[edit: somewhere along the line, I go from sober but still casual and snarky to, like, deadly serious and start waxing poetic about things I didn't even plan to talk about. I think I'm getting drunk on sleep loss now.]
I am mostly yelling at Tumblr here, but by tomorrow, critical reviews will probably make me mad too.
Coming down off the high, abruptly met by the liberal version of pearl-clutchers, resulting in: oh Jesus god we're going to spend the next week/year/eternity screaming about "consent," aren't we? Ugh. Look, okay, we can all agree it's pretty inappropriate to unbutton your friend's shirt and start touching their skin while they're asleep. Objectively. Don't do that, kids!
But in this specific fictional context, Blaine is not going to be traumatized from the interaction. There was no gratuitous groping and the touching had a medicinal (shut up) purpose that did, in fact, make him feel better. You know what else feels nice? Cuddling, regardless of gender or sexuality. Blaine is a tactile person and you cannot convince me that had he woken up and found her asleep, he wouldn't have been content to shut his eyes again. If people can go around shipping Kurt/Adam, you can damn sure let me have my heart's fondest desire of Blaine and Tina "dating" in a completely asexual and kissing-free way because lonely puppy is lonely and being close to someone is comforting.
And don't do the thing where you extrapolate and go "oh, so it's okay to assault someone as long as they don't know"? This isn't about setting legal precedents. (which is why I'm not going to call it "assault.") This is its own thing. This is about giving us the raw material, for people with insufficient imaginations, to replace Tina with Kurt, have images of Blaine soft-eyed and sleepy. This is about getting to clasp your hands and watch clumsy attempts at nursing someone back to health, because maybe even if you're not damaged and weird, taking care of someone is the best way you know how to show love.
So in this specific case? Yeah. It was actually pretty much okay even though he didn't know. Sometimes that happens! Just like how sometimes straight people apparently get drunk and kiss their straight friends without warning (or consent) and the response is "whoa, wouldn't have initiated that, but oh well no harm done." Unless you feel like a victim, you're not.
He's leading her on without meaning to and she's far too aggressive in thinking she can change him, and it's never going to go anywhere good, but if he really felt that threatened by her, he would have put some distance between them by now (no, I said DON'T do the thing where you accuse me of victim-blaming). And that's partly because Blaine is too nice for his own good and can't confront or say no to anyone (hey Sebastian), but is it also maybe a little bit because he trusts her that much? Not just "trusts her to respect his space," but trusts her as a safe space regardless. (OK, that one's self-indulgent, but who gon' stop me)
For all that I have screamed about cracks named Eli and irreparable scars caused by kissing or otherwise being with other people in the midgame realm, Tina isn't any of that. She's a balm on the awful damaged landscape of my once pristine pairing, and I can't explain why. I don't particularly ship it, and don't really want them to kiss, but I wouldn't hate it if they did. Maybe because she's female and not a threat, it's like they won't ever really connect, so she's just keeping Kurt's spot warm (and oh, how I wish Blaine would just set those boundaries once and for all and Tina would respect what she can and cannot have by letting him be the Kurt to her Rachel). Whereas Kurt merely smiling at Adam kills pieces of my soul, building a wall between and a bridge to some part of Kurt that didn't exist before and that Blaine can never touch.
(Yeah, I can see a giant and supremely unfair double standard there, but I prefer to think of it as wanting Kurt to be better than Blaine, to be the one of them that knows his own heart and can withstand the worst until, with enough time, he forgives because there was only ever one place for it. I forgave Blaine six episodes ago, though, which is why I want him to have support (you're the weak link, and don't ever forget it), and now it's all on Kurt to do what he does best, absorb the injustice and rise above it. You're the noble one in this fairytale I still want to believe.)
Wow this post is getting away from me. What were we talking about? Consent? I have no idea how to get back to that point.
And also I need to go watch Tina Florence Nightingale the crap out of Loverboy again.*
Knew I could get this post back to a snarky place, at least.
[*edit upon rewatch: wow. I told you I couldn't remember most of what happened. I don't regret this essay for one second, but it really is going to take a while for me find a comfortable balance between "vicarious squee" and "oh my god this is the most uncomfortable I have ever been" line. I forgot straddling was involved. That, no, that should not have happened.]
[but also, HANDS, hand wrapped around wrist and heartbeat under her ear; stolen comforts but how can she not?, and surely he wouldn't mind, she thinks.
I DON'T UNDERSTAND WHY WE ARE EVEN TRYING TO RESIST THIS.
This part is just sweet, and admittedly sad for her delusions, and mostly really makes me want to view it through my lens where they're dating (so all of this is implied consent) but he's in the closet - her melodramatic tears are sadder if you pretend they're her thinking she's doing something wrong that her boyfriend doesn't want to do more than chastely kiss, or maybe suspecting but not wanting to give him up.
Aaaaand now I really want Tina to randomly give Kurt a frustrated lecture at the wedding on how Blaine has so much love to give ("Yes, I remember him giving some away") and it's not fair that he doesn't even appreciate how lucky he was/could still be.
Rewatch #9 because I am incorrigible and he looks so sweet and her movements are all so careful. But those unwarranted tears are going to be a problem. I'm going terminal-illness AU with this, aren't I? God, I am. And Kurt's not even in sight at this point, and Blaine keeps getting straighter in my head. Gettin' way too fond of pretending this is a real relationship.
WAIT NO. I just caught a little quirk of a maybe-smile when her hands are on him, and theeeere Kurt is, hanging out in Blaine's brain. Context restored.
Oh, I have so very much more to think about, but I need to sleep so I can get back to work. I think I'm working this weekend too. #(%&#!