Men Behaving Badly

You can’t always predict when a spark will catch fire, but when it does the result can light the sky.

Who knew that a Washington Post article about a Hollywood studio mogul with a wandering everything would explode into the latest worldwide societal flashpoint?

But the #MeToo movement is on fire.  Its flames are fanning through the world, via #YoTambien, #MoiAussi, etc.

All I can say is I’m glad the creeps are being called out—the famous ones anyway.  As for the non-famous Neanderthals, you can only hope that maybe they’re taking the hint.

Sexual harassment, in all its eye-leering, innuendo-sneering and butt-pinching glory, has been around as long as men have been, well, men.   It’s not news that for most of human history men were the hunter-providers, and women their necessary dependants.   During the centuries when men provided protection and food in a cold world, women provided warmth.  Each side got what they needed.

But not anymore.   These days women need men for—well, not much actually.  Sperm, I guess.  And bug squashing.  I’ve noticed my wife really depends on me to squash bugs.

Okay, fine—but this leaves an entire gender adrift on the rolling seas of a tsunamic society.  So far the results aren’t pretty.

Ladies, I know you look at my gender and wonder how in the world we can be so arrogant, rude, callous, insensitive, one-track-minded…I could go on.

How did it happen?  I’ll tell you how.  We (guys) were taught to be that way by older kids, sometimes by our male friends and family, and absolutely through music videos and the websites you turn off when someone walks into the room.

We were taught to be the aggressors when it comes to women.  We’re the ones who ask you to dance, to date, and to marry.  We were taught that when you say no there’s a chance you might be saying yes, and we’ve been taught to take the chance and see what happens.

We’ve been taught that you work hard—certainly harder than we do—to appear, um, presentable in public.  In fact I’ll use the word:  you work hard to be attractive.  When you succeed, we’re attracted.   Biology kicks in. Brain power fades.

And we’re taught that if we’re not handsome, you will still like us as long as we’re rich and/or powerful.  We’ve all seen those hot babes on the arms of overweight and elderly rich guys (*cough*mr. president *cough*).

We’re taught that you like men who “come on strong.”  Sometimes the stronger the better.  Believe me, ladies, we all noticed when Fifty Shades of Grey—a book written by someone with the literary talent of a seven year old describing her summer vacation—flew off the shelves.

And we’re taught that when it comes to sexual battlefields, there’s not that much difference between the board room and the corner bar.  After all, rank has its privileges, right?

So we add up all this Neanderthal math in our Neanderthal heads and conclude that it’s worth our Neanderthal efforts to take a shot.  You might like it, you might not, but if you don’t you’ll tell us and we’ll stop.  No harm, no foul.

I’m not kidding.  That’s the way a lot of men think.

Well, standby for breaking news:  there was harm.  There was a foul.  Who knew?  As difficult as it is to believe, a lot of men are surprised by all the fuss right now.

So ladies, please continue the fight.  Push hard.  Complain to HR, and if they don’t get back to you complain again.  Keep the pressure on.  You have a right to do your job without having to endure those patronizing pats on your posterior.   You have a right to know you were promoted for your skills, not your sizzle.

I know, I know.  Guys should have figured this out a long time ago, but a lot of us didn’t.  Our bad.  So keep those sledgehammers coming.  Beat on our foreheads hard enough and maybe we’ll notice something’s changing.  I like to think that sooner or later even the dimmest of us will catch on.

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