Askin’ For It

Every year the third Thursday in November brings together family and friends who share a love of turkey and stuffing and all things anathema to the Angelino diet. We host.  Every year. In our home. Where extended family gather to prepare the feast.

“What if she shows up with her tits coming out of her shirt and a skirt up to there?” my elderly in-law asked. This Thanksgiving took an awkward turn even before it’d actually begun.

“Throw a sweatshirt on her and continue the meeting,” I respond.

It was the night before. My in-laws had just arrived. We were in the kitchen prepping the feast when the conversation started — like so many nowadays – with the mention of Mike Pence. Specifically, with the fact that Pence won’t meet with any women unless his wife is present. Sebastian Gorka, among others, suggested that the so-called ‘Mike Pence Rule’ could be the solution to the scourge of sexual harassment that has hijacked our headlines of late.

“I hadn’t heard that. But maybe it’s a good idea….” chimed in another visiting senior citizen. Ah, the dangers of the night before, before the formality required for guests rears its useful head to stop elderly relatives’ theories from being spouted.

“I think it’s sexist and demeaning to women and men for that matter. If Pence can’t meet with women solo, how could he hire a female campaign manager?” Silence was the only response.

Why, oh, God why, hadn’t I held my tongue?  Minds weren’t going to change. What’s the point?  Where’s the bread I’m supposed to tear for stuffing? Where’s the turkey? Hey, look at the big bird.

If she shows up with her tits hanging out of her shirt and her skirt up to there — attire every working woman that I know wears like a uniform — you still have to keep your dick in your pants. Sure, talk to her tits, adjust your package, but don’t you dare use the attire as an excuse to harass or to assert your power in a most personal way.

When I was young and working in television, my breasts were offered desirable, professional opportunities.  Luckily for me, I got to tag along with them.  I didn’t consider it harassment, or even disrespect. The men I worked for had simply made their decision to talk to my tits rather than to me. And while they may have led my professional charge, ultimately, I was judged not on the perkiness of my breasts but on the content of my character and the quality of my work.

“What if she shows up with her tits coming out of her shirt and a skirt up to there?”

Well, stare if you must. But keep your dick in your pants.

Attention. Validation. Approval. Sure, the Fantasy She who dresses like a Siren 24/7 may be asking for that. But Groping. Pinching. Rape – she is not asking for that. No woman ‘asks’ for that. No woman, even if she naively agrees to meet a man in his hotel room, asks to be invaded, assaulted, raped. No woman, or less powerful man for that matter, asks to be the vehicle through which you act out your insecure, troubled psyche.

It’s not about the tits. Or the ass. It’s about the dick. The literal and the metaphorical dick. The dick that needs to stay in its place. In your pants. In that perverted little mind of yours that gets off on the deeds described in the news. Because the interactions I’ve read about are not pornographic – they’re power-graphic.

Where do we start? Thomas Jefferson. Teddy Roosevelt. The Kennedys. Bob Packwood. Gary Hart. Bill Clinton. The list goes on, America.  Weinstein, Spacey, Rose, Franken, Conyers, Lauer – the others who have yet to come to light.  But this time it’s different. “We’ve reached a tipping point!” Or so I hear.  But don’t you dare show up with cleavage and a short skirt —points can tip both ways – toward social progress. Or, to a backlash.

In an interview with Megyn Kelly, Pamela Anderson asserted, “It was common knowledge that certain producers or certain people in Hollywood are people to avoid, privately. You know what you’re getting into if you’re going into a hotel room alone.” Maybe some women were prepared to use the casting couch, in which case the sex is a transaction to which both sides consented.  Or, maybe this knowledge was no so common to the neophytes upon whom the accused Hollywood brokers prayed.

“I can’t compliment a woman anymore,” said a male acquaintance of mine. “Who knows what someone will hear if I compliment a woman’s dress.”

She’ll hear ‘you think she’s wearing a nice dress.’  Unless you’re a dick and say it in a lascivious way. And, if you’re nervous, awkward, worried about unintended messages… well, welcome to womanhood.  Welcome to empathy?

“What if she shows up with her tits coming out of her shirt and a skirt up to there?” Thank her for showing up in a public place, compliment her outfit if you see fit, keep your dick in your pants and go about your business –with Mike Pence, his wife who will naturally be there, or whomever. Just get the job done.




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