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Category Archives: Men

Respect, the “Friendzone,” and Rejection

We’ve all read about the shooting in Santa Barbara. With the help of #YesAllWomen, we’ve seen the damage that men have caused women. We’ve all heard about the “friendzone” but what exactly does that mean?

I’ve had a guy friend for just over two years now. During that time, he’s expressed that he’s interested in me on multiple occasions. The first time, I ignored the advance. The second time, I responded with, “Yea, I didn’t respond the first time for a reason…” and then he stopped talking to me for several months. When he’d cooled down, we snowboarded together and would hang out. I found another guy as my boyfriend. I’d finally felt like he’d gotten the hint that I wasn’t interested.

Just recently, he’d come over to hang out. We watched The Hunger Games, took my dogs for a walk, and had some drinks. I expressed again, I’m only interested in friendship, and am involved with someone else. He spent the remainder of the night “drunkenly” trying to hold my hand. Thankfully, my dog was on my lap and made it impossible.

He left the following morning after sleeping on my couch, and I asked him to message me when he got home. This is the conversation that ensued. I’ve bolded the portions that I have extreme issues with what he said but am not delving into in this post.

*Out of respect, names have been changed.

Him: I’m home, L, I hope you realize after traveling for over a day the one person I wanted to get back and see wasn’t my family or any friends, it was you. I really want to be more than friends and that hope is what keeps me going and keeps me coming back. I’m not sure where I failed other than being short, but it hurts a little that we are so comfortable together yet you put up blocks. I hope you see me one day for who I am. If you take away my hope that will change our dynamic far more then the other way. I have stood aside so many times while you dated guys who were terrible. I’m sorry but won’t do that again.
Me: B, I’ve told you this a million times. I don’t want to be anything other than friends with you.
Him: Yeah, and I’ve always tried to be more. The part that really hurts is you’re more then friends with guys like J, D, P, etc. Tell me what I lack that they have. You’re proud of my accomplishments. Yet you retreat under the slightest touch. If you really won’t take a step forward then maybe it’s time I take a few steps back.
Me: You think? B, I’ve always been up front with you about the way things are between us. I enjoy being friends with you. I am not attracted to you. We are friends
Him: You’ve airways been up front with me about the way you see things. I’m offering the same courtesy. The biggest reason we are still friends is I had hope. It made things with and made me durable. Walk softly now.
Me: So are you saying you only want to be my friend if there’s a chance of fucking me? That’s pretty low, dude.
Him: No I’m saying I’ve always gone the extra mile, made time during the day, taken you out to dinner, etc in the hope you would take that step.
Him: Well not that step, but just maybe you would finally see me.
Me: It’s ridiculous that that was your expectation all the time. YOU don’t decide how I feel about people. I’ve gone out to dinner with FRIENDS forever, and they don’t put this added pressure. This conversation is making you out to be a shit friend and I need you to stop talking to me for the time being so I can cool the fuck off.
Him: So much for walking softly…
[End of Conversation]

 

First of all, I don’t even know what “Walking softly” means, except for the quote that says something like, “Walk softly and carry a big stick.” Secondly, the part where I said, “So you only want to be my friend if there’s a chance of f@#$ing me?” he continued to state,  “In the hopes you would take that step.”

That step.

Meaning, yes, in the hopes I’d bang him. And not even so much hopes as expectation. Because he’d always “gone the extra mile.” He admits that I’ve been up front about “the way (I) see things,” and yet somehow this isn’t enough for him.

Again, I’ve told this “gentleman” and self proclaimed “nice guy” countless times that we are friends, and will be nothing more. I’ve tried to say I wasn’t interested in a relationship. I’ve blatantly said I’m only interested in friendship. And yet we still had to have this conversation.

I’m posting this on the blog to illustrate to people who may not experience this type of thing, or maybe have, that this happens, all the time. For some reason, guys feel entitled to a woman’s body if he puts in time and effort. This needs to change. Saying “No” or “I’m not interested” once should be enough and for some reason it hasn’t been. Now people are being killed for saying no. Saying no to going to prom. Saying no to having sex. Not being interested in having sex, and pursuing other guys.

Women are now in a position where saying no may kill them. Where saying, “This is my body, and I’m not interested in you touching it” may get them hurt, threatened, stabbed or shot. This is the reality that women face, that women deal with on a daily basis.

What I’ve posted here is one conversation, one interaction of thousands.

And things have to change.

***UPDATE***

Since writing this piece yesterday, I’ve posted it to my social media pages. The guy in question has read it. This was his response:

Him: That’s it L, if you want to make my words out to be some sort of evil vile sex driven mad man, then you really don’t know me. Btw, it’s “Speak softly and carry a big stick,” you sound like an idiot. Goodbye, you know how to burn bridges like no other. You’re even going after your friends now.

Yes, it was in poor taste to post about my friends. However, at AbortionChat, we strive for personal stories. This is an incredibly personal story to me. I struggled with whether or not to post it, and sought advice from several male friends. They encouraged me to do this, because this is exactly my point.

He has since un-friended me on Facebook. And yet, I still feel like if I hadn’t done this, if I hadn’t taken things to this level to prove a point, he would still be attempting to pursue me. Because no matter how many times I’d said no, I wasn’t interested, we still had those conversations.

Men and Abortion

I have a lot of conversations with people on their feelings of abortion. Even at the ProLife rally we’d attended, there was a pamphlet asking about men and abortion. Yet, many people don’t go back and ask, “How did YOU feel when your significant other had an abortion?”

I think this is an important piece of the story. Where was your partner? How did he react to the pregnancy? For many men, they become just as shaken up as their partner who is pregnant.

I’ve met men who called their girlfriend a murderer after she’d had an abortion. I’ve met men who held their girlfriend’s hand in the waiting room and escorted them out. I’ve known men who’ve bailed on their partner. I’ve known men who supported the pregnancy and are now proud fathers. I’ve also known men who find out in the aftermath that their significant other was pregnant and sought an abortion. His response? “I wasn’t mad or upset that she’d had an abortion. I was upset by the fact that I wasn’t involved. I wasn’t allowed to support her. I wasn’t involved in the decision. I would have wanted to be.” This happened to this man not once, but twice.

Here at AbortionChat, we encourage healthy conversations. We encourage having a Pregnancy Plan and being prepared for if your test turns positive. We also encourage you to sit down with your partner and ask, “What are WE doing to do if WE get pregnant?”

After you do that, let us know. We want to share your story here.

8 Things Not to Say to Someone After Abortion by Kassi Underwood

After I had an abortion, nobody knew what to say to me. Not even Larry, my therapist. Poor Larry. Looking back, I would not have known what to say to me, either. One in three women will have an abortion in her lifetime. Men, too, deserve to be heard. Yet we are not taught how to talk to people who have experienced abortion.

The first thing to know is that everyone experiences abortion differently. Many of my friends never looked back. Having an abortion just wasn’t a big deal for them. But I had a lot of feelings. Relief. Regret. Confusion. Doubt. Apathy. Curiosity. Confidence. Overconfidence. Contentment.

It takes a courageous, patient, and empathetic friend to listen to someone share about her or his experience with abortion. As researcher Dr. Brené Brown explains, “Empathy is feeling with people.” Thank you for coming over here and feeling with us.

1. But weren’t you unstable before the abortion?
We’re smart people. We are fully aware of the lives we’ve led. If our state of mind beforehand seems relevant, then we will discuss it in our own time. We came to you because we would like to talk about how we feel right now.

What to say: I’m glad you came to talk to me about this.

2. That was years ago, dollface. Isn’t it time to move on?
We know exactly how much time has elapsed. If we could have moved on already, we would have. Some people see their abortion as the loss of their identity, or their child, or their chance. While it is important to make no assumptions about why someone is having feelings around their abortion, you can tell us you know how normal we are for feeling the way we do. We are completely acceptable as-is.

What to say: I know this happened years ago, and it’s okay if you’re still really, really sad.

3. All this sadness makes you sound like you’re against abortion.
Our emotions may have nothing to do with our opinion about abortion. I know women who have marched on Washington for their right to choose while privately regretting their own decisions. I know women who believe very deeply that abortion is wrong while feeling that abortion was the right decision for them. Our personal stories do not always reflect our political beliefs. When we come to you, please do not match our emotions to a political narrative.

What to say: There’s no right or wrong way to feel.

4. You weren’t ready for a baby.
This tells us that we are inferior, irresponsible, and immature, which is simply not true. We made the most mature, responsible decisions we could at the time. Some of us feel proud of the independence we gained from all the footwork this decision required. If we tell you we didn’t have access to the resources we needed, feel with us. Remember a time when you didn’t have what you needed. Acknowledge that we are worthy of having everything we need. All of us.

What to say: Sounds like you know what’s best for you.

5. Well, I support your right to choose.
This one sounds like support, but it ends the conversation. What we need is space to connect with you. If we would like to know your political views, please trust us to ask you. If we don’t ask, then perhaps we don’t need to know.

What to say: Take your time — I’m listening.

6. I don’t support what you did, but I’m here to support you.
It can be difficult to feel unconditionally loved and supported by someone who condemns what you did. You don’t have to support what we did, but when you are supporting us, please leave your opinions and expectations at the door. Then come in, listen to what we are saying, and try to put yourself in our shoes.

What to say: I’m here to support you.

7. No — it was actually a baby/child/fetus/embryo/zygote/clump of cells.
Many of us have done the research. We know the terminology. Sometimes it takes nerve to use the word we like best. Please don’t correct us. Instead, use our terminology when you talk to us.

What to say: You’re allowed to call it a fetus or a baby —it was yours and you can call it whatever you want.

8. But are you really happy now?
Some of us really are very happy right after the procedure for reasons so vast and diverse that I could write about them for pages. Even if we’re not happy right afterward, many of us become happy in our own time. If we tell you that we’re happy, we may have done a lot of work to reach this extraordinary place. Please celebrate with us. Do a little dance. Hip-bump. Yay.

What to say: I’m glad you feel relieved and rejuvenated.

If you have experienced abortion, what would you add to this list? What would you change?

 * * *

An AWESOME resource for anyone who has experienced abortion — and for the people who love them — is exhaleprovoice.org. Check out the “Pro-Voice Counseling Guide” for more information about how to support someone after abortion.

I read an earlier version of this list at “Clear Eyes, Full Hearts: Can Choose!,” a variety show for the women of Texas, hosted by comedians Sarah Silverman and Lizz Winstead. This piece was first published on Medium.com and exhaleprovoice.org.

 * * *

Kassi Underwood is a Pro-Voice Fellow who writes and speaks about abortion all over the place, including The New York Times, The New York Daily News, New York Magazine, Exhale’s Pro-Voice Blog, and on UpWorthy.com and MSNBC’s “Melissa Harris-Perry Show,” among others venues. Follow her on Twitter: @kassiunderwood.

Gaining Perspective

For the better part of two years, I’ve worked at a local pharmacy/retail shop. There we discuss HIPPA and how to best protect our customers. We discuss sales, and flu shots, and everything but reproductive health. The one time it was addressed was when Plan B became an over-the-counter emergency contraceptive. Then we were subjected to computer based training that reminded cashiers that no matter their affiliation, we treat customers (of all ages and genders) with respect if they purchase this controversial item.

This one item.

One. Single. Pill.

The other day I was pulling forward (making the store look pretty) and I was amazed by this:

 This is just a small selection of male enhancement drugs. Why else do you need male enhancement? Sex, of course. Notice there are SEVERAL.

They are no behind protective locks. They have more than one in a package.

Meanwhile, Plan B is on the top shelf (where even I can barely reach it). It is in guarded plastic that the cashier has to open it. It is one, single, pill. Beside condoms, another array of male enhancement drugs. There is only one other emergency contraceptive on the shelf beside it, but it’s a card which you have to take to the pharmacy to actually obtain.

Do you see anything wrong with these pictures?

Gender Roles

This is a small list of preconceived notions of what a woman is/does and what a man is/does. Then, it’s a small list of how to go out of your way to break the mold. Enjoy.

Women:
Wears makeup
Wears frilly clothing
Attracted to neon/bright things
Plays with dolls at young age
Mood swings (PMSing)
Nonassertive, nonagressive
Peacekeeper, socialite
Have a natural maternal instinct
Gush over infants
Views pregnancy as a blessing

Men: 
Strong
Aggressive, assertive, competitive
Likes porn
Plays poker
Smokes cigars
Sleeps around
Fanatic about sports/athletics
Drinks lots of beer
Likes cars/working on them
Expected to be employed (ideally with a high paying job)

Break the Mold:
Women:
Rarely, if ever, wears make up
Childfree/Hates kids or infants
Confrontational/Assertive/”Bitchy”/Competitive
Plays with GI Joe’s or race cars at a young age
Wears men’s basketball shirts/baggy t shirts
Seeking to accomplish goals verses seeking a husband or significant other
Drinks. Lots. And not just fruity shit.
Swears.
Surfs rather than sunbaths.
Wears skate shoes verses high heels

Men:
Wears make up
Cleans the house and cooks
Hates porn because it objectifies women but supports sex workers
Respects condoms/birth control/women
Hates sports
Doesn’t drink or if he does, drinks fruity shit
Fearful (of things like spiders, etc)
Likes small dogs and/or cats
Likes Lady Gaga, Justin Beiber, or Nicki Minaj
Talks openly about his feelings

Stay tuned to the #AbortionChat tomorrow (9:00pm EST) to find out what typically happens when the mold is broken.

~JA and LS