I’ll preface this by saying that if you’re uncomfortable with vulgarity, stop reading now.
Misogyny begins with entitlement. Men believe they’re entitled to speak in any manner they wish to women. And when we object, they accuse us of not being grateful. After all, can’t we take a compliment? Our next president believes he can kiss women whenever he wants, that he can grab their pussy, and do as he pleases, Tic Tacs replacing boxes of M&Ms typically found in the Resolute desk when this guy takes office. And as for the pussy grabbing comments, according to him, they’re just words, folks, just words.
Well now. Isn’t that frightening. Compliments are words as well. And it’s nice when friends and family compliment me on my hair or a new dress. But that doesn’t mean some random guy should do it. Honestly, what immediately comes to mind when a guy compliments me is to wonder what he wants. Because typically he wants something.
When we were in business, I remember men trying to “butter me up” to get what they wanted, an expression my late father-in-law used to say, wanting this or that. One foolish idiot set up one of his “friends” to come in to request some work, his unsuspecting friend kissing my ass sideways when he stopped by. And the guy was dumb enough to tell me his friend said he had to do that in order to get me to do anything for him which was never the case. My husband walked into the room at just the right time and I let him know what was going on. He began laughing hysterically while the guy just stood there, looking perplexed. My husband proceeded to tell him that kissing MY ass was the last thing he would EVER want to do. His friend had made him look the fool. He apologized and we ended up doing some business together, but it was odd just the same.
All anyone ever had to do was to ask something from me in a respectful tone, and then accept the outcome. Just because they wanted something didn’t mean we were always in a position to give them what they wanted, although we made every attempt to do so. That’s a part of life that most learn as children. But almost every time I said no, word would get back to us about all the nasty things that were said about me. All because I said no to a man. A pathetically entitled and fussy man. Oh my.
Whether it’s compliments, comments, or intrusive behavior, although I’ve written about this before, I wanted to revisit it again because it’s so personal when it happens. I tend to see all of it on the same boundary continuum with other more serious behavior. It may be at the opposite end from sexual assault, but I believe when a man crosses a boundary with a woman, we never know what he’s capable of. Maybe his behavior thankfully never goes beyond a few skeevy words or some ogling, but for many of us who have experienced sexual assault in our lives, it’s still just too much.
So to get into specifics, here’s some of the bullshit I’ve experience with men over the years and my response to it.
- Smile ~ Fuck you and the horse you rode in on, you smug son of a bitch, you. Do you really want me to be a source of entertainment for you, because if so, I would be happy to perform the first 30 seconds of my Black Belt test.. on you.. because you’re looking like some really awesome fresh meat.
- You look great! How much weight did you lose? ~ Again, fuck you. Why are you looking at me in the first place? And why are you following me around, whispering all of this crap to me while my husband works away in the next room? Wait a minute..let me get my husband so he can hear this shit. Oh, you don’t want my Black Belt husband to hear you? Really? Well, if you think you’re safe with me, you’re sadly mistaken, because he graciously taught me everything he knows. Everything. Because at the end of the day, you’ll wish it was my husband who dealt with you. Even our best friend made unwelcome comments about my appearance. Another Black Belt no less. He knew how sick I had been and for how long. Changes I experienced happened because I got well, something we thought would never happen. So fuck him, too.
- Following me into closed-in areas where they’re not supposed to be ~ The punk ass shit for brains actually said, oh, did I scare you? Fuck you, you pint-sized piece of shit. Had he put one hand on me, the fact that I owned the business would have flown right out the window along with him. And then I would have skidded him across the parking lot on his nose. Oh, and did I say, fuck you? If not, fuck you.
- Using threatening language to describe themselves while speaking to me ~ I found a veteran’s group to bring to our area so that my husband could belong not to a club but to a veteran’s motorcycle group. He’s not a joiner and he thought this one might be okay, but then discovered it wasn’t so we didn’t stay long. During the first meeting where we formed our local chapter, the state president was sharing a story about his PTSD. The customer in question later cornered me in my office with the door closed..cornered me against two bookcases and repeated the comments the state president shared as if they were his own. Sometimes I can be nice, and sometimes I can just go off for no reason whatsoever. Sometimes I can be the nice guy, and sometimes I can be deadly. We didn’t give him a job that he wanted and I guess he was angry or something. It was weird. Eventually we stopped doing business with the guy. I managed to squeeze around him and get out of my office. I never said a word, all the time looking for weapons to use on him if necessary.
- Blocking my ability to leave or feel safe ~ oh yes. All because my husband was out on a test drive on someone else’s bike. He left us no keys to unlock his wife’s bike so my husband could actually work on it, and several attempts to reach them both failed. The guy finally called our shop and when he found out that my husband was on a test drive, he went up one side of me and down the other, berating and abusing me on the phone. I guess the look on my face was so horrific that another customer who was there wanted to jerk the asshole through the phone and beat the shit out of him. I was in tears. When the dickwad finally showed up at our shop, he came into my office, shut the door, and when I told him to open it he said, open it what? several times, taunting me. I banged on the window so hard that I nearly broke it to get my husband’s attention to no avail. Finally I said, open the door please, and he finally opened the door saying, it takes two to tango and we tangoed, lady. Well, I don’t tango with predators, so no, we didn’t. And fortunately, the asshole never came in again. His wife had no clue what he did, but then she also knew exactly who he was. I didn’t matter to either of them.
- Physical assault ~ This guy was a regular customer who had been barking at the boundaries for a while. He had joined a motorcycle club (different from a group or association) and changed. He was no longer a loving family man, but something else entirely. While my husband was unloading his bike out of his truck, the guy hit me. Just came up and hit me on my back. I was in shock. I recovered enough to yell at him to never do it again, but he did it a second time, ignoring me completely. My husband didn’t realize what was happening at the time. Of course I told him later, but I was so upset. One time could be construed as a mistake, twice, it’s assault. Now that we’re retired, thankfully we don’t see him anymore.
- Another physical assault from another asshole ~ He wasn’t a customer yet. His wife gave him a Harley for his 65th birthday or something and two weeks later, he dumped it up on the pass. Crash jobs on motorcycles can take months and many of the parts needed were on back order. Plus his bike was over at the dealership, so this wasn’t my problem. For the umpteenth time I told him that just because the bike was a birthday present didn’t mean parts that were designated for production would be sold to him because production always came before anything else. So he punished me by crushing my hand when he shook it. Since I’m an empath, I knew exactly what he had done. When he tried to do it again, I wouldn’t let him and he got the skeeviest smile on his face. This was in 2007. Now my finger is so damaged from what he did that it has nodules all over the middle knuckle and the finger bends to the right. RA is a bitch, and he knew how ill I was. But the fucker didn’t care. He was mad that after dumping the bike in June, he still didn’t have it back. Not. My. Problem. Yet he made it mine. I had no idea at the time that I would still be dealing with the damage over nine years later, but it is what it is. Entitled fucker.
- A perv-y neighbor ~ I was shoveling snow on my nearly 800 foot driveway and he stopped at the top of my driveway and looked at me for around 10 minutes. The look on his face was pervy to say the least. No clue what he was doing while sitting there, but when I threw the shovel over my shoulder and began walking up the driveway toward him, he floored the truck, fishtailing as he did so, pulling into his driveway down the street. I wanted to have my husband go over there to see if he was okay and if he had time to finish whatever it was he was doing. But sanity prevailed and my husband stayed home.
- A ride home ~ After my parents divorced and I was in college, I still babysat for some people occasionally when they couldn’t find anyone else. The last time I did, the husband asked if I wanted to pull off the road and have a little fun before he took me home. His wife was so sweet and lovely and he was such a dick. I was terrified and said nothing. He took me home and that was the last time I ever saw those people, my mother making an excuse the next time his lovely wife called. I was sixteen. I had graduated as a junior from high school and I began college that summer. The guy was a predator, and I was sixteen.
I guess the question that always comes to mind is, who do you think you are? I don’t understand this behavior because I have two sons in their thirties who don’t behave this way, nor does their father. It’s just not possible with them to cross boundaries and ever treat a woman this way. Yet, this behavior is common with men just the same. And now we have a guy like this scheduled to serve as our president for the next four years, assuming he doesn’t quit or be impeached. Or assuming the Electoral College actually grows a pair and elects the woman who got the most votes and is the most qualified.
But if that doesn’t happen, time will tell just how far off the cliff we fall and how safe women will be around the White House. Because men, particularly the next president, are delusional if they assume a woman wants to be touched, or have her body described to her, or have to endure any other personal comments for that matter. These guys just go for it and never understand why a woman might be uncomfortable or downright terrified. It may seem innocent to the guy, but many of us have endured sexual assault in our lives. So odds are when a guy says things or touches a woman without consent, he’s doing this to a survivor, causing untold trauma.
You see, when our fathers molest us, when our boyfriends/husbands/partners assault us, when our co-workers make skeevy comments or look a little too long at us, it’s the worst thing ever. Emotions come up and the PTSD we all suffer from rears its ugly head and we become silent, unable to move, unable to speak. When that little asshole who cornered me in the parts room asked me if he scared me, I can assure you he did. Never mind the fact that I’m a Black Belt. I would have dealt with him if I needed to, but in the interim, I had a panic attack. Because when you’re a survivor, that’s what happens.
It’d be nice if we could go about our lives and not have to endure all of this entitled behavior from men. If they’d just see us as people and not something to flirt with or make suggestive comments to, we’d all be so much better off. Because here’s the thing. Women really don’t want these conversations with men. We don’t want unwanted contact of any kind. I had a substitute veterinarian take my hand and draw pictures on it during a check up with my cat. I had a customer in his 60’s or 70’s take my hand and draw pictures on the palm with a paperclip. Both experiences were surreal. I took my hand back and just looked at him. No clue what he was thinking, but at that point, I was ready to no longer do business with him.
But here’s something to consider. In most of the examples above, these things happened in my business. As a business owner, you just can’t beat the shit out of someone who looks at you funny. So when you’re a woman in that position, standing up for yourself can cost you income, and women are sensitive to that fact given that we still make less than our male counterparts. If the woman is just an employee, she risks losing her job if she reports the problem. Besides. The good ol’ boy network protects men like this.
Behavior like this also costs men dearly, what with a woman’s ability to sue for sexual harassment in the workplace now. Of course if you happen to be our next president, all he has to do is threaten to sue women into oblivion to avoid any responsibility for his behavior. For many, the entitlement they feel is just too much for them to see the truth in front of them. Leave us alone. Period. If we’re nice when you’re behaving this way, it’s only to get away from you more quickly. I don’t care if you think you’re complimenting us, you’re not. Just stop it. There’s no reason any woman cannot get through her day without such contact, verbal or otherwise. You do us zero favor by your ridiculous and at times frightening behavior. Mind your own business and leave women the fuck alone.