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Valar Qringaomis

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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Tea and Sexual Consent

This woman just explained consent with the most perfect metaphor : The Loop

"If you’re still struggling, just imagine instead of initiating sex, you’re making them a cup of tea.

You say, “Hey, would you like a cup of tea?” and they go, “OMG, f*ck yes, I would f*cking LOVE a cup of tea! Thank you!” Then you know they want a cup of tea.

If you say, “Hey, would you like a cup of tea?” and they um and ahh and say, “I’m not really sure…” then you can make them a cup of tea or not, but be aware that they might not drink it, and if they don’t drink it then — this is the important bit — don’t make them drink it. You can’t blame them for you going to the effort of making the tea on the off chance they wanted it; you just have to deal with them not drinking it. Just because you made it doesn’t mean you are entitled to watch them drink it.

If they say, “No, thank you,” then don’t make them tea. At all. Don’t make them tea, don’t make them drink tea, don’t get annoyed at them for not wanting tea. They just don’t want tea, okay?

They might say, “Yes, please, that’s kind of you,” and then when the tea arrives they actually don’t want the tea at all. Sure, that’s kind of annoying as you’ve gone to the effort of making the tea, but they remain under no obligation to drink the tea. They did want tea, now they don’t. Sometimes people change their mind in the time it takes to boil that kettle, brew the tea and add the milk. And it’s okay for people to change their mind, and you are still not entitled to watch them drink it even though you went to the trouble of making it."


Yet, if you ask someone if he wants a cup of tea and he says no and you don't insist (or at least ask again), that is considered rude in some cultures (and it is also considered rude to accept tea the first time):

"When living or travelling in India, or when visiting an Indian persons home you're always treated as an honoured guest. When you're offered a cup of tea it's polite to say 'No, please don't go to any trouble.' Even if you want a cup of tea you still say no. The person offering the cup of tea will insist and you still say no. You both know the host will bring you a cup of tea anyway. To say 'no' is to be polite in Indian culture. You actually know they will bring you a cup of tea regardless. To tell them you do not want them to go to any trouble is considered good manners"

- Julie & Kishore / Carol Jackson


Meanwhile, it can also be rude to decline tea that is offered (there is probably some relationship between these cultures):

"Deemed a symbol of good will in North Africa, mint tea plays a prominent role in welcoming houseguests, conducting business dealings, bargaining for carpets, woodcrafts, or souvenirs and relaxing with friends at a cafe. Also thought to aid in digestion, it is served at the beginning or end of every meal. Etiquette requires that each person consume three glasses before departing a home, shop, or cafe. To decline a glass is deemed rude. Whether due to its lack of expense, comforting taste, ritualized yet simple preparation, or mildly addictive properties, mint tea has captivated this region. One cannot walk through a busy square without seeing rich, steaming tea being sipped at sidewalk cafes or in storefronts."

- Entertaining from Ancient Rome to the Super Bowl: An Encyclopedia [2 volumes]: An Encyclopedia / Melitta Weiss Adamson, Francine Segan

"In the Afghan culture, when you enter someone’s house, you're offered chai tea, and you shouldn’t decline it. Unfortunately for me, I detest tea, and the mugs they use aren’t washed well as I can see lip marks from the previous person who drank from the cup (a real nightmare for someone with OCD). The first time I visited Rambo Three’s hut, he asked me if I wanted some tea, and I politely refused. He looked more disappointed than a Chicago Cubs fan in October, and so I asked, “Am I being rude because I did not accept your tea?” He looked me straight in the eyes and said, “Yes.” Since then, I’ve not declined their tea or their dirty mugs, learning there’s no such thing as a "polite refusal” in Afghanistan."

- I am Danger; I am Prisoner / Danger Geist


Also if someone said "OMG, f*ck yes, I would f*cking LOVE a cup of tea! Thank you!", I'd consider that pretty rude.

Just imagine it in the local context:

"Want some Teh-C?"
"Chee bye. KNN. Fuck lah. Of course."


The metaphor of cultural imperialism can be extended into the realm of sexual relations, where the feminist culture of sexual consent is not the only one that is out there (or indeed, the only valid one).


Addendum: What happens if someone asks you to make him drink tea when he's passed out? Should you respect his wishes?
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