I went out with a group of about twelve guys on Saturday night, and had a blast. It was with a mixed international crowd that started off as a relatively grown-up flat-warming party (replete with pink champagne and harbor views), and ended up a peeing-in-the streets bash in Soho. Conversational topics ranged from the US relationship with Iraq, to French literature, to one-night-stands, and to disturbing anecdotes about Catholic priests. There was dancing and flirtatious heckling of a hot Brazilian bartender. Needless to say, at least half of these guys were gay.
There were a few other chicks at the party, but they dropped off as the night went on until I remained last woman drinking. Because I’d had a long and tiring day, I took it easy and only had about five drinks over the course of many, many hours and so was probably more sober than I would generally choose to be in a party situation. And it is maybe because I was pretty straight (definitely no pun intended) that I realized something about these fairly lovely guys – they can be really, really handsy.
It turned out that four or so of the gentlemen were, in fact, heterosexual, and I was the de facto hot girl of the evening. This is the benefit/drawback of this particular circumstance – while I don’t doubt that the persistant interest in me was genuine at the time, I’m also well aware that my mere presence made me something of an oasis in the be-penised landscape. So while I had four straight guys vying for my attention, it was my sad duty to inform them that I am spoken for and would not be making a cameo appearance in anyone’s bed but my own, and stricly solo. They flattered, they moped, they declared my boyfriend “the luckiest man in the world,” and my vagina remained unmoved. In the timespan of all these varied efforts to get me into the sack, one guy moved in for a kiss, another guy stroked his hand over my ass, and a third hopefully walked me home. All attempts were rebuffed, gently but firmly, and all the guys took it in good grace. In short, it was perplexing but flattering. There were no scenes, a minimum of awkwardness, and I would have no problem seeing any of those guys again and feeling friendly and warm towards them. They were drunk but essentially respectful, and it is no big deal.
Which brings me to the gay boys. They tended to be more loud-mouthed and outrageously outre than the straight boys, in keeping with accepted stereotypes. They were simply noisier, funnier, and dancier than their hetero counterparts, which is all fine and good and the ingredients for a good night out. But I did notice that they were also more recklessly intimate with me, and I wonder why it would appear more permissable. The obvious explanation is that they should be seen as non-threatening because they’re not sexually interested in women, and I admit that I was far less bothered than I would have been if a straight boy had a) grinded with me on the dance floor b) stuck his tongue down my throat unexpectedly c) grinded on me with an erection (after making out with his boyfriend!) d) held me in a tight embrace for an hour or e) threw me over his shoulder in a fireman’s carry and ran down the street.
The above was three different boys, by the way. It kind of struck me, in the midst of all this, that I was starting to feel like a public park or something, with everyone professing to love the scenery and then having no qualms about dropping a beer can on the ground or screwing in the bushes or kicking a duck. Does that make any sense? No, it does not, but what I mean is that I sort of felt like this token, public object that’s taken for granted.
To be truthful, I wasn’t really offended (excepting the erection bit – if it’s not for my benefit and I didn’t encourage it, I don’t need to know about it), because the spirit of it may have been careless, but it wasn’t predatory or degrading. And man, if a cute gay boy wants to make out for a minute, that’s a loophole I may jump through after a few drinks.
I am not saying it’s okay for a person to be groped by anyone if it makes them uncomfortable. I think we all know, however, that intoxicants tend to loosen inhibitions and while we’ve all likely been on the receiving end of an unwanted grope, chances are good that we’ve executed one as well. Maybe as ladies we’re slightly less inclined to have aggressively invaded an acquaintance’s personal space, but I’d be lying if I said I never pinched a cute bum or moved in for an ultimately rejected kiss. And with the exception of the erection, I found the whole thing relatively amusing. Should I be more offended? I definitely felt a little weirdness, but if I’d been drunk, I doubt I would even have taken note of it. Is this just another instance of objectification, or should I shrug it off as essentially harmless? Please spill your thoughts on this phenomenon in the comments.