Steve Wyard thought he knew what sexual harassment looked like: a put-out-or-lose-your-job overture. Now he’s not so sure.
Bullshit. We know how we’re supposed to act. No guy in the headlines was fired for simply giving suggestive compliments. Al Franken groped a sleeping woman. Charlie Rose was an ass-grabber and dick exposer. Matt Lauer bought a dildo as a gag gift with explicit descriptions of how he wanted to use it on her. Anthony Weiner flaunted his namesake. Roy Moore stalked underaged girls for decades. Donald Trump was a pussy grabber and wife beater. Bill Cosby used chemical coercion. Danny Masterson was a serial rapist. Harvey Weinstein was a sleazeball executive. Russell Simmons was an exhibitionist rapist. George Bush Sr was an ass-grabber. Kevin Spacey was a gay rapist. Louis C.K. was a lewd exhibitionist. That’s just a highlight reel.
Be a man. Treat women the way you want your mothers, wives and daughters to be treated by other men. Don’t send unsolicited dick pics. If a woman rebuffs your sexual advances, stop the shenanigans.
I get the concern for ambiguity. I can be that guy. After all, how many of my friends have seen me naked before, voluntarily or otherwise, online or in person? I can be very suggestive when I’m flirty. It’s my nature- I am a Scorpio to a fault. Anyone who knows me like that can easily take a single incident of my behavior and point it out as a textbook example of sexual harassment.
I have two things to say in my defense. Firstly, I consider harassment a behavior issue. If it makes her uncomfortable, I will ask if I am being out-of-line. If she likes my behavior, the flirty banter continues. If she doesn’t, then I de-escalate or avoid. When I was younger, sometimes the conversation may have happened a few times before I got it. But after hearing so many worst-case scenarios from friends and family, I have since adopted “No Means No the First Time” doctrine.
Secondly, I am not a pussy grabber. I am hands-off until permission is granted. Ass-grabbing used to be a casual thing to me, until one time I saw what I considered a look of disproportionate fear in a friend’s eyes. As a friend, I knew I would never actually harm her. But that look told me that someone else already has. Ever since then, I keep my hands to myself unless I am clearly told otherwise. If it’s not yours, don’t act like it is.
Hugs are easy. Like a high five. Open up for one, let her come into it. If she leaves you hanging, don’t be mad. Offer a handshake instead.
Guys, don’t act stupid. You were raised right. Show some respect when you show some love. Coercion is not a compliment. If you get mixed messages, clarify or move on. Any woman who more complicated than that is going to turn out to be a headache at best, a nightmare at worst. I know.
My astrological tendencies are not a license to excuse bad behavior. My libido defines my character, but it does not excuse it. I know that things I do in the moment can be (and will be) judged later on. Do not do anything towards a woman that you would snap another guy’s neck for doing to your mother/daughter. It really is that simple.