Oh, well hello again friends! What a lovely Sunday it is, no? I had a very intriguing conversation with a friend of mine the other day and I thought that I would bring it up by way of this quaint little blog. What is it that I wish to talk about? Well, it’s a little term I’ve coined “Bar Consent”.
What is Bar Consent you may ask? Well, it’s something that I have noticed over four years of excessive university partying. Ok, so maybe not excessive… but let’s just say that I was very thorough in my research. Bar Consent is essentially the permission that you give someone to dance with you. Now, this is a very, very basic definition of the term and as always, we will go into more detail quickly enough.
Let me set the scene: You’re at the bar, you’re a tall, blonde and sex-ay female with 4 or 5 more of your sex-ay female friends. You’ve decided to have a girl’s night (because you can) and nothing is going to ruin the night that you have envisioned in your head. You know: fancy mixed drinks, high-heels, great songs and non-stop dancing. I think we can all agree that that is the benchmark of any great night… well that and some good laughs.
But here’s where the issue of Bar Consent comes into play. You’re dancing and having a great time when all of the sudden, some drunk-out-of-his-mind guy decides to come up and start grinding his junk on your trunk! Now hold up… I’m not exactly sure where we lost the simple handshake but somewhere along the way, his penis on your butt has become the new “Hey, how you doin’?”.
And of course, let me point out that, yes I do understand that some girls and guys go to the bar exclusively to either A) get their grind on with someone else, B) get their grind on, makeout, and essentially have sex on the dance floor, or C) inevitably go home that night with said person to do the nasty. But here’s the thing, 9-times-out-of-10, whenever girls go to the bar, it’s for the express purposes of having fun with their friends and maybe dancing with the hot guy at the bar who can at least act sober for long enough to not spill a drink on her new dress.
But alas, I keep getting sidetracked here. Bar Consent: essentially, I am wondering, at what point did it become ok for a guy to drunkenly force himself onto another woman while she is dancing? And it’s only in the club/bar that this is apparently acceptable too! I mean, if you were walking down the street and some guy comes up behind you and started grinding on you, I think you’d be more inclined to yell: “HELP!” or “RAPE!”. At what point did this club scene become a house of lust whereupon (more often than not) guys gain a self-esteem boost from drinking too much while girls gain a lowering of morals..? Put these two together and you certainly have an awkward melting pot of one-night stands, police charges, fights, throwing up, etc etc etc.
But I digress: what happened to the handshake?! I mean, yes, I understand that not everyone is so charismatic and confident that they can simply walk up to a girl and say: “Hello, my name is X and I couldn’t help but appreciate how elegant you are tonight. Can I buy you a drink and…” but I can guarantee that that is the Barney Stinson-type character who will inevitably be going home with the girl that night. Chivalry! We need some more goddamn chivalry!
Do not expect to go to a bar with your drunk-and-sloppy face on and hope to dance with a hot girl and hopefully go home with her. Some chick’s dig that ultra-macho-caveman thing where you assert your presence onto them but the other 98% do not. I know that guys like to come up from behind and start grinding with girls but there is an inherent flaw in this system for these guys. You can’t see the face of the person you are accosting. And let me tell you, as a guy who goes out dancing with a lot of his girlfriends: when they feel your “P” on their “B”, automatically they send out this quirky little look of distress that says “Omg, help, this guy is creeping on me!”. And sure enough, The Chad goes in for the rescue whereupon I will slowly dance-maneuver my friend out of your clutches and into my protective arms! And of course, since they are drunk, I will get a lot of snide comments and remarks from these guys. But understand that I don’t do anything without getting the permission of my friend first (I wait for that important facial cue!). If they wanted to dance with you, then they would. You are the one who did not ask for permission buddy!
Maybe I’ve seen one too many versions of The Vagina Monologues but this is legitimately a “rape culture” that we seem to be fostering here. I am all for going up to a girl/guy and asking them to dance but if you have to ask with the thrust of your hips, I think you are doing it wrong! In fact, I know you are doing it wrong. I totally support whatever it is that you do on the dance floor (or in your bedrooms afterwards) but only after you ASK PERMISSION.
I shouldn’t have to be there to “rescue” my friends, nor should you have to put them in that type of situation. And you also can’t say that it’s the woman’s (or man’s) responsibility to turn around and stand-up for herself. Although I do fully agree that they should be responsible for doing that, I also wouldn’t want to be confronted with a 200lb drunk-man if I was a 120lb female (drunk or otherwise).
With one last note: guys, if you see girls dancing in a circle facing each other, then stay the eff away. That means they’re dancing with friends and they don’t care about you. If they want to dance with you, chances are that their searching gaze will find you and lock eyes with you to say “Hey, would you like to come dance with me?”.
Let’s get some Bar Consent people. I’m all for crazy-drunken nights and one-night-stands… but everyone involved should still feel safe and not accosted just for trying to look sexy (because dressing sexy is a good self-esteem boost and everyone deserves to feel sexy).