I fucked up while flirting with a woman at a convention in 2017, but I didn’t realize it at the time. A year later, I was made aware, apologized, and have worked on changing my ways. This week, I found out that the woman was is still very hurt over what happened; I can only apologize again for my behavior. If it can help others to learn from it and do better, here’s what happened.
At Emerald City Comic Con in 2017, I was talking with a woman I met at a crowded hotel bar. Over the course of the conversation, I was flirting (my wife and I have an open relationship) and at the time, I believed we had a vibe going. At one point, I reached out and weaved my fingers through her hair and gave, what to me was a playful tug. She didn’t respond, so I took my hand back. She mentioned that she simply wasn’t up for or able to do anything. I said “ok, if you change your mind, let me know,” hung out a little while longer and then eventually left to go to bed.
The next day as I was browsing through the dealer’s room, I passed by her booth, said a brief hello and “it was nice talking to you last night”, before heading about my day. The last time I have ever talked to her in person was a brief group conversation in the bar later that night.
Early in 2018, a friend of mine told me that this woman had felt violated by the entire encounter. I was surprised by this, but if I had done something wrong, then I was going to own that. I reached out, both via email and a mutual friend, to apologize (I’ve blacked out names and email addresses to protect people’s privacy):
When I sent my apology through a mutual friend, I made it clear that I was willing to apologize in person if the woman preferred, that I would be willing to stay away from her if we were ever at the same shows again, but, most importantly, that I wanted to make amends.
On February 10th, our mutual friend, in a Facebook Messenger chat, relayed the woman’s response; she asked me to stay away and not speak to her.
I agreed; I have kept my distance and haven’t spoken with her since. Hearing how this woman felt, I began to examine my behavior, including, among other things, the way I acted and flirted with others. I made a point of getting consent before making physical contact and checking in to ensure that everyone was still comfortable and interested. I spent time examining the ways that I remained inexcusably blind to other women’s perspectives or experiences. I talked with various people about accountability, about doing better, about being more aware and more present and the ways that I had to improve. and My friends were honest with me about where I needed to change, which I appreciated and still appreciate. Being held accountable is important.
I also changed the way that I attended conventions. The same mutual friend agreed to come with me to the 2018 Emerald City Comic Con in mid-March, to be able to call me on my behavior if need be. I’ve caused harm with my mistakes; hopefully by talking about it openly, other people can do better and be better.
I understand that the person in question is still hurt by all of this. I behaved abominably, caused her pain and I am truly profoundly sorry.