I’ve been reading and reflecting on articles about the recent sexual allegations against Aziz Ansari, which have left me feeling both shocked and concerned. However, in my professional experience, this is sadly something that happens a lot. The account of a young woman’s sexual encounter with Ansari, published last weekend by Babe.net, reminded me of a recent rendezvous between my client Sara and her date Andy.
Sara*, an attractive 32 year old British Asian is a self-employed agent who manages properties for high net worth individuals from overseas. Andy, 41, is Indian and Hispanic, divorced with two children. He is an art collector by interest and a successful managing director of an investment bank in Dubai. Andy works and travels frequently between London, Dubai, and Geneva.
The two connected through Tinder and after a few text exchanges arranged to meet for drinks. Things were going well on the date – Andy even suggested that Sara join him for future trips to Geneva, Monaco, and Dubai. As he had a sizeable portfolio of properties in London, he also suggested that Sara could manage his portfolio and that he would refer other property investors to her for similar opportunities.
Feeling that they’d struck a chord, with a shared appreciation of lifestyle, interests, and hobbies, Sara suggested they move on to dinner at a nearby restaurant. It was at this point that Andy proposed they took the date back to his pied-à-terre in Chelsea, where they could order takeout, share a bottle of wine and watch Netflix. It was Andy’s last evening in London before he travelled back to Dubai. Realising that a visit to Andy’s flat might not be as simple as ‘Netflix and chill’, Sara declined. Undeterred, Andy remained insistent that they went to his flat.
By this point Sara began to feel extremely uncomfortable. She decided to end the date and jumped on an Uber home. On her way back she rang me to express her disappointment, shame and distraught. I helped her reflect on the date and move forward to be in a better mindset.
On appearance, Andy had a lot to offer and even went as far as suggesting he could use his connections and power to help Sara advance her career, but Sara is an empowered, smart, attractive woman who knows well to not mix sexuality with business.
Modern technology has changed the way we date. The rise of ‘hook-up’ culture means that we live in a world where if you swipe right you can meet someone and have sex within 20 minutes. This new, speedy lifestyle has changed the dating landscape and the rules of engagement are now very different. In the midst of the #metoo and #Timesup movements, it’s now even more so crucial that we seek to better understand the dynamics of sexual consent, power and coercion in men’s sexual behaviour, through healthy discussions. To this point, a new legislation on sexual consent is well underway in Sweden, where soon consent will need to be proven in a court of law to avoid a rape charge.
Some points to reflect on:
Women empowerment – an empowered woman is in control of her life and takes responsibility for when a date has gone wrong. For all the single women out there, don’t put yourself in a situation where sexual activity could be expected if you’re not interested in engaging in sexual activity. Sure, some guys might want to just hang out or watch Netflix when they invite you back to their place but always proceed with caution and assume that most will want more than that. If you can’t be sure that a guy will respect your boundaries if you decline further, you should end the date there and then. Know your baseline and be clear with communicating that. Don’t expect him to read your mind or your non-verbal cues.
As for men (especially those who are affluent & influential), ask for consent every.single.time that you make a move. Learn the nuances of the conversation, read her signals and body language, and most importantly – understand that no really does mean no. If you take this advice you could save yourself from ending up in a situation like Ansari’s, and that’s not a fun place to be.
Here are some wise words from two men who truly understand women’s role in society…
“I think women are foolish to pretend they are equal to men, they are far superior and always have been” Sir William Golding, Nobel-Prize winner
“Whatever you give a woman, she will make greater. If you give her sperm, she’ll give you a baby. If you give her a house, she’ll give you a home. If you give her groceries, she’ll give you a meal. If you give her a smile, she’ll give you her heart. She multiplies and enlarges what is given to her. So, if you give her any crap, be ready to receive a ton of shit!” Erick S Gray, Author
Do you want to know more about how to prevent a dating disaster, or how to deal with an aftermath of a dating/relationship crisis? Get in touch to find out more.
*Identifying details have been changed to protect anonymity