Last week I was at a conference. It was fun, informative and so busy I slept all of Saturday. This year I didn’t party with the group every night just the last. We went from our first party where I had 2 glasses of wine to a karaoke bar where we walked in and were immediately served shots, for a total of 6shots, a beer and 4 waters between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m.
Toward the end of the karaoke visit one of the men there told me he found me attractive. I laughed and said thank you. Then he got explicit. He wanted to have sex with me. This man who had been showing me pictures of his wife and kid the night before and damn well knew I was married was telling me this.
I smiled and returned with, “I don’t even know your wife’s name.”
“Yeah, yeah I’m married. The can’t believe I’m married and with a kid.”
“I know and I don’t know her name.”
He gave me her name and then shared what our sex life would be like if he were my husband.
“My husband feels the same way, I’m a lucky girl,” I assured him, ” I think my song might be on so I gotta go back in.”
As I left him I was immediately filled with doubt and shame.
Someone had told me my dress was sexy earlier, was it too sexy?
I was dancing earlier and I dance with spins and my hips, had I danced too suggestively?
I had been friendly with people, cajoling them into singing, getting them to dance. Had I been too friendly?
I had told myself I wasn’t going to drink a lot but I had, was I too drunk?
I was afraid if I told anyone they would immediately say I had led him on, that my unprofessional behavior had made him think I would cheat on ML. It was too late to call ML that night so the next morning I spilled all the happenings to him.
He is fantastic. He listened and helped me see that the only wrong I could have done was to take that man up on his offer.
I still wasn’t sure about telling any of my colleagues but then I saw an article about the cross examination of alleged rape victims. There’s something called the reasonable woman standard. I was livid, if ML were a different man I would not have shared with him because I would fear his reaction. I haven’t told any of my friends. Apparently a reasonable woman shares with her friends, by not sharing and giving in to my fears was I supporting his behavior?
So I shared with someone at breakfast that day. She was supportive and didn’t treat me like a hussy. ML has advised I should tell my boss as this man works with a company we hope to be using more frequently. I’m steeling myself to do this tomorrow morning.
I’m not a victim and yet I’m questioning all my actions from that night. I can’t begin to imagine the pain and self doubt that those who are victimized do feel.
Right now I’m angry. I’m angry because I live in a society that tells me I made myself vulnerable by wearing something I felt good in, being happy and having a night with no self doubt. I’m angry that I fear that people will think less of me because a man found me attractive enough to use to end his loneliness. I’m bloody livid that man thought so little of what I have with ML that he offered me a fun night in exchange for a magical lifetime.
I wasn’t going to share this with you. It really doesn’t deal with the purpose of the blog and touches on some ugly pieces but I’m glad I did because I’m finding my silver lining:
I’m fun loving and when I’m true to myself I glow.
What I have with ML is fantastic. I’m married to my true love and I met him at 18. He was my first boyfriend and after 13 years together he’s still the only one I want.