"The world is disturbingly comfortable with the fact that women sometimes leave a sexual encounter in tears.
When Babe.net published a pseudonymous woman's account of a difficult encounter with Aziz Ansari that made her cry, the internet exploded with "takes" arguing that the #MeToo movement had finally gone too far. "Grace," the 23-year-old woman, was not an employee of Ansari's, meaning there were no workplace dynamics. Her repeated objections and pleas that they "slow down" were all well and good, but they did not square with the fact that she eventually gave Ansari oral sex. Finally, crucially, she was free to leave.
Why didn't she just get out of there as soon as she felt uncomfortable? many people explicitly or implicitly asked.
It's a rich question, and there are plenty of possible answers. But if you're asking in good faith, if you really want to think through why someone might have acted as she did, the most important one is this: Women are enculturated to be uncomfortable most of the time. And to ignore their discomfort.
This is so baked into our society I feel like we forget it's there. To steal from David Foster Wallace, this is the water we swim in."
This article by Lili Loofbourow in The Week is brilliant and important and adds necessary information to the difficult conversation that we are all having--the difficult conversation we must have. Read the full article here.
This is a post before the start of the New Year—before the onslaught of carefully crafted advertisements insidiously suggests that you, as you are, right now, is not enough—before you resolve to model yourself in the image of a thing that is purposefully just beyond reach—this is a post to say to hell with all that. A post to say that none of it matters, not really.
Except that, when you’re struggling with it, it does.
So let’s tease that out for a minute, shall we?
Your experience matters. Your feelings matter. Your struggle matters.
What you look like in a pair of jeans does not.
Resolve to eat more nutritious foods. Resolve to eat more colorful foods. Resolve to be good to your body. But do it for your heart, for your bones, for the neuropathways in your brain. Do it because the body is a complex and perfectly-designed system that craves honest-to-goodness-actual-food.
To hell with the lie that what you look like is anyone else’s business. Or that beauty exists on a narrowly-defined spectrum. And to hell with the pervasive notion that a person’s worth has anything to do with what they look like.
You’re good as you are—right now. Get rid of the scale and the timeline and the flimsy definition of what constitutes health. It’s messier than that and so—ultimately—more meaningful. Live your life, feed yourself, keep going.
I am sometimes caught off guard by the things that I miss. They are so specific. The blue of the walls in my bedroom. A particular burger on West 10th Street. The two minutes just before yoga began when Alisha and I would whisper as quickly as possible about everything that had happened in the week before. The stretch of street between Manhattan and Fredrick Douglass that I’d cross with equal parts fear and hope before a first date.
I’m mostly surprised by how much I don’t miss. And how so much of what I do miss feels irrevocably lost. As though it’s been packed up and put away. And were I to visit, it would remain behind closed doors. I will never again be as young as I once was. I will never again smoke a cigar with a boy in Central Park. Laura and I will never again spend a week in May eating pizza and drinking wine and buying earrings on our way to dinner. That’s all done, now. And life here is so good and so right, but I just sometimes find myself wishing that I go back and visit. Not New York, really, but life as it was.