As a kid, I've learned inappropriate humor from an early age and thought of it as a best way to entertain peers. As we got older, less and less peers got entertained, and I've eventually learned to distance myself from inappropriate humor. Now it's to the point where I cringe when I hear others used the same inappropriate humor I once engaged in!
[note: this issue has been addressed in my 2016 blog post "Outgrowing Inappropriate Humor"
As a teen, I noticed that the more popular boys would poke girls on the side, and teased the girls which got them giggling. I was thinking "this is how you get chicks". I tried that, and usually got disastrous results. Lost the respect of some girls. Others giggled when they asked me to stop the pokes/jokes, and they later accepted my facebook requests. I still wonder if they think I'm a hypocrite when I posted links to blogs/articles about sexual harassment. Too afraid to ask!
As you can see, the rules of social engagement can be complex.
That sentence alone can get many feminist activists very angry!
Let me be clear!
There is absolutely ZERO excuse for forcing sexual intercourse on a person!
There is absolutely ZERO excuse take advantage of anyone who is too drunk/drugged/passed-out to consent.
There is absolutely ZERO excuse to pressure anyone to take drugs or drink alcohol!
I might sound "humble-bragging" but I have done NONE of those previous 3 things!
However, things like humor, expressions of sexual interests, and figuring out how the other person could react to either really is complex!
At the nightclubs, some women will intentionally rub their rears against a men standing near them. Mentioning this isn't "slut-shaming" or "blaming women", it's reality! It's a fun reality if you're a man into that kind of thing! And yes, those women do enjoy the man "taking the bait".
However, sometimes women will start dancing and shaking without noticing that a man is behind her! The man might think "ooh, this girl is near me, that means she wants me to bump & grind her. After all, the last time I was at this club, another woman did intentionally rubbed her rear on my front and enjoyed it, so this woman wants the same". But it turns out this woman dancing in front of him really doesn't know he's behind her, and he's now rubbing his front on her rear and ............. oh,oh, BIG MISTAKE on HIS part! The girl gets freaked out, walks away and her friends give that man a hostile glare!
And yes, the situations in the 2 previous paragraphs happened with me. That's why at the club, I have to make sure the woman knows I'm near before I make any moves. If I'm not sure she knows I'm near, I'll just take a few steps back to avoid contact and awkward situations.
As you can see much of the nightclub interactions rely heavily on nonverbal cues. After all, the music is so loud, you can't really have much of a conversation. You can try talking into the other person's ear, but even that can lead to wondering what they other person just said!
And with nonverbal cues, they can be misinterpreted.
It's not just about the nightclub, but also in the bedroom (honestly, I have more experience with nightclubs than bedrooms).
That became the topic of conversation when an anonymous woman claimed that she had a bad dating experience with male comedian Aziz Ansari. While Ansari didn't really assault her, he was accused of pressuring her into doing certain sexual acts and of not catching her nonverbal cues of discomfort.
This was mentioned in a dating advice article titled
"A Tale of Two Dates: 15 Lessons from the Aziz Ansari Case"
On facebook, my response to the article was this
The article has "What We Can Learn From HIS Behavior" and "What We Can Learn From HER Behavior"I especially like [QUOTE] Don’t rely on your non-verbal cues to do the talking. [UNQUOTE]because men on average as less able to pick up on nonverbal cues (especially being that men have higher rates of Asperger syndrome than women, and those who have it sure isn't going to admit it to you), and you have to be blunt with them.
and I also mentioned this
also this [QUOTE] Do not use alcohol to try to get the sexual outcome you desire out of a date. [UNQUOTE]there's no need for it, no excuse for it! Been clubbing for years, and NEVER bought a "drink" for a girl. That's some creepy Cosby ish, and totally uncalled for!
Not only have I NEVER bought a girl a "drink", I don't even drink alcoholic beverages myself!
Some people claim that alcohol helps them deal with social awkwardness, but what it really does it makes you a different type of socially awkward!
Some shyness is good! It keeps you from making stupid mistakes that can upset people!
I'm not much of dater, not really a smooth talker. But at the nightclub, when the music is pumping and a great song is on, I'm on the dancefloor. I might have a few clutzy moments (I don't have the fancy footwork of a MC Hammer or Micheal Jackson), but I'm pretty good with the rest of my body. 😉I let the music guide me!
There's no need to be drunk or buzzed! There's no need to drink alcohol to get rid of social inhibitions on the dancefloor! The music should be enough to guide you!
And I don't buy drinks for women, period. Exclamation Point!
For what? You think that will get her to like you? It doesn't work that way! You don't impress her by buying drinks, you impress with your personal coolness! I do it on the dancefloor!
Also, buying her drinks will also get her into the habit of accepting drinks from strangers. You're not going to be the last stranger, and the next stranger might have some really bad intentions for her! You don't want her to get into the habit of accepting drinks from people like that!
Now on to the workplace.
In the workplace, I'm all business!
(full disclosure: Though there was a few cases of me poking females in the workplace back in 2004 & 2005. I'm saying this now, before anyone claim I'm a hypocrite for writing about sexual harassment/assaults issues now in 2018)
So yeah, after 2005, I've became all business!
And being in a mostly female work environments, I wouldn't even dare attempt what many males have been getting away with in male-dominated environment for centuries. I couldn't even get away with even 10% of what females can get away with in a female work environment!
And being that much of my work involve schools, the environment is very hyper-vigilant when it comes to anything that reeks of sexual harassment. Certain conversations and jokes just don't happen there, not even in the worker's lounge! Anyone who tries that is not only stupid, but super-stupid! Even though political pundits claim that "teacher unions are liberal" (being that they mostly support Democrats), the Al Franken styled jokes aren't tolerated at all! So there is some form of social conservatism among mostly pro-Obama teaching workforce!
Even among male workers there, you aren't going to hear about "getting chicks", because let's face it, presenting yourself as a pervert or a creep will end your career at the schools really fast!
Working in that environment (plus having more mature friends) got me to the point where a long-lost friend who I reunited with on 10-year high school reunion year was so shocked when he learned I no longer participate in inappropriate humor and that I no longer go to strip clubs and I no longer watch porn
[note: I explain more in the following blog posts
That being said, much of the #metoo movement focused on workplace harassment.
This from a #metoo skeptic Cathy Young
Cathy Young, “Is 'Weinsteining' getting out of hand?,” Los Angeles Times, November 1, 2017
and more from Cathy Young
Although it is difficult to imagine a woman whose actions come even close to Weinstein's, women do engage in sexual harassment. A male friend of mine who worked for a small magazine as a recent college graduate in the 1980s has less than fond memories of a female co-worker, his senior in both age and position, who sometimes greeted him with jokes insinuating that he was sexually aroused and once groped him under the pretext of straightening out his posture in a motherly way.
[note: best believe that some of that goes on at the nightclub too. I actually had to stop at least 2 women from stop putting their arms around the back of my neck, a sensitive spot for me. Twice, women offered drinks and giggled when I accepted what they said was water, making me think "oh shit, a reverse Cosby", I walked away safely but literally had a headache afterwards. Another one where I posed for a picture and an unknown woman put made a hand symbol near my pants where her two fingers are so close together it could be interpreted as "he got small ____" even though she never seen "it". ]
[note #2: not at a club, but also annoying: one older woman did come from behind me to "fix my collar" without even asking me first! I was so pissed that I told her to "go away".]
[note #3: while none of those incidents are anywhere near what Harvey Weinstein, they also disprove this nonsense than "men don't know what it's like to be inappropriately touched or sexually harassed". And those feminist stereotypes are a super-mega-huge insult to men who have been sexually abused by scumbags like Kevin Spacey or Jerry Sandusky]
As Cathy Young noted, much of married couples meet at work, and for every case that happens, there some attempts at flirting that might've socially awkward (maybe the woman preferred someone who looked like Mario Lopez instead), but that isn't really predatory, it was just a wrong guess and social awkwardness.
And I'm very skeptical of rules that don't allow managers to have sexual relations with adult employees or professors to have sexual relations with adult students!
Sometimes, manager & adult employees, and professors & adult students have sexual attractions for each other.
Sure it might bring a conflict of interest, but to act as if every manager who has sexual relations with an employee is some kind of Weinstein-like monster is just stereotyping!
Let's look at this funny example written by Claire Berlinski
Claire Berlinski, “The Warlock Hunt,” The American Interest, December 6, 2017
The things men and women naturally do—flirt, play, lewdly joke, desire, seduce, tease—now become harassment only by virtue of the words that follow the description of the act, one of the generic form: “I froze. I was terrified.” It doesn’t matter how the man felt about it. The onus to understand the interaction and its emotional subtleties falls entirely on him. But why? Perhaps she should have understood his behavior to be harmless—clumsy, sweet but misdirected, maladroit, or tacky—but lacking in malice sufficient to cost him such arduous punishment?In recent weeks, I’ve acquired new powers. I have cast my mind over the ways I could use them. I could now, on a whim, destroy the career of an Oxford don who at a drunken Christmas party danced with me, grabbed a handful of my bum, and slurred, “I’ve been dying to do this to Berlinski all term!” That is precisely what happened. I am telling the truth. I will be believed—as I should be.But here is the thing. I did not freeze, nor was I terrified. I was amused and flattered and thought little of it. I knew full well he’d been dying to do that. Our tutorials—which took place one-on-one, with no chaperones—were livelier intellectually for that sublimated undercurrent. He was an Oxford don and so had power over me, sensu stricto. I was a 20-year-old undergraduate. But I also had power over him—power sufficient to cause a venerable don to make a perfect fool of himself at a Christmas party. Unsurprisingly, I loved having that power. But now I have too much power. I have the power to destroy someone whose tutorials were invaluable to me and shaped my entire intellectual life much for the better. This is a power I do not want and should not have.Over the course of my academic and professional career, many men who in some way held a position of power over me have made lewd jokes in my presence, or reminisced drunkenly of past lovers, or confessed sexual fantasies. They have hugged me, flirted with me, on occasion propositioned me. For the most part, this male attention has amused me and given me reason to look forward to otherwise dreary days at work. I dread the day I lose my power over men, which I have used to coax them to confide to me on the record secrets they would never have vouchsafed to a male journalist. I did not feel “demeaned” by the realization that some men esteemed my cleavage more than my talent; I felt damned lucky to have enough talent to exploit my cleavage.
In other words, some women are filled with joy when a man in authority (or even just a male peer) assertively pursue her.
This isn't to minimize the seriousness of sexual harassment as Ms Berlinski later said
Do not mistake me for a rape apologist. Harvey Weinstein stands credibly accused of rape. He must face a real trial and grave punishment if convicted, not “therapy and counselling.” Tariq Ramadan, likewise. No civilized society tolerates rape. Many of the men whose professional reputations have recently been destroyed sure sound like they had it coming. The law will decide whether the accused are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, but I don’t require such arduous proof: I’m already convinced that Roy Moore is a sexual predator and so is Bill Clinton. Neither my certainty nor anyone else’s should be allowed to displace the law. I may be convinced, but I might also be mistaken.
and also this
Given the events of recent weeks, we can be certain of this: From now on, men with any instinct for self-preservation will cease to speak of anything personal, anything sexual, in our presence. They will make no bawdy jokes when we are listening. They will adopt in our presence great deference to our exquisite sensitivity and frailty. Many women seem positively joyful at this prospect. The Revolution has at last been achieved! But how could this be the world we want? Isn’t this the world we escaped?
Who could blame a man who does not enjoy the company of women under these circumstances, who would just rather not have women in the workplace at all? This is a world in which the Mike Pence rule—“Never be alone with a woman”—seems eminently sensible. Such a world is not good for women, however—as many women were quick to point out when we learned of the Mike Pence rule. Our success and advancement relies upon the personal and informal relationships we have with our colleagues and supervisors. But who, in this climate, could blame a venerable Oxford don for refusing to take the risk of teaching a young woman, one-on-one, with no witnesses? Mine was the first generation of women allowed the privilege of unchaperoned tutorials with Balliol’s dons. Will mine also be the last?
In other words, she wants feminist activists to realize that we should differentiate between social awkwardness and sexual abuse! Yes, they can be on a same spectrum, but we have to be proportionate too!
Socially awkwardness can be targeted by stern words, but the truly sexual predatory behavior requires severe punishment and severe humiliation.