Healthy attraction, socializing, and consent

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Sonic#
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Healthy attraction, socializing, and consent

Post by Sonic# » Sat Nov 25, 13:30 2017

When I talk to acquaintances about sexual harassment, I keep hearing worries about backlash against even benign or well-intended behaviors. For some reason, they're getting the "how to not" but either not getting or not thinking about the "how to." Even here, I've seen someone in disbelief that enthusiastic consent can be sexy in action. Respect doesn't mean killing desire; if done well, it fuels desire. And I believe that, while attraction happens sometimes even in casual settings, we can learn to choose how we handle it.

So, open thread - what have been big or small moments lately where you or someone else handled attraction, flirtation, or consent well?

This is a small moment. I had a great interaction with a bookstore clerk today. She greeted me and asked what I was searching for. I described that I was looking for gifts and needed a broad range (a couple of small kids, mostly adults). She collected some kids' books while I searched out the adult books, and she then took me one-by-one through her kids' recommendations. I picked two, she checked me out, wrapped the books while I browsed for recommendations for myself, and then wished me a good day while giving me the books.

We had great rapport and I felt socially attracted. I recognized the context - she's here to sell books, not to have an extended conversation on our favorite authors. So we had good conversations on the specific topics we were there for (especially kids' books), she gave some personal testimony on a couple of books (reading to her boyfriend's nephew and niece), and I picked which books I wanted to get without much fuss. After the purchase we traded names. (Paraphrased: "If you need to run errands, you can come back later to pick up the wrapped books." "I'll just look around at books here." "That's what I'd do." "Oh, what should I call you?" "I'm [Alice]. I'll let you know when I'm done wrapping, [Sonic].") Two key parts I notice on reflection - I only asked about her name after it was clear she knew mine and it seemed we were getting along, and I left her an out if she didn't feel like giving it for whatever reason. Her restating my name with the reply (she knew it from the check-out) established all was well. I respected she'd gone above-and-beyond in terms of service and had no additional obligation at all.

And that's it. The next time I go, maybe I'll run into the awesome clerk again.

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geldofc
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Re: Healthy attraction, socializing, and consent

Post by geldofc » Sun Nov 26, 1:05 2017

I talk to customers all day and have good rapport with a couple people, two people who are regulars and other women. I honestly don't trust or like men overall. Some of them think it's fine to aggressively "flirt" when I'm working, make comments on my appearance, or just be vaguely rude. The other day a guy I had no rapport or attraction to at all told me some complete ridiculous shit that sounded like it was from 100 years ago like "just sit there and look pretty" when I was anxious as fuck and asking a question.

Anyway but I love to flirt and I'm not sure how I handle consent lately.
:gf: :devil: :syringe:

tomokun
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Re: Healthy attraction, socializing, and consent

Post by tomokun » Mon Nov 27, 11:15 2017

So, I've got no stories to add because this is one of those threads where I should just be lurking, but I DO want to say that yes, this thread is a great idea.

I have actually specifically asked this very question, because I can see the need for it. With so much signaling on what NOT to do, there is reasonable certainty about what positive actions can be taken. I think this is especially true for situations where the power dynamic is unequal. Obviously inmates and officers should never be allowed to have relationships, but the same cannot be said for a boss and an employee, or coworkers, actors and producers, etc. Precisely BECAUSE these are dicey situations, I think its valuable to talk about how, if there is a mutual attraction, how that minefield can be safely and respectfully navigated. It seems reasonable to expect that people who spend time together and get along well might develop an attraction that could potentially blossom into a healthy relationship. Likewise, it seems unreasonable for a boss to NEVER be able to express their interest to an employee under any circumstances ever. I get the temptation to make it an "always" rule, but given human nature, it seems an unreasonable expectation. A decent person who expresses romantic interest in an employee should be able to do so and deal with the rejection and lack of reciprocation in a way that makes everyone feel safe.

I guess, when I look at this thread I think, "Yes, there are clearly right ways and wrong ways to navigating the sometimes messy spaces of relationship building. For the MESSIEST of areas, I'd like to see more positive discussions on how to navigate those spaces". I think that if we can figure out how to deal with the messy situations, the more mundane ones will be more self-evident.

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rowan
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Re: Healthy attraction, socializing, and consent

Post by rowan » Wed Nov 29, 10:40 2017

Some things:

* I always ask "can I have a hug" of my nephews/nieces. I never say "give me a hug" and if they say "no" then that's fine. I do this with my kid too, and recently I reminded her that it's totally ok if she doesn't want to, she never has to when she hesitated. Pretty much have taught this to the family too, so no one pressures the kids, and I think that's a HUGE thing.

* When I was teaching I always explicitly told my students what I preferred to be called (by first name), but also gave them other options if that made them uncomfortable. I always asked students what they wanted to be called. I told all my students I'd call them what they wrote their names on their papers. Sometimes people would go by middle names, sometimes a nickname. I think I had a higher proportion of students who would ask me to call them by their Hmong or Chinese name than my colleagues because of that. Sometimes they'd laugh it off saying "you can call me X because it's easier" and I'd say "I'll use the name you prefer."

* In my relationship we are pretty explicit about consent. It's pretty sexy. ;)
spacefem wrote:All your logical argue are belong to us!

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