men who "want to understand."
I haven't followed through on my promise this month to post daily. It's mostly because my life is overrun with men who don't even try to understand sexual harassment. These are men that instead of reading and attempting to empathize, they look at me with big doe eyes that seem to say "explain it to me, or I'll keep saying ignorant shit on your facebook feed."
You want to understand? Here you go.... a little taste of how women are trained to avoid their peers.
I noticed early that most of my "peers" would only talk to me for about 5 minutes after whatever show we were on together. The conversation would be far from business, and would be steered toward whether or not we should go back to his place. When I put up a signal of "no," he would walk away and either go talk to another one of his peers (a man) or he would try and catch a lingering female member of the audience.
Plenty of my peers have made moves on me. This inspired me to stop hanging out with single male comedians, and I didn't have an option to hang out with female comedians since there three of us, and we were never booked on the same show. In these first few years, I learned that whether or not I fucked them, my "peers" told people I did. So, in an effort to squelch the rumors, I started hanging out with married comedians. I assumed they were different, and I was wrong.
Flash forward to now
It's never gone away. I kept "being the bigger person," and it's never made it stop. I've had to deal with this shit MY WHOLE COMEDIC LIFE. Women in the comedy scene have held me accountable for affairs I never took part in. In the last week, I've been to 3 different clubs in NYC, and hugged 3 different men who have been inappropriate with me. Married men.
One got aggressively confused when I agreed to hang out with him after a show but got weird when he started rubbing my leg as we sat on his couch while his pregnant wife was out of town. I got to sit in a bar and listen to one of my closest comedy peers tell me how great a guy this dude was. I said nothing.
At a different club, another of these men hugged me for a solid 2 minutes in the middle of a club that I was still trying to get into (he was already performing there). As he did, he quietly told me he wished he met me before he met his wife and told me he thinks sexy. What do I say to that? Nothing, I giggle and acquiesce, hoping he never gets a divorce. I let him live his fantasy so he doesn't talk shit about me to the club owners.
The third guy loosely proposed polyamory to me, asking what I thought about open marriages, and if I'd ever be in to being the third.
Guess how many of these men had anything more to say to me than hello this weekend at all these shows!
answer: the polyamory guy!
As a woman in comedy I don't get to go to places where I feel safe. I get to feel like Jessie Reyez everywhere I go.
At least the guy let her know he was furious (jk).
Most comedians don't have the courage to say the phrase "do you know who I am?" They're much more passive and pretend to be cool about it, but lash out at you in subtle ways. Example: the time I was on stage and a comedian (now famous) said in front a room full of my peers: "I should just fuck Jaqi already so I can be considered a real comedian." I was on stage and found this out from the only other woman present in the room who approached me about it out of guilt FIVE YEARS after it happened.
So that's why I've been silent this week. That's why I've been derailed. 12 years of that shit, flooding back at me like blood pouring out of the elevator in the shining. PTSD.