Last Friday Night

Last Friday night I went out with my girlfriends. We were excited for the rare opportunity to be out together and to dance to the music from our late teens and early 20’s – The Pixies, Violent Femmes, Blur, Nirvana, Beastie Boys, The Cure, and so many more. It’s amazing how 25 years later we remember every word of our favourite songs. We had a blast and barely stopped dancing. It was a perfect night out.

Except for the drunken men on the dance floor. I became uncomfortably aware of my reactions and those of my girlfriends as we faced off with these men almost constantly. As women we are so conditioned to be nice and kind and to not be a bitch that we have a really hard time saying ‘No’ to these men, or asking them to leave us alone. What we do instead is

  1. say ‘yes’ then turn our backs on them,
  2. ignore them and turn our backs on them,
  3. re-position ourselves in our circle to get away,
  4. move to another area of the dance floor,
  5. press ourselves into smaller spaces to get away from the unwanted attention,
  6. pretend to be married or otherwise unavailable,
  7. pretend to be gay or assert our queerness,
  8. never make eye contact with them, never smile at them,
  9. make fake trips to the bathroom,
  10. leave the dance floor.

I’m conditioned in this way too. I remember these behaviours from almost the very first time I set foot in a club. Mostly I’m fearful of drunk men. And so on Friday night I ignored and turned my back, pressed myself closer to the table I was dancing next to, took up less space, and eventually moved to another area of the dance floor altogether.  

This is a letter for these men.

To the drunken men on the dancefloor,

No, we do not want you to dance with us.

No, we do not enjoy having you stagger into us, losing your balance and knocking into us.

No, it’s not sexy when you are so inebriated that you can barely speak or keep your eyes open. Your slouching body cruising the dance floor is not attractive.

No, we are not bitches for saying ‘No’.

No, we are not frigid for turning away from your unwelcome intrusion of our group.

No, we are not out on the prowl. We’re not looking for a man.

We’re out with our girlfriends, enjoying some much desired time together. We aren’t looking for a quick shag on the fire escape with a drunk man who can barely stand.

No, we do not want you to dance with us.

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