If you are new to this series, please check out the first post which explains the origin, the background and has a couple ground rules: Feminism in Action: Concrete Tip #1
Special note: I fact-check, I spell-check, I grammar-check and I check for broken links. If you see errors, please send me a message, don’t let me stay out here with toilet paper trailing from the soles of my intellectual shoes.
CONCRETE TIP #9:
Do not ask permission to date/have sex with a woman who your male friend has dated/is interested in dating and do not apologize if you decide to do it.
This is something I see a lot on the small and big screen: Dude 1 wants to date a woman but – oh noes – his friend, Dude 2 has dated this woman in the past. WHAT NOW? Well, either he asks permission first or he does it and inevitably has to apologize. Why?
Is it because she … belonged to him? I mean, why else would you ask? Why else would you have to apologize? What would you even be apologizing for?
Look, if you want to have sex with someone and she wants to have sex with you – if there is enthusiastic, explicit consent on both sides, that’s all the checking you need to do. If you run in a really intertwined social circle, you may want to let your friend know as a courtesy but she doesn’t belong to him. She can do whatever she wants. If that means having sex with you, she doesn’t need anyone’s permission other than yours. You don’t need any other than hers.*
This even came up recently on one of my favorite shows, Parenthood. In Season 5, one of the main characters has a “friends with benefits” relationship with a girl who ends up having sex with his roommate. He shuns her for a good long time and the roommate feels the need to apologize because his friend was “hitting that.” I was disappointed to see it on a show that generally tries to model moving toward healthy relationships.
We are not “that,” we are not property to be traded among you, we are not territory to be marked and defended, and we definitely don’t belong to you. We are autonomous individuals free to make our own decisions. If our having sex with someone else after the relationship ends bothers you, if you feel like your male friends need to ask your permission to date anyone you’ve already dated – you need to find someone to talk to about your feelings.
Long story, short: The Guy Code is fucking sexist.
*Obviously if you are in a multi-person, polyamorous, open relationship, you’ll need to check with more than just one person. But still, current partners are the only ones who need to be involved in the discussion.
This also goes for your friend’s female relatives. You can date his sister without asking anyone other than … his sister.
Related: If you express interest in a woman … and she says no thank you … and you persist … and then she says (truthfully or not) “I have a boyfriend” … and only then do you back down … you’ve established that you care more about some unseen man’s “rights” over her than you do about her original request to be left alone. A woman should be able to say “no thanks” without any other reason. When a woman is in a relationship, she’s not “taken,” she’s in a relationship. When she’s not in a relationship, she may or may not be “available.” Think about those words – taken and available – those are words I use when going to the movie theatre and asking people about the status of the seats on either side of them. Women are not seats at a movie theatre. We are not “taken” or “available” – we are either into you or not. Learning how to take rejection gracefully and move on is a great life skill to practice, even beyond dating.
Yep. It’s Friday; I’m keeping it simple.