Thank you guys very much. Wayfarer, I've read many of your posts that blow me away. I'm shocked by your young age and the wisdom you've gleaned in that time.

I do think we have been socialized to be nice and to feel weaker than men. Even high-powered women executives will downplay their ideas and positions in meetings with men. I remember my mother saying time and again, that's boy's work. Now my children were not raised that way. My son was never told to man up or rub dirt in it. In fact one of my brothers recently said to me "I know [my son] feels like an outsider, but I can promise you that he is the kind of guy that most guys would want to have as a friend. Maybe a guy who has feelings and talks about them is teased as girly, but even guys want that kind of friend."

I'm concerned that there is subtext here that I think D picked up on because he has followed my story more closely than many and he knows I am working on thought work. D is a natural thought worker. His constant preaching about feelings is evidence of that. Feelings are fleeting and a result of our own thoughts (often unmanaged thoughts). They are not fact. I specifically addressed in my original post the need to to do some work about this situation.

I think there is a distinction between the thought that "I am unsafe in this situation" and I am experiencing fear. I felt unsafe, no doubt, and I believe that was a correct assessment of my situation. In part I responded to that rationally. I sat by an exit door. I tried to keep things light while making clear I wasn't interested. I tried to keep it short. What I don't like, is that I felt fear. I believe that emotion took away my ability to reason in the moment as I could have. It clouded my judgment. I am a person whose life has been ruled by emotion, and in the recent past by fear. I am working very hard not to have such emotional reactions by keeping better tabs on my thoughts and in turn my feelings and emotions.

D I was not offended by anything you said and I understood your meaning and was grateful for it. I think you got what I was trying to say. I also think all of the women here are spot on about the safety issues, the ways in which women are conditioned to respond, and that I need to be much more careful in how I approach these situations going forward. I think the male observations showing they are aware of actions that make women feel unsafe (blocking an exit, etc.) make me feel good about the men writing here.

I'm glad this sparked debate. I'm a huge advocate of the First Amendment and I love all the views expressed here by everyone. I felt nothing but supported by everything I read and I feel like I learned a lot. But don't be upset with our wonderful D, I think he just saw better what I was getting at so inarticulately.