I’m eating tacos on a street corner with my male friends around 2 AM and a girl stumbles by/into us and ultimately ends up sitting down next to us. She’s very drunk. She’s trying to text someone. We ask about her night and if we can help – no response. She gets up after a minute or two and stumbles away.
I think, “I should help her get home.” I’m a nice guy (I hope) and I’m not going to do wrong by her. I genuinely want to make sure she gets home okay. But based on rape culture and our generation’s reaction to it, all I can think is that this girl will assume I’m trying to pull some shady shit. And/or the other people around us will think that. Because that’s all I ever see among my female friends – this fear that some drunk night, some evil male will take advantage of them or their friends.
And while I totally respect and understand that fear from my female friends (men are largely awful!), it also stopped me from helping this girl get home because I was too afraid to even seem like I was crossing that line.
I don’t know how I should react to this struggle. I should have helped the girl get home, I know that, reflecting on it. Consequences be damned. But the fact that I was completely stymied by the fear of being misunderstood? I hope other respectable males aren’t finding themselves in a similar position. Because, if that’s the case, we’re completely ceding the world to the males that would offer to lead the girl home with a specific, unpleasant agenda. And that’s basically the worst outcome anyone could imagine.