CAMBRIDGE, MASS – With already three years tenure under her belt with boyfriend Mark Brooks, I ask ‘Katie’ what’s left to be excited about this coming Valentine’s Day, days away? If her answer could be shortened for brevity’s sake to a single word, it’d be in my estimation: validation. But in her own words: “All we want is for your world to revolve around us for a day.” The ensuing silence stings after I flippantly interject reminding Katie of Galileo’s heliocentric view, – a view that similarly Galileo (judging from the sudden change in her demeanor) I came close to paying for with my life. Despite my badinage she continues unperturbed: “We want to know that our partners are willing to indulge in the Valentine’s Day charade for the sake of our happiness.”
In retrospect, perhaps asking Katie moments after such an impetuous demand to go into detail with what she had planned for Mark, was ill-advised. I had already forgotten Galileo’s profound discovery which wasn’t that the earth revolves around the sun in as much that for every system there is only one focal point. After the passage of 900 plus days hurtling through the recesses of shared memories and time together that the focal point was Katie. After a lengthy pause, Katie admits to having purchased a cute Papyrus Valentine’s card. Pressing forward, I proceed to inquire if Mark even likes cards? Subsequently an exasperated Katie, in a tone approaching a shout, tells me: ‘I’ll just share my fucking candy with him, alright?!’
Katie’s declaration was certainly an affront to my sensibilities. However, a sudden shock can allow our minds as it did in my case, to fashion associations that were always waiting, hovering close by in the vicinity of our thinking. Few know that St Valentine is the patron saint of the plaque and epilepsy a disease in his time thought to be caused by demonic possession. Feb 14th is the closest experience to a plague of demonic possessions. Where else can one witness adult men cower in supplication to proffer gifts to the unholy despot of their own making, all for an empty promise of her acting agreeable one day or penultimately not having a headache when they find themselves in need?
PARK SLOPE, BROOKLYN – If one word local area feminist Ada Cunningham says describes her and how she’s been feeling as of late, it would be distraught. This past Thursday night after having waved five separate men over to her table at the local watering hole and eatery to fill out her Consent to Maybe Initiate A Conversation Form (CMIC), Ada couldn’t understand why no one wanted to indulge her. I made the mistake of pointing out that the ‘In Case You Rape Me After This‘ header might turn some men off. However, what was to me baseless castigation to Ada was an unarguable fact. Noticeably louder than before Ada proceeded to enlighten me: ‘An alarming majority of women are raped by men they know. No woman ever thinks that their smiling back at a male exhibiting interest could be encouraging a rapist into our space. That’s a scary thought, especially seeing how every man, even those who haven’t raped yet, are rapists. Yes, all men are rapist. The one’s who haven’t done it haven’t been presented the opportunity’. Since conceiving of forms as a way to keep track of who she talks to in the event of a rape, not a single one has been filled out. Ada finds herself alone weekend after weekend and visibly distraught. Moved by the severity of her predicament, I proposed that Ada walk to the bar with me, where I give the bartender $20 while simultaneously pointing to Ada, telling him that whatever 2 drinks she wants are on me. I instruct Ada that she must at her discretion, first go to the bar while I walk back to our table, then chose her drinks in order to finally see them made in front of her eyes. This ensures no date rape drug conveniently finds its way into her drink. To my surprise, my following to the letter, the instructions for how to make a woman feel safe when buying her a drink, Section II of her CMIC’s Supplementary Information Section, changed Ada’s demeanor. Days later she called me to tell me that she had updated that header I commented on to “In Case You Chose To Rape Me After This”.
“And if the professional rapist is to be separated from the
average dominant heterosexual (male), it may be mainly a quantitative difference.”
– Susan Griffin, “Rape: The All-American Crime”,
Ramparts Magazine, September 1971