Living in Los Angeles, I’ve been gifted with one of the most dynamic local music scenes in the country. From going to shows at The Smell, a diy-Angeleno’s home base for music and art events, to shows at warehouses in Downtown, the scene is booming at all times — if you look for it. At almost any show I’ve gone to, though, there are cliques of elite-looking, well dressed, attractive teenagers whose glares could burn straight through you like high quality lasers.
Being in “the scene,” I’ve gotten into my fair share of shitty boy situations. It all starts the same: some boy shows hints of affection towards me, I end up becoming enamored with them, or more accurately, the thought of them. Teen boys with defined square jawlines who skate and play some sort of string instrument for their band. At first, this attraction seemed like a blessing. We’d go through chit-chat and always end up getting way more sexual than I intended, but I went along with it because I equated sexual interest with personal attraction.
It really took off with a boy who lived on the opposite side of the country. He told me we had lots in common, that I was interesting and beautiful, but I could sense an air of sexism, male entitlement and misogyny behind his words. Everything was about him, nothing about me or us. That should have been the first strike. His actions made me feel subordinate in the relationship – constantly asking for nude photos, help with writing lyrics and naming songs for his “up and coming” diy band. Never once did he say thank you, never once did he show any sign of appreciation. I was a pawn to him. Unfortunately, I was in a mental space where I thought that’s what affection was like. He would delete my number, block me on Snapchat, and weeks later after I stopped giving a shit, he would unblock me and ask what happened — no explanation or apology on his side. It happened too many times for it to be a glitch in the system. It was evidently deliberate and every time I was pissed off, ready to ghost him and finally get rid of the pest. We had met up at a music festival and made out during our favorite band — no goodbye at the end of the gig, only a text the next day reading “Sorry we didn’t fuck yesterday.” That’s the moment I realized how much of a trashy meme this boy was. I started to laugh at all his pursuits and play along because I got some sick, twisted kick out of it. Admittedly, I was at fault for enabling him, but I wanted to see how long he would keep his shit up. Eventually, he got in a relationship. I was relieved that whatever we had was over. I deleted his contact and ended communication. Months later, I get a message from him. “Hey, I have a girlfriend now but she said it would be okay if you sent me nudes. I wouldn’t send anything back but I really miss your tits, babe.” How dare he. This disgusting boy thinking my body was an item he could reach for whenever he wanted to get off.
After my first epiphany regarding the first boy, I went through periods of realizing who I am and what I’m worth. Some healthy self-discovery happened during that time and I was thankful that he was off with another girl and I didn’t have to deal with any of his manipulative shenanigans. Onto present day and time has passed for long enough that I have little to no contact with him. I am so much healthier without his day to day pestering for personal, sensitive photos, regardless of how many I may take for myself.
On comes the second boy. He’s pale and lanky with a hella strong jawline. His bass-playing hands greeted me with the promise of holding me someday. He, in contrast to boy #1, would text me sweet nothings. He would ask how my day was, inquire about real-life topics. I fell for his sneaky tactics. He wasn’t focused on my looks, he was focused on who I was. It was a refreshing change of scenery. He would text me on his day long skating expeditions, send me pictures of him with his bass, and asked me genuine questions about my opinions on music. He sincerely made me feel like I was special. We got sexual at times but that wasn’t all of it. I found it charming that he cared enough to wait, and inquire about who I am, before getting in my pants. After all that, though, he started acting like he was superior. This 15 year old kid acting as if his bandcamp teen band was innovative became annoying. One day, I texted my good friend a photo of him with a comment asking if she thought he was cute. She immediately went into shock and told me all the shit he put her through. We compared experiences and they were almost identical. I, looking to confide in my group chat full of close friends, learned that one of them also encountered bad times with boy #2. Being the frustrated person that I am, I needed to vent to, as it seemed at the moment, an outside source. This horrific news was too overwhelming for me to handle alone. Unsurprisingly, he told me that boy #2 had pulled the exact same moves with him as well.
I retreated within myself and started to question my own morals and whether I had regressed back into the mental state I was in during my rendezvous with boy #1. Now, I’ve realized that it’s the boys’ faults. Not mine. It’s not on me for falling for these tricks. Manipulators manipulate, and their victims usually are unsuspecting. I find it to be a dying shame that I fell for the same game twice, but c’est la vie.
I wanted to stoop to their level. I wanted to send their dick pics to their mothers and friends. I wanted to get dirty with it, but reflecting on that, I’m proud I stayed above it. The lesson I’ve learned is to not mess around with skaters who allude to promises of truth and sensitivity. I’m taking the high road and staying the hell away from charming, lanky, white boy musicians with jawlines that could pierce my skin if they tried.
Submission by Ellie Rosenwasser