Out For A Walk With Spike pt3
Paralyzed With Not Caring Very Much
Being able to play with roles goes some way towards indicating that you’re no longer controlled by them. — Esther Perel, Mating in Captivity
Cont’d from pt2
I’ve been out for a lot of walks with men. Walking is good for irrigating my streams of consciousness. Walking is good for thinking and talking is good for listening.
When I was 13, a slightly older boy asked me to go for a walk with him after summer theater rehearsal. Someone had told him that I had a crush on him (true). He wanted to let me know he thought I was totally great but didn’t (this dreaded phrase!) think of me like that.
I’ve carried this experience as an ur-humiliation ever since; at the time, to distance myself from the pain, I told myself it was romantic. Romantic to be rejected. To not get what I wanted.
This encounter, its largeness in my self-image, still confuses me. What was the point of asking me to go for a walk just to tell me he knew I was interested in him but didn’t return the interest? Was it a power trip? I knew this boy for years afterwards, and I felt he never stopped looking at me with a smugness: “She wanted me, and I told her I didn’t want her.” Is that what got his dick hard? Rubbing his lack of reciprocity in my face? Was this him actually wanting me, starting a game I didn’t want or know how to play? Is there a way to see this as a kindness? My therapist recently pointed out he could have rejected me in front of everyone at play practice, made fun of me behind my back, or humped and dumped me, any of which might have led to a different complex.
What I can’t seem to get over, decades later, is the conviction that I would have preferred to be used. I wanted someone to want to use me. Even then I think I knew how to use them back. Knowing he wanted to use me, experiencing the follow-through, would have felt better than the uselessness of having no real experience at all.
Sex work helped get a lot of this off my chest. All I ever really wanted from men was a validated parking pass. I wanted to strip mine their legendarily dangerous lust, transform it into something I could use. Money was just as useful as love or status.
A lifetime of jerking off has given me pleasure, stress relief, self love, power. The only thing I can’t get from masturbation is the experience of living inside someone else’s worthwhile desire for me.
Spike wanted Buffy. He wanted her company and her body. Spike realized he wanted Buffy slowly, and once he couldn’t deny it to himself any longer he told her he loved her. Plainly, insistently, incessantly. She said No over and over, with a punch, a sneer, recoiling in disgust. He didn’t, it must be said, take No for an answer, and in the end he got (for a time) the sex he wanted, and later (in a way) the love he fought for.
And even after he had what he wanted and lost it, he tried to force it. She said No and he kept trying.
So, yes. This television romance, this fantasy affair, is both implicitly and explicitly rapey. Unlike some other rapey fictional affairs I could mention, this one never pretended not to be monstrous.
For our publicly disgraced rapists of the #MeToo era, may I suggest: A grueling ordeal to win your soul back. Months of exile in a basement haunted by the reality of what you’ve done. Finally, sacrificing yourself, in service of your love, with no illusions, to save the world.
As a show of accountability, it really puts not being willing to say you’re sorry in perspective.
Continued in pt4