It is out of my respect for you as a liberated cisgendered female and sexual collaborator that I refuse to go to dinner with Bob and Jody because Chili’s is patriarchy.
Instead, I insist that we stay here on my roommate’s couch, watch Netflix, and bang heteronormatively.
I’m a bit shocked that you are proposing that we go meet your friends at all, given the many times you insisted to me that you act on your own desires and don’t bend to society’s rigid expectations that cisgendered females your age should be monogamously pair bonding their way to an engagement ring. Now you want to introduce me to Jody and Bob and show them you have a man? I understand that as your roommate, Jody is curious about who you’ve been running off to meet in the middle of the night. Why don’t you just describe to her the sexual fireworks that have been happening here on this couch, which I just vacuumed by the way, instead of asking me to put on a shirt and play double date at Chili’s, which is the intersection of intersectionality, the very nexus of misogynistic patriarchy, all smothered in the rib sauce of androcentrism? What was your minor in women’s studies even for? Did I mention my roommate is out of town tonight?
I know they just want to meet me. That’s the problem.
I understand that as a reluctant embodiment of heterosexual male privilege, I am able to have sexual congress in relative obscurity while the gender binary puts incredible pressure on female-identified individuals, like yourself, to publicly claim a single sexual partner as a way of safely constructing a space for female sexual agency that doesn’t threaten the patriarchy. But I didn’t think you would bend to that expectation. Not when we have Netflix here, as well as a bottle of wine my roommate won’t miss.
Your ability to win a staring contest with the male gaze, your refusal to be slut-shamed, your variety of riot grrl t-shirt and leather jacket combos, all of it has made the last six months of fortnightly sex so wonderfully refreshing. Now I see you look weary from fighting the good fight. And you are willing to let Chili’s, whose logo is a throbbing red phallus, break your wild spirit, all so your roommate and her boyfriend can evaluate the source of the texts that prompt you to sneak out of your apartment at three in the morning to meet me on this couch.
This couch is a safe space free of the misogynistic expectations and body ownership that shine down from Chili’s carefully calibrated mood lighting. You are tired. Refresh yourself. Stay here with me and let Bob and Jody mix and match their fajitas while their erotic outlets stay forever fixed. My roommate is gone for his sister’s graduation, and any anxiety you might feel about having sex on the couch in the room between his bedroom and the bathroom is gone with him.
Bob and Jody chose Chili’s because that place beats you over the head with the expectation of cisgendered monogamy. Baby back ribs? Southwest pairings? They want to see me buy you dinner, they want to be sure that I can take care of you, because they view you as fragile, just like the way Chili’s views my sobriety after only two skinny pineapple blueberry margaritas. Well, you’re not fragile. And I can have a third skinny pineapple blueberry margarita and drive just fine.
Once we go down this road your identity will be destroyed, your beautiful spark extinguished. In a year I’ll be asking your father for your hand in marriage, like two farmers negotiating the sale of a cow. You are not property, not mine and not your father’s, and I won’t let you be owned by Chili’s, which is spelled as a possessive. Chili is the name of a man who owns you and your vagina as soon as you walk through that branded door.
I refuse to stand idly by while another beautiful human being takes her place on the assembly line constructing the patriarchal infrastructure that the media and legal system installs over our heads, under our feet, and inside our Tex-Mex platters. Don’t let foreman Bob and project manager Jody construct it around your wild, beating heart.
Shhhh. Take off those clothes, let your beautiful body be free of attire forged in the hearth of third-world slavery. I will share my body with you, here, on this newly cleaned couch.
Share your body with me. Also, your Netflix password. I think my roommate changed his.