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Why didn't she scream or slap me?

Hey Leo,

About 3 years ago, I met a girl at a bar and I made an akward move and kissed her for a few seconds sort of out of the blue. at some point shortly after, I felt down her pants and touched her butt a bit(we were both sitting down, it was just one hand and I didn't get that far). I felt pretty bad/stupid for a bit after, but I had/have no reason to beleive that she didn't want it and she never said no or I obviously would have stopped. What if this happened to you? Would you have asked me to stop, slapped me, etc if you didn't want me near you? Would you be traumatized by it? For the last 2 years almost I think about it 24/7 and can't get over worrying about it.

honestly meant no harm but it- I was inexperienced , drunk and stupid. I have felt very guilty and ruined the last 2 years of my life over it... Please understand that I am not a creep who does this all the time- I just was at a stage in my life where I wanted to be more outgoing but was also inexperienced and didn't really know waht I was doing. I am normally a very thoughtful person, and I feel very, very bad about regardless of what she may of thought. It was very out of character for me. Normally i walk around the bars/clubs with my hands behind my back or in my pockets becasue I hate even touching someone by accident... I am not a creep, just made a stupid mistake.

I have no way of finding her again, unfourtunatly. My main worry is that she had low self esteem or was in shock and I didn't realize it. One of her friend akwardly approched me later and caught me off guard saying 'oh, your the guy who tried to stick his tounge down my friends throat?' and I was nervous and felt off so I said no to her, to which she shook her head 'yes, yes' and I don't really know what happened after (though she didn't scream or hit me) I'm imagining that if she was messed up her friend would have realized and been very angry/upset or said something else to me. Some people I have talked to hypothisize that she may have been trying to get me to go back with the woman, but I can never be sure of anything.

Biblitz replies:

It would have taken both confidence and training of the sort women don't get much of anymore, I'm afraid, to have rejected your advances in the ways you suggest. Say fresh today and the girls think you're talking about produce! All part of the aftermath of the invasion of the vulgarians, in which 'it's all good.' No more boundaries. Of course, as we both know, it is anything BUT all good. Social boundaries exist for a LOT of good reasons. Pushing the envelope in the predatory manner of your approach to this woman is bad for everyone. Happily, you have a conscience and it now troubles you.

As you're also aware, women are assailed daily by an increasingly aggressive patriarchal culture. They are pressured to excuse and even go along with it. Some of the poor souls are so injured by it, they can't quite put into words why their partner's porn addiction is so offensive. Very troubling. But it's not your problem to fix for the world at large. Your mission: to rise above the predatory boorishness of modern culture and conduct yourself like a gentleman with discipline. Don't allow yourself to to drink so much that you won't remember what was done or said. If you can't, stay away from social situations that involve drink.

If you see this woman again or her friend, worry less about your guilty feelings than your reputation as a pig-dog. You must apologize quickly and honestly w/o excuses, ask if there's anything you might do to in the way of restitution, then leave them. They'll know where to find you if required.

Once you've done that, you've controlled the only thing you can control in the scenario - yourself. After that, your mission is to forgive yourself, act like a gentleman and move on.

If you're unclear of the obligations involved in the conduct of gentlemen, may I suggest an old friend quoted at length here. She'll put you straight in quick order!


A mature Biblitz, demonstrating in addition to a certain je ne sais quoi, that wonderfully liberating self-assurance that comes to men by way of the rather marvelous welcome our patriarchal culture gives us - along, of course, with a legion or two of loyal handmaids available throughout our busy male lives both at work and at home. It is any wonder we dig in our trotters to maintain the jolly status quo?

Miss Manners Rescues Civilization

From Sexual Harassment, Frivolous Lawsuits, Dissing and Other Lapses in Civility

By Judith Martin
With illustrations by Daniel Mark Duffy

Not unlike the Gambler's Code assisting ladies and gentlemen at the baise.

Although she doesn't know what aroused everybody else's interest in the succession of legal charges of date rape since that term came into use, Miss Manners was riveted by how they illuminated differing perceptions of the courtship rituals of our time.

The defense in these cases seems to be saying that it was clearly understood that an invitation had been issued and accepted to a single mating, with the vaguest romantic preliminaries and no subsequent expectations. Its explanation ensuing hostilities is that the other side had agreed wholeheartedly to the lack of courtship, but secretly expected this attention after the fact, and brought the lawsuit in retroactive anger that it was clearly not going to develop.

The prosecution takes the position that the encounter contained no promise of consummating a relationship that may not have existed previously, but was a limited social contact of which the terms were to be negotiated as it developed. ...

The ability to observe nuances and clues is, Miss Manners agrees, indispensable to the atmosphere of romance. When it comes to major decisions, however, it is consdered polite to offer a formal proposal.

In a well known dirty trick of an earlier era, a gentleman who impulsively kissed a lady might well be informed how happy she was that they were now engaged, and her family would quickly appear - amazingly quickly, in fact - to congratulate him and negotiate the terms. The technicality that he had not mentioned marriage was not considered important. His behavior had clearly shown that that was what he wanted. What else could he have meant?

Now we have to remember that similar behavior on the lady's part does not entitle the gentleman to consider that she has dispensed with the formality of consenting to what was once considered an act of marriage.

In both cases, couples need to be allowed to state what they do and do not mean, to be believed and, if there is any doubt, to be questioned. Miss Manners does not deny that someone will be so overcome by your charms as to want to surrender to you immediately, just as it is possible that someone will be similarly prompted to make over a fortune to you. She is only warning that in both cases one has to be certain before taking possession. (From The Law Takes Over From Etiquette, pgs. 181-183)