Thanks to Donald Trump and a boatload of downstream political dudes, we now know it really does suck to be an American woman.
Not so long ago, a more polite yet misogynistic society referred to Trump’s penchant for accosting women as the boorish behavior of a “masher.” It was something Doris Day might breathlessly have said in a powder-blue suit while starring with Rock Hudson. Often forgotten and forgiven, it’s just as a guy thing.
Now we can be frank and honest. Trump’s behavior constitutes sexual assault. His victims aren’t coming forward with stories of buyer’s remorse the morning after. They’re women who consistently back up what he bragged about on that now notorious bus-tape with TV personality Billy Bush. He has molested strange women by forcing unwanted kisses and gropes, often just moments after meeting them.
And no matter how repulsive you think Trump’s pursed lips unexpectedly attaching themselves to yours would be while he holds you still for the attack, you can pretty much rest assured that his buds, the rest of the country and even some of your friends just shrug it off, and would expect you to as well.
Locker room banter. Guy talk. Boys will be boys. At least he thinks you’re attractive.
I’ve been just as guilty as Billy Bush at times, laughing off the awkward gaucheries of pals who tell waitresses such winning flirtations such as, “and I’ll take a side of you with that.”
Women hate that. I hate that. But rather than say, “That was rude, dude,” I’ve looked the other way at that and much worse.
I know how awful this is mostly because of my wife. She’s drop-dead gorgeous. I don’t mean stunningly beautiful like every guy should think his wife is eye candy. I mean almost everyone who meets her makes those comments.
I’ve never lied about the fact that it got my attention the moment we met 20-some years ago. But I can honestly say her wit, intelligence, talent, charm, integrity, compassion, hedonism and mutual love of steep and deep Colorado snow make me love her. I thank my lucky stars every day that I won the girlfriend jack pot — except for when she disagrees with me. Which is every day.
And while I appreciate just looking at her all time, so do a lot of men.
She gets marriage proposals while picking apples in grocery stores. Funny? More than once these guys then follow her to her car in the parking lot. It’s a better day when the guys just follow her around the store and then lose interest after a while.
She can’t really go for walks by herself in our totally walkable neighborhood. On several occasions, cars drive by her once, then twice, then slow up and pace her, guys asking for “directions” or just wanting her to get in their car.
Sober men insist she yield her time or at least her phone number. Inebriated men badger her for a “date.” Behind every eye roll women offer against harassment is a worry about how far this guy is going to take it.
And she’s like millions and millions of other American women. She’s expected to just laugh it off, look the other way or spend her time explaining why it’s not going to happen. And when she does? She’s “a bitch.”
And we all just shrug it off because that’s the way things are. Or were.
It’s been this way so long, even though women have seriously pushed back against it for years now, that it seemed it could be no other way.
And it won’t change, unless men make it stop. Instead of being Billy Bush — who not only acquiesced Trump’s molester talk, he went much further by becoming complicit, asking a woman whether she had a hug for Trump — we need to push back against the pack mentality.
Men must tell each other they’re being rude, thoughtless or repulsive. I don’t mean that we can’t have friendly, flirtatious banter among peers and friends who have trust and understanding. But your co-worker isn’t your friend and doesn’t want to know that you think her shoes make her look hot. Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly doesn’t want to hear former House Speaker Newt Gingrich tell her she’s “fascinated” with sex because she asks questions about the effect of Trump’s accusers on his campaign. Women in Aurora don’t want to hear Congressman Mike Coffman say he doesn’t know if allegations against Trump constitute sexual assault. They do. Women want men to stand up to each other because nothing else will make it stop.
If Trump were to mash his mouth against my daughter’s or my wife’s? If he were to run his hands over them like he brags about? I’d call the cops because I know they wouldn’t. They know what happens to too many women who out “mashers.”
And the next time I hear a guy tell a strange woman how she should take a load off her pretty feet and sit on his lap, I’ll tell them they sound as creepy as Trump, making American women grate again.
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