It must have been the second or third week of Summer Bridge, a program designed to ease incoming Berkeley freshman into the rigors of college life by having them arrive a couple of months early and enroll in summer courses. I, a goofy seventeen-year-old-virgin kid who had literally never kissed anyone save for my family members on the cheek, was laying in my dorm room’s top bunk bed, watching TV with a cute girl whose name I don’t remember. I really need to reiterate that not only had I never been in a position close to this, but I had literally no clue what to do at all. It was never discussed that we were into each other, but it had been pretty flirtatious, so when she casually walked in (everyone kept their doors open in those first weeks to be social) and said she wanted to watch a DVD I nearly fainted. I really don’t remember all the details, though, because it was over 15 years ago. All I know for sure is that we were laying there, essentially in pajamas, in the top bunk… Alone.
The next part I remember more clearly. There was no talking whatsoever minutes after I put the DVD in so I, not knowing what I should do, put my arm around her a little. It wasn’t like full snuggle, but kind of a touch-so-you-know-I’m-touching-you type of thing. She didn’t move or react at all. Dope? I actually wasn’t sure. Life would have been much easier had she swatted me away, or if she welcomed it and maybe snuggled in. No response at all left me in an even tougher position. How much was I supposed to do? In all honesty, I didn’t want to do anything at all. I wanted her to turn and like just tell me she liked me or something and then make a move on me so I wouldn’t have to make any more moves. But that didn’t happen.
So, after maybe an hour of inching closer and closer with no response, I was basically fully spooning, with my arm wrapped over her chest. At this point I was like if she didn’t get it by then, then I was out of options. And that’s where I left it. As soon as the dvd ended, she basically just got up and left. I’m sure there were words, but it’s so long ago, I can’t remember them. I was just like what the fuck just happened?
Fast forward a week or two, we hadn’t talked at all. One day I saw her walking hand in hand with a football player. I, being a little hurt at seeing this, brought up the whole ordeal to a dude I was friendly with later that day. I told him about the night she and I had and at some point he interrupted me.
“Why didn’t you just whip your dick out?”
I’m pretty sure that was the first time I had ever heard that come out of someones mouth. I actually couldn’t believe that was his line of reasoning. I don’t recall what else he said after that, but he did mention that he bet the football player had whipped his out and that’s why he got her.
I tell this story because I have heard of dudes whipping their dicks out HELLA times since then. That may have been the first, but it was certainly not the last. I think I may have heard some guy suggest it to another as recently as a few months ago. I swear this is actually something some people say out loud out of their coddamn mouths. The logic goes that nights like mine were wasted effort. I could have figured out if she was “down” right away and saved myself the trouble of not only that night, but the future embarrassment of seeing her with someone else. There’s also the idea that a woman may really want something to happen, but if you’re not bold enough, then she might never know.
There has never been a day that I considered whipping it out as a litmus test for a future sexual encounter. Truth be told, most men wouldn’t do that either. That doesn’t mean that it’s not an issue. Obviously it’s incredibly problematic that there are some men who think this is a good idea. However, what’s even more problematic is how many men hear about it leading to sex. Let me be clear, I am not blaming women who enjoy the whip it out technique, I am saying that those dudes who get away with it talk about it. They brag about it. I haven’t only heard it as advice, but I’ve heard it as part of a sexual story. And I don’t just mean I’ve heard it as a success story. I’ve heard it described just as often when it fails. It’s bragging if it works, and it’s like a funny aww-man-well-I-tried-my-best if it fails. There’s no, “guys I fucked up and whipped it out.” It’s always so weird to be in the room when someone talks about it. Because it’s always that guy who is such an idiot and an asshole but he always has an audience. I must admit, though, that I’ve laughed at times, or been disgusted at times, or just sat silently at times. Problem is I’ve only considered how much of an idiot the dude is and not at all considered what the woman on the other side of the equation is feeling.
This week the #metoo campaign allowed me to understand the flip-side of whipping it out. It was actually horrifying. I had to stop reading after a while. The frequency with which it occurs, the emotions, the graphic nature of how each of those encounters went down, it all was too much. But why? I have heard those stories from the other side for years. Why was it different now? Because, as I said above, I was no longer looking at it like “this guy sucks I’m not gonna kick with him,” but instead I was looking at it like “holy shit that poor woman! I have no idea how I would handle that or what it would do to me.”
But there was something else, maybe something even bigger that struck me this week. It’s that “whipping it out” is different for man. Guys, dudes, fellas, there are many of us like me who think they’re “good dudes,” but have also “whipped it out” so to speak in the past. Maybe you didn’t go full Harvey, but you grabbed something that wasn’t yours. You said words that were hurtful, or threatening, or something you would never repeat to your sister. You got violent when turned down, or you cat-called from across the street This is important, because many of us think that if we would never date rape someone, we’re good. We think that if we believe in equal pay for equal work that there’s no chance we could make a woman feel like we’ve crossed a line. But I read the stories. You probably HAVE crossed a line. I know damn well I have based on what I’ve read. In fact, I’m stepping up to say #metoo. Not in the same way women have been using it this week, but in the way that acknowledges that some of the stories I heard made me consider my own actions and things I have been silent about.
I have a “friend” who once asked me to use BOOMTHO to do “casting couches,” like in the porn sense. I said WTF? No. But I also laughed to ease the tension.
I know a promoter who beats his girlfriend. I don’t consider us homies at all because of this, but if I’m in line outside the club, I’ll say his name if I see him so I can get in.
I’ve heard stories of bottle service girls and how certain big money clients prefer them, even after the club has closed, or they’ll “pull their business.” When I first heard about them, I just said to myself, that’s what they chose with that job, I guess.
I had one ex-friend who was the absolute worst with women and my friend John and I had to un-friend him, but there was so much before the tipping point (the final straw was him offending me, not the women) that we kind of thought was too much, but he was also a lot of fun. John and I actually used to joke “What Would (he) Do?” because it seemed to come off as confidence. But when it was just us two one day we looked at each other and agreed that we could never be like he was. Still, we let him around women who trusted us.
A girl once visited me in Korea (long ago) and I threw a hotel party in a room with 6 beds, and a dude who was cool with me came and when she layed down and I was still upstairs, he tried to jump into bed with her when he thought she passed out. I actually couldn’t believe it.
I’ve personally done a lot of things I thought were just “funny” but really weren’t, in the end. Beyond that, I’m so sure that someone may have something with me that I don’t even know about because I wasn’t thinking like I do now. Even the first story I told, while looking back at it, I wonder if I did something she didn’t want and I’m part of her #metoo. I’ll never know.
When #metoo began to take off, my mind went to these moments. The women of my timeline showed me something real: we all “whip it out.” Just because you haven’t put a roofie in someone’s drink, doesn’t mean you’re not guilty of being inappropriate. Or even worse at times, guilty of being complicit. Being 99.999% abuse free is still not 100. I can tell you this, 100% of the women I know well said #metoo. It can’t just be like seven mega-predators out there while the rest of us are approaching saint-hood. Really consider your actions, guys. I told my stories above not for women to hear, but for you.
‘Cause, see, I know why you “whip it out.” My first story? We’ve all been there at some point or another. Some of you learned after that whipping it out was easier than dealing with not knowing what’s up. Maybe you had homies who were getting laid and all you heard about them was that they whipped it out. Maybe you asked “What Would Jim Do?” and you did it and it worked one time. So you tried it a couple of times and it worked again. Success! Maybe it was just funny that time. Or maybe you didn’t mean anything by it. Maybe you get your butt grabbed at a party from time to time so you think it’s all the same. Maybe she was dressed oh-so-sexy and how could you do go on without whipping it out?
But you never considered what it’s like to be on the receiving end. Why? Because then you’d have to reconcile those feelings with your actions. It would be tough, right? You know why I don’t watch videos about how food is made? Because I would drastically change my eating habits if I saw slaughterhouse footage and I really like steak. Admit it, you enjoy what whipping it out gets you and you don’t want to consider what it may mean to anyone not you. It makes sense because we learned from our fathers who could live recklessly until their “daughter changed [them].” And they learned from their fathers who didn’t want women to have voting rights. So here you are, trying your best, thinking that sometimes women want it, so #metoo is kind of bullshit.
Some of you are my friends. I’ve SEEN you whip it out. Some you same people posted that they supported #metoo. Ok, bro. I challenge you to empathize and take a look in the mirror yourself. Lord knows I have and it’s tough to acknowledge. But how else are you supposed to actually improve? I’m actually writing this on a bus ride after a basketball game, and this shit was in my head during the damn game! Because it’s not easy to swallow what we’ve done. But, in sports, there are practice players and there are gamers. It takes a ton more effort to win a game. Don’t just post about it on facebook. Get in the game! I know it’s not easy to just speak up when it’s just us, but we have to at some point. At least challenge those who do those things one on one if the group setting is too awkward. I don’t have all the answers and many of the issues come from sexual expectation, gender norms, mating traditions, social expectations, etc. There is nuance at times and situations can be tough to read. All that said, you can learn a lot about how to proceed just by reading some more #metoo and talking to the women in your life in an open and honest way. Then maybe we can all stop whipping it out be the people we claim we are.