Beyond Babedom

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

Pass Me the Coke

Twenty years ago you couldn’t say “Coke” without making someone snicker and picture pubic hair on a Coke can. Yes, it’s been two decades since Anita Hill was dragged through the mud for coming forward with her story of sexual harassment  and Clarence Thomas was confirmed to a lifetime position on the Supreme Court, despite Anita’s testimony about his perverse nature (much of which has since been independently confirmed). Wherever you stand on that piece of history may be colored by your own history: if you’ve been a victim of harassment  (and I’m going to guess most women over 40 have been at one time or another) or if you’re a harasser yourself. . .

What actually constitutes harassment? Most women know; I’m going to guess a lot of men don’t.  Some kinds are obvious – the touching, the grabbing, the unwanted sexual pressure by a boss. But not all of it is all that clear to everyone. What is “courting” between two people can be harassment when one of the two just isn’t interested. But when a guy yells “Hey, how would you like to suck. . .?” from a construction site, most people would probably concur (except, of course, the guy doing the yelling).

But, what if he yelled, “Hey, baby, you’re beautiful,” or “Wow! Nice legs!”? That’s where it starts to get confusing – for the harassee, anyway.  How do I know if I’m harassing someone? I’m just complimenting her! Well, I’ve come up with a few standards to help those somewhat dense guys before they throw caution to the wind:

1- Consider whether or not it would bother you personally. No, not the exact same “compliment.” Something more specific to a man, such as “Hey, if you weren’t bald I could really go for you!” or “You look really good for a old guy.”

2- If you heard some guy yelling what you’re considering yelling to your mother, would it bother you? You know,  stuff like “Nice jugs” or “Oh, yah, Mamie. Let’s do it!” In fact, would you like anybody yelling anything at your dear old Mom?

3- Not everything you might consider saying is necessarily a compliment. Sometimes it’s a suggestion, like “Hey, wanna f*ck?” So, think about how you’d react to a suggestion like, “Oh, baby, why don’t you come home with me and cut the lawn?” or “I’d really like to shave your back!”

4- Finally, you have to consider the fact that, as attractive and desirable you are (or think you are. . . ), not every woman will necessarily feel the same way. Some may even consider you incredibly gross and feel nauseous at the thought of being with you. So, think about what kind of person coming on to you would really turn you off, female or male. In fact, if you’re straight (which I assume you are if you’re harassing women), I want you to think about a very determined gay man approaching you, despite your attempts to avoid him. Go on; picture it. Feel it. Emerge yourself in it.

That’s how we feel.

Now you get it.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, October 13th, 2011 at 1:39 AM and is filed under men. 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. Patrice says:

    I, personally, don’t find the “nice legs” or “hey gorgeous” harassment. Angie came up with a great one if some says “f*&k you”…it’s simple…You’ll fall in love and I’ll fall asleep…..usually works to shut them up, if they’re bright enough to understand what you said. I remember working, many years ago at that tile company with Diann Kelly and that disgusting Mr. Vickers would sexually harass every woman in the office. I was 14 and he tried rubbing himself on my back while i was sitting in a chair. I immediately yelled-“what the hell are you doing?” needless to say, he no longer did that to me, although other women in the office allowed him to continue because he was a big wig…what is really was is a big pig. Also had a situation, again at 14, where a male figure in my life would expose himself to me. Fortunately, I had you to go to for advice and by simply telling him that I would tell on him if he did it again worked. I began to think that there was something wrong with me and not the men who were doing such things to me. Got raped by an ex boyfriend in mid 20’s and did nothing about it, believing I must have been responsible. Gratefully, at the wise age of 39.95 (+tax), I would never believe it was me and would certainly take action against the PIG.
    just saying…….

    • Yes, Patrice, when you yelled at Mr Vickers he backed off – but, then again, you didn’t work there and have to worry about losing your job. Back then, women didn’t have the protection of sexual harassment laws. But, even now, you have to prove it. And who can afford to lose their job, get publicly humiliated, get black balled from an industry? Even today, it’s a courageous woman (and one who can afford it) who will stand up and fight.

  2. Barry Jay says:

    I remember Lynn always telling me about the men she delt with a Merrill Lynch. After a huge rollout of their brokerage terminals in 1983, there was a huge party in Princeton. The entire excutive staff was there..from the CEO and down. When it’s was LYnn’s turn to receive her award for “Tenacity”..she stood in front of the entire audience and said “You have no idea what it’s like being the only woman in the room when talking about a cut in Beaver Pennsylvania” (A “Cut” was a cutover…when a Merrill office switched from one system to another). The audience roared….if you can’t beat em’, join em’.

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