I don’t dream much. I’m pretty sure it’s the cannabis. When I get stoned before bed, it helps me pass out but I’m doubtful it helps me enter REM sleep. I took a break from cannabis a few weeks ago, lost a bunch of weight, got a ton done, and thought I’d enjoy a nice Saturday night on the couch with my vape pen. It was nice. Until Elon Musk touched my bum.
The part of the dream that I remember was me and Elon Musk laying in a large bed, talking about all the cool stuff I’d want to talk to him about. Then without warning, he touched my bum. I’m not talking about light rub, I’m talking right on the button. I immediately clued into what was happening and let out a stern and loud Noooooooo. I turned around and he had a look of shock and shame like he just realized it was an unwanted advance. He jumped behind his side of the bed to cover his embarrassment. I remember feeling confused, and then sorry for the guy, and I think we talked it out… but that part is still fuzzy. WTF.
Wow, there’s a lot to unpack there.
I guess first things first, why was I in bed with Elon Musk? It’s fair to say that I have a bit of a professional crush on Elon. I think he’s one of the most visionary leaders of our time and I greatly admire his approach to business. He’s the effective bar I’ve set for myself so I pay close attention to what he does and how he does it. That still doesn’t explain why we were in a bed together, but it was genuinely a non-sexual scenario for me. I’ve also already gone down the ‘am I gay?’ rabbit hole and came back pretty sure that I was more likely to be asexual than gay. Who knows, maybe we were in bed because I was actually in a bed. Maybe Elon is the one guy I would sleep with? Anyways, moving on…
The second part was the ‘bad touch’. I’ve been hit on by guys before and I’ve always been pretty good with keeping things light, polite, and clear. I didn’t have the opportunity in this one. It went from a casual conversation with my back turned to him, to feeling like someone was about to go knuckle-deep and try to check my oil. In fall fairness, I’ve reacted the same way when girls tried to do the same thing.
I think this is a result of all the time I’ve spent thinking about rape, sexual harassment, and sexual misconduct over the last few months. I’ve been through some unwanted sexual scenarios but this dynamic was very different. It was extremely unexpected, acute, and from someone who I didn’t want to turn around and toss out of my life. If I remember the dream correctly, I think we talked it out afterwards and everything was good.
I think my subconscious was trying to simulate sexual harassment as experienced by these women who have accused these high-profile men. Clearly it’s not an apples to apples comparison, but I can’t help but think I tapped into a few things.
The first is that there needs to be a difference between an unwanted advance and sexual harassment or sexual misconduct. Elon clearly skipped a base or two with what he did and he obviously caught me by surprise, but once I said no, he stopped. I was no worse for wear. We talked it out, and we were good (I think?).
Perhaps this is where I should enter the disclaimer of rape is wrong, but the reality is that I see rape as a form of bullying (perhaps the most extreme) – and I am strongly against bullying of any form. What I’m trying to understand here are the nuances because being held down and penetrated against your will is not the same as your idol trying to give you a sneak-attack prostate exam.
We seem to have entered into a time where this entire topic is taboo. I keep hearing that we must believe the women who have accused these men of sexual misconduct but that’s literally contrary to one of the most fundamental legal principles – due process. By no means am I saying that these accusations should be dismissed, but believing someone at face value for anything is a dangerous precedent to set. I wholeheartedly agree that men everywhere need to step their game up, especially with holding their friends accountable, but this isn’t the way.
I’m confident that no one would step in more quickly or more fiercely than I would if I saw someone being taken advantage of like that. It wouldn’t matter if it was rape, someone getting jumped, or a kid getting picked on (maybe less fiercely). It’s all bullying to me. It’s an exercise in the abuse of power. But if that’s true, can it not also be addressed like bullying?
When I was a kid, I was taught that if someone bullies you, you tell the teacher and they get in trouble. Because they got in trouble, they wouldn’t do it again. Wrong. If I have kids, I’ll show them how to stand up to that bully, because there will always be another bully. Assuming all the tactics for avoiding confrontation didn’t work, you now have a physical altercation. If you don’t know how to handle yourself, you’ll be scared. If you’re scared enough, you’ll be more likely to play dead than fight back. Now you’re prey.
We live in a physical world. Not being able to protect yourself is a glaring deficiency that I think we overlook as a society. If someone picks a fight with you and you don’t know how to defend yourself, you’re probably gonna get fucked up. Those bruises and broken bones will hurt all the same regardless of that person’s motivations.
If I had kids, I’d teach them self-defense from an early age. The things you learn from martial arts and combat sports are lessons that you can carry with you throughout your life. I’d teach them that when dealing with a bully, your first priority is always to deescalate the situation. Being able to walk away without confrontation is almost always your best option. I’d also teach them that when it isn’t, you need to be ready. Know any bullies that got laid out, and then went back to bullying that kid? Doesn’t work like that.
There isn’t a complete parallel between the bullying I’m describing here and the sexual harassment/#metoo movement but there have to be some. Bullying is bullying right? I got back into training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu recently and I asked myself how many of the women in my class could hold their own against a guy who was acting inappropriately.
A light-bulb went off – probably all of them.
When I started BJJ, it took me about a month worth of classes to reach a point where I would be completely dominant over your average joe. We’re talking just the basics of how to move and where to go. A few months later, some guy at the bar tried to pick a fight with me and I was able to laugh it off and walk away because I had this new confidence, knowing that if things went sideways, I’d probably be just fine.
I desperately want women to have that same confidence.
I don’t think this movement of victimhood and blame will help create sexual equality between men and women. Among other things, I think it’s going to create a lot of confused men and fragile women. What I do think will make a difference is if women start standing up for themselves with the confidence that comes with knowing that you can handle your shit. Unwanted kiss? Bob-and-weave. Unwanted dick pic? Ew, beat it. Guy pushes you up against the wall, get him off and tell him it’s in his best interest not to try that again. Guy jumps you while your on a run and drags you into the bushes? Get on top of him and smash his face in with a few solid elbows. Then call the police and ambulance so the poor fool doesn’t choke on his own blood and die. You want men to stop doing this stupid shit? Handle yourself. These men will learn that the time of being able to take advantage of women is over. That if you cross that line, there will be consequences. That if you make things physical, you should expect to get your ass handed to you.
Women are clearly motivated to make a change. They even earned themselves the cover of Time magazine this year. If we could only push it one step further and create a movement where women were motivated to abandon their title as the physically weaker sex and embrace that untapped physicality – I think we’d be looking at a foundation for the new age of sexual equality.