Man, are these confusing times to be a man!
There you fellas were, happily blackmailing your female employees into having sex with you and occasionally ramming your hand up girl’s skirts as they walk down the street and it turns out that all this time THEY DIDN’T LIKE IT!
What’s to be done? How to proceed in this strange new world where women keep typing ‘Me too’ all over the place and getting right uppity about being sexually violated?
Well, fear not fellas, your Auntie Annagram is here to clear it all up for you.
In keeping with the playful nature of sexual oppression, I have devised a fun sex quiz called YAK or YUM.
This is how you play:
I’m going to give you three real-life scenarios featuring fellas that have happened to me in the last week. You have to correctly identify which of them made me feel YAK and which made me feel YUM.
Scenario 1: I am at the petrol station. Youngest is in the car quietly weeping because he’s developed a deeply infuriating new thing where he repeats everything I say when I’m telling him off so I ended up shouting “*insert his name* SMELLS LIKE A BLOODY SEWER.” So I am a smidge addled as I fill the tank, stomp into the garage and towards the till where the assistant looks up and breaks into a grin. I tell him my pump number, he continues to grin at me. I pay, he grins. As he gives me the receipt he says, “you make me smile you are so beautiful lady.”
Scenario 2: I am in a public swimming pool with youngest. This is an unusually child-focused activity for me, but I am determined to one day finally win the award for Best Parent of the Week. We are splashing about, playing with one of those noodle floats. At one point I throw the noodle too hard and it flies through the air, landing on the side of the pool, out of reach. In order to retrieve it I must ascend the steps of the pool in my swimming cozzy with all my middle-aged, purply-wobbly bits on full display. As I self-consciously totter towards the noodle, a man sees my task, launches himself out of the water, retrieves the noodle and hands it to me, after which we have this conversation:
Me: Thank you so much. I hate wandering about in my cozzy!
Me: Erm, well…it ain’t exactly my best look.
Him: Looks very good to me.
Him: I think you look great.
Scenario 3: I am at work, compering an event. It’s been brill. The audience are lovely and game to enjoy my brutal abuse of them and of myself. As is always the case with me, a layer of pure filth and innuendo lies atop the whole performance as I banter with the crowd. In the interval, as I walk past a table where one of my recent victims sits, he grabs my hand and thrusts a piece of paper into it, saying ‘Alright treacle? Here’s a little gift for you.’
Ok. Scores on the doors boys, which of these scenarios is YAK and which is YUM? Can you tell?
Scenario 1 is YUM.
YUM because his intention was only to express a feeling.
YUM because he didn’t attempt to say anything further, to engage me in an uncomfortable conversation and also didn’t once lower his gaze to my boobs.
But mostly YUM because he lessened my addledness and made me smile.
Scenario 2 is also YUM.
YUM because I got chatted up whilst STANDING IN MY WET SWIMMING COZZIE WITH MY 43 YR OLD DROOPY BOOBS AND MAKE-UP STREAMING DOWN MY 43 YR OLD DROOPY FACE.
YUM because he happened to be a rather smashing specimen of a fella, all smiley and eye-twinkly and for a fleeting moment I couldn’t have cared less if my boy was drowning.
YUM because he didn’t hassle me or attempt to pursue it or look me up and down in a way which was remotely uncomfortable. Our eyes met only once more a bit later on, at the precise moment I accidentally thwacked myself in the face with that goddam noodle which made him laugh. And that was it.
Scenario 3 is the YAK.
YAK because I was at work.
YAK because ‘Treacle’ lies in the utterly repugnant lexicon favoured by overweight movie moguls and presidents.
YAK because his intention was to catch me off-guard and belittle me in front of his friends (it was during a break remember, had he said it while my mic was on I might have torn him apart in public).
YAK because the paper he thrust into my hand was a lunch token, a voucher which could be used to claim a free lunch, the free lunch he’d just been served from a counter which was now closed and cleared, rendering the gift self-evidently worthless. Oh how he and his friends laughed about that.
YAK because his express intention was to make ME feel worthless, to make me pay for being a funny woman, for being funnier than him, for daring to be a funny woman so loudly and right in his face.
But the biggest YAK is because he almost succeeded. I worried about bumping into him in the next break, but maybe in a less public place like in the corridor on my way to the loo. I lost my funny for a few minutes there, until I rediscovered my inner Hyperwoman, got back to work and made sure I was funnier than ever.
The ‘Me too’ campaign is about the YAK, not the YUM. And whilst it’s true that one woman’s YAK might be another woman’s YUM, the greater truth is simpler than a game of ‘Snap’: what’s your intention?
The YUM intention is about sharing simple desire and pleasure without expectation or threat. It’s lovely.
The YAK intention is about imposing, belittling, demeaning, overpowering and threatening. Most importantly, the YAK is not about desire or pleasure, but manipulation and dominance. Totes unsexy when not mutually consented to whilst wearing a gimp mask.
It’s not quite as simple as this, but for now, the YAK or YUM test could be a useful tool if you’re not too sure if you’re being an unpleasant sexual menace.
We women know YAKKING when we see it. I personally would welcome a lot more YUMMING.
Hope that helps, fellas. Do let me know how you get on…