|Posted on February 19, 2018 at 11:10 PM|
Like many others, I have been thinking about the #metoo movement. A lot. First of all, it’s about time! But before I go further, I should disclose that I’m a 64 year old recent retiree. I was in the work force for 45 years. I’m in a 30+ marriage to my soulmate and sweetheart, Pepper. Another woman. Prior to Pepper, I dated men only and was married to a man for 15 years, which has given me a unique perspective on both sides of the aisle so to speak. Having had both a wife and a husband, I can tell you the joys and challenges of both. But that’s another story for another time.
While I probably won’t be directly affected by what happens next between men and women in the workforce or playforce, I am still very interested in what it’s going to be like now. For one, Pepper and I are parents of a 20-year-old son and an 18-year old daughter. This has me wondering. Will it be so much better for my daughter than it was for me and other women in the olden days? And on the other hand, it will be potentially worse for my son?
In my story, the world is turned on its side for the next few years—hasn’t it already been turned upside down for us? So what’s another 90 degree rotation in the big scheme of things. From now on, only girls and women can approach the opposite sex for dates, coffee, conversation, a dance, sex and any other courting rituals that have traditionally be assigned to the man or boy. Think about it. A man will no longer wonder if she is truly interested. She approached you. She asked for your phone number. She said, “Let’s have a coffee and roll! Or “Let’s have a roll in the hay!” Just don’t confuse the two. No more guessing. No more embarrassing yourself by walking across a crowded room because you thought she looked at you just a little longer than usual, only to be turned down and have to take the walk of shame back to the support beam you were holding up. How could you be so wrong? Never again.
A comedian used to say that “women are psychic. They know if youre’ going to have sex.” It’s so funny because it’s so true.
I opened with “it’s about time!” because we have seen all too well what unwanted, non-consensual sexual advancements and assault can do to a person. But I am also romantic and hope we will manage to find a way to still court one another. That my daughter will feel the thrill of hearing a guy say, “I’ve loved you since 8th grade. I was just afraid to talk to you because you were so pretty!” Or that my son may get to do do what my father did to entice the woman of his dreams.
My parents met on a crowded street in London in 1940. He was a handsome immigrant from Hungary, fleeing his homeland from the impending Nazi invasion and she an Irish beauty having left the old sod to live in a big city. My father spoke very little English but carried a small English/Hungarian dictionary with him to get by. The moment he saw her, he was smitten. He impulsively walked up to her and kissed her on the nose. She instinctively pushed him away while an English bobbie looked on, with an impish smile. My father began quickly pointing to words in his dictionary expressing his adoration and pure intentions. She walked away. Spoiler alert. The story didn’t end there.
He got a job where she worked. He moved into an apartment across the street from hers. Sounds like every RomCom on the top ten list in women’s magazines. Today, I think we would call that stalking. But it was that hopeless romantic who pursued my mother for months till she finally said “yes!’ and ended up marrying him. And, is the reason I—number seven of eight children—am here today. My son could end up in jail for doing anything similar. My daughter could miss out on the most amazing man who can only pursue her from afar. Because after all, it is only the respectable, honorable men who already avoid offending women at all costs, and who will now double down and stop doing anything that could remotely be considered harassment. It’s like the people who voluntarily take sexual harassment and anger management classes. It’s typically the ones who don’t really need it in the first place.
Even in the stone age when "I was laughing myself silly at Mary Todd Lincoln’s baby shower," as my daughter would say, we all knew the rules. You weren’t supposed to date the boss or the subordinate. A professor wasn’t supposed to date his students even though they were over 18. “Supposed to" are the magic words. People did it all the time. But we all understood right from wrong.
When Pepper and I became acquainted, we were just friends. It took me a good nine months to realize that I had feelings for her. “Those” feelings. But as any good lesbian will tell you, they would never pursue a straight woman unless she made the first move. It just isn’t done—despite what you see in Orange is the New Black. In the real world, lesbians just wouldn’t cross that line. So, I knew I had to make the first move. I already knew she had feelings for me. That 8x10 picture of me hanging if her office was a clue. I invited her out to dinner and I told her I had something to tell her before dropping her off at her car. We pulled in to a place for a drink. There I took a sip of my drink, which till today she swears was an amaretto sour, which I have never had in my life, but I digress. I gulped it down and said, “I’m attracted to you.” Just like in the movies, she proceeded to grab her things and got up to leave because she fully expected and heard me say, “I can’t be your friend anymore because of that lesbian thing you have.” Another spoiler alert—we ironed all that out and have been happily coupled since 1987.
Even though this was obviously brand new territory to me, I did know the rules of dating. I was 10+ years older than she. While I gave her—and myself—the green light, I took great pains to not take advantage of her youth because of my age and life experience. Young ladies can be sensitive and easily hurt, I found out very quickly. Men seemed to be used to the ups and downs of a relationship with females and just kept their heads down and repeated, “You’re right. I’m wrong.” a lot. Courting a woman was a great deal more work. She’s right and I’m wrong. A lot. Women are high maintenance. Unlike a man, who requires so little to be happy—food, sex, beer, sex, time alone, sex, TV, sex, TV and sex. So I’m throwing this out there to you young whippersnappers. If a man tried to grab me by the puss at my advanced age, first I would laugh out loud. Then, I would take a quick gander in the mirror to see if I really still had it. Then, I would punch him straight in the throat. But, that’s just me. I really have a lot of great advice for attracting and keeping a man—if you want one. The working title for my next book is “Men: I don’t want one, but if you do…” It will be chockful of tips and scenarios for catching that man and keeping him happy. As for women. I’m still perfecting that.