As a ‘shipper, I’m pretty indiscriminate. I have my favorite pairing, but I usually follow good writing and the author I like. Before Dave threatened Kurt’s life and forced a kiss on him, before Blaine, I could read and enjoy the Kurtofsky ‘ship. Even now, I can imagine reading and enjoying story where Dave and Kurt meet ten years on and fall in love when the pain of Dave’s bullying has faded, and Dave truly understands how much he hurt and frightened Kurt.
But one of the things I have been seeing in Kurtofsky fandom is this idea that Karofsky somehow “deserves” a chance with Kurt because he’s such a hurt little woobie and he’s changed. Or at the very least that Kurt should feel bad for rejecting him because Dave is so nice now. I find this attitude pretty disturbing.
I wrote this essay in response to the Kurtofsky/Klaine ship warring I’ve been seeing on Tumblr and also to this story: http://www.scarvesandcoffee.net/viewsto
The link above is to a post “Heart” story that resolves the tension between Kurt, Karofsky, and Blaine. While the author expresses Kurt’s anger and his love and definite preference for Blaine, there is a lingering sense Kurt and Blaine should feel bad for Karofsky, so bad that Blaine offers Kurt up to Karofsky for a dance at the Sugar Shack without asking Kurt’s permisison. No. I’m serious. Story excerpt:
Kurt plants a kiss on Blaine’s temple as they begin to sway before nuzzling his face into the crook of Blaine’s neck, just breathing in the scent of him.
A few seconds later, however, Blaine pulls away.
“I think this dance is reserved for someone else,” Blaine says softly, gesturing with his chin toward the door.
When Kurt turns, he’s surprised to see Karofsky standing alone, looking uncharacteristically small and nervous, not knowing what to do with his hands. Blaine waves him over with his hand and Karofsky shuffles over to them, ducking his head.
Kurt looks back to Blaine, shock probably written all over his face.
“Blaine, are you su-”
“Well considering I’m the one who got his number from someone and called him and told him to come here,” Blaine says with an easy smile, “yeah. I’m sure.”
“I’m glad you came back,” Kurt says.
“Of course I am,” Kurt says honestly. “I may not believe you love me, but you think you do. And it’s Valentine’s Day. Everyone should get to have at least one dance with the person they love on Valentine’s Day.”
Unable to stop himself, Kurt takes a step closer and rests his head on David’s chest. He can feel David inhale sharply, but as he exhales, his hold on Kurt’s hand tightens. Kurt allows his eyes to close and he listens to Rachel’s soft, sweet voice come through the speakers as she wraps up the song. They only have less than a minute left to dance, but they’re both sure to make it count.
This story…kind of made me throw up in my mouth a little. Dave may no longer be a self-hating homophobic bully, but he is still self-centered, insecure, and deluded, and he isn’t entitled to anything from Kurt. And Kurt is not a thing that can be passed around from one boy to another.
Dave Karofsky is not a monster, but it is obvious that in the months since he decided he “thinks” he is in love with Kurt he never really thought of Kurt as a person separate from himself at all. He never thought about whether Kurt was attracted to him. He never thought about the fact that he had attacked and humiliated Kurt and threatened to kill him. He never thought about Kurt at all.
We first see evidence of Dave’s objectification of Kurt in the locker room scene where Dave forces a kiss on Kurt. He has just slammed Kurt into a locker, and Kurt chases him down and fights back verbally.
And then Dave forcefully kisses him.
There is absolutely in this scene that would be a lead up to a kiss. Kurt is angry, disgusted, and hurt, but instead of responding to that, Dave just decides to take the kiss he has been wanting. Dave has a scenario in his head that has nothing to do with the enraged man standing in front of him. And even when Kurt reacts with horror, Dave doesn’t seem to notice and actually tries to kiss him again. Dave isn’t reacting to Kurt as a person here. He can’t see Kurt at all or respond to him as a person. Kurt is an object to Dave.
And a year later, Kurt is still an object of desire and an object period, not a person with feelings, who may still be hurt by Dave’s previous actions, a person with a life and a boyfriend that he loves.
To Dave, Kurt is a reward for his current good behavior. He no longer bullies people, he apologized to Kurt, he’s tiptoeing out of the closet, and he sent all these lovely cards. Why can’t Kurt see what a nice guy he is and how much Dave deserves his love? Dave thinks that he has earned the right to Kurt. He has built up a relationship in his head that has nothing to do with the reality of his tenuous would-be relationship with the actual person known as Kurt.
That being said, I do have some sympathy for Karofsky. He is obviously a very frightened and insecure young man who has a long way to go before he feels comfortable with himself, but my sympathy ends where Kurt’s autonomy begins.