Beyond Babedom

We're (way) over 40. Deal with it.

Touchy, Touchy

There is this weird thing that some men/boys do that, apparently, they think they can get away with. Touching women. I don’t mean on the shoulder or the elbow or even pinching a cheek. I mean “touching”, as in  patting her ass or brushing a hand across her breasts or even putting a hand up her skirt. You know why they think they can get away with it? Because they can. Because we simply pretend it didn’t happen.

All you women over 40 out there, you know I’m right. No, it’s not (just) because it’s your word against his. Mostly it’s because we don’t say anything. That’s right; I’m outing all of us. We don’t say anything – most of the  time – because. . . exactly why don’t we? You know we don’t. Even Anita Hill never said anything for years. You will never convince me that Clarence was just verbally assaulting her. Guys like that, who know they can get away with it, push it to the limit. But this blog posting isn’t really about the men who do it. It’s about the women who put up with it.

And women do. I was telling Gary about the time I was on a bus and the guy sitting next to me kept pretending he was asleep – and letting his hand fall in my lap. What did I do? I shifted myself, I crossed my legs, I got up and put my coat on. Finally he did it one too many times and I stabbed him with my knitting needle (yes; I really happened to have knitting needles in my bag). He didn’t yell, he didn’t “wake up”. He just stopped touching me.

But why did I wait until his fourth or fifth onslaught before I reacted, Gary wanted to know. I had to really stop and think. Why did I pretend it wasn’t happening? Out of embarrassment. Because, like it or not, we are taught to be “ladies” and ladies don’t let men do that. If they do, it must be our fault, I guess. Or is it because it draws (leering) attention to us? Really, it’s quite confusing. Because I love to draw attention to myself.  But still, more than once, I’ve pretended away some jerk’s unwanted groping.

It makes me understand – now that I’ve started thinking about this -  how a woman might feel who’s been raped, though on a much smaller scale, obviously. Rape victims don’t want to talk about it, don’t want to admit it happened. And, still, many are accused of “asking” for it.

Then I read about women in Somalia being treated as chattel and raped in record numbers and I wonder: when will women just be considered people?

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This entry was posted on Thursday, December 29th, 2011 at 8:59 PM and is filed under Social Issues. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

  1. Tony says:

    Of course the NYC Subways are a haven for the gropers, both men AND women gropers, and men on men and women on women and women on men and women on women. Of course you also have the “toy” gropers too! I was waiting on line to buy a token and this man kept poking his breifcase into my ass; I have to think it was intentional. It wasn’t pretty, but I let him know about it. That being said; my mother always carried a hatpin on the subway and whatever obvious grope she felt, she would just stab backwards, and it usually solved the problem. I have heard of men actually unbuttoning womens clothes (back when some skirts had button in the back)… OR unzipping their own flys to “get their groove on”.. I personally have stepped in and stopped several “assaults”.

  2. Lynn says:

    I used to take the bus to Manhattan. I would usually sit next to another woman or a thin man just so I’d have enough room for my fat ass. One time I sat in an empty row and a young guy sat next to me. After he sat for a few mins, he folded his arms across his chest and his fingers started to flex outwards brushing against my breast. When he did it once, I assumed it was accidental. When he did it a second time, I adjusted my position and shot him a dirty look. When he did it a third time, I stood up, called him an f’ing pervert and threatened to break his arm. I then moved to the dreaded center seat all the way in the back of the bus. I should have broke his arm….

  3. karl says:

    Thanks for this info. I had no idea that things as overt as this happen so often to women and men. I have lived in NYC and Philadelphia most of my life and never encountered it.

    I have a 24 year old daughter who lives in NYC. Hopefully, if she has had this type of negative experience, her sense of self-worth and self-esteem did not permit her to pretend that nothing happened.

    We will discuss this topic on our next father/daughter date.

  4. Judy Herring says:

    I did encounter some of this years ago. I was at a bar in Belmar and some guy walked up to me and started talking and he lifted his leg up and pressed it against my leg – What the hell??? He went onto to say something gross and I walked away. Did he think I would be flattered by his move? I think some guys think it is a compliment, as preverted as it is, to touch a girl inappropriately. Guess what pervs…it’s disgusting. And besides touching – how about those rude comments guys make?? Don’t they realize they make them look pretty pathetic?? My husband just told me those guys are trying to evoke a reaction when they touch or talk to a stranger inapproiately – if that is all they have in their arsenal, no wonder they’re making rude gestures!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Lucille says:

    But,folks. You’ve missed my point. Why did you just walk away? Why did you wait until the 3rd or 4th time he touched you ? Why???

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