This past weekend I had a fabulous time out with the girls.  We were celebrating the birthday of one of us and Birthday Girl decided that we would all go line dancing.  Line. Dancing.  We are Chicagoans.  Not Southerners.  Alas, there is a new line dancing bar (saloon?) so very very close to us.  So that’s where we went.  And you know what?  It ended up being a rip-roarin’, boot-stompin’ good time.

The best thing about this new place?  WE were the youngins.  Really.  There were a lot of older country music lovers there who obviously wanted to do nothing more with their Saturday night(s) than stand in a line and do the exact same moves as 75 other people.  When we first arrived, one of the ladies in our group said, “Wow!  I love this place!  I feel…really sexy and young!”.  It was pretty fantastic.

So we did what most people arriving at a new place do; we scoped out a spot in order to survey the situation.  Not THE Situation.  Man, that would have been cool if he were there.  I don’t think there’s fist pumping in line dancing though.  Or lifting of shirts to show off one’s abs.  But anyway……

We had so much fun and many laughs as we frantically tried to keep up with the rest of the group out on the dance floor.  I’m pretty sure there are at least 20-30 people who are there regularly, probably chomping at the bit all day, hardly able to contain their excitement knowing they will soon be kicking and turning and shaking some more, in a line no less, ALL in sync!  I could do without the country music, but we had a fabulous time.

My issue is with the way I saw several women interacting with one extremely inappropriate cowboy – all because I’m sure they didn’t want to “be mean”. 

Here we introduce “Creepy Cowboy”.  CC was approximately in his late 40’s, early 5o’s.  He was wearing the required Wranglers and cowboy hat.  Here’s the problem.  This dude was standing on the outskirts of the dance floor, watching women.  Really watching.  At one point, while my friends and I were out on the floor, I noticed he was watching some of them.  I was facing him, and he was watching those who had their back to him.  So you know what he was checking out.  The part that really bothered me, was when his hands started coming up in front of him in a way that looked like he wanted to squeeze one of these ladies.  Soon after, he turned his attention to Birthday Girl.  Now, this is one of my best girls, Beth, who is also the same woman who is training me and helping to get me all sorts of skinny and healthy.  She was my college roommate, we’ve shared a lot of stuff, good and bad, and we’ve come through it with a very strong friendship.  So you do. not. mess. with. her.  Especially in front of me.  NO.

I stepped in between CC and Beth, turned to face him, and gave him a “Oh NO you don’t icky man” look.  So at least for a while, CC backed off.  But as our party continued, I couldn’t help but notice that he simply moved on to stalk watch other women.  He asked a lot of these women to dance.  And though I could clearly see on their faces that they, too, thought he was indeed quite creepy, they agreed to dance with him. 

But it didn’t stop there.  CC was no gentleman.  He got all sorts of gropey.  The first girl I saw who had buckled under the pressure to accept his dance offer, experienced his hands all over her stomach and hips.  But she endured.  She didn’t say or do anything.  The next girl he asked was one of the ladies in my group.  This woman is smart, witty, and comes off as a confident person.  She turned down CC, but she tried her best to be polite, despite knowing he was uber creepy.  The next girl, he never really asked.  He approached her on the dance floor as she was dancing with her friends.  He put his dirty stinking hands on her hips without asking.  What did she say?  What did she do?  She nervously laughed and just went along with it.  Their dance of horrors ended with him grabbing her legs and wrapping them around his waist.  I literally could not believe what I was seeing. 

So what’s the problem here?  I think as women, despite being “liberated”, we still have this message running through our heads of “be polite” and “don’t be mean”, and avoid the label of b**ch at all costs.  But I have a message to all womankind:

There is no need to be polite when a dude is all up in your business and you do not want him to be.

Here’s what should have happened.  First girl should have said, “No thanks” and walked away.  The woman in my group should have said, “I don’t think my husband would be too cool with that”, and if he still persisted, she should have said, “I said no, dude, BACK. OFF.”  Firm.  Totally to the point.  Did she owe him anything?  Nope.  The last girl, should have turned around and slapped CC when he first put his hand on her hips.  Slapped him HARD.

Not to be too preachy, but ladies:  Your body is YOURS.  If you don’t want to do something with a guy, don’t do it.  If some creepy dude approaches you at a bar, YOU ARE UNDER NO OBLIGATION TO BE POLITE.  For that matter, if an old friend wants you to do something you don’t want to do, YOU ARE UNDER NO OBLIGATION TO BE POLITE.

We need to teach girls how to say no.  If they do not know how to say no with confidence, they will find themselves in situations where someone like Creepy Cowboy will be very domineering and pushy and they will find themselves doing what they do not want to do.  And they will think it’s their own problem, and not Creepy Cowboy’s. 

But I get it, no one wants to have that “B” label.  We all so much want to be liked, don’t we?  But let’s think, how important is it to have someone like CC like us?  Is it so imperative that he doesn’t walk away thinking, “Wow, she’s a Class A jerk.  I’ll go and tell all my friends about what a jerk she is”.  Do you really care?  I mean, REALLY?

Be confident in who you are.  Think about the people who are important to you, who love you unconditionally.  Isn’t the opinion of those people what really matters?  Remind yourself of that love and acceptance, and you will realize that you CAN confidently say, “Listen, cowboy, you need to back off and leave me/us alone.  Don’t make me say it again”. 

I’m ranting.  I know it.  I don’t care.  Maybe I need to re-think and re-write this idea more eloquently, but I wanted to get it out of my head first. 

Be well, friends.  Be confident in the love between you and those you love the most.