hard to see, the dark side is


Halloween 1988 was an evening I will never forget. I was sitting beside my very first boyfriend (we had been going out all of two weeks) in my basement, watching the movie Halloween on video. It was completely dark in the room except for the flicker of the screen. My lips were still swollen from our marathon makeout session before the movie, and I had daringly placed my hand on his thigh while we watched.

After the Big Scary Bad Guy had made me jump in my seat for what seemed like the millionth time, my charming and adorable boyfriend leaned over and whispered in my ear, “You know, if I was going to be a serial killer, I’d want to be Michael Myers.”

I removed my hand from his thigh, more than a little scared by this new revelation.

I’m reminded of this episode because this week I finished reading an erotic novel written by one of my exes. He was a wonderfully gentle man, wicked and warm and imaginative. I never feared for my personal safety with him, even though he had a penchant for tying me to his cross before bringing out the flogger, hot wax, and sundry other items with which to tease and ravish my body. These were things we both enjoyed. 🙂

But the book. He’d started it, actually, when we were still together, and I’d encouraged him to keep working on it every time I saw him. I thought—and still do—that he was a great writer, and could produce much better BDSM erotica than the usual fare.

The book had some lovely erotic scenes in it. To my surprise and slight unease, however, it also had rape, gang rape, and other non-consensual activities. I mean, it was actually brutal in parts, with real punishment, real pain, real bruises and welts, real torture. And yes, I know it’s fiction. And no, he never tried any of those things in reality. But still.

Like that Halloween night so many years ago, it made me think about the fact that all people have dark sides to them. Sometimes you live your whole life and never see a person’s dark side. Sometimes they show it to you by accident, sometimes on purpose.

I have lived a very lucky life. I haven’t always been careful, or as safety-conscious as I should or could have been around the men in my life. I’ve taken chances and risks. I’ve ended up with a relatively lovely sexual history. But I could just as easily have been raped, or beaten, or worse. Far more careful women than I have had to live through those kinds of experiences.

Not very often, but once in a while (like this week) I find myself wondering what was lurking behind the eyes of the men I’ve had in my life. Hard to see, the dark side is.

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Vikki McKay

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