Why thank you fate, or nemesis – or whatever malign deity exists to make sure we’re not getting too far above our proper station. Having spent today writing thoughtfully on consent and deception,I was just asking for it, wasn’t I? (Hold that thought: its relevant).
Yep. Bloody well begging to be taken down a peg or two – and you delivered, didn’t you?
Today was a gentle day. The morning was spent, as above, writing up a piece for the New Statesman on the nature of consent when it comes to (sexual) intimacy and the relevance of “trans deception” to that equation. Having read the latest pompous wofflings of three utterly ignorant middle-aged blokes, aka judges, on the matter, events this evening sort of underline just how little they know about the issue at hand. But we’ll get to that in a mo.
This evening, I was out and about with Fiona, a woman who probably comes closest of all to deserving the accolade of BFF. She has been there for me several times over – and hopefully, the favour has been returned. At any rate, I do a good deal of listening, and make sympathetic noises in most of the right places.
I wouldn’t claim cougar status for either of us…but when we DO decide to hit the town, “cougar-ish” would not be inappropriate. So, tonight, we started in Peterborough, catting it up with our observations on innocent passers-by – and rating the local male talent (which mostly scored very badly indeed).
Then on to a venue some way outside Peterborough where we settled down with coffee and chocolate to put the world to rights. Well, that was the plan, until half a dozen beery Yorkshire lads descended on our table, initially to share the space and then, as one (Mr Red shirt) got chatting to us, for a little light flirting.
Was it going anywhere? Probably not. He was nice enough (and defo showing rather more interest in Fiona than me): he scored several brownie points for deducting a decade or so from both our ages when guesstimating. And he had got so far as doing some not so subtle stuff with our hands and legs (don’t ask!) when proceedings came to an abrupt close.
The lads decided twas time to move on: and almost simultaneously, I took a call from scout camp, where my son had been spending the weekend, to say he was a bit under the weather and could I come and collect. Che sara and all that!
Bigot in blue
Oh. And then there was Mr Blue shirt. He’d given me an odd sort of look when they first sat down: I could tell he was looking at me quizzically. As we stood to go, he said, quite rudely: “You’re not right, you are”. (His grammar was about equal to his manners).
I went to pick up my scarf. More abuse. “That’s not your’s, it’s not. You’re a bloke!” I said nothing. Fiona and I left: I took care to watch my back, have my car keys handy so I could get quickly into my car.
Fiona expressed sadness that I should have to put up with such stuff. I did the usual: explained I was used to it. It didn’t affect me. And mostly, that’s true. One gets used to it: learns to manage such situations.
But here’s the thing – the real thing that those unlearned friends who so recently have sat in judgment of the trans dilemma. The real issue was not Blue shirt, but Red.
To understand what – and why – you need to understand transition. At first, you remain “sir” to all but the most politically correct of public servants. Then, gradually, there is a shift:”Ma’am” slips into conversation more and more often. At first, you don’t believe it, are sure they’re just being nice.
But it keeps on happening and happening until you realise what you never, yourself, believed possible has happened: that as you walk blithely through the world what people see,mostly, is the woman that you are and always were. Wow! Of course, it happens faster, more completely for some than others. Still, it happens and you react how? Do you reject each and every “Ma’am” with a legally pedantic “sorry, that isn’t quite correct”?
Or do you, as most women would, simply smile and carry on.
The latter, I think.
The trans dilemma
But here’s the rub. Fiona and I weren’t out “on the pull”. We didn’t invite those guys to our table, didn’t initiate the conversation. But we enjoyed it at the time, and if we hadn’t gone our separate ways when we had, who knows what might have happened.
I very much doubt Red shirt was interested in me. But if he had been? I “deceived” him from the outset, since he was clearly very happily flirting with two women. Should I have told him when he sat down next to us? “Excuse me sir, but before you say a word, I have something to tell you”.
Should I have waited til he put a hand on my knee? Or brushed his fingers thru my hair. Or best to hang on til after the full-on fuck…somewhere between the post-coital ciggy and breakfast?
The difficulty hinges on two separate issues. First, were I to assume that any man who chatted to me nicely wished to shag me, that would be bloody presumptuous…and providing a full and frank disclosure of genital history on that basis would be just tmi.
Violence vs. celibacy
But the longer the conversation goes on, the more the guy has invested in me – both time and ego – the more violent I fear his reaction may be should he then decide to turn round and hit me.
Blue shirt I can deal with: for he is no more than everyday bigoted idiot.
Red shirt and all his ilk are an ever more frequent issue, since I have no idea what the approved script should be in such circs – and I bet Appeal Court judges haven’t the faintest either.
Not, however, that that has in any way impeded them in handing down a judgment that makes it that much more likely that if and when such situations happen again in future, they have just handed every aggrieved male in the land an explicit license to hit me in self-defence.
Thank you so much, fate, nemesis – and British “justice”. Perhaps I should just resign myself to a life of celibacy: or was that what you intended all along?