Savage Love 6/30/22

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(Weekly deadlines being what they are, this column was written before the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.)

We knew this was coming, thanks to the SCOTUS Leaker, but that didn’t make last week’s news any less devastating. (Who’s the leaker? My money’s on Ginni.) So, what can we do now? We can march, we can donate, and we can vote like the Right has been voting for 50 years, i.e., we can vote like judicial appointments matter. But if you want to do something right now that will piss off the people out there celebrating Dobbs, consider making a donation to the National Network of Abortion Funds. Actually, don’t just consider making a donation, do it right now: abortionfunds.org/donate. This is going to be a long fight—and we’re not just in a fight to re-secure a woman’s right to control her own body, we’re in a fight to protect all the other rights social conservatives want to claw back, from the right of opposite-sex couples to use contraception to the right of same-sex couples to marry to everyone’s right to enjoy non-PIV sex. (When they say they want to overturn Lawrence v. Texas, which Clarence Thomas said in his concurrence, they’re not just talking about re-criminalizing gay sex but re-criminalizing a whole lot of straight sex; Lawrence overturned sodomy laws, and anything non-PIV meets the legal definition of sodomy.) If you live in a state where abortion became illegal overnight, you can find information on self-administered medication abortion—everything you need to know about M&Ms (mifepristone and misoprostol)—at plancpills.org. —Dan

Dear Dan: I’m a dude. A woman friend of mine in an open marriage recently told me that a male friend of ours greets her by kissing her on the cheek. This is something he only does with her. She feels this happens because she’s physically intimate with someone in our friend group who’s not her husband and that therefore my friend sees her as “publicly available.” I’ve personally heard this guy describe this woman friend of mine as “DTF.” I’ve known this guy for years and I just feel bad about the whole thing. The strangest thing is that this dude is in an open relationship himself and really should know better. It seems like he could be a lot less hypocritical and a lot more respectful. Do you think I should say something? How should I go about it? I’ve asked the friend he’s kissing—who is also a big fan of yours, by the way—and she wants to be left out of this.

—Bad At Creating Catchy Acronyms

Dear BACCA: Let’s say you say something, BACCA, but leave your woman friend out of it. The kind of guy who thinks a woman in an open relationship is sexually available to all—not just down to fuck, but down to fuck him—is the kind of guy who will interpret any ambiguity in an order to “stop” as license to keep doing exactly what he’s been doing. So, if you can’t tell this guy your mutual friend explicitly told you she 1. wants him to stop and 2. deputized you to tell him to stop, this dude is going to tell himself you were only guessing at how she feels (she doesn’t like this, she doesn’t want him) and that his guess (she likes it, she wants him) is as good a guess as yours. He may even play a little three-dimensional-pseudo-male-feminist chess and accuse you of being the sexist and controlling one—it’s her body, her cheek, you shouldn’t be speaking for her, etc.

To get this guy to stop without saying something to him herself, BACCA, your friend needs to give you the OK to make it abundantly clear that she deputized you to speak on her behalf. (“She asked me to tell you to knock it off, and now I’m telling you. Knock it off. If you don’t believe me, ask her.”) She’ll need to be prepared for the almost inevitable follow-up question (“Have I been making you uncomfortable?”) and the maudlin, self-pitying apologies (“I’m so sorry! I feel terrible!”) and/or rationalizations (“I was just being friendly!”) that are likely to follow.

And if he ever comes in for a kiss again, she needs to be ready to either use her words (“No. Don’t. Stop.”) and/or stick her hand out in front of her—not a hand held out for a shake (she doesn’t want him pulling her in for a kiss), but a flat hand that’s going to land on his sternum if he keeps coming toward her, with a stiff arm (lock that elbow!) so he can’t come any closer. 

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