…..and so little courage*.
Police brutality, Black Lives Matter, Me, too, Trumpism, sexism, racism, cancel culture…the list goes on and on and on…..so much so that I don’t wanna talk/write about any of it. Those topics are toxic, draining and depressing not only for the issues the topics attempt to address but also how the words are interpreted, the remedies that are expected and the price paid for the perceived infractions related. In short; there is very little in the way of constructive discussion on those topics these days. They are fightin’ words! Those are, basically, for-and-against topics. Those topics make all issues black and white and any shades of grey are simply dismissed.
I do not want to write about ’em but I feel I must………may God have mercy on me
Let me tackle one that is a holy shrine of a topic in today’s world: Sexism in the workplace. “He said and did things that made me feel uncomfortable.” Or, maybe a better example, “Well he did nothing, he said nothing but I saw a lewd photo on his computer. It was a scantily clad woman objectified on a motorcycle! I just felt uncomfortable to the extent that I filed this Human Rights complaint.”
Now, before the heads pop off your pimples, let me be very clear: it is very unfortunate that someone might feel uncomfortable in the workplace. It is also bad behaviour to have pics of scantily clad women in the workplace where women might be exposed to them (unless it is a strip club, maybe?). Bad as in naughty. Bad as in rude. Bad as in ‘someone should have a word with him’. But that is it. That is all there is to it. It is NOT ‘bad’ as in irreparable harm-has-been-done. If some adult woman felt a smidge put off because some guy had a biker chick on his screen saver, well, she should just ‘get past it’ or, at the very worst, tell the offender that she doesn’t like seeing it there. But then THAT is it. Move on.
Doesn’t empowered also mean ‘not thin skinned’?
“Dave, why go on about this?” Well, things are getting crazier and crazier and someone has to speak up on some of these topics. And that example of the biker-chick on a screen saver was a real example from when I took a job as an investigator with the Human Rights Tribunal back when I was in my late 20’s. Their (HRT) decision (against my recommendation) was to pursue the matter against the fellow which eventually resulted in a fine and an official reprimand on his file. That he had a private office with a door, that it was just a screen saver and depicted nothing really, really rude save for legs and bosom, that she infrequently went in to his office and dropped off mail as opposed to being forced to see it all day long- all that made no difference. They slapped that guy with a fine and a record-of-sorts.
I resigned. I had to. The tribunal had a huge agenda and it was, in my opinion, biased against men.
Why would I resign (thin-skin, of course)? Well, the attitude of the HRT appointees (all female) was that all men are pigs and worse than that, they are already guilty of promoting swine-ish behaviour all the time everywhere they go. I saw no future for the likes of me there. Oink. Furthermore, no woman should have to suffer that kind of humiliation at work and a stiff fine is the only recourse for correcting that quasi-criminal behaviour. An apology was simply not good enough!
I just felt the process was riddled with bias and lacked humanity, perspective, tolerance and balance. I was NOT defending the man’s actions but I could not extract more penance than an apology and removal of the screensaver. And that was simply not good enough!
Mind you, in case you don’t say it, I will, “Dave! You are male! Maybe you are biased?” And that comment would be fair. Maybe I am wrong. Maybe being male is synonymous with porcine. But, you see, it is impossible to be both male and female (well, for me, anyway. Others these days seem to be making a go of it) and so I openly confess to a bias (and try to make sure the bias does not influence my logic or my overall humanity).
That kind of disproportionate kangaroo justice (in my opinion) has prevailed and grown since then. I must (out of self preservation) restate with volume that I know that sexual harassment has been a curse for women for years. I understand that and I sympathize. Corrections were needed. I also understand that it was worse back in the bad old days and, tho still somewhat prevalent, it seems much less these days. HUGE improvements……
....mind you, studies also indicate that penises are shrinking and sperm count is down…..jus’ sayin’...
Put more bluntly: women used to only file charges against rapists. Now they are getting men fired for flirting. The severity of the crime has dropped but the deep-rooted anger and vengeance seems escalated.
Seems Andrew Cuomo used to allude to or suggest sexy things at his office now and again – even once attempting to massage some woman’s shoulders – and it made some women in that office feel uncomfortable. Again with the bottom line: he shouldn’t have done that.
But, he did. Men tend to do that kind of thing as a logical extrapolation of the old saying, “Faint heart n’er won fair maid”. That will change over time, I suppose. Some. But no one got hurt if we do not count ‘discomfort’. No one was forced or coerced in any way. Now the governor of New York is being pressured to resign?! That’s just a stupid over reaction to me. Politics.
He is getting threatened with a de facto life sentence for a misdemeanor. Maybe he offers a sincere apology, instead? Maybe he just promises never to do that again? Maybe the people vote him out of office next election? Does he have to be dragged through the media mud and forced to resign? Does he have to hide in shame? Do all men have to ‘behave’ as dictated by some women?
Bear in mind a lot of couples (happily married for decades) met at work. Some couples in the same workplace even made attempts at lasting relationships that did not work out – heart break resulted and feelings might have been hurt. Some may have even heard naughty stuff and/or danced naked with a lampshade on their head at the staff Xmas party. There is a huge area of all-too-human inter-staff relationships that is going to happen at work no matter what. Tolerance and understanding is needed.
The biggest irony in all of this is if a guy hits on a girl and she is pleased with that attention, it is quietly deemed OK, no one lights their hair on fire and jobs are safe. But, if a guy hits on a girl and she doesn’t find him worthy or is not in the least amused, he then has to resign? If the man is supposed to have all that incredible power, how could that possibly happen? Answer: most men do NOT have all that incredible power – NOT anymore. And most NEVER did.
“Flirting should not happen at the workplace!” Yeah. I know. And I almost agree…kinda…but what about mutual attraction and one of the basic reasons for living – i.e finding a mate? Are we to assume that the primal man or woman has to be expunged from society because some women or men are so thin-skinned about another’s initial advances? And how is anyone to know where the desire-of-their-heart stands on the possible relationship unless they express their own desire out loud? Doesn’t someone have to take the first ego-threatening chance?
And this blog is just about romance and sexualized behaviour at work. What a topic that has become! There is so much more. I do not really want to go there. Honest. NOT REALLY. But, for evil to be done…..
*I may be a fool but I am NOT stupid! Of course the content of this blog was vetted and pre-approved by Sally, she-of-a-thicker-skin, larger brain and warm heart.