Derek Dujardin

Posts Tagged ‘The Mending Monologues’

Consent with a Twist.

In Uncategorized on May 21, 2015 at 8:02 pm

Marisa Herrera-Keehn, a senior at California State University Monterey Bay, wrote and performed a provocative, sex-positive piece about “consent” by introducing her audience to the BDMS community (Bondage, Dominate, Sadist, Masochist) for 2015 MENding Monologues on her campus.

Finding ways to formulize and teach the concept of consensual sex on college campuses has been an uphill battle for many 11088482_10205346205588585_4100777638426605957_oeducators and advocates. Universities have asked or even require students to use written consent contracts prior to going on a date or engaging in sex to make consent completely crystal clear to both partners. While I applaud the effort (I am sure just talking about the existence of the contract itself probably generates a lively conversation about consent), I am sure in practice the contract is seldom used by students as it is intended.

In my opinion, Marisa’s piece could be subtitled “Consent Is Sexy” because it delivers its message in a juicy, provocative manner that is hard to ignore and is quite memorable. It also expands the idea of consent beyond “Yes” to “Yes, and…and…and what else?” creating a greater conversation around sex, boundaries, requests and pleasure. After all, if you can’t talk honestly about sex with your partner, are you really ready for that level of intimacy?

If trust is the bedrock of the BDMS community, where so much personal risk and safety is at stake, perhaps those of us with more pedestrian tastes can take a page from the BDMS playbook when comes to teaching and practicing consent.

This is What Consent Looks Like

Written & Performed by Marisa Herrera-Keehn

“Welcome to my lair, have a seat please make yourself at home! Yes this is my lair, my cave of wonders, my castle in the sky, a paradise for the weird. You probably got my card from an older gentlemen, you may have seen him around before. Thick Irish accent with a strong chlorine scent. Or you’re here because you are genuinely curious about my services.

Ahhh, I see it’s your first time with a Dominatrix. Well I can give you a nice detailed rundown of my work and the BDSM community. Did you know that BDSM actually stands for something? Bondage, Dominant, Submissive, Masochist. The most common interpretation is the S&M part, Sadist and Masochist. A Sadist is someone who enjoys causing pain, while a Masochist is someone who enjoys receiving pain. So you can already tell who’s holding the whip and who’s tied up. You can be both, you can be a Sadomasochist. You both enjoy pain and giving it.

Though BDSM community in its entirety wouldn’t exist without one simple word, consent. Communication is the Golden Rule and Trust is critical. Trusting your body completely over to me and knowing with every fiber of your being that I’ll treat you right. But only if you give me that freedom. Without trust or permission what you have left is illegal in so many ways. Domestic Abuse, Assault and Battery, and that’s just the slope of the mountain. If you have even the slightest bit of doubt, talk to me and I’ll make you as comfortable as possible but only if you say so. If you’re scared I will hold you, if you start to cry I will wipe your tears, if you want me to stop I will stop. Because even I understand that no means no.

Now, sit back, relax and let me do what I do best. I’ll make you squirm with pleasure, scream while the threads hit your back, and moan until you can’t take it anymore. I’ll take you around the world baby, if you want it harder I’ll oblige, if you want more I won’t hesitate to give you anything you want. But only if you say it’s ok.

I know the idea of it is a little nerve wracking, but BDSM isn’t just about pain through various methods. It’s all about whatever you want sweetie, the possibilities are endless! Honestly there’s no way I could list all the different categories in one night’s time, but it’s so much more than just whips and chains. It’s all about preference! It’s all up to you! You may want me to dress in sexy clothing and talk dirty, you may want me to strap you into a nice fur lined leather collar for me to drag you around, or just to tie you up and walk away. Remember kids, you don’t need a flogger to drive a sub crazy. There’s so many other things you can use! Paddles, wooden spoons, vibrators, electric toothbrushes, hair ties, anything silk really, feathers, candle wax, needles, clamps for the more daring. A flogger is my tool of choice but honestly it’s whatever fits in your hand like the last piece of a puzzle that had been missing for years in that moment. It’s an indescribable feeling, just like the job I do.

Because as a Dom, I am here to serve your needs, no matter how strange. I will not judge you or talk you out of anything, I will never make you feel forced into anything you don’t want to do. People like me understand that not everyone is comfortable sharing their sexual preferences, but after the first round they always come back for more. Why? Because I offer comfort and a safe space for you to be free in. I wont make you feel scared or restrained, unless you want me to. Take a deep breath and close your eyes, make sure that every part of you is relaxed.

Comfort is a right that everyone deserves, just look at me. 3 years ago I was a scared freshman starting out in the big leagues of University, I felt lost and confused, alone and ashamed of who I was. There was something missing from my life, a desire that burned through my veins and screamed at me everytime I looked in a mirror. I didn’t recognize myself. 2 years ago, I found my first “submissive”. A wild card whose pain tolerance trumped all the rest. He took me gently by the hand and showed me all the strange

parts of passion I never knew existed. I remember looking in the mirror later that night, and smiling because I saw a fire burning in my eye’s that I had never seen before. It felt so good, so right, so warm, I kept fanning that fire until it consumed me.

I discovered that I have a special power of my own and trust me when I say that it’ll never go to my head. But if we’re going to play, let me set a few rules. One, you are always to address us as Mistress for the ladies and Masters for the men. Or vise versa depending on your preference. Two, you are only to speak when spoken to. And three, you are never to look down on me. You will obey me and if you’re bad you’ll get your punishment. Are you ok with me dominating you?”

Male subservient replies “Yes Mistress.”

“Oh hunny, I’m not going to just whip and leave, there’s a whole aftercare process that goes along with the community. A big part of BDSM that people, porn, and on occasion horrible fan fictions stigmatize is the idea that Doms consensually torture Subs, and that’s it. But that is not it! Dom’s are warm and caring people, we know how to take care of your wounds and we hold you when it’s all said and done. Some of us have our own style of care, some sing, some use baths, some use cuddling for hours. Whatever it may be as long as you feel comfortable and safe, we’re doing our job. And when I do my job, I’m satisfied.

Well my darlings I’m afraid out time is up. But if you’re interested in continuing your learning outside of my lair, do your research and take it slow. This isn’t something everyone is interested in, believe me I know that. Take my advice. Read articles, read blogs, read books, read about whatever you are interested in! Make sure you have a safe word, always communicate to one another. Don’t start off with metal handcuffs because bruised wrists can be annoying, unless you’re into that. Toys are encouraged, velcro or nylon ropes can be pretty fun, always cuddle afterwards! Use protection and be sure to always ask permission first!

Because without consent, we as the BDSM community wouldn’t exist. Because this what consent sounds like, this is what consent feels like. I am what consent looks like.”

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The MENding Monologues performed in Kenya!

In Uncategorized on April 29, 2015 at 12:00 pm
Poster version one of the show.

Poster version one of the show.

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The MENding Monologues was performed in Kenya in late January 2015. I thought about going to the show to see it for myself, but the $1,800 plane fare was just a little too steep. Naomi Mwaura, the show’s producer, told me in an email the following: “This is the first time that I have seen my team of actors cry before and during a performance. The MENding Monologues performance did so well that the US Embassy in Kenya is willing to sponsor us to perform to their employees. Am so EXCITED!!

Sincerely,
Naomi Mwaura | One Billion Rising Coordinator-Kenya

WOW. I am excited, too. Not just for her, but to see what they wrote and how they performed it. She has promised me a DVD of the show. If I am able to upload videos of it from the DVD I am sent, I will be posting the content here. Stay tuned.

The MENding Monologues gets an amazing review in San Diego!

In Uncategorized on February 11, 2011 at 2:41 am

http://www.wordsarenotenough.info/how.html

Check it out. I’m blushing and blown away at the same time. I’m certainly not the savior of all womenkind as the article makes me out to be, but I’m proud to do what I can.

Getting The Frat Guys To Care About Sexual Violence

In Uncategorized on April 10, 2010 at 10:52 pm

The problem with talking about sexual violence with men is that—98 percent of the time—men are the perpetrators. So there is this guilt by association for men in general that gets in the way of the conversation. If these men also belong to fraternities, this guilt by association goes up, substantially.

Last Tuesday night, we did a performance at ASU that was both disappointing and enlightening for me. There were a group of fraternity men who were forced to attend our performance—and to our credit and theirs—they stayed engaged throughout. Afterwards, one of the moderators felt that something we had said in a monologue wasn’t accurate and she felt the need to clear it up. As an educator, it was her responsibility to do exactly that. She didn’t want these men walking out with any misinformation or something that could be misconstrued.

Unfortunately, what could have been two-minute factual fix to set the record straight, collapsed into an 15 minute attack on these men, as they were singled out. I saw them shutdown and squirm, and finally walk out.

In college, when I had attended lectures about sexual and gender violence, I could feel my arms fold and my walls go up. Inside, I said, “This is not my problem. Because I’m not the problem. Other guys do that shit, not me.” The statement that “all (frat) men are potential rapists” will polarize a room faster than anything.

There’s Got To Be A Better Way.

So, this whole thing got me thinking on how to reach these men. Because the way it’s being done now is pretty much a failure. It can’t come from monologuing, statistics, finger-pointing, shaming or blaming. In the MENding Monologues, we have had lot of conversation around gender violence and I believe our formula works and I offer it here for anyone who wants to give it a try. We come to this conversation not trying to change men, but as an honest inquiry. There’s no agenda here and no judgement. However, the process of inquiry itself will create an opening for a conversation so that statistics, facts and codes of conduct can land when offered.

STEP 1: MAKE VIOLENCE RELEVANT, WITHOUT GETTING PERSONAL.

Ask young men to write down three names of women who have been harmed by men. From date rape, incest, verbal abuse, harassment, beatings, domestic violence, etc. The fact that one in three women have suffered some kind trauma, odds are very good EVERY man knows somebody who has suffered abuse and they know her story. Mother, sister, friend, daughter, girlfriend, wife, etc.

STEP 2: ASK THEM HOW IT MADE THEM FEEL.

Get young men to pick a women’s name off his list and relate how it made him feel when that woman in his life was hurt or abused. Also, get them to speculate and brainstorm about how this trauma might or has affected these woman for the rest of their lives.

STEP 3: ASK WHAT’S THE COST VIOLENCE TO THEM?

This may seem strange, but most young people,  men and woman, are pretty self-absorbed. Asking what this past violence cost them is a relevant question, even thought they weren’t directly affected by the violence itself. In my case, I was in relationship with a woman who was molested by her father. Whenever her father would call, I was the one who had to watch her shutdown and was helpless to help her through it. Her drug and alcohol addiction, which she used to cope with the pain of incest, eventually became my problem and ultimately destroyed our relationship. I have been with other women who have sexually shutdown on me few month into the relationship because of the abuse in their life. Once, I raised my voice to a woman I was dating. It was a simple spat in the car over which route to take to a party. But what I said to her were the exact same words and tone another boyfriend used before she was beaten. That trigger ruined our evening and our relationship.

Why do this? This gets men to see that this problem of violence towards women is THEIR problem, too. Because they have women in their lives, and these hurts often surface in their relationships. This gets them to see that there is a problem. And that there is a ripple effect to violence.

STEP 4: HOW DOES THE MASCULINE CULTURE IN GENERAL PERPETUATE THIS PROBLEM?

Here’s where we broaden the conversation. Now, men know there is a problem, and they are also present to the cost of this problem in their lives and to the women in their lives. Next, get men to brainstorm the causes. From unhealthy role models to alcohol to sexual objectification to unclear signals, etc. we layout the contributing causes of this problem.

STEP 5: WHAT HAVE I DONE TO STOP IT?

We ask men to start thinking for themselves of ways to stop this trend. Again, the ideas have to come from the guys. If we as facilitators start jamming it down their throats, they will only regurgitate what we tell them and there will be no transformation in consciousness.

STEP 6: WHAT HAVEN’T I DONE IN THE PAST TO STOP IT?

This is tricky. But at this point we ask men to own up to where they have added to the problem (in their own judgement). In my case, I didn’t confront a friend who had date raped another friend of mine in college. The rape occurred one year before I knew either of them. When I found out, I simply stopped being the guy’s friend. Yet, because I didn’t confront him, who’s to say he didn’t do it again. I added to the problem. Questions could be, “Have any of you ever plied a woman with alcohol so she would have sex with you?”, “Have you ever let a friend have sex with woman who was passed out?” These questions could be put onto piece of paper and put into a hat and then counted, so each man can remain anonymous, but also honest in their answers.

Would this work?

Why do it this way? I believe the number one problem with having a conversation with frat men around sexual violence is shame. Shaming and judging men is not going to get them to take an honest look at themselves or their behaviors. If you noticed, nothing in here was about telling men what to do or not to do. It was simply a conversation. I believe that the vast majority of men want to do the right thing, but they haven’t EVER had an honest conversation about it.

Let’s start one…

Congrats to The San Diego MENding Monologues!

In Uncategorized on March 6, 2010 at 7:39 pm

I went to see the The San Diego MENding Monologues, a group of men who were inspired by our work and have created their own show, using some of our material and writing much of their own. This is the second year they’ve done the show and it keeps getting better and better.

I want to express thanks and call out a few people for special praise for their contribution and creativity. First of all, behind every good man is a woman. In this case, two women: Kym Pappas and Carla Nell, who are also the directors and producers of V-Day in San Diego. They have done a tremendous job, in adding The MENding to V-Day and advertising the two shows together, positioning it as the ying and yang of solving the problem of violence. Thank you, you two strong, beautiful and wonderful women for giving men a voice in this very important work.

Next, I need to thank Brendan Cavalier and Christopher Burger. Christopher stepped forward to direct this project last year (thank you, Chris, it’s hard to be the first lemming off the cliff, I know) and Brendan took it on this year. Both of them are amazing men with big hearts and lots of creative juice.

I want to call out special thanks to Rod Rodriguez, who is a gifted writer. He has written a ton of pieces for this show, many of which I’m hoping, with his permission, to add to our general MENding script to make it available for other groups of men to do this work in college and communities around the country. Moreover, I plan to feature his work on this blog in the weeks to come.

But of all that he has written, by far my favorite is: “To Whom It May Concern:” is about an attempted rape and abduction of his sister 15 years ago that was thwarted by her and a sticky door handle on the rapist’s van. This piece wraps up the show and is one of my favorite for its depth and vulnerability. Rod is also the writer of “Breast”, “I am a man.”, “I am not a hero.” , “Curly” and co-author of several other work in the show. My other favorite piece (of many favorites!) is “Forgive Yourself” by Christopher Burger, which is expertly and movingly delivered by the talented Patrick Mayuyu. “Forgive Yourself” deserves a whole blog later, but it recounts how a 14-year old boy is sexually harassed and nearly molested by a priest. It is a subtle, first person account that shows that sexual misconduct doesn’t have to result in gentile touching or penetration for someone to be damaged.

I also want to honor David Wittenburg for his stunning delivery of Dr. Vaginski (see blog). Even though I wrote this piece and thought that I couldn’t laugh at my own jokes any longer, David delivered such a devastatingly funny performance that he had me rolling with gut laughs—and I’ve only heard this piece about 500 times.

I also want to thank Scott Amiotte for his performance of “Tantra” (see this blog), and for writing the piece “Babe”, which is another work I plan to feature here with his permission.

I also want to thank Paul Savage, Steven Schmitz, George Soete, Reed Willard, Marc Amial Caro, Josh Hyatt, Ryan Martinez, Tony Bejarno, Tony Hamm, Gilbert Quintana, Patrick Kelly, and Zach Goode for their hard work and participation in writing and performing in this show. You guys ARE heros.

Finally, one of the most rewarding moment for me happened after the show. I was approached by Brendan Cavalier’s mother, the director of this year’s show, who said the following to me: “Thank you so much for doing this work. Because of Brendan’s involvement with this show, I have seen a side of my son that I have never seen before, and I have to tell you, I like this side of him very much.”

So do I.

In fact, you could say I like this side of all these men—very, very much.

I love you guys and really look forward to working with, performing with, and collaborating with you on your special San Diego-flavored version of the MENding Monologues in the months and years to come.

"What would 'IT' say?

In Uncategorized on September 11, 2009 at 8:24 pm

So, this is my first post of someone else’s work on my blog from The MENding Monologues. Karen was in the Vagina Monologues here in Sedona two years ago and performed in a piece called: ‘What would it say?’ In the piece, Eve Ensler asks woman what their vaginas would express if it had a voice, including what would it wear, what would it smell like, what would it say to men, etc. It’s a very funny and insightful piece, but Karen felt it didn’t convey her point of view that the vagina was sacred. I invited her to write a counter point to this piece and this is what she wrote. It is one of the favorite pieces in our show and I feel it is carries an excellent message to young woman or any women who has felt that she had to compete with the penis…

One note: The italic is an interviewer asking questions of the vagina as disembodied voiceover.

The Vagina gives the women a piece of her mind.

The Vagina gives the women a piece of her mind.

The Puritan

VO: In this era of liberation, why has no one asked the vagina what IT thinks?

<From Vagina>

Ahem!  You want to know what I think?

YES!

Really?

Yes.  You have the floor… sort of.

Relax!

Me?

Yes.  No – everyone!  That’s what I want to say.

Don’t get so worked up.  And stop doing things on my account.  I’m not as starved and angry as you think!

No?
No!  I just want peace.  And respect.  And Love.

What makes me angry is when you women forget how sacred I am.  I am a place of life, of nurturing, of new beginnings… of Love.  Artists used to write poems and paint pictures celebrating my beauty and sacredness.  Now, I’ve been thrown in the ring to compete with the penis!

What?

Sure!  I’m supposed to be “liberated”.  Equal.  I have the green light to fight for the same treatment as men with penises, for the same opportunities, and for the same sexual freedom.

Problem is… no one asked me if that’s what I wanted.

So that’s not what you want?

I am so much more than just the inverse of a penis, ladies!  Stop trying to turn me in to one!  Don’t you see how amazing I am?  I do so many things.  I stretch and conform to accommodate your needs – I change every month, and you wouldn’t even recognize me during pregnancy…

So what do you need from us?

Value me.  Hold me sacred.

Why have values upholding purity and my sanctity been belittled and denounced as sexist and “out of touch”?  Why is purity “freakish” in today’s society?  Just maybe the Puritans were more in touch with me and my needs than you all think.

Really?

Sure.  I like to keep myself and my sacred place clean, peaceful and beautiful… and organized.  I enjoy entertaining the one I love, but I don’t want unexpected guests!  Who ever declared an open door policy here?  I wouldn’t bring just anyone over to your place, especially unannounced.  Why would you wave them all in to my place?!?

What if that’s not what we planned either?

That’s a crime against everything sacred. Rape is an obvious denigration that shatters all semblance of dignity and sacredness of me AND you.  I wish liberation eliminated that violence.  But it didn’t.  WHY NOT?

Maybe because we can’t control the actions of others or their obsession with domination.

That’s true.

So what can women do about that?

Sadly, maybe nothing.  But you can ask yourselves, “Have I taken my own vagina seriously?”

You wanted me liberated to experience pleasure without consequence, but yet you don’t value or even see my blessedness anymore than the men who abuse us do.  Instead, this open door policy… where countless streams of men wander in and out (and in and out) with no appreciation of the sacred place in which they find themselves.  Why do you give them a free pass?

There’s a double standard.

Yes, but I have a brain.  You should know this.  Stop putting me in the ring with the penis.  In a time when it’s not just OK but actually hip to denounce religion, conservatism, and chastity while supporting lifestyles and choices that devalue my sanctity… all in the name of freedom and liberation, what else are we to expect?

WOMEN, you cry out AGAINST violence and abuse of yourselves and your bodies by men… but what are you doing to yourselves?  What have you told yourselves in the process?

You want to liberate yourselves, but from what?  Abusive men?  Yes!  The devaluation of women?  Right on! Hatred and Injustice?  Sign me up! … Responsibility?  Good Judgment?  Consequences of your choices?  Stop right there!

If you cry out against violence to women, you cannot then neglect your own bodies or use them as weapons or tools of abuse.

Maybe the Puritans really did know what they were doing.  Why are we so eager to slam the door on that?  Sure makes my life easier!

Fine, call me a Puritan.  Out of touch.  I don’t care.

I want to give LIFE and celebrate real LOVE.  I am SACRED.  Embrace that and you WILL be liberated.

Introducing The MENding Monologues…

In Uncategorized on September 3, 2009 at 6:54 pm

For three years now, a group of extraordinary men and myself have been delving into the caves of our personal history to excavate stories of how the abuse inflicted on the women we have known has wounded us as men.

Inspired by Eve’s work, we call ourselves The MENding Monologues. Like The Vagina Monologues, we perform a mixture of stories and comedic satire to audiences around country. It’s a love letter to women and wake up call for men.

When new men enter our group, they usually tell me that they don’t have a story to tell, or they have a story, but they are certain no one would want to hear it. I assure them they do have a story to tell and that people would want to hear it—as long as they can tell with it authenticity and vulnerability.

To get the ball rolling, I tell the new men one of my stories. It’s called “R U my 2:15?” and it’s about me being the focal point of aggressive sexual attention—from a man. From this experience, I developed empathy for what many women suffer through daily.

This happened two and half years ago, six months before I started The MENding Monologues. I had ended a relationship with my girlfriend of nearly six years and felt like I needed to write my way through the anger, depression and loss. So, I started a screenplay about time travelers, who kidnap world leaders when they are impressible teenagers, take them to a post-apocalyptic future and show them the fruits of their follies—essentially, it’s A Christmas Carol crossed with The Terminator, that’s a coming of age story. And for once, I promised myself I would finish something that I wasn’t being paid ahead of time to write. So, I choose a quiet library with nothing to distract me except the milling about of ancient librarians.

Let’s be clear: As a writer, I’m very accomplished at not writing. One of my favorite ways of not writing is the minute I sit down and start, I have a forceful urge to pee. It happens every time. So, to get around my procrastination and fear of failure, I make it a rule to always go to the bathroom before I sit down to do any serious work.

In the library’s restroom, above the urinal, right at eyelevel was written: “Meet me here for a blowjob, August 12, from 1:30 to 2:15 pm.” Then the next day, it would still read “Meet me here for a blow job—”, but the date and time had changed to “Aug. 13, from 11:45 to 2:30.” The next day, the offer would be the same, but the time and date would be different. After several weeks of this, I started to wear a watch.

Two months went by and nothing happened, so I forgot about it. I thought it was just amusing graffiti, kids having fun. Until one day, I walk into the middle of the library; remembered my need for an empty bladder, and headed to the restroom.

Suddenly, this short, stocky guy, about 25 years old, with a face full of acne, springs from the couch and follows me into the hallway. He’s right on my heels, walking quickly. I think: “He must really have to pee.”

When I pull up to the urinal, he takes the one right next to mine, and starts making small talk. That should have been my first clue. Guys do not make small talk with strangers while at the urinal. I reply, “I’m fine. You?” to his salutation. He says: “Oh, I’m great, great yeaaah…” Then I see him peek over the splashguard to get a look at my low hanging fruit. That should been my second clue: Guys do not check out each other’s gear at the urinal, unless, you know, one of you is packing something extremely impressive.

I should have walked out right then, but I was determined not to let this guy get to me. I wanted to finish up and get on with my writing. Unfortunately, he’s talking to me now, constantly. I don’t remember what he said, but he was monologuing about something inane. And that gave my urination stage fright. So, I just stood there, anxiously waiting for the flow to begin. It wasn’t. So, he assumes, since I’m still standing there, not peeing, he had successfully built rapport with me.

This goes on for a very uncomfortable two minutes.

Finally, I give up. I turn to leave and he turns towards me, showing his semi-erect penis, displaying it like it was the best piece of meat in the butcher shop—with this sappy grin on his face.

I look down at the floor, I look away, I walk out. I glance behind me, he is still standing there, with a confused look on his face that said: “Hey? Where you going man? I thought we had something?”

I exit to the hallway, and I have a mix of emotions; I feel pissed and I want to punch him in the face. I also feel a little scared. But mostly, I feel humiliated.

That surprised me. I always thought if something like that happened, I would find it amusing. Trust me, I was not amused. I’m usually a very live-and-let-live kind of person. And, I don’t care that someone is gay. I’ve had gay men hit on me before, and it’s no big deal—I’m no homophobe. But this was creepy.

Later, upon reflection, I get present to what it must be like to be a woman. Having guys grab your ass in a bar. Whistling and yelling at you as you walk by a construction site. Leering at you as you wait for a bus, followed by inappropriate remarks or touching. I got a small taste of it and didn’t like it. I made me think of the times in my youth when I may have done things like that.

So, I go back to the library and I try to write. I can’t write. So, I pack up my laptop and head for the exit. I’m thinking of which kinds of hastily made cocktails I should drink when I get home and I heard something that snaps me out of it. A little boy’s voice says: “Mommy, I need to go to the bathroom.”

Mom doesn’t look up from her magazine. She replies: “Honey, you know where it is, just go.” He looks five years old, maybe six. It hits me: This is a public library in the middle of the afternoon—not an abandoned restroom out on the Interstate at 3 A.M. There are two schools just blocks away. This place is packed with kids. (I’m not implying that all men who cruise for sex in public bathrooms are potential pedophiles, but perhaps he picked this restroom for a reason. When kids are involved, I don’t take chances).

I pipe up: “Sorry ma’am, but you need to take your son to the ladies’ room, there’s some weird guy hanging out in the men’s room. I don’t know if it’s safe.”

She gives me a suspicious look and walks her son to the bathroom. I think about telling one of the librarians. The youngest looks in her mid-seventies. What the hell is she going to do? That’s when I got worried. That’s when got pissed. That’s when I called the police.

And, that’s when I suffered another humiliation.

I meet a large, redneck-looking cop in the parking lot. I tell him about the guy cruising for sex in the bathroom. And he asks me: “What did he say?”

“Well, he didn’t say anything. He just showed me his dick with a knowing look on his face,” I replied.

“Well, how did you know he wanted sex then?”

I stammered, feeling like a very unreliable narrator of my own life’s story. I tell him about the daily blow job offers on the walls, how the guy made small talk, and the semi-erect penis, and the cop just looks at me like he doesn’t believe me. He walks into the bathroom. Lucky me, the walls were scrubbed clean yesterday. There’s no trace of evidence. Just my word against his.

The cop gives me one of those looks of disgust that a junior high vice-principal gave me once when I was 12 years old. I read it as, “You wimp. You should have popped the guy in the nose and instead of calling me.” Later, he gives me another look, which I interpret as: “Well, your pants are pretty tight, your hair is dyed blonde, sure you weren’t asking for it?” Like somehow, I was inviting this behavior and it was my fault.

At that moment, I felt humiliated. And, I know it’s only one-tenth of one percent of the feeling that countless women must endure when they have to speak to authorities, and their story is called into question. I know it is one-tenth of one percent of what a woman must go through on the witness stand. I know it is only one-tenth of one percent of what it must be like to say that a teacher, family member or minister is molesting you. I know it’s only one-tenth of one percent, but I know when it happened to me, it felt like shit.

The police officer grills him for a few minutes, but doesn’t arrest him. Instead he tells him never to come back here again. The man swears he’ll never come back, he walks away without looking my direction. The police officer tells me the guy’s body language, voice and eye contact indicated he was guilty and lying about something. So, in the end, the cop believed me.

There’s an epilogue to this story: I never finished the screenplay. I stopped writing it that very day. I told myself I would go back to the library in a couple of weeks to start again, but I didn’t. That guy in the bathroom gave me the perfect excuse to quit. I wish I could blame the guy for that, but I know it is solely my issue whether or not I write. But I have to admit that I don’t write there anymore because it doesn’t feel comfortable. I was afraid of retribution of some kind, perhaps being hit from behind while walking to my car because I ruined good rendezvous point for dozens of men who like anonymous bathroom sex in libraries. I know it doesn’t make rational sense. I’m also afraid that if it happens again, maybe next I wouldn’t put my fist in my pocket and walk away. Next time, if I was having a bad day, would humiliation turn to rage?

Here’s another distinction that needs to be made: I could choose to walk away. I’m not sure women always have the choice to avoid the subways, construction sites, or bars where sexually aggressive assholes seem to lurk and leer.

When I do this piece as a monologue, I usually end the story by citing a line from the “Short Skirt” piece from The Vagina Monologues. It goes something like this: “Just because I’m wearing a short skirt, isn’t an invitation for you to have sex with me.”

My version of that is: “Just because I’m in the public restroom, at your appointed time of 2:15, August 14, doesn’t mean I’m there for a BJ.”

Derek Dujardin is the director and creator of The MENding Monologues,www.theMENding.org . Feel free to write him with your comments atcopycowboy@mac.com .

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