Warning: naughty f*ckgirl language within!
“Whatever gets you high will always bring you down, so step off, step off, yeah you’re getting too close to me with all your negativity.” ~ Kacey Musgraves
“Hey brah, you’ve gotta come to my party on Friday! There’s gonna be tons of beer and bitches!”
Listen up: women aren’t party favors.
This was just one example among ten on a flyer titled, “10 Ways Not to Be a Jerk” created by my mentor, Jeffrey Bucholtz, who was the first man to earn a Master’s in Women’s Studies at San Diego State University.
Before Jeff was on the TED stage making the audience crack up while educating them on the nuances of consent, Jeff taught me feminist activism for men in college. We did a lot of activism on the San Diego campus to reach the demographic that is responsible for 90 to 99 percent of all sexual assaults toward women and men—men.
This is not an article on how to assert female boundaries. It’s how to enforce already set boundaries with defiant men.
I see male personalities on a spectrum—I view them as a hybrid of their natural personality plus male programming. Sometimes, they’re conscious of this hybrid; sometimes, not.
When I’m my natural, assertive self, I notice that there’s a wide variety of male reactions to this. The difference between respectful men and defiant men is that when I lay my boundaries down, the defiant ones attempt to cross them—again and again. And the more they try, the more defiant they are—I become a challenge, a game for them.
Attempting to violate my strong fuckgirl agency and safety is a pastime of aggressive, defiant men.
So, naturally, I adapted, because a fuckgirl might be a veritable freak of nature. A human chameleon.
When a man isn’t minding my boundaries, I level up and speak his language. Spookily, it’s the only way some men can hear me. So, here are some of the defiant men I’ve encountered and how I dealt with them. I’ve listed them on a spectrum, from easy to most difficult. Notice, as you read and digest, that I had to navigate when to be assertive, when to be aggressive, and—my fuckgirl favorite—when to be passive-assertive:
1. The Gentleman.
This is my favorite type of man. I hope you have one in your life.
I always think of my late cousin, Derek, when I think of this type of man. He was my brother from another mother.
When a woman is in a vulnerable situation, you pray that a “Derek” is around. My favorite of his qualities is how he reflexively approves or disapproves of something rapidly, because his principles and morals are rock solid. A Derek is neither aggressive nor passive—he is assertive. He is moved by human decency, underdog triumphs, and he makes an attempt to recognize and check his own privileges and his role in humanity’s progress.
This kind of man puts another’s well-being before his own comfort, sometimes. The opposite of this is why men will cross a woman’s boundaries—they are shamelessly selfish.
When I got hit by a van, Derek left a live baseball game with his favorite team to come to the ER. Despite other family members already being present, it was when he arrived that I emotionally collapsed from the trauma. A man like this not only has your physical well-being in mind, but he is the one you trust to hold you emotionally, too. As always, he found a way to make me laugh, even while I was bleeding from road rash and going into shock. He brought me a change of clothes because my sundress was covered in blood, and he wanted to make sure that I knew that he was even respectful about my underwear drawer—he’d just “reached in and grabbed any pair.“ This is the same guy who always asked, “Are you decent?” when he knocked on my door.
The world needs more Dereks, and now more than ever.
I notice men in dating apps often feel the need to clarify that they’re a “good guy.” This is just more evidence that when it comes to relationships with men, we have quantity, but we don’t have enough quality. A good guy doesn’t need to say he is one. He just is. What does this say about men? About the kind of men we raise our boys to be? Whatever integrity Derek had, more boys and men need it.
How to handle him:
You don’t have to. This is the only man on my list that you do not need to enforce boundaries with—you just set them, and they get respected. Your role in this relationship is to make sure he feels appreciated and valued.
2. The Romeo.
This is a man in a position of privilege because he has some kind of power over you, over your weakness for him. Emotional? Erotic? Whatever it may be, he knows the power he holds over you and how to wield it. He’s perched on the fence between gentleman and aggressor and gently massages your boundaries. If you don’t do things his way, will you get to see him ever again?
We want our crushes to chase us, but we want them to make us feel comfortable too. It’s a delicate balance. I have been with Romeos who simply move faster than me, emotionally or physically, which can lead to risky or aggressive behavior—usually because they don’t know me or my limits yet. In intimacy, big decisions should always be mutual, and trust has to be earned. A man should earn access to your innermost world, not just move in to it because he wants to. You should earn access to his too, so you trust each other.
This man can be trouble or a dream. It depends on how you handle each other.
Have you ever found yourself completely at a man’s mercy—it’s the kind of chemistry you can’t resist? A Romeo will level you with his eyes, and that’s a huge turn-on. For me, the more serious he gets, the more I want him. It’s pleasurable because it’s rare, and it can also be paralyzing when it makes you take a hard look at yourself and your desires too. When the bells and whistles go off, I have to stay grounded to handle a Romeo. You get better at it with age, though. In fact, the true test of how grounded you really are is when you have crossed paths and met one of your karmic, soul mate, twin flame matches.
How to handle him:
You can do one of two things here. The sensible and most effective thing is to enforce your boundary and your pace. If he drops you, then he didn’t like or care about you very much. It’s actually a good test of his affection and desire for you. The second thing is to just completely surrender to him and the desire, and see where it takes you. It’s the riskier option and will quickly test the character of both of you, not just him—and it’s surrender that can increase the pleasure.
Why have I, in the past, chosen the second thing?
1. I’m not a “good girl.”
2. I don’t meet a Romeo that often. I don’t wake up next to a man every year, look over at him, and think to myself, F*ck! in appreciation, while he’s sound asleep like a little, peaceful cherub in my bed. If his physical, emotional, and mental stimulation keeps me awake all night, well then, I’m throwing caution to the wind.
3. When you’re out in the world, exhausted from being an empowered woman, it’s intoxicating when you meet a man who can make you feel powerless. It’s like you get to…exhale. When you stare into his eyes and find, all at once, deep oceans, open roads, and new, incredible galaxies to explore—you don’t feel like prey because you want him of your own accord. You feel equal.
Is this love? I think, in this situation, love is actually in how you handle the fallout of being so weak and out of control with him. One thing I know for sure is that the day I meet a Romeo who can walk the virtues with me—like forgiveness, understanding, and compassion—regardless (and in spite of) our intensity is not just the day I marry him, it’s the day I marry the fuck out of him.
He cares more about our beauty than: who is right, who made the bad judgement call, who made a mistake. A man who always prefers to feel good with me than to feel bad with me will be claimed by me.
I’d advise you to enforce your boundaries in high-chemistry, but I also do not judge you if your vice, like mine, is deep, deep pleasure or bliss found with a Romeo. We’re only human—until we stumble across magical depths like this, and then God help us bear the burden of beauty, beauty, and more beauty with this stranger you can’t take your eyes off. Yes, fuckgirls are capable of falling in love—deeply, with our equal.
3. The Buddy.
If there’s a material that is better than boyfriend material, the Buddy knows how to weave it.
Whether his interest in you is overt or on the down-low, you’ll first find him in the friend zone. The Buddy doesn’t serve a specific purpose in your life—but he thinks he does. He is a “friend” with an agenda, which is not to be your friend.
Ever had a “nice guy” make you feel enraged, but you couldn’t figure out why? Here is why: he can only acknowledge his own desire, and he refuses to accept that you only see him as a friend. He rejects your rejection. Then, he proceeds to bombard and smother you with attention, gifts, and favors. I have had these guys show up with roses, car parts, and plane tickets, and even open my packages and put my furniture together. He’s all about manipulating the love languages of gift-giving and acts of service. He jumps 10 steps ahead, inserting himself into your life before he has earned it, which is why you get mad but don’t understand why he bugs you.
He’s aggressive in a kind way, moving way too fast without you on board. Talk about a mindf*ck!
How to handle him:
He is sticky to deal with and is often passive-aggressive…and later, verbally aggressive. Don’t make the mistake I did of being upfront about how you feel, and then think it’s okay to continue to receive platonically from him—even if he wants to! This is how he justifies calling you a b*tch later on.
Just do these guys a massive favor and cut them loose. It’s worth pointing out that with their actions, they are laying a codependent foundation while being “just a friend.” First, he needs to work on mastering friendship and respecting women’s boundaries before he even attempts an interdependent relationship.
4. The Jokester.
He is the most innocent boundary crosser…or is he? Nobody really knows for sure because we’re not sure what he’s all about—everything is a joke, and he doesn’t take anything seriously, ever: himself, you, or life. He laughs off behavior that is morally wrong and physically risky. He has his “good guy” moments, but he is not above being a reckless flirt, trying to feel you up when he is drunk, or bothering you relentlessly for blow jobs. It’s all part of the fun, part of the big joke that is his life. With a Jokester, I never really know for sure where his morality lies. Does he even know?
How to handle him:
His entitlement comes out mostly when he isn’t sober, which is probably why he loves to drink or get high. He can cut loose from being such a good ‘ol boy all the time.
I handle this type by poking fun at them and beating them at their own game. So, act like an entitled dude, yourself! When he propositions you, proposition him right back. It’s weird for him because his real game is chasing you, making you uncomfortable, and being the aggressor, so when prey becomes predator, he really doesn’t know what to do. Chances are, he’ll stop pestering you when you turn the tables on him. Make the same offers he has. You’re most likely to get a what-the-fuck? out of him, but if he does take you up on an offer you don’t want to follow through on, you can always back out with a Just kidding…Sucka! and treat it all as a big joke.
Note: this type lives for the chase, so becoming the predator yourself ends the chase for him. They’re not usually the aggressive, dangerous type—just annoying. As with all situations, however, use your gut and avoid any kind of interaction that feels genuinely unsafe.
5. The Authority Figure.
The Authority Figure is not always going to make the best decision one hundred percent of the time. They are human. They are also capable of abusing their power.
I’ll never forget the time choppers were circling over my apartment building looking for someone that I ended up coming face-to-face with. I had a locked apartment building with carpeted hallways, and I felt safe taking my trash to the indoor trash chute—this kind of thing happened monthly, and I was used to it. This time, however, when I stepped into the tiny trash room, there was the suspect the police were looking for, pinned in the corner, panting, and sweating heavily. He put his fingers to his lips, motioning for me not to scream.
I reacted calmly, knowing from self-defense classes that I needed my hands free. Feigning disinterest while I freaked out inside, I slowly turned my attention to the metal trash chute in the wall, pulled it down, and put my trash bag in it.
Once my hands were free, I turned to the suspect and aggressively yelled, “If you touch me, I’ll kill you!” (I didn’t think this out—honestly it was like I was an angry skunk turning to spray at a snake.) I ran out of the room and outside to the police. I explained to the police where he was, but they insisted that I show them. I was not happy about this. When I brought the police officer to the trash room door and pointed at it, he drew his gun, pointed it at the door, and then asked me to open the door.
How to handle him:
I’m always ready to assert my convictions of right and wrong at the drop of a hat—regardless of who I am dealing with. Studying law really drove home that I never do or say anything that I’m not 300 percent willing to testify to in a court of law. My favorite law professor always told us to think “Exhibit A” in your head at all times. My manager’s experience reinforced that you don’t do things without proper training.
I didn’t have a gun—in a gun draw. This is like, duh, right?
I looked at the police officer after he asked me to open the door. I gave him a resounding “No!” that also asked, are you crazy?! He opened the door as I hid around the corner where gunfire would not hit me, and the suspect was gone.
I walked away, unscathed, after having both asserted myself to a dangerous suspect and a police officer. I should add that I love “Charlie’s Angels,” “Alias,” and “Covert Affairs.” The common denominator they all use all dangerous situations—whether they’re calm situations or not—is assertion. It’s the first weapon they draw before their physical weapons.
6. The Misogynist.
Why aren’t these guys extinct yet?
Well, it’s because the mainstream is still grasping that misogyny is a real thing, like racism or homophobia.
He really only respects a small demographic: those who are like him. He only cares about himself, and that will be evident when he manspreads—not just with his person, but his plethora of stuff. His shoes in doorways. His bloody ace bandages on kitchen counters. And he regularly invites himself into your space without regard or permission. He is the dude in a public space saying weird and unnecessary things. Negging is how he flirts.
You can try leaving nice, little notes and sending group texts to address his offensive behavior—but you’re probably wasting your time. Remember, he does not care or respect others’ well-being or safety. He does what he wants. When questioned, his explanation is that he isn’t even aware he was doing it. We’re supposed to buy into the idea that a Misogynist is not responsible for his misogyny because he’s not aware of misogyny? Is that not the definition of entitled?
Here’s what’s really going on behind a Misogynist’s entitlement: he is a slow predator posing as a big ‘ole boundary tester. Sorry, not sorry, the cat’s outta the bag. He is seeing how easy or difficult it will be to violate you, and he covers his tracks by feigning obliviousness.
How to handle him:
If a Misogynist is setting off red flags left and right, never ignore it. Notice how having a nice heart to heart, leaving notes, texts, and directly confronting him to his face did nothing to change any of his behavior? This is because he only respects male authority. You have to speak the creep’s language to get him to take you seriously.
Other rational men will cut the crap and apologize when their manspreading gets called out. They usually sound like, “Oh s*it” or “My bad.” No good guy continually tests and crosses boundaries they respect them.
Do whatever it takes to get your message across that you’re not to be messed with, and if he does, there will be consequences—which is usually an act of love that we reserve for children.
When I had one who repeatedly invited himself into my room or personal space without my consent and paraded his nudity, or commenting and leering at me in public spaces, I called the police non-emergency phone number. After months of reprimanding him didn’t work, I filed police a report. Then I sent that police report to a mutual authority figure who was ignoring my complaints. How fast do you think his behavior changed? The behavior he had “no idea” he was committing? It changed immediately.
Women, you don’t need to take this crap. You deserve life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, same as him. Safety is part of happiness.
7. The Hulk.
The Hulk may or may not display any aggression on the surface, but he is aggressive. He can be a friend, an acquaintance, or a complete stranger. I consider myself lucky to have had only one interaction with a Hulk. He was a punk-type who was in my roommate’s bar-hopping group of friends. He had a magnetism about him, but I really could not decide if I liked him or not, so I didn’t flirt.
I rarely went out to drink with them, but on this night I did, and I found out how strong men are when they exert their full force. If I had to describe the Hulk in one word, it would be that he was intense. I would catch him checking me out at the bar, then he’d disappear and reappear. Later that night, with my roommate driving, we gave the drunk Hulk a ride home.
I had to get out of the front seat to let him out at his house. I was standing on his front lawn, and out of nowhere, he hugged me. Then he gripped me against his body with his full force, wrapping himself around me. I couldn’t move a muscle. I felt panic wash over me.
How to handle him:
I had never been completely restrained or strong-armed by a man before, and this situation happened in my 20s when I was an especially passionate and fired up feminist—so I did not just get scared, I got angry.
He had me in his hulk grip so tight that all I could move were my hands. Pinned, I instinctively took my hands and grabbed fistfuls of his hair as tightly as he’d grabbed me. Then, clenching my teeth, I said as angrily as I could, “Let. Go. Of. Me.”—which he immediately did.
I got back in the car and was too shocked to talk or speak about what had just happened—how he was no “ordinary” drunk guy, and how I had reacted so strongly. Later, a mutual friend crashing on our couch brought him up to me and told me he gave her a bad vibe—and she was someone who dated the intense types. She didn’t like him either.
Hulks are why women carry weapons and take self-defense. Trust your will to survive, your inner strength, and your adrenaline to rise to the occasion. Tell yourself: my will to live is stronger than male aggression, and I’m too fierce to be fucked with. I truly believe this. If a man speaks to you aggressively, get away from him immediately before you physically see the Hulk transform.
8. The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing:
You most likely will not know when you have met one. I didn’t. They’re so cunning that they’ll bypass even your gut instincts.
So how do you spot them? It’s your other sharpened skills that recognize the Wolf. This guy can feel a little bit “off,” or he can feel like the nicest guy in the neighborhood—the first to drop everything to help a stranger in need. They come across as completely genuine.
But—they’re opportunists who prey on girls and women in need. First, they want your attention and to engage with you someway, any way. So, it can be anyone zeroing in on you—pay attention to anyone who seems overly keen. Another way to spot them is that they may be deviating from social or environmental norms to get access to you. This can make them stick out more obviously.
How to handle him:
When I spotted a roofie in my lemon drop martini, it looked like a red dissolving Flintstones vitamin—but they can be any color. The predator was a man I took pity on who had been pestering me in a bar. My gut told me he dealt with rejection frequently, so my empathy made me a victim. I also thought that I was out of the “target zone,” being in my late 30s. So, I broke the rules I’d set in my 20s and let him bring me a refill of my drink. Yes, the one time I broke a cardinal girl rule was the one time it happened.
He had disappeared while I was drinking it. I spotted the roofie floating two sips in. It was unusual, because normally a guy stays and gets to know you after buying you a drink. After I found it in my drink, I bolted. Quickly.
He had used my weaknesses (loosening my vigilance) and virtues (empathy and friendliness) against me, and then he was out of sight in a bar that had a hotel attached to it, waiting for the drugged drink to kick in. I was super drowsy and fighting to keep my eyes open when I got home. I had called two male cousins before leaving the bar, and one, a police detective, told me not to report it to the bar as they could be in on it. In an hour, I was out. In a deep sleep. It was two sips.
It made me feel violated, scared, and unsafe…but mostly, it made me angry. Angry enough to want to go back to the bar in a wig to get photos of him. But I didn’t. I’m looking forward to the release of the film “Promising Young Woman.” I personally understand how fed up women feel about being sexual assault victims, and I look forward to putting the film through my own feminist lens—I’m not a radical feminist who condones violence, but a liberal feminist who believes in justice.
Author’s note: This list does not encapsulate the entire male population. There are men left off this list, some indifferent sorts who are just bumping around and have no interest in violating a lady’s clear boundaries—they’re not aggressive or devious because preying on and manipulating women is not a hobby of theirs. However, they also do not fit the “Gentleman” type because they are passive and neutral when it comes to the opposite sex. I find this problematic in a climate steeped in too much disregard for female safety. If you are one of these types, I encourage you to try being an aware and hip dude who asserts a little more to show a woman that she can lower her vigilance around you. That you’ve got her back. P.S. Women also find this highly attractive. Thank you in advance for doing your part to put the Stud in Women’s Studies. Please seek me out and tell me about it!