Sherwood’s, my favorite dive bar, is in the middle of nowhere in Fayette County, PA, known for its poverty, welfare, and just general fuckery. Anyone familiar with the area knows few county bar stories are good, and anyone familiar with Sherwood’s is probably already hyperventilating.
One night, Sarah and I were drinking down there alone. I’m pretty sure Marion was there, too, though for some reason I only remember her being around for certain parts of this night. We most likely started drinking with everyone else and were the last ones standing–if not, it was one of those rare nights where it was just the three of us.
Paul had decided not to go. He’s not into the bar scene (really, whether or not I am depends on the bar) and doesn’t like most of my friends/former friends. But sometimes, a night out without him is fun–but the advantages of ditching your significant other on occasion are to be rehashed another time.
The whole night was kind of weird. First, we were approached by an old guy who bought us a round of beers, which was nice of him. However, it’s a little less impressive considering some of Sherwood’s beers are only $1 (CHEAPEST BAR EVER. $5 margaritas that were the best I’ve ever had made with three different kinds of tequila, most mixed drinks ranging between $2.50 and $5, cheap shots and pitchers, beer buckets…). Also, I don’t like beer. He was friendly enough at first, but he gradually got creepier as he told dirty jokes and I believe at one point talked about loneliness and his dead wife.
Soon after, we were approached by two friends who had taken an interest in Sarah. That conversation quickly got sexual, too, with one guy saying the other had a huge dick–the size of Vanderbilt Road and just as windy, in the very rare event locals read this. We happened to know he had once jumped Sarah’s nephew Chad from behind and beat him up. Worth noting that Chad is close in age to Sarah due to her sisters being considerably older than her.
And then two more guys approached. One wanted to do karaoke with her, or at least approached under that pretense. The other just kind of wanted to grope her and make out with her, but she wasn’t interested. Did he care? Hell, no! Right in the middle of the bar, despite her refusals, he grabbed her breasts, groped her all over, and full-on kissed her. When she pulled away and was visibly angry and upset, yelling and telling them to leave, he insisted that she’d kissed back and actually wanted it. Even Marion and I told this guy to back off and leave her alone, though not too forcefully. At the time, I didn’t really know how to react, but now I’ve seen and encountered enough myself that I don’t really care. The only concern I still have is for my own safety and sexual privacy because I don’t believe, nor do I have any reason to, intervening and forcefully telling a man to leave or physically pulling a friend away won’t cause him to negatively turn his attention to me. I won’t just let things happen, but I am still scared, and that’s yet another very sad reality. These situations can be so difficult that just telling a guy to leave a friend alone makes a lady feel like she may be his next target instead.
They also kept trying to get us to leave with them, which we were not having. They didn’t leave until the owner, who knows us well due to being regulars and the bar actually being across from my cousins’ house, saw that we were having trouble and yelled at them.
At the time, Sarah was dating a woman, Nicole, who she recently broke up with. When we discussed the events of the night later, Sarah mentioned that she didn’t like telling guys that she was in a relationship with a woman. I’m not sure if this is based on her experience or just a theory, but she felt doing so only encouraged them–a 20-something girl with a girlfriend is hot and no reason to back off. At the same time, I felt that saying I had a boyfriend would’ve been futile, as well. I’ve never really had any trouble with this myself, but I’ve heard and witnessed plenty of persistent guys saying, “Well, why isn’t he here?” or “What he doesn’t know won’t hurt him” or some variation of either sentiment. Paul’s presence likely would’ve kept them off, though, seeing as other nights when any male was with us we were pretty much left alone. However, that still has uncertainty. That doesn’t stop some people, for one (open relationships aside), and it would only potentially exempt me. Sarah, or any other woman with us, would likely still get unwanted attention. The only solution to that would be to make it seem like he was dating Sarah, too–and I’d be totally down with my boyfriend doing a little flirting or light physical affection with a friend if it meant sparing her from what is, essentially, sexual assault.
In the past parts of this series, I’ve tried to include some sort of takeaway to make this all very clear in case it isn’t, and the takeaways all end up being the same–men aren’t entitled to women’s bodies or sex, no means no, we’re not toys or property, etc. Here’s a legal one, in case general morals and human decency aren’t enough–this is all actually sexual assault, and you can get in legal trouble for it.
At this point, it was last call–though this all transpired in about a half hour, including the creepy old guy. And suddenly, the two separate groups of guys that had approached us started yelling at each other, but we couldn’t tell what it was about. Marion thought she heard something about someone being owed money. I can’t remember what, but I remember thinking I heard something about which group we were gonna leave with or something. Someone yelled, “I’ve been to prison and I’m not afraid to go back.”
We’d wanted to leave for a little while, but we obviously didn’t trust these guys. The owner, Sis, started yelling about calling the cops and while everyone was distracted and yelling, we gathered our things as fast as we could, linked arms, booked it out the nearest door and into my car. I got us out of the lot as fast as I could and gunned it across the street to my cousins’, where we where staying.
Coincidentally, one of the groups of guys had parked their car in the yard. I nearly panicked when we were walking up and saw them walking up, too. I’ve talked about how scary it is to be followed, but seeing someone who was just touching someone against her will in the yard of the house where you’re gonna be sleeping is a whole other level of scary. I shut Sarah up so they wouldn’t hear us, watched them, snuck around, and we went unnoticed.
Interestingly, an article popped up in my Facebook feed today about self-proclaimed “nice guys” on OK Cupid who have been unlucky in love but are really nice guys! Oh, except the part where they think they’re entitled to sex and a woman should indulge them whenever just because. Protip: that makes you basically the polar opposite of a nice guy.