Friday, October 07, 2005

Can I Kiss You?

So last night at University of Iowa was Take Back the Night. Having once been an organizer of TBTN in Chicago I was curious to see how a huge Big 10 Public University did it. Right before the march was a talk from a speaker, Mike Domitrz. The talk was entitled "Can I Kiss You" and was about healthy relationships, granting consent, etc. I had heard he was a good speaker and I was curious to see how he would play to a midwestern college crowd.

I definitely wasn't expecting it to be as good as it was. Who would show up to this thing? Why would anyone go to TBTN on a freezing drinkin' night? I knew it would be really funny but I thought the message would be a watered down one at the end of a comedy show ("Don't rape girls, ya'll. It ain't right.") But no. The place was PACKED (I heard later that all male athletes were required to go -- in the hopes of avoiding another Pierre Pierce, I guess), and everyone was very engaged, relaxed and enjoying themselves. The first half of the show was frickin' hilarious; he brings people up on stage and reenacts various relationship scenarios, with the intention of showing how important it is (and how romantic and sexy it can be!) to ask permission before say, kissing someone. Ok, ok. I have to admit: as much as I am an activist about this stuff, I was always like, I mean, sure, it would be nice to have sweet talk like that, but most people aren't capable of that. We're too awkward and weird. Wouldn't it just kill the moment? Don't you just want a guy who knows when to go for it? People, I am a believer now. Both that it can contribute to the moment, and that it is necessary.

He made the analogy that none of us would ever just take a $5 bill from someone without asking their permission. Why would you handle someone's body without asking their permission? Good point. He also said it's LESS awkward to just say, "I'm having a great time with you, but I don't think so" than to be kissed if you don't want to be (true, now that i think about it..."but she kissed me! I thought she was into it!") or have to be all aggressive and push someone away. And it's true, we can't read subtleties.

Anyway, as much as I think I know about this stuff, I guess you can always learn more.


David G said...

Um, wait. So, you mean it's not a good line?

square peg said...

But it's not just a "line": it's supposed to be a polite, earnest request....not just a "line" to score with. I think the point of asking is to be aware of limits, etc.

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