I got something on my mind. Or is it on my butt? I’m not sure. Maybe it’s on my left thigh or on my waist or my hair or my head or is it my ribcage, just below my breasts?
Your hands gripping both sides of my head. Your hand around the small of my waist. Your fingers in my hair. Your crotch pressed against my butt.
Yesterday I went to a free workout in the park with a TV personality you might recognize from a long-running franchise on ABC that uses roses as a metaphor for love— as you do in LA, or should I say, as I do in LA.
We took a picture together at the end, all hot and sweaty. And as we pressed in for the picture, I could feel the guy behind me press his frontside into my backside.
Is this really happening? Is this what I think it is?
I grew very, very still for a few seconds. Finally, I moved imperceptibly away from the pressure of his body.
I was wearing tight spandex leggings (because working out). But still (get it?). I know it’s irrelevant, but the thought still flitted through my mind.
Earlier this week, I messaged a guy on a dating app to tell him I didn’t like the way he kept touching me during our date—it wasn’t sexual, just overly familiar, seemingly more a result of his own impulses than my comfort level.
It was only after he left that I shuddered and thought, “I didn’t like that.”
I wrote earlier this year about being physically grabbed during a different photo opp, although I didn’t go into detail in that post because the details felt somehow traumatic: A man I didn’t know very well grabbed both sides of my head from behind in order to move it out of his way.
Why do I say all this? Why am I playing show and tell with my body, especially those parts that I never talk about, that are simultaneously invisible and hypervisible, this body of mine that at times doesn’t even feel like mine, doesn’t even feel like a body, and yet nevertheless continues to exist in the world, to take up space?
Something about even bringing all this up feels gross, like I want to claw off all of my skin just thinking about this guy pressing himself into me or all the other times men have grabbed me, groped me, treated my body like the person inside wasn’t even there.
I’m not sure.
All I can say is that I tend to freeze when someone touches me in an unwanted or objectifying way—I don’t say anything in the moment. I barely think anything in the moment. But I can feel a scream building up within me.
Don’t touch me.