Why the tea and consent metaphor is not actually that brilliant

I came across a trending news item yesterday about this blog where rockstardinosaurpirateprincess explains the meaning of consent using tea as a metaphor:

http://rockstardinosaurpirateprincess.com/2015/03/02/consent-not-actually-that-complicated/

While the blog is a nice sarcastic take on understanding what constitutes consent and what does not in the context of rape and is good reading, it is not brilliant 🙂 Here’s why:

Sometime last year, my husband was taking me and my daughter on a drive to a “beach” (not in India). We stopped at a couple of places on the way and ate a snack. Then, he decided that we would not park at the public beach but in the parking lot of a fancy hotel nearby. He told me it was free parking and we could go to the beach from there.

Once we reached we found out that it was valet parking (obviously paid). He assured me that it was ok. Then we went in the Hotel and my 5 year old (at the time) was eager to go to the beach. On hindsight I think we went there because he wanted a drink and since he was driving us and could not drink in front of me, he chose to park there. I think this because there was no path to the beach from there and we could only see the ocean and sunset from the top.

My husband sat in the al fresco dining lounge while I entertained my daughter on the beautiful lawn and mini Golf area far away from the lounge.

Now when my daughter was done playing, little did I know the bizarre scene from a chapter of unnecessary abuse awaited in that lounge.

When my little one and I reached the lounge, I thought we would leave immediately, but that was not to be. We “HAD to” order something. I didn’t understand the reason because the reason was not told to me immediately. So I was still unprepared for what was to follow.

I asked for the menu casually while she was prancing around and accidentally broke someone’s wine glass beside our chair. I asked again whether we could leave because there were only two chairs and there was no place to sit. After chastising her, he said that we should go ahead and order something.

“Will you have tea?” he asked. No this is not a metaphor like the blog. It was a literal question.

I said, “No thanks. I am not really in the mood for it.”

Then I browsed through the menu. There was nothing there that I wanted to eat and I did not want to drink tea or any other beverage.

I told him that.

“Why don’t you have tea? You like tea,” he insisted.

“Yes. I like tea, but it will be dinner time soon and if I have tea I will stay up for a long time and not get enough sleep.”

Then started the bizarro spiral over which I had no control.

“I try to do something nice for you and this is how you behave!

It’s not like they don’t have anything. You are deliberately not having any tea. We were having such a nice day. This is exactly how you behave!”

All this in front of my daughter. I was nearly in tears (as in keeping a tight leash and wiping the corner of my eye discreetly) and asked very politely, why are you insisting that I order tea and he said, it was because the parking ticket needed to be validated by ordering something.

Finally, I asked him whether it was ok to validate it inside so my daughter could grab a bite because she was going to be hungry and it was a one and a half hour long trip back home. He went on some more about how nobody appreciated his thoughtfulness and a whole bunch of crap before we went inside. The whole evening was ruined through no fault of mine unless you count me not wanting to drink tea a fault.

So that is why I don’t feel that people who are confused about consent in general would get the tea metaphor because they don’t get consent for real. If my abusive husband could force me to drink tea and take offence when I refuse a cup of tea for real then how brilliant is this metaphor really?

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