One of the many ironies of my rape at the hands of for umm, lack of a better term, total douchebag, was that he was a self-proclaimed feminist, a man who would be honored to be compared to Phil Donahue. My dad, one of the most mild-mannered individuals to walk the earth, HATED Phil Donahue (my dad hated almost no one) and would shake his fist when he came on television and had a theory that he'd cast an evil spell over Marlo Thomas to get her to marry him. She's so adorable, he'd say. How could she fall for him?! I'd laugh -- Phil had done me no harm and while he could be self-serious and a tad condescending, he wasn't Satan and or the aforementioned douchebag. My rapist had a penchant for mind games -- to a sixteen year old girl, this was the heighth of excitement and home sweet home given that my home was a place where mind games were as exotic as macaroni and cheese. Even so, I was way out of my league with the new evil dude, the way a community theater actor would feel about being plunked down on Broadway without warning.
Even though I could do the song and dance, think Bob Fosse in All That Jazz, preparing for his day -- a handful of dexies, a few drops of Visine, and that crazy-ass smile -- It's showtime!, I didn't understand what would happen to me if I stayed. And what did happen to me when it was clear that I was eyeing the door. My first instinct when I met him was that he was an abusive asshole. Shock, surprise, I was right from the get-go. From the dredges of memory, I can vaguely recall a NOW rally we attended together. This was the late eighties and feminism was as fashionable as wearing lederhosen. Still, I supported the cause then as I always have. And so, it seemed, did the guy who would eventually rape me. I hadn't learned that Ted Bundy had worked at a rape crisis center, didn't understand the depths of duplicity and hatred that raged all around me. I don't remember much about the day except the presents I received from the Wicked One -- two pins, one that said This Is What A Feminist Looks Like and the other that said, Women Can Beat Men At Anything. Of course, these were sitting next to a display of pins about domestic violence and sexual assault. It would only be the beginning of a lifetime of mixed messages, ones I'd have to decipher for myself, although I have to say that I've never worn those pins or any others; I don't like the marks they leave in your clothes and how they can prick you when you least expect it.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"It's hard to fight an enemy who has outposts in your head." Sally Kempton
Drinking essay collection suggestion: Grace (Eventually) Anne Lammot
Benedictions and Maledictions
Four more days until The Sopranos airs!