I am a white, heterosexual male (see picture). Forget the white part. It’s the heterosexual male aspect that matters now. It’s important.
If managed poorly, being a heterosexual male could get me slapped, sued, fired or even shot. The news today is full of stories of men — seemingly smart ones — being accused of sexually harassing women.
Before we pursue this subject further, I should admit that I have been guilty of intentional sexual harassment. Twice.
The first time was in fifth grade, the results of which were so demoralizing that I didn’t attempt it again until I was in the Army. This also ended badly when I made a loud, somewhat boozy observation about a woman’s behind before realizing that she outranked me. By a lot.
Women are high on my list of things that make life worth living. Not only am I in love with a woman, and all three of our children are women, but I also like looking at women in general.
In the newsroom, I’d much rather look at my female colleagues than I would, oh, say, Paul Rolly, Pat Bagley or Mike Gorrell. Their appearance does nothing for me. Most times it’s even depressing.
Notice I said “looking at women” rather than “leering at women.” There’s a difference. That’s when appreciating women crosses into the territory of harassing women.
I shouldn’t have to mention touching women without being invited, something apparently boorish drunks and rich, powerful guys can’t seem to figure out.
To the best of my recollection, I’ve never been so wealthy or chemically addled that it seemed like a good idea to just reach out and latch onto a part of a woman regardless of how prominently it was being displayed.
I have, however, been powerful enough to do it. As a cop, I had to put my hands on women who deeply resented it. But you can’t arrest someone without doing that.
It was simply amazing where people would put guns, knives, syringes, drugs and other things I didn’t want to come as a surprise later. I once found a two-shot .22-Magnum Derringer in a hefty woman’s butt crack.
And, yes, I stuck my hand down the back of her pants and removed it. We each learned valuable lessons. I learned to keep hand sanitizer on me at all times. She learned (hopefully) to not wear stretch pants that were two sizes too small.
I wasn’t accused of sexual harassment or abuse that time, but I was later when a drunk woman’s tube top slipped down around her waist as she fought to keep from being handcuffed for DUI. She screamed “rape” at passing traffic. Lucky for me, witnesses backed me up.
There are women who sexually harass men, or make false accusations of it. But these are in a distinct minority. Sexual harassment (and worse) of the Donald Trump, Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby type is almost entirely a male problem.
If that kind of behavior is what it takes to get you anywhere with women, you’re almost certainly not that good of a catch in the first place.
Next time you feel like behaving this way, take a look in the mirror. Also, take a long look inside yourself. You might see something that needs fixing. Try not to oink.