university that he let himself explore that dream. The University of Toronto had a gay and lesbian student union. His first year there he’d been fearful of being noticed. But by the second he knew it would be safe. There were gays on campus he knew he wouldn’t be alone.
So he came out. Again found himself the best friend of someone one who had all the fun he wanted to have himself. When he complained about not meeting the right someone there would be a silence – then suggestions for more work-outs – try these glasses – looks looks looks.
The only look that every worked for him was the dark, the less light the better.
The train took him to Montreal on another vacation. Another meeting with his lover. Yes, he had managed to land a lover. A long-distance lover, but a lover. Patrick Lough was a noted film critic and historian. Someone who was welcome at festivals and film openings around the world. Someone who liked sex with him.
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