Anatomy of an Ass-Grab

This is what it feels like:

Late December 2017. So I’d decided it was dive-bar night and met up with my gf (the pool shark) at the local hole-in-the-wall place. She, as usual, had traveled with an entourage — tonight it was 4 other women and 2 guys — all people I hadn’t met before. I got there a bit late, and they already had a game going. I got a drink at the bar and joined in for the next game. Me, my gf, one of the other women, and the two guys were all trading-out, playing rounds. One of the guys sort of looked like Channing Tatum, except a bit older (my age) :). The other guy resembled Cheech Marin. I started testing the flirt-waters with “Channing”; he flirted right back. It was light and fun. I started feeling good about myself.

Eventually, Channing and I were paired on one team, with Cheech and my gf against us. This was fun, even though Channing was on his umpteenth drink. (HIM: “You’re sooo hot!” ME: “You’re really drunk.” HIM: “I know!”) But it was the kind of friendly atmosphere where everyone acknowledged each other when someone sank a good shot. Cheech, I noticed, would pat Channing’s butt when he walked past. In fact, three of the women, and the two guys seemed to be rather “touchy” with each other. Whatever – they all seemed to know each other, and that’s how they rolled. It was all cool until I finally had a decent run, after which I circled around the pool table to wait for my next turn.

As I passed by Cheech, who was sitting on a bar stool, he said, “Good job!” and patted my butt. Only he didn’t just pat my butt – he squeezed it. I was wearing jeans and a baggy, past-my-butt black sweater, so in order to reach my butt, he’d had to reach under the back of my sweater. And he’d done it quickly, in the half-second it took me to walk past him.

My good mood instantly evaporated in a cloud of confusion. I had just been treated like an object — had been deliberately touched without my permission — but I didn’t understand why. Why did he think it was okay for him to treat me like that? But Cheech was behaving like nothing was wrong, and that confused me, too. He was acting the same way he’d acted right after he’d patted Channing’s butt, only it hadn’t been the same thing. He hadn’t squeezed Channing, like he’d done to me. Also, he and Channing were friends, from before that night, and he’d only just met me an hour ago. Why did he think it was okay to grab me like that, when he didn’t even know me? Why did he even have his hand anywhere near my butt?

I’d been having such a good time, and I didn’t want to let this one jerk ruin my night, so I froze and said, “No, no, no,” softly, but loud enough that only Cheech could hear. “No-no-no, what?” Cheech asked. I didn’t respond, except to shake my head and move away from him. I knew my having-fun facial expression had hardened, and I knew he could see that, even though I didn’t look at him. He didn’t grab my ass the remainder of the night, but he proceeded to try to touch me through my sweater’s cutaway shoulder holes, saying in a voice that sounded fake-playful, “Your sweater has holes in it!” My shoulders were the only skin I had exposed that night, aside from my neck, head, and hands. Not that it should’ve mattered, though, if I’d had a low-cut sweater with cleavage falling out, or shorts and an exposed belly-button. This guy didn’t have permission to touch, and he kept trying to do it, anyway. It made my bad feeling even worse, and I was still bewildered as to why he was doing this to me. He wasn’t doing it to my gf, or to the other woman who was playing with us. (Albeit, he seemed to be pretty handsy with the other three women at our table, but they were with him, as well, and they all knew each other.) I tried to squash my anger that began to rise up, afraid that if I punched him, like I wanted to, I’d be the one guilty of ruining everyone else’s night. Not to mention that I knew I’d be the one with assault charges brought against me, and he’d be “the victim.”

All I could do was to keep well out of arm’s reach of him the rest of the night. I tried to recapture the fun feeling, but it was gone. Instead, I felt a lot of anger and humiliation, and it took me a few weeks to fully process it. All because of some asshole’s feelings of entitlement and superiority, thinking he had a right to a half-second of gratification at my expense. Because I didn’t matter as a human being.

The Rules #12 - keep your hands to yourself

Side note:

That night, about a half hour later, Cheech, Channing, and the other women left. I then told my gf that Cheech had grabbed my ass.

“Seriously?!?” she asked.

“Yeah,” I replied.

“Wow – I wonder what his wife would think of that.”

“He’s married?!?!” I asked.

“Yeah, to the half-drunk woman who was sitting next to him.”

Sometimes I really don’t understand people.

12 thoughts on “Anatomy of an Ass-Grab

    • LOL – thank you! I didn’t know what else to do – I never do, in the moment. I’m always so dumbstruck, and they always act like they were in the right to do that, so I wind up feeling like I must be perceiving things wrong. Plus, there’s the reluctance to have to shift out of the happy mood I was just in. Out of curiosity, what would you have done?

      • Well. Not that I necessarily recommend this but I have thrown a drink on a guy and shoved them hard when they have touched me as I walked by. They were ass grabs so they couldn’t argue it was unintentional, and they weren’t with the group I was with. My reactions probably really shocked them – good!

  1. The guy was definitely 100% wrong. But when you put yourself in a situation like that, with a lot of drinking and horseplay, are you really that surprised. Now, had it happened in church, I would have been surprised too 🙂

    • Hi William, thanks for reading my blog! I’m actually glad you posted this comment. Yes, I was surprised. I should be able to go anywhere and, regardless of setting, not have to worry about being treated like an object, rather than a human being. I hope I never stop being surprised when someone treats me badly – I don’t ever want to expect to be on the receiving end of this kind of behavior. If we say to ourselves, “Well, women should expect that they might have their asses grabbed when there’s drinking and horseplay,” then we’re actually excusing the bad behavior of the ass-grabbers and blaming the victims. Unfortunately, I think a lot of people in our country share your viewpoint, so, again, I’m glad you posted this comment, because it gave me an opportunity to clarify my thoughts on the topic. Have a wonderful day! 🙂

    • I wish I would’ve been that present-minded! It’s so hard for me to get past the confusion of moments like that, though, because one minute everything was fine, and the next it’s not, and the ass-grabbers always act like they’re in the right – like they’re innocent and didn’t just do something wrong – so that always confuses me. Additionally, it always happens when I’m in a good mood, and I think there’s a natural reluctance to want to “leave” the good mood to go to an angry place. (Especially when being faced with someone who’s acting innocent.) It always takes me too long to process all of this!

  2. Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda… yep, I’m the same way. A million brilliant things that you come up with later. Know just what you mean. That guy will always be like that, but I wonder if he would have been like that if his wife had been sober, and maybe she doesn’t care… you know… “Cheech will be Cheech”. But back to Channing…

    • Agreed! Nothing to report on Channing – he was fun to flirt with for the evening, but that was about it. Besides, he’s friends with Cheech. Blech! 😛

  3. It’s such a shame that we often think of what we should have said or done about an incident of any sort well after it’s too late for that ‘should have’ to do any good. It only frustrates us more.

    There is no way you should ever have to deal with anything like this. Especially from a married guy. Especially with his wife right there. It might be hard to maintain, but perhaps a pre-outing pep talk to yourself about what will or will not be tolerated would be in order. Give yourself the right to react the way you later realize you should have. Trust in your own understanding of your worth. You. Deserve. Better! Know that, and demand it.

    • You’re totally right, Doug – I SHOULD give myself pep talks more often! I really was unprepared to be treated rudely. And, yes, I DO deserve better – thank you. 🙂 ❤

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