[ To be clear, this is not a how-to guide. ]
Anyway — good question! Thank you for asking. As I’m not a psychoanalyst, perhaps I’m not really qualified to answer. But I did happen to date a rapist, so I have some firsthand insight on the subject.
Rapists are not all scary tattooed guys oozing testosterone and reeking of Pabst. My rapist was a shorter-than-average, bespectacled auburn-haired guy in clothes Marty McFly might wear. A lot like Marty, actually. Just, dorkier. Which is sort of my type.
Maybe the best way to communicate the specifics of my situation is by sharing some excerpts from my diaries from the time. Not to brag, but I’m, like, a meticulous diarist. Did you ever see that episode of Oprah where that one lady claimed she could remember every single day of her life based on a quick reference to her diary entry for that day? No? Well, I thought it was bogus, but I do have a rather abnormal amount of recall, and it’s helped that I’ve kept such good diaries. I haven’t diaried — spellcheck says that is not a real word, so, journaled? — in a while, but I guess that’s what this blog is. An online journal! So life moves on.
I met my attacker in class in fall of 2010. Actually, he claimed once that we met at a Valentine’s Day party the year before and he’d tried to dance with me, but that I blew him off. Which I vaguely remember. Several guys tried to dance with me, and they were all sloppy drunk, and I was only at that party because my then-boyfriend (also an asshole, but not a rapist!) had blown me off to hang out with his high school best friend who was in town for the weekend. I was at the party to sulk and get a little drunk, but not have some sloshed stranger grind up on me and get his sweat on me.
Back to the fall of 2010. When my future-rapist and I had a class together. About a dozen sophomores crammed into a room on a Friday morning.
Sunday, October 31, 2010 –– 11:18 p.m.
… I know the first time I heard the kid’s voice, I thought –– forget [OTHER CRUSH I WAS PURSUING AT THE TIME], this guy is cute. I want him. What would it be like, if I started flirting with this boy, got him to crush on me, and stole him from the other girls in this class? And, well, I guess I’ve sort of accomplished that. But I don’t know how to get from here to there with him, when he’s giving me so little to work with.
He’s, in all honesty, scarily perfect. Scotch-Irish, probably Catholic. Slightly nerdy and awkward, slightly offensive and sarcastic. Carries around this dorky spiral notepad filled with ink doodles and dreams and story ideas and quotes from people he’s heard throughout the day. Had no friends in middle school, spent his lunches in the library, reading Michael Crichton. Jurassic Park is one of his favorite movies. Is a fiscal Conservative, social Liberal. Slightly red hair, freckles, but tans, too, because he’s part Italian, he says. Has a vaguely Midwestern accent –– just round vowels and friendly and slightly nasal. Wears vintage tees and hipster glasses, and this dorky beanie. His favorite superhero is Spider-Man. He plays Zelda. I mean, everything about this boy is perfect for me. And he lives in the building right across the courtyard from me.
Yes. I had an intense crush on the kid for the duration of the semester and managed to get him to talk to me a handful of times. He was really pretty antisocial — toward everybody. Which I found challenging. And I like challenges.
(I note now, parenthetically, that “antisocial” is one of several textbook signs of a sociopath or psychopath. Not that I’m a psychoanalyst, and not that I’m making any diagnoses at this time.)
And so the kid and I arranged to “go out to dinner” on a Wednesday night. A casual thing. I assumed he’d take me to a little local restaurant near campus. I got my friend to drive me to the mall to buy a whole new outfit for the occasion.
And then [HE] — notice how I’m omitting names? I like to use names, but I won’t here — takes me to the school dining hall and uses one of his “swipes” to pay for me. It was all downhill from there.
Thursday, November 11, 2010 –– 12:05 p.m.
The problem is, we’re raising a culture of entitled, egomaniacal assholes. Girls know it’s the boy who sets the pace for the sexual aspect of the relationship. Boys know this, too. And I’m not saying every boy out there is going to force blow jobs on their girlfriend –– but most of the boys who have anything going for them will. If they’re vaguely good-looking, or they have money or a car, or if they’re smart, or whatever –– anything that makes them think they have something going for them –– they’re going to milk that for all it’s worth. If you didn’t value it, you wouldn’t be dating them in the first place, so they’re going to push you to your breaking point. And if you don’t bend –– they can find someone else.
The truth of the matter is, I was dumped last time around because I was a virgin. Not because I wouldn’t have sex with my boyfriend of four months, because I was working up toward doing it. He was my first love. I got dumped because, and I quote his best friend here, “He couldn’t deal with the responsibility of being the one to take that from you. He didn’t want to be tied to you in that way.” Even though he said he was in love with me. Even though he had wanted to have sex with me from the first week we dated.
And now I go on a date with this boy I was literally thanking God I had met –– smart, funny, charming, goofy, knowledgeable in all my nerdy pop culture references –– and he tells me he didn’t want to date this freshman girl who was obsessed with him because she was a Christian from Texas and he knew he would never get anything from her.
I just sat there, kind of stunned. He also made some crack about how his high school girlfriend, who wanted to cuddle after prom, should have given him a “courtesy BJ” for how well he did during a dance-off with some black kids from another school. I came home and quickly arranged for my relationship with [OTHER CRUSH] to move forward.
It’s not like I wouldn’t give the kid blowjobs. I happily would. I kind of enjoy the challenge of giving them. But to have them be expected of me irks me beyond belief. And he’s sitting there telling me he wouldn’t have dated the freshman girl because he knew he couldn’t get anything from her, and my instantaneous mental reaction was: ”Hold on a second here, you think you’re guaranteed getting that from me? FUCK you.”
I think that was actually the biggest thing. I was so insulted that I came off that way to this guy. Because –– he is a dork. I’m sorry, he is. He really has no reason to be as cocky as he is. He’s not a particularly original writer. He’s not super good-looking. He’s just kind of … a horny douche bag. At least [EX-BOYFRIEND] seemed humble about his more interesting traits — he was rumored to be brilliant, he had a reputation for being a “gentleman,” and he was seemingly so into me that he didn’t mind that I would never fuck him. He seemed gentle and smitten and willing to please and I loved it.
This guy? Can go fuck himself. Yuck. What an asshole.
And I know, I know — this is the point where victim-blamers are gonna be all, “You got what you deserved then, sweetheart.”
Truthfully, I would never have spoken to the fucker again, but we were partnered on a project for that Friday morning class I mentioned. Remember that? So he got a chance to redeem himself. Which, remarkably, he did. I point-blank told him I thought he was a pig, and he got all red-faced and said he’d been over-compensating and trying to seem “cool” to me and … I bought it.
(Which is maybe the point where he realized that I am gullible. I don’t know. Not a psychoanalyst.)
Meanwhile, the other guy — “[OTHER CRUSH]” — who was totally sweet and evidently had had a thing for me since freshman year, was just being way, way, way too tentative with me. Like, I appreciate a healthy amount of forcefulness from a guy. You know, advocate for yourself, dude. Invest a little. Put yourself on the line. I will notice and appreciate it.
So I wanted to go to the campus coffee house late at night to get Harry Potter-themed milkshakes — this was around the time the first of the last movies was coming out, I guess — and my gay best friend was busy hooking up with someone, so I waffled between texting the [OTHER CRUSH] or [HIM] … and texted [HIM]. Asked if he would like to escort me. Because my campus is sketch, and you really do need an escort after sundown.
And we clicked so well that night. Climbing campus rooftops in the dark, quoting Star Wars at each other. Talking about Stephen King’s The Stand and just — I don’t know, everything I can think of that would have made me stop short and go, “Time to find out if you’re a good kisser.”
So we went back to my place and watched Apocalypse Now.
Saturday, November 20, 2010 –– 12:58 p.m.
… Got maybe twenty minutes into the movie before he was kissing my hands, my shoulder, running his fingers through my hair. We started making out on the couch, then moved it to my bed, and I ended up in nothing but my bra and panties, he in his briefs. We were both wearing Calvin Klein. Very intense make-out session.Anyway, then we weren’t necessarily going to hang out again until Sunday, but he texted me around 5:00 and then around 10:00 we hung out again, and again ended up making out on my couch –– this time after watching half of Zombieland. He wanted to sleep over.He says he’s only slept with three girls –– all of them after he started college, all of them here. That’s three girls in the past –– what? Year?
He’s quite attractive and dorkishly sweet and everyone knows him and likes him. And I like hanging out with him. He seems genuinely self-deprecating and aware of his shortcomings and kind of plays them off like they’re jokes, but the fact that he knows they exist makes me feel more secure about him. I don’t know. It might just be a “thing” he does to get laid. Can’t tell yet.
After the two days of making out, he, very sweetly, whispered in my ear, “Will you go steady with me?” I was still semi-seeing other guys, but it was just the — sweetest — thing. Ever. We went “Facebook official” then and there.
… My goal for this relationship is to have it last longer than last time. I’m hoping it does. I don’t see any reason why not, so far. He doesn’t seem confrontational or immature (in any selfish, problematic way, at least) and he does honestly seem to like me. I guess the only issue we might have, at this point, is sex, and whether we have it or not and what that means when it comes to his commitment to me or whatever.
I’m gonna have to just not have sex with him. Six months. That’s a decent amount of time to hold out. I bet I can make a boy fall in love with me in six months. So, you know, I figure six months is a decent amount of time to wait.
Now that may seem ridiculously virginal to you. Looking back on it, knowing the way things went, I cringe. But that’s how it started. That’s how I became a rapist’s girlfriend.
Can you see — the way I can now see — how this boy shaped his personality to my taste? How he made himself just the thing for me? Do you note the instances where he betrayed his true intentions, then backtracked, made himself more palatable?
I wonder about him sometimes. I wonder what is inside him, and I think to myself — there is no there there. He is empty. He is not a freckled Marty McFly in hipster glasses. He is a predator.