A friend and former coworker recently articulated it to me in this way: “When it comes to women, I just never understood the rules.” I understand completely. I never know if its acceptable to make a move or if by doing so I might irreversibly damage the friendship, even send her running for the hills. There’s always the fear of making her feel violated in the bad way, and I’ve had that fear forever. And it never seems like something that can be asked blatantly. You almost feel like handing them a contract or questionnaire just to clarify the precise nature of the relations and make it all official and mutually understood and agreed upon.
It irritates me because I’m reasonably confident with respect to my people-reading skills until it comes to women I’m sexually or romantically attracted to. Then uncertainty reigns. I don’t know up from down so everything seems like a red light, a No Entry sign over her heart or muff area.
And it was scary enough before all the #MeToo stuff. Now it’s terrifying. Even if things were to go smoothly and there was no evident discomfort, a girl could elect to lie in the aftermath and call it sexual misconduct, even rape, and however baseless, the accusation could ruin my life.
So in that light, perhaps it’s never been a better time to be a pent-up isolationist plagued with circumstantial abstinence.