I wonder if you are familiar with a poem written by Mary Howitt in 1829 called “The Spider and the Fly”. The first line reads: “Come into my parlour,” said the Spider to the Fly.
Whether you have read the poem or not, you know what eventually happens to the fly – the same thing that happens when you ask a hyena to hold a piece of meat for you.
Last week, there was a story about an American actor doing the rounds on social media. A woman went on a date with him and later accused him of sexually assaulting her. The details are too gory to be reproduced here, but I shall sum up the salient points.
It was their first date. They ended up at his house. They were drinking alcohol. They engaged in different levels of consensual physical activity. She did not like his version of activity.
A lot has been said about a woman’s right to say no and a man’s ability to control himself etc, but my take away from the whole episode is that we need to revise how we date and engage that uncommon thing we call common sense.
Ladies, whether you like it or not, winding up drinking at a guy’s place on the first date sends a signal. Secondly, alcohol is a social lubricant, and also very often a sexual lubricant.
Alcohol can reduce inhibitions. What does it do to you? Do you know how your date will be affected by alcohol? Will it make them bold enough to say or do things they otherwise would not have? If you have just met someone and you are not sure of the answers to those questions, then why not stay in a public space and limit the booze?
We generally have a huge lack of imagination regarding dates. You’re lucky if a guy invests in taking you to a nice restaurant for a meal. Most dates end up in a kafunda – a local slang term referring to a small roadside pub or bar (kibanda). They may serve some roast meat and chips, but otherwise all you’re getting is alcohol and dust.
How is that a date? Or going to the disco, where you can barely hear each other speak – how is that a first date? Look for common interests. Our museums, monuments and art galleries are gathering dust. Our picnic sites are abandoned. Take her somewhere nice to watch the sunset. Think outside the box and stay outside the box, ie in a safe, public space.
People, enough with the photographs and recordings! Don’t do selfies, nude photos, penis pics or sexual recordings of yourself and another human being. Why? Because we are human beings! We lose things, we share them with other people, we post them on social media when we decide you have hurt us and we want revenge. If you still think it is a good idea, then see above and ask yourself if you are under the effect of a social lubricant.
Women need to understand the nature of men and men need to understand the nature of women. Then we can find the middle ground where we are all human beings and act like it. Men, I know sometimes it is the smallest button on your internal remote, but every single remote comes with a ‘stop’ button.
And if a woman asks you to stop, please think of your mum, your sisters and your daughters, and just STOP. You will never regret stopping, whereas you could find yourself in jail over failure to stop. I will let you in on an open secret: If a woman can trust you to use that stop button diligently, it will not be long before you only need to use the ‘pause’ button.
Ladies, when the spider invites you to his parlour, please don’t pretend that you think it is for tea. No matter how long it takes, you know very well that there is an intention to his pursuit. So act like you know. As you take his money, spend his time and titillate him with your perfume, please be aware of the signals you are sending. If you do not really like him, don’t add insult to injury by first squeezing all you can out of him before you disappear.