The Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court crap-storm is over; for now, at least. For the record I believe Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. But I digress.
(The Judge Kavanaugh/Dr. Ford story made me do a self-examination)
Between the he said/she said hubbub of the Kavanaugh/Ford story and last year’s birth of the #Me Too movement, a guy can’t help but reflect on his own history of actions around women. That’s what I’ve been doing lately and here’s what I have to share.
Thinking about my personal and professional relationships with women I can safely say I’ve been a pretty good egg. I KNOW I’ve never grabbed, groped or otherwise physically encroached inappropriately on any girl or woman. Being heterosexual, I can say the same for the male species. (Save for maybe a towel snap or two in the high school showers or a snuggie/wedgie/creeper on some unsuspecting guy back in the day)
I know this because over the years I have had enough self-doubt and reticence about asking ladies out (and fearing rejection) that the idea of forcing an uncomfortable physical interaction is, was and always will be completely off the table for me. It’s been a bad enough blow to my ego when on occasion I got turned down for a date, so to catch a face slap or other negative reaction from an untoward move would probably kill me of embarrassment and shame. Besides, my parents didn’t raise me to be a Neanderthal asshole.
As far as unwelcome come-ons or crude comments towards women, I’m sure my record is equally clean. Now, does that mean I’ve NEVER told an off color joke or said a potentially racy comment in mixed company? No. Yet I don’t recall catching any sideways looks or received admonishments from anyone regarding my verbal offerings. Part of my fairly clean slate is due to knowing my audience and being aware of who can appreciate and not be offended by an occasional “That’s what she said” joke.
PERSONAL DISCLAIMER-If I’m forgetting any bad incidents or situations that others may recall, I would like to hear what I did or said that was offensive and then apologize for those actions. As my friends know, I have a very accurate and detailed personal memory but there could have been a wrong thing done that shouldn’t have happened.
NO ‘RALPH’ ZONE – Many inappropriate actions by men can be born out of being high, piss drunk or even slightly buzzed, which is still no excuse for that idiocy. I actually get a bit more quiet and calm when I’ve had a few drinks, like I’ve been sedated. And for the last twenty years or so me having more than three beers at one sitting has been as rare as a Kardashian without plastic surgery.
I haven’t gotten sick from drinking since I was twenty two and can vividly remember the bar and who I was with when that happened. The regurgitated whiskey and fried mushrooms were pretty gross. Add to that, I haven’t vomited for any reason since February of 1991, and that was due to the stomach flu.
MAYBE I WAS MORE ‘MONEY’ THAN I THOUGHT I sometimes joke I’ve had my share of dates and relationships with women. It’s just that my share is so little. (Install polite laugh here) Actually, I’ve done fine. As written in my radio memoir “Raised on the Radio” there have been enough times when I found myself with a lady who was to quote the Eagles, “Someone to be kind to, in between the dark and the light.”
Sadly, as I look back on my younger days there were a fair share of missed opportunities and situations for romance that I let slide by. Why? Sometimes it was me being too picky; other times I thought there was the slightest chance of getting shot down. I aimed for surefire can’t miss situations. To put matters in a hockey sense, I preferred shooting at a wide open net. A few times it’s been the woman who made the first move on me, which has to be the best feeling in the world. It’s like the ‘all clear’ sign is given, no mix-ups, misreads or snafus.
I often compare real life scenarios to things seen in movies. So if I had to match my ways with the opposite sex to a movie character it would definitely be Jon Favreau’s role in 1996’s “Swingers.” In “Swingers” Favreau’s ‘Mike’ was recovering from a broken relationship and was hesitant to put the boozing & cruising moves on just any woman. I got the impression that character would’ve acted the same way even if he wasn’t healing from a break-up. (Spoiler alert: Favreau’s honest approach to the fairer sex did land him a phone number from the lovely Heather Graham)
(Jon Favreau dances it up with Heather Graham in “Swingers”)
As for me and the women I know and future ones I’ll meet, my plan is to stay true to the course of being a straight up, engaging and decent guy. It’s kept me out of uncomfortable situations and trouble so far and again it was the way I was raised. I’ll never be asked to join the Supreme Court but my conscience is clear.
And who knows? Maybe next time I’m in a bar, I could find myself chatting up Heather Graham. Hey, never say never, right?