I’m not saying that Chris Janson is the Brett Kavanaugh of country music. But I am saying that non-consensual sex is NOT a rite of passage. Sexual violence is not an unavoidable symptom of puberty like acne or voice-cracking or those embarrassing middle school boners you couldn’t control. Non-consensual sex/sexual activity is a crime whether you remember committing it or not, whether the victim was drunk or not and whether it was thirty years or thirty minutes ago.
Let me explain what some country song you’ve probably never heard of might have in common with a Supreme Court Justice nominee you can’t stop hearing about.
As we have for years I was talking with a friend of mine this summer about flirting, dating, relationships and sex over some blackberry cider and a lot of Tom Collins. He’s a good ol’ boy with much more socially conservative politics than mine but we discuss and explore a lot of contentious topics with respect. And some trepidation, but always respect.
Summer in Oregon is all backyard barbecues and river floating. Lake camping, sailing and cold drinks on the porch. The quiet magic of summer nights there is more sylvan than Southern balmy with fireflies at twilight or street parties in big cities where someone busts open fire hydrants and everyone dances in the water. I don’t know if they actually do this in big cities but I’ve seen a lot of movies and music videos that show these celebrations in the fever break of high summer. So it must be true.
But in small-city Oregon, very few of my friends like country music. My friend is one of my few fellow country music lovers so we take some shelter in each other and eagerly share music. After many drinks and many hours of conversation about #MeToo and how our culture is slowly catching up to the simple concept of consent, he offered up a new-to-me country song to demonstrate that #HeToo understood.
“Oh, I gotta play this song for you,” he says, scrolling through his phone. He turned it up and a voice I hadn’t heard before crooned a chorus that is dangerously counterproductive to the progress we’ve been making as a society.
Take a drunk girl home
Let her sleep all alone
Leave her keys on the counter
your number by her phone
Pick up her life she threw on the floor