Reading the responses to yesterday's post left me awfully gloomy. Another generation of nice girls being scared out of their wits by thoughtless, presumptuous and sometimes even drunken and/or violent men. And this not including the girls who were beaten and raped. Argh!
This is the part where I remind myself and you that most men are not like that and most men are horrified by such behaviour. There have always been men who have said things like, "Pardon me, Miss, but is this man bothering you?" and sent said man packing. When I was younger, and my brother N.S. was still in the Armed Forces, he used to say things like, "Hey, you. That's my sister." It always made me laugh, but I appreciated it anyway. For one thing, it came completely free of controlling-brother behaviour.
Beyond the bad behaviour of the strange men in yesterday's testimonies, what really struck me was that the commentators shook for a week afterwards. This is not surprising. I would shake, too. But my great wish is that we would not be so taken unawares of bad male behaviour, but somehow take it in our stride. How do we maintain an optimistic attitude about men and yet at the same time be prepared to deal decisively with bad male behaviour and go on our way rejoicing?
As usual, I think we do that by remaining rooted in reality.
We acknowledge that most men are good, but most men are also conventional and won't make a fuss on behalf of a complete stranger unless she looks directly at one of them and says "Please help me."
We also acknowledge, however, that we have male friends who might know even better than we do what protection we might need from other men and are willing to provide it.
We acknowledge also that some men are racist sexists (or snobs) and will treat women of another race (or social class) badly if they can get away with it.
We also acknowledge the role of alcohol in bad male behaviour. (Alcohol, by the way, is a factor in most violent crimes in Scotland, and if I can at all help it, I never go into a pub alone. I avoid being around drunk strangers ANYWHERE alone.)
We differentiate between what is merely annoying, what is merely scary, and what is really worth being seriously angered and disturbed about. I wouldn't stay bothered about some moronic comments, but being touched against my will is indeed a big deal and I hope I would scream the place down. My knee-jerk reaction to men behaving badly, however, is to give them a dirty look and leave. It's been some time since some moron laid a hand on me, possibly because the second I get mad or nervous, I'm gone. I don't care what anyone thinks. I'm outta there. TAX-I!
But the fact that I wish to stress again is that there are men who would say absolutely anything, including "I bet you're much too snobby/racist/stuck-up/prissy to talk with me," to bamboozle you into having sex, wanted or not, with them. There are men who would tell any lie.
I think this is very important because the next time any of you are sitting in a railway station or pub or sitting-room and some guy starts confusing you, I don't want you to smile weakly and feel stupid and that there's something you're not getting and it's all your fault. It's not your fault. You feel confused either because the guy is either deliberately trying to confuse you or because he has no idea how to behave. And if you can't think of anything else to do, hand him your drink, say "Hold this for me" and leave. That should confuse HIM. Find a stationmaster or a taxi or your hostess.
But now I think I should lighten things up by thinking of things men say to get women to whom they aren't married into bed. I can only think of a few because, lucky me, I haven't been that hit-on-able. I have always looked a tad intimidating, what with the crazy hair and all.
You can add to the hilarity by adding things you have heard in the combox. Then we can all have a good laugh, and if some guy says one of these things to you, you can shoot him down or simply go away and then have another good laugh.
1. "You can't get pregnant the first time."
2. "So how Catholic are you?"
3. "If you want to get your stuff back, you'll have to come home with me."
4. "But the whole concept of virginity is nothing more than a mediaeval construct aimed at preserving property and keeping women as chattel."
5. "You should come and see my room now because I'm moving to a new one tomorrow." (This was at 1 AM.)
6. "God can just blame me. I'll willing to take all the blame."
7. "There is no God. Therefore if the only reason why you won't sleep with me is God, that's pretty stupid."
8. Any variation on "If you won't, there are other girls who will" which generally gets trotted out only by jerks one has a crush on.
9. "What? I no understand... My Eenglish, is not so good..."
Tomorrow I will write something nice about nice men, but today we dance another tarantella on the heads of bad men.