This past weekend, I had the good fortune of participating in the Third Annual Five College Queer Sexuality and Gender Conference. Sadly, I’d been working myself to the bone and, as a result, I didn’t feel like I had as much energy for the conference as I wanted to have, but I still really enjoyed my time there.
While without a doubt the highlight of the conference was Rev. Irene Monroe’s inspiring and challenging keynote on the intersection of racism and homophobia (video to be published soon, I hope!), another highlight actually came at the end of the day, when one of my friends ran up to me with this card in her hand and said, “Maymay! Have you seen these?”
I hadn’t, so I took a look. It’s a yellow card, about the size of a standard business card, whose front reads:
At the present time, one or more of us is unable to give consent. However, at a later date, we may be interested in sucking face (among other things to be discussed at said later date)….
On the back, the text reads, “I’ll take a rain check…”, and is followed by two empty lines whose labels prompt you to write down a name and a phone number.
My eyes lit up. “Oh my god, I am so totally going to use this,” I told my friend.
“Right‽” she exclaimed. “There’s a whole stack of them! Take some!” She handed me a pile.
I love these because they’re a simple tool to make something that’s frequently invisible visible. Frequently, saying “no” in-the-now is often interpreted as a permanent rejection forever, even when that’s not actually what’s being conveyed. I think this tendency to project the current state of things into the future is part of what makes it difficult for some people to say “no” in the first place.
The fear, at least some of the times, at least for me, is that if I don’t say yes right now, I’ll never get the chance to enjoy “sucking face” at a “later date.” Moreover, as a man, the societal pressure to be getting laid all the time makes it extremely difficult, or at least socially illegible, for me to say no when I’m propositioned for sex. I’d be surprised if I was unique or even atypical for running into this problem from all sorts of angles. So, along with my actual business cards, these now reside in a pocket in my shoulder bag, my jacket, and my jeans.
Thinking further, it also occurred to me that these could also be used by someone who’s “pursuing,” rather than only by someone who’s being pursued. (Even though, y’know, that whole pursuer/pursued paradigm is problematic.) What if, before asking someone out on a date, or asking if someone wants to have sexy time with you, you handed them one of these, encouraging them to use it whenever they feel they need to? In so doing, you’d effectively be giving them a literal “out” and, in the process, helping model behavior that supports safer sex, and of course, enthusiastic (and ongoing!) consent.
What do you think? Would you use these “Rain Check” cards? Would you like others to?