Dear Straight Dude


Dear straight dude,

I can’t tell you how much I do not want to constantly explain really basic shit to you. I know that social media is getting soOoOoOo craycray because marginalized communities and voices are all of a sudden making their oppressive/violent/traumatizing experiences visible on your Newsfeed (gasp!). But like, if I really have to explain every single one of my Facebook posts to you and go through the motions of explaining why street harassment is sexual harassment or why rape culture puts the burden on victims or why native mascots = colonization, then you’re obviously not doing any work on your own. I am not your personal Google.


Dear straight dude,

When I am sharing close quarters with you in an elevator, know that I’m already made a bit uncomfortable by your presence. I will feel even more uncomfortable – and incredibly irritated – when you feel entitled enough (surprise, surprise) to comment on my appearance. Yes, I am wearing a fanny pack. Yes, it is black leather, thank you very much. And NO, I don’t give a fuck what you have to say about it. It’s not like I was going to snarkily comment on your tired, ironic-hipster bullshit style (yeah, I see that Thomas the Tank Engine ball cap). Why not? Cuz that’s just rude, not to mention a waste of my time.

Dear straight dude,

I know you’re my friend’s friend and all, but I will call you out for harassing a woman walking down the street. And when you tell me “it’s not a big deal” and “it’s just a compliment,” know that I think you’re really stupid. You are targeting and objectifying their body. You are invading their space, privacy, and safety. But what could be better than catcalling someone from far away? Turning around and targeting me. I’m glad you decided not to listen to anything I just said. Please, start calling me sexy and then make pathetic attempts to whistle my way. I really need to be convinced that your attention makes me feel good. Not that every other dumb fuck hasn’t already tried to make the same tired point (hyuk hyuk, you don’t like it?). In your attempt to defend your actions, I am now even more convinced that you’re a sexist fucktwit.


Dear straight dude,

BUY FUCKING CONDOMS! And don’t just buy them, use them. Period. I should not have to ask every single time, watching your face fall a little when you realize a skin-to-skin, slippery, wet, all-contact fantasy won’t be playing out that night. Too fuckin’ bad. It is not acceptable for you to pressure me because I actually don’t care if you dislike condoms. And I definitely don’t care if condoms decrease your sensation. It’s not like I constantly feel pleasure when you struggle to come up with anything better than thrust, thrust, thrust, thrust…Besides, there are literally thousands of safe sex products out on the market for you to experiment with and try. Were you unaware of how much time, energy, and money it takes for ladies to use birth control responsibly? Safer sex requires hard work from everybody. You really need to step the fuck up.


Dear straight dude,

I forgot to mention but you should probably get some lube too…

Dear straight dude,

When I’m at work, I am working. And I take my work seriously. Don’t get me wrong… chit chat is important. But if the only thing you want to talk about is my appearance or my marital status or your new drink-making techniques (no, I’m not interested in coming over for drinks later), then I really have more important things to do. As your child’s teacher, how about you ask me about your kids and how they’re performing in school?


Dear straight dude,

When I’m dancing at a club with a lady, that is not an invitation to participate. It is not an invitation to leer, catcall, and rub elbows with your buddies. Wanna know why? CUZ THIS IS ACTUALLY NOT ABOUT YOU! I have zero interest in your boring, played out threesome fantasy. Frankly, you don’t deserve to be with two women. Especially if you do something as invasive as use your cellphone to record our otherwise intimate and personal moment. So don’t be surprised when I yell at you and push you and then hit you upside the head like the child you are. In retrospect, I wish I had punched you but ya know…lesson learned.


Dear straight dude,

When I am walking down the street at night, it’s really fucking scary when your big ass truck slows down right next to me. It’s even scarier when I notice that you’re also staring at me, eyes filled with aggressive and violent sexual energy. Not that I have any say in the matter. I mean please, please invade my space. Please intimidate me from your metal killing machine. Please make me consider where I could run or what to yell to defend myself in my own neighborhood only blocks from my house.


Dear straight dude,

As you drunkenly stumble in my direction, I wonder if you’re going to bother me during an otherwise normal evening at the bar. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised when you interrupt my conversation. You extend your hand as a greeting and grasp mine with a vice-like grip. Is it fun to see me squirming as I try to get out of your stronghold? With your gross veins bulging in your neck, your eyes bloodshot belligerent, your body aggressively moving into my space… All I want to do is scratch your eyes out and kick the bar table right into your stomach. I want you to understand that there are consequences for giving bruises to a stranger in a bar. But instead I leave as quickly and quietly as possible, wondering if you’ll follow me and finish what you started.


Dear straight dude,

I am really not sorry that I can’t be your girlfriend. I am not sorry that I would prefer to be a real live human, an individual with specific needs and desires that don’t fall neatly into the box of “acceptable girlfriend behavior.” I know it’s tough to hear and respond to radical honesty, particularly when that honesty presents new and different challenges than you faced with past partners. And I know it’s difficult to process, react to, and accommodate a person’s dynamic and unexpected needs. But then again, commitment means commitment to the ways that people change over time, with or without your consent. And I can’t be your girlfriend if it means you get to control what I am feeling or who I am becoming or the ways I want to be living.


Straight dude

I really want to believe that you’re worth having in my life.

That you can contribute to my life

in meaningfulproductive and positive ways.

But I am sick and tired of your



I am sick and tired of being disappointed

when you constantly let me down.

I am sick and tired of trying to hold you accountable

when you only want to be absolved.

I am sick and tired of compromising.


I have compromised my happiness, safety and self-respect

in order to share this world with you.

But if being involved with you means

compromising myself,







*The author, Mary Alice, is a privileged, college educated white ciswoman. She recognizes that the experiences she’s shared do not touch the surface of trauma that other identities experience at the expense of straight cis dudes. Further, she does not want to erase the trauma that many experience, including straight dudes, while trying to survive in a patriarchal, white supremacist, capitalist society. With that in mind, she is constantly trying to hate on the system, not the individual. And this piece is just one small part of that political process.

1 Comment
  1. I’ve read this through three times, and I am so in awe of the clarity and emotion in your writing. When I read something like this, and other writing from young radical women, I am hopeful that gender politics and relationships will continue to change for the better. Thanks for challenging me to think and re-think!

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