Last weekend I found myself dancing in a crowded bar for the first time in a while, and I noticed a drastic change in the pub atmosphere. From bar to bar we hopped, and in each one, I felt the distinction. It wasn’t the weather or the cocktails or even the music. In the wee hours of the morning, it finally hit me. The night had passed, and not a single guy in the crowd of any of the bars had groped me.
They didn’t wrap their hands around my waist and make claims that they were just trying to get by. They didn’t graze their hands across my rear as I stood at the bar waiting for a drink. They didn’t grind their crotches against me while my back was turned. It was a change that ultimately altered my mood and how my evening went.
Instead of having to be on guard all evening, removing unwanted hands from my body, I was able to relax for once. I was able to dance and laugh and drink without concern. It was the kind of secure feeling I’ve only ever experienced while out with my boyfriend, so guys, I want to thank you.
I want to thank you for not just listening to us but for actually hearing what we’re saying. For realizing how frustrating your actions can be and for modifying your behavior. For letting go of the cringe-worthy habits that ruin our nights and encourage us to stay home on weekends.
Thank you for walking by us with your hands in the air rather than on our hips. We appreciate you recognizing that your unwanted touching makes us feel uncomfortable and angry. That your hands on our bodies can trigger past traumas, leaving us shaken and anxious.
Thank you for no longer taking our willingness to have a conversation as a binding contract for sexual intimacy. For offering a drink so you can continue chatting with us and not so you can get us drunk enough to give in to you.
I primarily want to thank you for allowing me to enjoy my evening uninterrupted. Untouched. Unharmed.
We see you changing and I, for one, look forward to the day when I can go out with the assurance of knowing my night will always go this way.
Featured image via Unsplash