We Met on Tinder.
I replied to his message because he was a nice-looking graduate student at my alma mater. He was studying computer science, a subject in which am interested in enhancing my lay perspective. He told me he wanted to build systems that could utilize rural 3G networks to provide retail portals in his home country, which is part of the developing world. Or something like that. I assumed he was actually sincere because I’m usually pretty sincere about my work, when I do it.
More than a year passed from our initial contact. One night he persuaded me to meet him after midnight and I didn’t want to lose him as a possible friend by bailing on too many consecutive invitations. I hadn’t been sleeping at night so I figured it was a good idea to be social.
He didn’t have a car, so I picked him up and took him to Sheetz for a coffee. We talked about money and real estate. He eventually steered the conversation to sex, an activity in which I no longer participate because of my mental illness. I have a crippling fear of common germs and I patiently explained this to him.
I am no longer able to enjoy a typical social life. I often tell family members who are inclined to make casual physical contact with me not to. The thought of sharing drinks is terrifying to me. Kissing is completely out of the question. Very few people get it.
I told him that despite my lack of physical contact, I live in a state of constant anxiety and compulsively get tested for diseases. He told me he had never been tested. I explained to him that regardless of his health status, I wasn’t interested in having a sexual experience with him. I will not be making close physical contact with another person until I am ready for marriage. I told him about all the STDs I was so lucky to have avoided back when I was having wild college sex. I now prioritize not contracting those diseases over the pleasures of fluid exchange. He clearly understood that I was off-limits.
I wasn’t wearing a bra that night, but I often don’t wear a bra. Like my mother, I’m something of a bra burner. It’s part of my identity politics and I’ve always been exceptionally comfortable with the appearance of my natural breasts under clothing. Most of the adults I was exposed to in my 90s childhood partied. I grew up in a nipple-permissive scene, especially for A cups.
I drove him back to his apartment and he confirmed that I was bra-less when he slapped my breast. He told me it was a joke, that it was nonsexual. He told me there was something wrong with me for finding that uncomfortable. I decided I despised him and told him to stop. I thought he was just being ultra unlikeable. He claimed to have lost his virginity a mere month or two prior. I assumed he was still unsure about boundaries and appropriate behavior in American sex culture.
I didn’t realize he was breaking down his own inhibitions about committing sex acts of a violent nature against me.
I said goodnight and he hugged me. I submitted out of politeness. I was uncomfortable and he smelled disgusting. He continued to talk while I waited politely for him to exit the car. I said goodnight again and again, he reached to hug me. I was even more hesitant about submitting to a second hug, but I did, and this time he didn’t hug me.
Instead, he ducked his head and sank his teeth, hard and with intent, into my right breast (which he knew with certainty was not protected by a bra). I screamed, he detached, I pushed him away from me. I pushed him again, hard enough to slam him into the passenger door, and yelled “Get the fuck out of my car.” He fled and I wanted to chase him and bash his head in with the empty kombucha bottle in my cupholder. I didn’t. I locked the doors and sped off in low gear.
He immediately texted me “I never want to talk to you again”, as if I had deliberately tricked him into chomping my breast nearly to pieces. I wasn’t sure if he had broken through my upper dermis, even a scratch can transmit infection, but I was severely bruised and in a state of sub-psychotic panic. I texted back and begged him to get tested. He promised me he would. At that point, I didn’t care about anything other than disease transmission. I didn’t call the cops.
I went to my mother’s house and waited for her to wake up. She begged me not to involve the police. She told me that they wouldn’t do anything to punish him, but that they would definitely inconvenience and humiliate me.
The next day, he sent me pictures taken inside a blood testing facility. Two more days passed and he sent an STD report indicating he was negative for every common STD, including both variations of “Herpies”.
I called the police after receiving the poorly forged results. My mother was essentially correct in her warning. He got off with a slap on the wrist. They charged him with “misdemeanor sexual assault” and sentenced him to free counseling. I spent months in a catatonic panic with no offer of counseling.
I have no idea what kind of experiences programmed him to bite my breast to injury. A paraphiliac will actively fantasize about a behavior for years before engaging in it. He claimed that he couldn’t control himself and he blamed it on his culture. I blame it exclusively on him.