Il Misogino Italiano

Autostraddle asked me to answer a few questions for their A+ subscribers, one of which was about the worst date I’ve ever been on. I’ve since ceased dating and all romantic activities because quite frankly, I think most people suck. However, back in the day I was a dating machine and I’ve been left with a lot of stories. I have so many dating horror stories that I started a book about them several years ago.

In the interest of keeping my answers for Autostraddle brief, I’m sharing two of my chapters here on my blog with the first below. I hope you enjoy reading about my tales of dating woe.

Trigger Warning: Intimate partner violence, emotional and physical abuse by a cisman.

Il Misogino Italiano

He was a pretty, Italian boy that I found online. He told me he was a former model, citizen of Italy, a law student, and the son of a former model and of a wealthy, Boston based business man. He came across as emotionally detached, spoiled, and arrogant with a sense of entitlement so big that it couldn’t fit on the small tin can of a subway we Boston residents call the T. I thought perhaps it was me and my so called bitterness that left me with a bad impression so I gave him a chance. After a few email exchanges we agreed to meet and stroll around the Boston Commons. We walked, we talked, we shared, and I still felt uncomfortable and ill at ease with him. But, I agreed to a second date with him.

Date two occurred after I was released from the shackles of my classes. We met at my favorite dinner/drink/jazz spot in a neighborhood not too far from my place. I was emotionally, physically, and mentally exhausted from juggling work, my political commitments, chronic health problems, and graduate school, but I wanted an exciting distraction. Perhaps that’s why my judgment was so cloudy about this obviously spoiled brat. After a few drinks we ended up back at my place where he behaved like an even bigger spoiled asshole than I thought possible. His royal highness voiced many complaints during the course of his short visit: The wine I offered tasted awful. It was too hot inside. On and on he did nothing but insult my home. Eventually I was fed up and my slight vodka high had worn off. I told him it was time to leave. He became violently angry and behaved as if I owed him something. How dare I, a mere peasant woman, throw his fabulous Italian ass out on the street? I told him again to leave when he suddenly got in my face and started screaming. I had a complete melt down and not in the way that I’m accustomed to. Normally in these situations I’m the first to raise my fist in self-defense, but for the first time in my life I became the trembling victim who wouldn’t fight back.

I ran into my bathroom hoping to lock the door and hide until he left, but he ran after me, screaming and yelling. I was terrified and unsure of what to do. Suddenly there he was standing behind me yelling at me. I could feel his venom laced breath on my face and neck. Finally some sense of survival began to click inside me and I pushed him away. I ran into the hallway of my apartment planning to open my door and push his sorry ass out when suddenly he had his hands on my shoulders and threw me into a wall. I was so fucking terrified and shocked that I was speechless. What the hell happened between him being a rude creep that irritated the hell out of me to him being a violent man that I was terrified of?

He had me pinned against the wall and continued to yell, referring to me as a bitch and a slut. I had my faced turned away from him with my eyes closed, terrified of what would happen next. Eventually I looked at him and told him to get his fucking hands off of me. He didn’t do it so I then began to quietly beg him to let go of me. I was trying to keep the situation from escalating. Unfortunately this tactic didn’t work and I became angrier than he was. Who the fuck did he think he was? No one talked to me in such a disrespectful manner! No man yelled at me! And no man in his right mind grabbed me and threw me into a wall! I yelled at him to get his fucking hands off of me and pushed him away, hard. I opened my apartment door and told him that everyone in the building could hear what he was doing and that if he didn’t get out the police would be called. This seemed to do the trick. He finally left. After I closed and locked the door I collapsed on my apartment floor in a sobbing heap.

A few days later he had the audacity to email me with a half-ass apology about how he was just too drunk and that it was the alcohol that made him behave that way. He then went on to say that if I had simply continued our date as planned then he wouldn’t have become so angry. Because clearly it was entirely my fault and the fault of the makers of the alcohol he consumed that night that he was a misogynistic, violent, piece of shit who believed women had to give him want he wanted. No blame on his model boy shoulders at all.

Here’s where things get really scary. I was so deep in my own victimization and PTSD that this creep triggered that I agreed to go out with him again. I still to this day am unsure as to why I went out with him one more time. I’ve experienced abuse at the hands of men a several times in my life, but I never went back. This was the first time I could understand in a very personal manner part of the psychology of the battered woman. I think that I was so desperate to be loved by anyone that I thought maybe he was sorry and would give me what I so desperately needed.

While in the middle of a conversation on our second date, he caught a reflection of himself and spent several minutes modeling in front of the mirror. I became frustrated with him and told him to “spend time with me and you can stare at yourself when you get home.” I was responded to with a disdainful snort and “when I’m ready.” It was at that moment that I really saw him as more than just an egomaniacal, abusive bastard. He was a part of a violent rape culture that had hurt me and countless other women. He believed, and had been told throughout his life, that because he was a man, a good looking man, a straight man, an able bodied man, a wealthy man that he could demand and have anything that he wanted, including women. His privileges led him to see women as lesser species that he could treat how he saw fit. If he wanted to yell at us, insult us, threaten us, hit us, well, that was within his right as a man. Thankfully my Indigenous Feminist values and sense of self-worth finally kicked in because I shudder to think what would have happened if I had continued to see him.

A few months later I saw him having a drink at the Newbury St restaurant that all of Boston’s Euro trash frequent. I wish that I could say that in the end he got what he deserved. That he was arrested, charges were pressed, a permanent legal record formed, that he contracted a scorching case of herpes that never went into remission, but sadly, I can’t say any of that. Guys like him get away with this abusive behavior everyday because we live in a world that sends a loud and clear message that women, particularly women who are like me (Bi, Disabled, and Native) deserve abuse. We deserve less pay at the same job than a man and our white, straight, and able-bodied women counterparts. We don’t deserve to feel safe on dates, with our families and friends, on the street, in the military and relationships, or at our jobs, schools, or homes. We don’t deserve to be believed when abused or legal protections. We don’t deserve the right to control our own bodies and our own lives. We don’t deserve to decide when or if we have children. We don’t deserve the right to be autonomous sexual beings. We are mere toys for the boys to play with when and how they see fit.

This story isn’t simply one bad dating story that happened to one unfortunate woman; it’s a symbol of how deeply embedded patriarchy and gender based violence are into our American way of life. It’s as American as apple pie. I hate apple pie.

The Monogamist

Autostraddle asked me to answer a few questions for their A+ subscribers, one of which was about the worst date I’ve ever been on. I’ve since ceased dating and all romantic activities because quite frankly, I think most people suck. However, back in the day I was a dating machine and I’ve been left with a lot of stories. I have so many dating horror stories that I started a book about them several years ago.

In the interest of keeping my answers for Autostraddle brief I’m sharing two of my chapters here on my blog with the first below. This particular story is even Halloween themed for an extra fright. I hope you enjoy reading about my tales of dating woe.

Trigger Warning: Biphobia and mental illness.

The Monogamist

Women Seeking Women

Hi there,

I’ve had numerous dates and some of them weren’t that painful, but I still haven’t found what I want. I’m not looking for marriage or kids; rather, I want a partnership. I want to share my life with someone and have that person do the same in return. I’m looking for someone who is educated, intelligent, compassionate, well-rounded, truly liberal, sensual and sexual, and looking to build a life with someone that doesn’t include marriage and kids.

I’m 28, cute, sexy, sensual, bi (biphobes need not apply!), affectionate, independent, eclectic, curvy, confident, over educated, cerebral, and down-to-Earth. I’m also very feminist and concerned with social justice and environmental issues, but I love my heels, dresses, sexy lingerie, and I have one hell of a cute giggle 😉

I work in progressive (leftist/liberal/democratic) politics and am very passionate about what I do. I love modern art, jazz, college football, cooking, throwing parties, and am a white water rafting junkie.

Basically, I feel at home sipping martinis in heels, discussing philosophy over coffee, gulping water from a CamelBak while hiking, or just staying in and cooking a nice meal.

Drop me a few lines about yourself if I’ve piqued your interest.

Oxox

Before the days of the Craigslist Killer and the war against CL for its pay-to-play postings, my “monogamist” replied to the above ad, my ad, on craigslist. I wish I could tell you what she had said to me to win me over, but I can’t recall. Whatever she said was enough to merit a response.

Over the course of several emails and instant message conversations I mentioned that I enjoyed writing and kept a casual blog. I had recently written an entry in response to an irritating newspaper piece about the lack of truly romantic, modern movies. This list had claimed that An Officer and a Gentleman was one of the last real romances made. I had watched that piece of chauvinistic shyte and was pretty irritated that a reporter believed that the subjugation of women was romantic. I unleashed my feminist venom online. I wrote about how the true tenants of romance were often misunderstood. It’s not the trite, socially obligatory gestures that make us swoon (you can keep your cheap, nasty, drugstore chocolates and half wilted roses on Valentine’s Day thank), but rather the acts that truly surprise us and show us how known, understood, and loved that we are that makes an individual fall to their knees. If someone wanted to make me giddy with delight then they’d give me a basil plant because they know I love to cook or a bottle of good bourbon because I’m Southern and living in the Northeast sometimes makes me homesick and once again, bourbon is one of my most favorite things in the world. Of course my monogamist just had to read my blog so I gave her the link and off she went.

We agreed to meet on Friday night for drinks. Much to my pleasant surprise she not only came to pick me up, but she parked her car and actually came up to my apartment door. This was rare dating behavior for a northeasterner. It’s also the type of behavior that makes my Southern grrrl heart swoon.

I buzzed her into my building and quickly checked my lipstick and hair before she knocked on my door. I anxiously, but nervously, answered my door to find her bent over, ass in the air, with a bottle of bourbon tucked into her back pocket. I burst into laughter and asked her what the hell she was doing. It turns out she spent too much money on a new pair of jeans that made her ass look so great so she figured she’d present my “roses” (ie my bourbon) that way. I was instantly smitten. This woman who barely even knew me thought so much of me that she not only read my blog, but she actually paid attention to it and brought me bourbon. And she showed off her cute ass for me. Score!

There was instant chemistry. She was cute, polite, spunky, fun, and did I mention cute? I was crushing hard. We went to a local pub and flirted and chatted for a couple of hours. She was so little and cute that she couldn’t drink much so she nursed a beer while I had a beer and a couple of Jacks. The date was so fun that I didn’t even want to get drunk or run away. This was a rare phenomenon on my dates.

While nursing her second beer she informed me that she couldn’t drink anymore because she had to drive, but she didn’t want the date to end. I made the smitten based decision to invite her back to my place for some bourbon. She jumped at the chance, grabbed her beer, and put it inside her jacket and led me out the door. This move seriously impressed me. In my own responsible, booze hound way I liked that she would stop drinking in order to drive sober, but wouldn’t leave her beer behind. We got to her car where she opened the door for me and then she got in and put her beer in the cup rest and we took off to my place.

We were engage in lighthearted, flirty conversation on my couch with a couple of glasses of bourbon when one of us finally lunged at the other. I can’t recall who did the first move, but kissing quickly led to roaming hands and heavy breaths and pants.

I can’t recall which one of us pulled away, but one of us finally did. She suddenly looked at me with an incredibly serious look and said “I have something I have to tell you.”

I got a little freaked out but rolled with it. I told her to tell me whatever she needed to say.

“I’m a monogamist!” she said.

I had no idea how the hell to respond to this so I made a light-hearted joke:

“Do they make a cream for that?” I asked.

She completely missed the humor of my question and then launched into some slightly manic story about how her last girlfriend cheated on her and how she’s a “monogamist” and can’t be cheated on again.

I softly, but firmly, told her that while I was very sorry to hear about her ex, but that we were only on our first date. I went on to say that I was having a wonderful time, but once again, it’s only a first date. I wasn’t about to commit to someone that I barely even knew, but that I’m always honest and upfront. This all seemed to assuage her manic feelings, but I was left feeling just a touch shaken. I saw a red flag waving off the in the distance and that’s never a good sign. Given all of this new information I put the brakes on anything more physical occurring that night and I put the bourbon away. She needed to sober up because she wasn’t staying the night with me; at least not that night. I had a hunch that this was a woman that might go over the edge of sanity and it was probably best that I didn’t sleep with her. Being young, stupid, and horny though, I still wanted to see what may happen.

Skip to a sunny, crisp New England Sunday morning. After futzing around my apartment and putting off work I decided to give my monogamist a call. She was also in procrastination mode so we agreed to grab lunch and do some shopping. Once again, my 4’11, 90lb slightly unhinged, but oh-so-cute date picked me up at my place. While on the drive to the Prudential mall, somehow the topic of sex with men came up. She made a couple of back handed comments about how disgusting the idea of sex with a man was and that she tried it once and that was more than enough for her. I can certainly appreciate the varying views of attraction and even to some extent repulsion, but given my experiences with one too many biphobic lesbians I learned to be wary when they talked about how disgusting sex with men was

I cautiously asked her about her one experience. Turns out she was on a bitter breakup so she and one of her fellow gold star lez friends hit a straight bar, got roaring drunk, and each took some guy home. According to the monogamist, he tried to fuck her in the ass without asking or using lube. Now I’m attracted to men and on occasion a little anal can be fun, but that would plain piss me off and end with his sorry ass thrown out of my apartment and probably without his clothes, keys, or wallet. If it’s not pleasurably consensual sex then it shouldn’t be happening.

I explained to her that I no woman, regardless of orientation, would enjoy that encounter because it wasn’t consensual, but that for some of us, under the right circumstances, sex with men is far from disgusting. She threw out a couple more comments about how she was disgusted by even the notion and that it was dirty and led to disease. At this point I was fuming because of her biphobia. However, my public health, safer sex outreach counselor side came out and I asked if she had used protection. Of course she didn’t. It was really hard for me not to laugh at that. I mean really, a drunken one nighter with some dude you picked up at a bar and fucked without a condom can lead to disease?! Alert the presses! I nicely, but firmly informed her that with protection the people involved are fairly well safe, and that women who have sex with women should practice safer sex too, and then I changed the subject.

We’re now sitting at a bar having a drink and waiting for our table. Things are calm and flirty again, and I’m feeling a bit more at ease. Perhaps it was my mojito, but I thought there were smooth seas ahead for our lunch. Of course, crazy doesn’t take a vacation for long and it was merely the calm before the storm.

To this day I can’t recall how this line of interrogation began, but soon I was on the hot seat regarding my sexual experiences with men. It’s 3pm on a lovely Sunday afternoon in a family friendly restaurant in Boston and I’m being grilled about how many men I’ve fucked, if I liked it, if I like women more, and if I’m currently fucking a guy. I was absolutely furious and was sucking down my mojito like its last call at the bar and I’m nowhere near tipsy.

I calmly, but with an unmistakable tone of fury, told her that it was neither the time nor the place for this discussion and that I didn’t appreciate being spoken to in such a manner. Seeing as this chick had no respect for my boundaries, she kept after me.

“Are you seeing a man now?!” She demanded.

Her eyes were were lite up and wild. It was like looking into an amusement park fun house, spiraled tunnel.

“Clearly I need to remind you that we are only on our SECOND date! If or whom I may be seeing is absolutely none of your business.” I replied between long drags of mojito.

Now there’s a perfectly polite, and might I say adorable, British man sitting at the bar next to us. He is looking increasingly nervous and uncomfortable with every passing second. If there had been a comic thought bubble above his head I imagine that it would have said something like this: “God, when I asked you to send me two lesbians to watch this wasn’t what I meant!”

And on the argument continued:

“Well it is my business if you’re fucking some man because I don’t want a disease.”

“If you want to have a conversation about safer sex practices then we can have that conversation at a more appropriate time, but we both know that’s not what this is about!” I responded.

“It is so what this is about! I don’t want you sleeping with some man.” She snarked back.

“Oh but I can fuck every woman in Boston?! You clearly can’t stand the fact that not only have I been with men and have enjoyed it, but that I refuse to apologize for it. You knew from the start that I’m bi. If you’re so fucking insecure that you can’t handle that then you shouldn’t have responded to my post!” I practically screamed above the sound of the lunch time crowd of children and their owners.

“No, I don’t want you fucking anyone but me!”

“Well, Monogamist, you don’t get to make that call. WE ARE ONLY ON OUR SECOND DATE!”

It was at this moment that the hostess called us to our table. The only reason why I hadn’t ran out of there like the place was on fire was because I left a water bottle that was covered with stickers from my travels in her car and I didn’t want to loose it. I have since learned to keep all of my belongings on me at all times.

We quietly and awkwardly walked to our table. A very bubbly waitress greeted us and was met with my order for “a vodka martini, now”. She raised an eyebrow and looked at the two of us before scurrying away. I suppose that hard booze on a Sunday afternoon isn’t the norm for most people, but I dare them to be in that situation and not need to knock a stiff one back.

The biphobia and absurdity seemed to have had subsided and my monogamist apologized for upsetting me. I once again very calmly, but firmly, told her that I won’t make a commitment to anyone after such a short time and that while I understood that she was nursing some wounds, and had resulting trust issues, that I if I choose to commit to her that I wouldn’t cheat. I also mentioned that if she kept pushing me that not only would she not have to worry about me cheating, but that she’d never see me again.

Things eventually became fun again (thank you vodka!) and we had a nice lunch. After lunch we headed to shop for one of the very few things that I enjoy shopping for: cosmetics. Awww sweet bliss! I could play in the makeup like a little kid with finger paints. Soon she was asking me for my opinion on eyelash curlers which I found slightly surprising. My monogamist was what most in the dyke world would call a “soft butch.” She wore women’s clothes, but wasn’t particularly girly, nor was she particularly boyish. There was a slight air of so called femininity to her, but she was definitely not a Femme like me.

I gave her my opinion on eye lash curlers and went on with my shopping. We made our purchases and then wandered to an Irish pub to watch football. It was over a couple of pints and football that we talked about our families and eventually our battles with mental illness. At that point in my life, my depression, panic disorder, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) were fairly well under control. Under control or not they are chronic illnesses none the less that I had to be, and mostly likely always will be, mindful of.

My monogamist told me that she was bipolar and had been hospitalized only a couple of years earlier when her father passed away. I felt complete empathy for her then, still do to this day in fact, but after having seen some of her highly erratic mood swings I wasn’t falling off the barstool in surprise. I suspect that she wasn’t being properly medicated and was still dealing with the trauma of losing her father and that was partially to blame for her behavior. I cut her some slack, but I now saw a few more red flags waving off in the distance.

It’s now Saturday, one week from our first date, and we’re both getting our Halloween costumes in order for a party at a queer grrrl bar in Somerville, not too far from her house. The plan was for me to stay the night at her house after the party was over. We were finally ditching the clothes and having a sleepover that wouldn’t facilitate much sleep.

Dressed as a devil in a blue dress and her as an angel we headed out for the night. A few drinks, dancing, flirty, making out, and hours later I was completely relaxed and having a great time. No sight of the fun house tunnel eyes. No sooner than I had thought that I couldn’t wait to get her home and out of that costume she made a completely out-of-the-blue, passive aggressive comment about how I might prefer to be with a man. That was my breaking point. I had taken all the shit I was going to take from this pint size, biphobic ass! I slammed down my drink and told her to hurry up because she was taking me home right then. I went storming out of the club with her running after me yelling “Wait, Jen! Stop! I’m sorry!”

While I was running as fast as my little heels would take me I heard snickering from the by standers. Normally I’m one of the people laughing at the dyke drama that occurs, but that night I was part of the show.

I got to her car absolutely fuming. She finally caught up to me. I demanded that she open the door.

“Not until you tell me what I’ve done!” She half-whined, half-screamed.

“Open the car door! I want to get my things from your house and then I’m going home!” I replied.

“No! Not until you tell me what I’ve done!”

“Fine, forget it. I’ll take a cab.”

“NO! Wait.” She said while finally unlocking the car door.

We both sat in the car and the same dialogue started up again: me telling her to start the car and her saying no. I finally told her that I was very angry and a little drunk so we’d talk about it the next day when we were calm and sober. Of course rationality didn’t work on her so I had to once again say that I’d get a cab. This finally got the car moving. We were sitting at a red light when she literally balled her hands into fists and began to rock back and forth while hitting her head repeatedly saying “What did I do? What did I do?”

I looked at her in absolute horror and surprise. This was not something I was expecting. We finally got to her house and I made a bee line for the door. I was up three flights of stairs and grabbed my bag like I was training for the Olympics. I turned around to leave her bedroom only to find her with her tiny arms outstretched blocking the doorway.

“Move out of the way. I’m going home.” I demanded.

“No, not until you tell me what I’ve done!” She said in a tone that reminded me of the Exorcist.

A minute or two of this same back and forth goes on. I finally attempted to move her. Now bear in mind that she’s tiny and I’m significantly larger than her. I didn’t want to hurt her nor did I want to risk her calling the police on me. I simply wanted to get the hell away from her. I very gently pushed her out of the way. She bounced back up in front of the door like one of those blow up clowns that kids play with. You hit them once and they bounce right back up ready for more.

At this point I’m absolutely pissed off. It’s clear to me that she was trying to be threatening and intimidating. Obviously given the size difference she wasn’t any physical threat to me, but I was angry that I had one more romantic partner trying to scare and abuse me. That was when it dawned on me that I could use this to my advantage.

“Your roommates are home, right? Don’t they have friends over? I said to her.

“Yes. Why?” She asked suspiciously.

“Well think about it, monogamist, all they can hear is a woman telling you to get out of the way because she wants to leave and you yelling ‘no.’ What must they be thinking?”

With this she finally moved and I flew out the door like a crazy person and ran after the lone cab on her street. I hadn’t even made it over the Charles River back into Boston before the text messages began pouring in. Every message was mean and spiteful. I ignored them, but this went on for a couple of hours. I woke up the next morning to find a text from her saying: “Check your mailbox.”

I lived in a secure apartment building that required a key to get into the building and a key to get into my mailbox so I was freaking out. I ran down my stairs to my mailbox, but hesitated before opening it. I didn’t know if a venomous snake was going to jump out or a bomb would go off. I had no idea what to expect. With shaken hand I opened my mailbox to find it empty. I let out a sigh of relief and went back to up the stairs for coffee.

The Red Sox were playing in the final game of the World Series that night (they won) and I was going to watch the game with a buddy of mine. On my way to out to meet him I noticed a letter duct taped to the main building door. It was addressed to me. Inside the envelope was a two sided letter written in tiny hand writing from the monogamist. The letter was absolutely certifiable. It went back and forth about how crazy she was about me and how I was a horrible, mean bitch and she hated me. She talked about how she spent the entire day crying and talking to her friends about me. Now this might be warranted if I were actually a horrible, mean bitch or perhaps even if we’d been together for say a year or so, but we had three dates and never slept together. This was all way too much given the circumstances. Included with the letter was a mix CD she made for me. At least I can say she had good taste in music.

Monogamist CD Playlist:

  1. Temper Temper: Tuscadero
  2. Let’s Stop Kicking Our Hearts Around: Wanda Jackson
  3. Only Daddy That’ll Walk The Line: Waylan Jennings
  4. You Can Have It All: Yo La Tengo
  5. Suck My Let One: Bikini Kill
  6. Come To Me: Bjork
  7. I’m Sorry: Brenda Lee
  8. Gimme More: Britney ‘muthafuckin’ (sic) Spears
  9. You’re So Vain: Carly Simon
  10. What A Difference A Day Makes: Dinah Washington
  11. Hole In My Head: The Dixie Chicks
  12. Hold Me Now: Elastics
  13. Love Is A Stranger: The Eurythmics