Breaking news this past weekend included an incredible comeback from the Minnesota Vikings, and Aziz Ansari’s sexual escapades. Katie Way’s article, I went on a date with Aziz Ansari. It turned into the worst night of my life revealed that the geeky little comedic genius is now a sexual predator, according to the anonymous “Grace”, Ansari’s date.
The article has gone viral. I’ve read several reactive op-eds dissecting every inch and crevice of the text, arguing every angle on the topic that one can argue. I have mixed feelings on the subject, but I am not going to provide a detailed analysis regarding my feelings on whether or not I believe Ansari is a true sexual predator (I don’t), or just creepy as fuck (Yup. One thousand percent).
I related with “Grace’s” experience, and it forced me to consider how I will approach this subject with my own daughter. She is seven, so I know I have some time before we need to have the “Birds and the Bee’s” talk, but it will have to go beyond the basic anatomy and physiology of lovemaking. I will have to teach her how to say “no” to a guy when he doesn’t let up.
At seven, she’s pretty great at saying no. She actually is so well versed in the subject I struggle to convince myself that this conversation will be necessary. But as all women know, that ruthless attitude that was once so engrained into our childhood personalities dissipates over time, and is replaced with an eagerness for people pleasing.
We learn that guys like the girl who is unhinged, relaxed, into sports and beer, but not afraid to let loose in the bedroom. We learn to be all the things men like, and subsequently it’s that much harder at telling them no. We want them to like us. We learn to be more ambivalent and less assertive, and it comes at a price.
So when she is older, how do I navigate this complicated conversation with her? Because I know she is going to roll her eyes at me and say “Mom, that’s never going to happen. I would just leave”. But I know it’s not as simple as that. You know it’s not as simple as that.
I want to tell her if a guy ever gets too aggressive with her, she can knee him in the nuts and call me on her way out. I’ll send my hitmen over there to take care of the rest. But that isn’t really the solution, is it? Because that’s not teaching her how to stand up for herself, or how to avoid the situation in the first place.
What I hope to teach her is that she never owes any man anything, ever. She doesn’t owe a guy a date because he asked her, and she doesn’t want to say no and be rude. She doesn’t owe a guy her phone number because he decided to buy her a drink. If she tells a man things are moving too quickly and he accuses her of being a prude, she doesn’t owe him an opportunity to prove him wrong. She doesn’t owe a man a trip upstairs after dinner because he paid for the meal. She doesn’t owe him more than a thank you and maybe a polite Step-Brothers awkward hug.
She may have to sit with an uncomfortable, lonely feeling after telling a man “no”. That is okay. It might prevent her from having to share a story titled, “The Worst Night of My Life”.
I constantly tell myself that things will be different for my children. I desperately want to believe that in twenty years these humiliating stories about men and women will be considered the Ghosts of Dating Past.
But let me ask you, have you ever been on the same date that “Grace” was on? If you’re a woman, I’m sure you have. I have. Wait a minute! I was on that fuckin’ date! I am “Grace”! (The lobster rolls were great by the way, and it turns out red wine isn’t all that bad. Oh and those marble countertops? So luxurious).
Way’s article not only enhanced the worry I have about my daughter meeting a good man when she’s older, but also emphasized the important role I will play in preparing her on how to deal with the inevitable pushy dirtbags she will encounter along the way.
So, “Grace”, while I think you might have gone a bit overboard with your accusations towards Aziz Ansari, I thank you for surfacing an important subject that I may have otherwise overlooked, or ignored, when the topic of dating comes up with my daughter. I thank you for calling attention to bad dates. They are not a necessary requirement for our dating histories, and they can be avoided.
I thank you for, hopefully, helping my daughter realize that she is completely entitled to walk away from a shit date and call an Uber. And all that dude will suffer is a bad case of rejection, and blue balls.