Confessions of a "Good Guy"

I always considered myself one of the good guys when it comes to women.  I am a proud feminist that actively tries to grow in my feminism.  Back in the day I was honest with women when I didn't want to get serious.  I thought I was doing my part.  Then I read this article about rape culture. It was basically a letter to men explaining how we subconsciously contribute to the fucked up situation that is rape culture.  I took mental notes and vowed to do better.  As I read through it I thought to myself that I was already doing some of the things the author suggested.  I was still a good guy.  I just needed to get better.  It wasn't like I raped anyone.

I'm sold on the fact that rape culture is real.  I'm sure that we men all contribute to it in some way.  But I had somehow excused myself from much of the responsibility.  The real problem was the rapists out there.  The predators were making it bad for all of us.  They are sick people.  Us good guys can do our part to show that we're not one of them, but then what?  We're the good ones.

Then I read an article by my good friend Cassandra Klatzkow.  I've mentioned her in this blog before.  She's a big part of my life.  She's one of Swedie's best friends and Bash's godmother.  She's smart, funny, talented and beautiful.  Please read her article.  If you don't understand Swedish, please translate it in an app or something.  It's stories that nearly every woman I know can share.  Times when a guy crossed the line because he was horny or thought that he had a right to a woman's body because he's a man.  That's putting it mildly in her case.  She has been through some terrible shit that some terrible men have put her through.  It hurt to read it because she is my friend.  It also hurt to read it because in some of those stories I was that guy.

I pride myself on being a problem solver.  People complain all the time, but where are the solutions?  I don't think the solution to eradicating rape culture is doing my best to make women feel comfortable and know that I'm not a threat.  It helps, but only to a certain degree.  I feel that the solution is to expose the "good guys" for the true threat that we are.  Cassandra says at the end of her article that every woman she knows has a story like that, but men don't have a story where they victimize women.  The guys and I had recently talked about this very thing on a recent podcast episode. You never hear a guy talking about that time he went too far or did something fucked up towards a woman just because he was horny.  In the podcast I nod and agree and say how messed up it is that you never hear those stories from men.  It didn't even dawn on me that I had those stories myself.  I was in good guy denial.  We all are.

So this good guy will now expose himself.  I'm going to tell stories that I am very ashamed of.  Men reading this can reflect on their similar stories and realize that our contribution to rape culture is deeper than we think.

I was in the third grade.  I liked a cute girl in my class.  We played outside and I chased her around as kids do.  Energy and curiosity ran through me and I grabbed at her as I ran.  I got a hold of her shirt and she pulled away laughing.  I had a good grip and tried to pull her closer.  Her shirt ripped almost all the way down the front.  I saw the strap of her training bra.  I let go of the shirt.  She ran off to the teacher covering herself.  The teacher later called me out of my class to talk to me. I remember her asking the girl to show me what I had done.  I also remember the excitement of possibly seeing what was under her jacket.  In hindsight, why would the teacher do that?  Anyway, the girl shook her head in embarrassment.  I was scolded for ripping her shirt.  That girl never played with me again.

In high school a good friend of mine wore a short skirt to school one day.  I teased her that I would lift it up and expose her rear end to everyone. She laughed it off.  I was a good guy after all.  I wouldn't do that.  I had a bit of a crush on her.  We were walking up the stairs and I grabbed the skirt and lifted it.  The skirt flipped all the way up, exposing her rear and panties to all of us below her on the stairs.  She was completely embarrassed and told me not to say another word to her or she would slap me.  She kept her word.  I remember thinking, "It was just panties."

I was 16.  There was this young, kind of dumb and very impressionable girl that used to hang out at my job.  She made no secret about the fact that she really liked me.  I didn't really like her.  I told her that she could have me if she had my friend as well.  She agreed.  My friend and I went over to her house one day and took turns having sex with her.  She asked me to be her boyfriend.  I told her I didn't want a girlfriend.  She stopped hanging out at my job.

In high school a girl came over to my house.  She and I had been flirting with each other since middle school.  Now she was here.  We messed around in my room.  She would stop me at each step when I tried to take things further.  Then I would "charm" her and "talk her into" going to the next step.  I eventually "talked her into" having sex.  I was Jon Juan.  My "charm" had worked again.  She called me that night and said she didn't like how things had gone.  She felt like I had pressured her into doing something she wasn't ready to do.  I thought she was just having regret.  Maybe religious guilt. I hadn't "forced" her into it.  I brushed it off.  She didn't come over again.

I was around 19.  "Jon Juan" was in full effect now.  I thought I was the ladies man of the year.  A new girl was at the base.  I figured I would go to her room to "keep her company". I guess that was "Netflix and chill" back then.  I was over there for a bit when we started kissing.  She didn't want to do more.  I tried to sweet talk her.  I began removing my clothes.  She didn't.  It was almost like I blacked out or something because next thing I know I was lying there almost naked and she was almost fully clothed.  I felt embarrassed.  Not that I had made her so uncomfortable, but at how ridiculous it was for "Jon Juan" to be almost fully naked and to still be resisted.  I never went over there again.

I'm married now.  There are countless times that I've whined and complained and tried using guilt trips to "talk my wife into" having sex with me.  Then later complain that she "wasn't into it".  The worst thing is when the last thing your wife says before you do it is:

       - Well alright then, damn!  We'll do it.  Hurry up.

It's embarrassing.  More embarrassing is that I shut up and do it.  Continuing this stupid cycle of mine where I am childish and selfish and inconsiderate.

I shared these stories for the other "good guys" that thought they were just "boys being boys" all their life.  Guys like me have been letting our hormones guide us while leaving damaged women in our wake.  A few minor detail changes and these stories could be turned into proof of my sexual prowess when they really only prove that I'm not a good guy.  Guys, look yourselves in the mirror.  Think back on your interactions with women.  Have you really been a good guy?  Have all of your sexual partners been as "into it" as you told your friends over beers?

I haven't drugged anyone.  I have never had sex with someone while they were unconscious. I have never threatened anyone before or after sex.  That doesn't mean that I'm a good guy.  It pains me to say it, but I have contributed more than I thought to this fucked up rape culture.  If you're a man, then you probably have too.  I'm not asking that you blog about it.  I'm asking that you stop acting like it didn't happen like that.  Share the REAL stories with your sons, nephews, younger male cousins and mentees.  That's the solution.  Teach the next generation that it's not okay to grab at a girl at recess.  Tell them to keep their hands to themselves.  Tell them that taking advantage of her interest in them for a "cool story" later makes them a fucking asshole.  Tell them that once she says no and shuts down, them taking more clothes off is creepy and disturbing.  Tell them that once they are in a relationship - no matter how long - she/he isn't theirs.  They can always be told "No" and they must always respect that "No".  That's how we'll improve rape culture.  We'll make real good guys.  Until next time...

Comments

  1. Replies
    1. If your man is pushing you away and acting distant

      Or if the guy you’re after isn’t giving you the time of day...

      Then it’s time to pull out all the stops.

      Because 99% of the time, there is only 1 thing you can say to a standoffish guy that will grab him by the heartstrings-

      And get his blood pumping at just the thought of you.

      Insert subject line here and link it to <=========> Your ex won’t be able to resist?

      Once you say this to him, or even send this simple phrase in a text message...

      It will flip his world upside down and you will suddenly find him chasing you-

      And even begging to be with you.

      Here’s what I’m talking about:

      Insert subject line here and link it to <========> Is your man hiding something? He may need your help?

      Thanks again.











      .

      Delete
  2. You know, if you are and have been a bad guy, it doesn't automatically make all men bad. From what I get from your article, you have got some pretty messed up idea of what it means to be a man and on how the majority of men behave. Not all men have done all the things you describe in your article. Not me, not my friends, not the men I know. So again, don't presume that all men are as messed up as you!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for reading. I think you missed the point. I hope you were able to honestly self reflect as I did. Take care.

      Delete
    2. Actually I don't think you read this at all. I never said all men are bad. I never described what it means to be a man. I wrote this piece because EVERY woman I know has a story about how a man went over the line. Yet not one man I know has a story about how he crossed the line. Obviously both can't be true. You, your friends and the men you know are probably good guys. I'm considered a good guy as well. However, upon honest reflection, I realized that maybe I shouldn't be so quick to say someone else is the problem when I contributed to the problem myself. That's the point of this blog entry. Perhaps you should read again with a less defensive disposition.

      Delete
    3. After reading what you did in those situations, I wouldn't consider you a good guy at that age, I would say that that is what a typical douchebag would do. From what I can gather in the stories you provide is that you only thought of yourself and not the person you where with.

      And there isn't two sides of a story if you talk to two persons that can not relate to the situation. Sure, some people doesn't acknowledge themselves crossing the line at one point. But I can promise you this, there is quite a few guys that haven't done things like you.

      I'm not being overly defensive, I think it's a good article, but I really can not relate to the situations you've been in, since I've never really crossed any boundary to the grade that you have.

      Hope you keep writing =)

      Delete
  3. Thank you Jonathan for your story! I was really glad to read it today cause it gave me even more hope and energy to continue working with engaging men for gender equality. What we need are more men like you who reflect and look inside instead of pusching it away and saying "not all men!" like one of the comments you got. All men can listen, think and reflect, all men can then do something about the injustices they see. Fortunately more and more men are doing that around the world. Check out MenEngage.org or the swedish organization Män för jämställdhet mfj.se. Welcome to join :) Good luck! Luis

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for reading, Luis! We can only hope that the next generations improve. Thank you for doing your part. I will continue to try and do mine. I'll be sure to check out those organizations you put me on to. Take care.

      Delete
  4. After reading this I can only say, hell no dude, you don't speak for "men" and you certainly don't speak for me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for reading. I was only speaking for myself. However, I know plenty of women, and all of them have stories with men taking it too far. No men I know have these stories. That is what drove me to write this. I hope you were able to gain something from it. All the best to you and yours. Take care.

      Delete
  5. Seriously??


    In young years most of us did explore, and most of us learned what the limits are, those who didn't well they gotta speak for themselves.

    I do not agree on a kid at the playground accidentally ripped up a shirt, is really trying to RAPE anyone... I do not agree that we force ourselves onto someone, unless we are totally messed up upstairs... We sure push the limits, we explore... However it's to each and everyone of us to learn from experiences, if i managed to get a "girl" to get with me, by charm, then I will not ever blame myself for trying to get laid... It's the Natural instincts that takes over when you get excited, and you sure you could develop better self control, but that doesn't happen until later in life, at about the age of 25-35 depending on the person, but even then it's rather hard... And most woman are teases, and what, should we bash them for doing this?? Teasing men, for the pleasure of seeing them yearn for you then ignoring them??

    So maybe we should take a good luck from all angles and state that we are both at fault, at one point or another?

    I don't buy pants to show off my bulge unless i am out wanting to get laid, and rarely do you see a woman with huge cleavages, unless they are out for something... The other point you gotta take into context is that in a CLUB, people don't look for a relationship until death, and if they do, then they are really in the wrong place, the chance of you meeting someone in the CLUB for such a relationship, is below the 10% mark...

    So no, the majority of men are decent men, who are behaving to their nature, same as majority of woman...

    And as a minority of the Feminist community, seems to be a hardcore generalizing gang of morons, picking stupid fucking areas to push as their agenda, we will never be able to come to peace with anything...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for reading. All the best to you and yours. Take care.

      Delete
    2. @Ace:

      Seriously?!?

      You're blaming hormones and women beeing teases for your lack of self control?

      And you see no connection between that attitude and rape culture?

      No, but really ... seriously??

      Wow ...

      Delete
    3. @Ace
      Let me assure you, women wear cleavage without wanting anything from you, or without trying to tease you. We mostly wear it because it looks good, because it´s fashion, or because it´s nice and breezy on a hot day.
      Furthermore, I met my current boyfriend since 3,5 years in a club. Plenty of my friends met their boyfriends in clubs. It´s a place to dance to music, have fun and meet people, not an orgie, if that´s what you think.
      AND, might I add, that sometimes women also just want to get laid, and so they dress up sexy (or any other way they feel good) and go to the club. Do you think they are looking to get laid with the hot guy coming over to have a conversation, or with the drooling buffoon who grabs their ass when they walk by?
      I mean really, your "women just want to tease me" comment is rape culture 1-0-1. These women probably did not even notice you when they walked by. They dressed up nice for someone, a boyfriend, or girlfriend, or someone they´re hoping to meet. Who doesn´t need to nag them into having sex with them.
      And lastly - why should women have to "cover up" because you have sexualized every part of the female body? That should be your problem, not ours.

      Delete
  6. Wow. I'm not sure how to respond. That was very brave and very reflexive. By taking the stand you just did, you have done every woman in this world a huge justice and I feel that my 8 year old daughter might have a brighter future. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for reading. I wish you and your daughter the best. Take care.

      Delete
  7. If more men would selfreflect as you have Jonathan then the world would be a much nicer place.

    Unfortunatly as we all can see from some of the responses there are people that just don't want to understand and still comes with the 'oh I would never.. my friends would never..' they simply just don't get the point or just don't want to.

    To all those guys I've got one question, if you would never.. your friends would never.. etc then why is it such a bad thing that Jonathan tries to reach those men that would?

    You could argue that maybe those guys protest too much.. because if they aren't taking it personally and have never done such things and never would then why are they defending themself?
    Why aren't they insted joining Jonathan in trying to make the men that do act badly change they way they are thinking.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for reading and for the kind words. I hope more men try to change the culture. Silence is acceptance after all. Take care.

      Delete
  8. Thank you! It means a lot to me to see a guy write something like this. This has happened a lot to me, especially when I was young (15-17 or so). It's embarrassing to say, I would like to think I was/am much stronger than to just submit to it but those times I've actually expressed anger and refused I've been treated like I was over reacting and that it was something wrong with me for getting mad when someone wouldn't listen to me. So thank you so very much!
    (P.s Sorry if there's any grammatical errors, English is not my first language)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for reading. I'm so sorry that you had those experiences. Hopefully more people wake up and try to change the culture. I'm determined to send my little guy out there as a true gentleman!

      Delete
  9. Thanks Jonathan, interesting article. I think it's great that you are creating awareness on the issue. You see, I don't see you as a "bad" guy even in the situations you describe (maybe the naked one... bit strange). You and I are about the same age and when I was growing up, there was nobody talking about these kind of things. We (my teenage friends and I) drove our own agenda and ideas on sexuality and what our goals were. There was some input from the adult world about practicing safe sex and it was pretty clear that rape was not an option, but after that it was up to us and in that situation, it was perfectly ok to play the cards you got to try to make something happen. I see that behaviour now as putting girls and women in a tough situation. It's not cool and not acceptable in my opinion. I've got two boys now and my ambition is to not only tell them about the birds and the bees when they're older but also HOW to relate to women (or men??) in a decent and respectful way.

    Thanks again and take care
    Robbie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well said Robbie! Thanks for reading. Take care

      Delete
  10. What a great read. I would only like to add one more thing- a NO is a NO and a YES is a YES. MAYBE IS NOT A YES. NO CLEAR ANSWER IS NOT A YES. SILENCE IS NOT A YES. I DON'T KNOW IS NOT A YES. All women in the world, feel free to add more examples I have forgotten.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for reading! Your comment is very true. Only "Yes" is acceptable.

      Delete
  11. This is the best article on how "good guys" are not spotless from sexual misbehavior caused by patriarchy. Man, there are few articles like this out there. I will post links to this in more than one discussion henceforth!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for reading and sharing! I agree that there needs to be more clarity on what a good guy is. I hope the attitude changes and very soon. Take care

      Delete
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