Sunday, November 8, 2009

Coffee and consent

From Until Someone Wakes Up, a play written by Hamline University professor Carolyn Levy and a group of Macalester College students:

Waiter: Would you like some coffee?
Woman: Yes, please.
Waiter: Just say when. (Starts to pour.)
Woman: There. (He keeps pouring.) That's fine. (He pours.) Stop! (She grabs the pot; there is coffee everywhere.)
Waiter: Yes, ma'am.
Woman: Well, why didn't you stop pouring?
Waiter: Oh, I wasn't sure you meant it.
Woman: Look, of course I meant it! I have coffee all over my lap! You nearly burned me!
Waiter: Forgive me, ma'am, but you certainly looked thirsty. I thought you wanted more.
Woman: But -
Waiter: And you must admit, you did let me start to pour.

via Telling: A Memoir of Rape and Recovery by Patricia Weaver Francisco


Saranga said...

That's a good analogy.

Anonymous said...

the one problem with the analogy being that it is visually obvious when a coffee cup is full

figleaf said...

I think it's a great analogy! In particular it nicely illustrates the limits of consent compared to respect for the decision maker. Did the waiter obtain consent to pour the coffee? Yes -- that's pretty crucial and even he probably be shocked by anyone who thought you could just sneak up on someone and pour her a coffee. Did he respect his customer's decision? Not at all.


Amelia said...

Where have I seen this before? It's definitely familiar to me. Thanks for posting it again, though. I've lately been having an unusual number of discussions about consent with people who don't identify as feminists. This is, indeed, a good analogy.

lindsay said...

the one problem with the analogy being that it is visually obvious when a coffee cup is full

Well, not really. The waiter doesn't say, "I'm going to pour until the cup is visually full." The waiter says, "Just say when." It's dependent on when the woman says when. It's dependent on the woman's continual consent to the coffee pouring, not when the cup "looks satisfied."

lindsay said...


I'm not sure where you would have seen it before... I don't think I've posted anything from Until Someone Wakes Up before.

If it helps you remember, I know they perform Until Someone Wakes Up at my undergrad (Hamline University where Carolyn Levy teaches) every fall for the incoming students. I think students/universitys can use the script for free as long as it's for rape prevention/awareness. You might want to look into performing it at Knox (assuming you've got massive free time on your hands).

Unknown said...

Amelia, this is awesome! You know where you saw this before? I brought it to SASS! It's one of my favorite plays that I used a lot in my research. I am bringing it in to my girls groups tomorrow and was looking for this scene, so googled the words and the first hit was your blog! It was such a pleasant surprise! I miss you lots, and keep up the good work to all of you!