One of the defenses Roy Moore’s supporters love to bring up is, why now? It’s a better defense than comparing him to Joseph and Mary, or he never did it without the parents’ permission, or that some 14-year-old girls can pass for 20, or that all the single women his age were already hooked up, or he dated young ladies “for their purity.” Seriously. A pastor used that last defense.
Moore’s defenders point out that he’s run for statewide election several times in the past and has been in the public eye for decades. So, why now?
I can’t believe Alabama is a black hole that doesn’t receive national news, but I can believe Roy Moore and his supporters are idiots. There’s a lot of people who can ask “why now?”. Roger Ailes probably asked that question before he died. I’m sure Bill O’Reilly, Al Franken, Kevin Spacey, Louis C.K., Charlie Rose, and John Conyers are asking the question. We need to pay less attention to the “why nows” and more to the “me toos.” Every man needs to ask himself if he has ever created a “me too.”
What is being described as “a critical mass of testimonials” is hitting men in politics, entertainment, business, and even in journalism. While we knew about Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly, which didn’t really shock anyone, new startling revelations are emerging about Charlie Rose, New York Times reporter Glenn Thrush, Mark Halperin, and Michael Oreskes.
As these revelations come out, lesser-known guys like myself have to be asking ourselves, “did I do that?” (and hopefully not in an Urkel voice). If every man in the United States who committed a sexual transgression in life was to lose his job, the unemployment rate would be somewhere around 60%, and you’d only have three political cartoonists to read.
O’Reilly’s story didn’t make me question my past. I have never called a girl on the phone and committed his offense. Since I’ve never disrobed and asked a female colleague to give me a nude massage or watch me shower, or answer the door in a bathrobe, neither Rose’s or Weinstein’s traps trigger any flashbacks. Louis C.K.’s deal definitely did not make me feel ashamed because who in the hell does that? What is wrong with these guys? How does it ever enter someone’s brain that THAT is a good idea or someone might even wanna see that? I don’t even want to describe it here, and this blog uses curse words.
Some guys, instead of confronting themselves, will cry about the times they’ve been sexually harassed. They need to cut that shit out right now. Yes, we get sexually harassed….like once in our lives. So, guys….shut up.
Some guys might think they’ve been Mr. Awesome their entire lives and have only exhibited ultra-cool behavior. They’re wrong, because even when we’re at our “coolest” we’re still bumbling idiots. We’re idiots who don’t know where the line is.
Thrush and Franken have both been accused of kissing women who didn’t want to be kissed. While I question what I might have said to a woman while I was in their company or even in a working atmosphere, I know I’ve crossed lines with physical contact. I’m sure every guy has. At times, attempting a kiss is a normal routine in dating. It’s called “making a move.” We’re all familiar with it, I hope. At other times, it’s taken as an assault. This is an area that has a line.
How many times have you kissed a girl without explicit permission? How often has it worked out and how many times has it not? In your best case scenario, she let you down gently and was cool about it and you treated her with respect and didn’t run off to tell your mutual friends and colleagues that she’s a slutty lesbian. As a guy who has been shot down in what must be a record number of attempts in various situations throughout his life, I hope I have always responded well. A couple of women come to mind who shot me down (usually just me asking them out) who were super cool with their rejections as though they were concerned for my pride and dignity (though, I still slapped myself in the head all the way home calling myself an idiot). Hopefully, I’ve never done the forced-tongue-down-the-throat technique Franken has been accused of. It’s dangerous being single, which I’ve been since 1999.
There’s been a few times in my life where a woman thought I was interested in her when I wasn’t. There’s been several more where I thought a woman was interested in me when she was not. And, there’s been a few times where I didn’t know someone was interested until years later after the ship had sailed. As I said before, we’re idiots. We spend our entire lives falling down stairs. But, how many times have you been wrong and disrespected a woman with your blunder?
We need to ask ourselves how often we’ve crossed the lines between making a simple pass and offending someone, or even worse, committing an assault.
It’s time to be introspective. Are all of our interactions in the past harmless, something that might be a cherished memory, or simply blown off as no big deal, or is it something that would ruin your career if you had a famous name?
Maybe, we can take the lessons from the past and apply it to our future.
And, let me make a note for every woman out there who has crossed my path in the past, I am NOT famous.
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