Savage Love Oct 19, 2016 at 4:00 am

The Trump Talk

Joe Newton


SAD- Nothing unfair about calling a Trump supporter stupid and irresponsible. He has a right to his opinion, but shouldn't expect not to get some crap for it.
I want to thank Dan for this post, plus his comments both in his recent Twitter feed and months ago on Bill Maher. It is true that there is a contingent of white people (mostly under 40) who do not think of themselves as conservatives because they grew up with the internet and are pro-lgbt rights, even though they are conservative in every other way. This election has changed a lot of things, and one of them is where the traditional lines are drawn between signals of political ideologies.

I remember when I first started following Dan it was because I saw him on Bill Maher, and Maher was saying that he thinks the GOP is becoming less socially conservative since they've been less controlled by evangelicals and since Trump is not (personally at least) vocally homophobic. He says he doesn't care where trans people use the bathroom and certainly in his years as a rich dude in NYC, he has had plenty of gay friends. This, to a certain bend of young libertarianish white voters, is a new fresh way of being conservative (the old school evangelicalism isn't appealing to them) yet they are still just as racist and misogynistic as ever. Dan pointed this out to Maher and continues to do it here and in his Twitter feed, (plus it's bullshit that they aren't homophobic too). Also if you read this Dan, extra thanks for not drawing attention to he-who-shall-not-be-named. I can't imagine the self-restraint it takes! But it's the only thing that will make him go away.

Finally, the GOP is just as misogynistic, racist AND homophobic as ever. Trump himself, personally in his heart of hearts, may not give a shit if anyone is gay. But he also doesn't care enough to defend anyone if it serves his purpose to attack any group, hence Pence. That should be a good indication of what his future appointments (SCOTUS) would look like. They'll pat themselves on the back for applauding Peter Thiel- look how tolerant they are for accepting bigots from all walks of life! And I'm almost glad that Trump has made the statements that he made because it really has revealed what they think about women. Watching people bend over backwards to defend these statements is frightening.

There is a pro-gay anti-woman segment of the (mostly white) alt-right, but that makes perfect sense once you think about it. People like Thiel just don't have their misogyny complicated by a desire to fuck the people they are dismissing. And unmentionable clowns can simply entertain racist white straight people with stories of sucking black dick for the same reasons that racist white lynchmobs used to obsess over black men fucking their white wives- they are tapping into the same racist objectification and fear.

Also, I know this is a teeny part of the alt-right, but I live in a red state, and I've seen how it plays with a certain type of young libertarianish voter- it's made bigotry exciting and new by removing god and the old rules of conservatism, and it's not going to end with the election. So thanks Dan. It actually matters when you speak out about stuff like this.
LW2. Agree with Dan. How can you touch a trump supporter? Leave this man. Hopefully you don't have daughters together.
Dump Trump and his supporters, too. Fuck him over at the polls, but nowhere else.
If Mr Savage were still counter-culture, things might be different. As he is now The Establishment, his rants seem likely to do more harm than good by whipping up the young (who are much more conservative now than they've been for decades) and increasing the strength of the inevitable conservative backlash and takeback, whether that comes in 2017, 2021 or 2025.

I really wish he weren't pinning a huge target on my back.
LW2: Leave your husband because he's a contrarian, because he loves to argue, because he gets ego gratification from getting you upset, because children should not have to live in such a toxic environment, but do not leave him because of Trump. If you do, then the terrorists win.

Follow Dan's ultimate advice and simply disengage from the conversation. You can tell him you're doing so because you love him and saving your marriage is more important that politics.
This may take a major effort on your part. It sounds as if you enjoy the fighting a bit, also, but have come to the realization that it is too destructive and not worth trying to prove your husband is an opinionated ignoramus.

Your disengagement will probably drive your hubby nuts, but stick to your guns and be nice about it. Don't give him the cold shoulder, just really disengage with objectionable behavior.
Talk about something else. If he doesn't want to play along, then that's his loss and, possibly, the loss of his marriage.

Trump is not worth losing your marriage, or even friendships, over. He's going away...
BTW: I don't think Trump is even worth cutting off your sex life. Just remind your husbant it's called making LOVE!
Maybe another reading possible of LW1's opening anecdote. That the mother is actually an uptight, hyper-freaked-out, danger-is-everywhere contemporary American parent, who completely over- and misinterpreted a harmless gesture from a friendly, slightly tipsy person? And then successfully passed on that paranoia to her child.
@8 No.

I've been having the Trump talk with my daughters since they were old enough to understand English. That's the world we live in. Smash the patriarchy!
The only legitimate argument for supporting Trump that I've heard are people who are concerned about the Supreme Court. Considering how much effort the GOP is putting into blocking Garland I think that's a massive concern for conservatives. Still, I'd ask people who want to vote Trump for the SCOTUS nominations - is a man with Trump's poor judgement and destructive behavior really going to nominate someone with the integrity and experience to be on the Supreme Court? If the GOP has a majority then they're going to be the cowards they are now and they'll confirm that nomination and you'll be stuck with some carnival barker on SCOTUS which will reinforce that the US is a complete fucking joke. For conservatives who can't stand Hillary and can't get over their issues to vote for her I recommend they not vote at all. No vote is a great protest vote in this election.
Love the idea of "Trump Talk" -- but let's not forget John Oliver's campaign to "Make Donald Drumpf Again."
There are a lot of things about LW1's story, but the thing that pisses me off most that recurs again and again is the failure of people to watch out for one another. WTF with the cashier? Why is he just raising his eyebrows instead of doing something about this? This isn't an eyebrow raiser. This is a scenario where the dude needed to be pulled aside, photographed, had the photo put up on the store's wall of shame, and told that he is not allowed enter the store again. I know that's not much--really the guy should have been taken out back by the employees and been pummeled--but this would seem to be the legal thing to do. And the right thing to do. I can't figure out why we continue to sit back and think various forms of harassment (from catcalls, to groping, to rape) are things the victim must manage. We need to look out for one another.
**First sentence was missing some words: There are a lot of things about LW1's story that trouble me, ...
Dan the Man: pleeeeeeeeaaaaase---deliver us from the filthy, putrid evil that is Donald Trump and his idiot supporters marching in lock step!
I feel just sick after reading what MADDER had to share about a horrific experience she and her daughter went through needlessly at a grocery store. Excellent suggestion, MADDER--I agree with Dan---Trump Talk it is.
Death to Patriarchy, and may it die bleeding, writhing, and screaming in agony, begging forgiveness.
SAD----I feel for you, too, especially if you're married to my equally stupid and irresponsible ex.
Hunter's likely going to yell "D-bird!" at me, but I don't give a fuck: DTMFA! I'm with LavaGirl (@3): How can you even touch a Trump supporter?
Oodletrend @8: Wow. You really think drunk men have more right to touch nine-year-old girls than nine-year-old girls have to be untouched by creepy old drunk men?

This time it may have been her arm. But children need to learn that touching them ANYWHERE, ANYTIME without their permission is unacceptable. There wouldn't be millions of rape victims who blamed themselves if this message was taught loudly and clearly at every possible opportunity.
Venn @ 5 - we are already up to our eyeballs in the backlash - to mix a metaphor or two, T***p IS the throbbing, rancid tip of the backlash. I'm not saying it can't get worse, but the targets are already pinned. Ask any of your neighborhood Muslims or taco truck operators.

Oodle @ 8 - No. As the mother of a 9 year old daughter myself, if you are a stranger and you lay a hand on her, I'm going postal on your ass. There is no reason and no excuse.
Does anyone else wonder if a lot of Republicans are not denouncing Trump because they think if he gets in they might manage to bump him off (and accuse HC of murder -- they've done it before) and get their man Pence instead?
Hunter @21: Did you miss the bit where Surfrat said that although it was what the guy may have deserved, it wasn't the appropriate response? Aka the rest of his/her post?
I have daughters, and I never minded when well-meaning people would give them compliments or engage in conversation with them. I wanted them to learn normal social interaction. The real lesson here is the difference between saying, "hi" and making a compliment and being a creepy asshole who lays hands on your kids. Teaching your kids to recognize invasion of their personal space, and that it is never OK when someone does that, and that It is never OK to do it yourself should be a top priority for every parent. "Hey! Hands off my daughter!" Shows your kid that this is not acceptable behavior and also that you can stand up to it and say no.

As for being married to a Trump supporter, normally I would say that I don't expect my partner to agree with me on every thing in the world. But this feels totally different. Accepting, and endorsing, this misogynistic, racist asshole is a direct window into your husband's (lack of) character.

But you already knew that, didn't you?
@23 Not the same thing.
@23 not the same thing
@8 - No, no, no. Your comment really bothered me. That dismissive "just another ..." attitude is a big part of the problem. She's yet another woman who is tired of men feeling entitled to women's bodies and a mother who doesn't want drunk assholes at the checkout laying their hands on her daughter.

This idea that the entire country is devolving into hyper vigilance is the voice of the old culture reacting to a growing distaste for the status quo, where men call women 'honey' and pat their asses and treat them like little pets and it's all charming and chivalrous and ok. It's the voice of men who declare that women are "so sensitive these days" because they don't appreciate cat calls and other obnoxious bullshit. It's the voice of men who think that telling a random stranger that walks by that she has a nice ass is a fucking compliment. And it's the voice of women who internalized this disgusting mindset at a young age and are left to defend it and the entire mental construct that they built to cope with the world or else acknowledge a lifetime of self deception. Fuck that. And if people are occasionally seeing harm in the harmless, then the fault lies with the majority of people who still harbor a romantic love for the world of Mad Men, the people who have so persistently made women to feel assaulted that they can no longer help but to become hyper vigilant.

At least 1 in 6 women are sexually assaulted. So that means drunk guys putting their hands on your daughter and acting like creepy fucks don't get the benefit of the doubt.
BTW It's important to have the Trump talk with your son also, both discussing his own bodily integrity and the way he should respect the rights of others.
@28 Actually I partly get this "idea that the entire country is devolving into hyper vigilance" from being the father of a 6-year old girl who has parented her both in the United States and elsewhere. And there are palpable differences between American parents (or, to be more precise, American middle-class parents) and those elsewhere.
Cocky @23: "Not having been there, it is hard to tell what really happened."
So why not err on the side of protecting children from creeps?

Smajor @82: Thank you. You've nailed it. Ugh, male entitlement to do the things that were "okay" a generation or two ago because nobody complained about them.
If this child grows up too "paranoid" to go to frat parties, accept drinks from strangers, or go alone to a strange man's house she doesn't intend to have sex with... GOOD. Better to be hypervigilant than raped.
The attitude expressed @8, that this woman is overreacting, always makes me wonder: "Are YOU the sort of person who doesn't take no for an answer?" Creepy indeed.
Oodle @30: Comments crossed, thanks for the clarification.
@32 well BiDanFan, it didn't take you long to get there did it? "So perhaps you yourself are a pervert? So perhaps you yourself are a rapist?"

For the record, no I am not the sort of person, etc. Are you? Perhaps you are overcompensating here? Perhaps there is something in your past that is bothering you? Perhaps you have dreams you would not like the police to know about it? Perhaps something in your fantasies is illegal, know what I mean? Perhaps your very public protective attitude to children conceals a...

See where this kind of thing goes? Way to go with the civilized discourse and all.
It never occurred to me to have the Trump talk with my daughter, who is now in college, because I am one of the few (I guess) women who has never had an incident like this happen. No man in my memory has ever brushed up against me and groped or touched or even been questionably inappropriate. I have no idea if this has happened to friends, no one has ever mentioned this sort of thing (one friend was molested by her piano teacher, other than that no one has ever said a word). That said, I cannot tell you how many male and female friends I have (age range mid 40s to mid 60s) who see what Trump said in that video as No Big Deal. Over and over I've heard "it IS just locker room talk, it IS the way rich powerful guys talk about women, he WAS just bragging, doesn't mean it happened, in NO WAY is what he was talking about sexual assault..." I don't even know what to say about it anymore.
About whether the mom in the first letter was over reacting; nothing she says makes me think that, but really, we should take our cues from the nine year old daughter:

"I hated that man," my daughter says once we get in the car. "He smelled bad, I wanted to hit him, if anyone ever does that to me again I'm going to scream."

Her utter revulsion about what just happened paints a pretty clear picture.
@ 35 *overreacting*
Amazing how there's not one but two commenters here defending drunk strangers who inappropriately touch children, positing alternate realities where the girl actually deserved it/the mom is neurotic. It's almost as if our society would rather give men the benefit of the doubt than accept women get groped & cat-called regularly. I wonder how far this lech would have to go before dudes like Oodles and cocky would agree this kibd of behavior is beyond the pale. Do you two even realize that this kind of minimization and excuse-making actually *encourages* this behavior, even if you're not the one grabbing kids at the grocery? Because when it's defensible to this, it's easy enough for predators to get kids alone, away from Mom, and do what they will. Pedos know there's a ready supply of doubting Thomases ready to gaslight Mom and doubt the kid, rather than see this for what it is.

If I seem angry, it's because it happened to me too. I was groped at my first job, age 16. I was working part time as a hostess and one of the line cooks touched my chest and between my legs. It took me a week before I told my mother what happened, and only after she noticed me getting stressed out and agitated before going to work (which I had previously loved.) my mom confronted my boss, who confronted the employee, and he said he was "just being friendly" - the same excuse these two are making on behalf of some guy they don't even know.

The line cook wasn't dismissed, but thankfully he left me alone after that. Still I get mad when dudes knowingly cross the line & can count on other dudes to make these sort of excuses for them.

@34: It's possible that you possess an air of self confidence that predatory men can sense. And they don't want to be confronted. And (hopefully) your daughter has inherited this from you.

Anecdote: I frequent a local gym (somewhat of a meat market). One lady there appears to be physically quite formidable (if that's a polite description) as well as attractive. But she cannot shut down approaches by some of the Trump types that hit on her. She just stands there with body language that says "I want to run." But she doesn't. Once, I invited a female friend, who can be described as cute, but also petite. I watched as one of the Leisure Suite Larry types approached her. He got about 10 feet from her until her stare just shut him down. And I've seen her do this with many men. It's one of the reasons I like her I guess. There is no question when I or anyone else has crossed her boundaries. She is polite about it, but firm.

I have a theory about the alpha male types. They are nothing more than skilled at selecting victims from the herd. It's not so much that they can score with any woman they want, but they target their efforts at the ones who don't have the deference to shut down an attack. Defenses against such alphas need to be taught early. Your daughter may be fortunate in that she had you as an example from an early age. Sadly, most parents only begin to think about teaching these skills when kids reach their pre-teen years. By then, a young woman may already have learned the quiet, submissive habits that will be harder to break.

Also, about that locker room talk: Yes, men do it. But I know a few women (who might have broken some female code) who have told me that it is just as bad in the women's locker room.
Oodle @33: My post @32 was nothing but civilised. In fact, my post @31, the one you seem to be overreacting to, was nothing but civilised. You've given a credible reason, beyond "I can't believe women don't want strangers touching them, what's the world coming to" for your post @8, which was necessary, as I am far from the only person who interpreted it the way I did prior to your follow-up.

When you are talking to rape victims (of which I am one) you have to choose your words carefully, and you can't be surprised when people who don't even know you become suspicious of a dismissive attitude.

Bookaday @34: Talk to your friends. Talk to your daughter. Just because we don't talk about it doesn't mean it doesn't happen. It means it's too gross to want to discuss. If one good thing comes of this, it will be making people like yourself (and Oodletrend) aware of just how pervasive this problem is.

Rowing @37: "It's almost as if our society would rather give men the benefit of the doubt than accept women get groped & cat-called regularly." Noooo. That would imply we live in a patriarchy. :P
"Defenses against such alphas must be taught early"

It's a two way street man. You're partly right that molesters, catcallers and date rapists pick out people who look vulnerable as marks, but this is a learned behavior. Kids learn about stranger danger constantly; and girls in particular are repeatedly given well meaning but mostly unhelpful tips on how not to invite this attention.

But you can't treat the men who engage in this behavior like Alpha Wolves; like some force of nature that can't be reasoned with so the kids and women just need to learn to defend themselves. At some point the men have got to step up and teach their sons this isn't okay; minimizing Trump's boasting as "locker room talk" models the exact opposite of that.

And as someone who's actually been in a women's locker room, I never heard anyone there talk about grabbing men by the dick. I dunno what kind of gyms your friends visit though.
Rather than calling it a trump talk, which could be seen as a positive, preemptive thing, I think to trump is to grab a woman by the pu**y without consent. For example someone could say, "I hate crowded subways. Some trumped me today..."
Josh @41: And you think young lads wouldn't think of "trumping" as in going onto a subway, grabbing women by the pussy and bragging about it to their mates as a positive thing? Yeesh. No.
@34 - it's possible you haven't heard about it because your daughter simply never told you about it. I was groped by an old man on a crowded public bus when I was 12 - I was with three friends, but we were somewhat separated due to the crowd. The man grabbed me by behind and shoved his hand down my pants. When we got off the bus, we were all in shock, especially when, one by one, we found that he had moved through the bus and groped all of us. None of us ever talked about it again, and I'm sure I'm not the only one who never told their parents. It didn't help that it happened in a time and place where the culture was extremely patriarchal and victim-blaming was rampant. More than 20 years later, the only person I've told about this in person is my husband (I've mentioned it on the Internet many times, though). The subject just never comes up, and if I did decide to tell my mother, I don't even know what I'd say. Dan is absolutely right that LW1's daughter is lucky that her mother was there when it happened - how does a child even start a conversation like that when they're too young to understand what just happened themselves? If they think there's a chance they'll get in trouble because they don't know who was right and who was wrong, then they'll be even more likely to hide it and hope it just blows over.

On a side note, I wonder if Oodletrend and cockyballsup would be so quick to assume the parent was neurotic or overreacting if the father was there instead of the mother. It's sad to see that "women's problems stem from hysteria" has been used by men to dismiss women's concerns for hundreds of years, and it still hasn't gone away.

Also, particularly @cockyballsup, just because some adults tolerate uncomfortable gestures doesn't mean kids should too, even if it seems harmless. In fact, I would say it's doubly important for kids to understand that they shouldn't tolerate it, because young kids don't have the experience to know what's harmless and what's not. Hillary, for example, may not like being touched on the arm, but she also probably knows that Obama isn't likely to assault her. In contrast, one year when I went to school camp, one of the counselors would constantly walk next to me while holding my hand. My classmates thought this was hilarious - an adult (not a teenager, a 20- or 30-something adult) treating a kid like a date! They thought it was harmless and cute and so sweet that he liked me, even though I said I didn't like the attention. One day, we were in the lunch line when the counselor came in, obviously looking for me, and I hid behind someone and tried to be inconspicuous. My friend, who was standing next to me, grabbed my hand and waved it around, yelling "Here she is!" Again, she thought it was funny and harmless and cute. The guy spotted us, ran over, and kissed me on the cheek. I almost cried; I couldn't have told you why at the time, but I felt so ashamed and embarrassed. The stunned look on my friend's face told me she had finally realized that his "friendliness" was NOT harmless, and she never did anything like that again. We were nine years old.

On the last night of camp, everyone was taken out for a night hike and stargazing. That counselor separated me from my class in the dark and took me back to the counselors' cabin instead. I'm not sure what happened next, since this was in another country that I had just moved to and didn't speak the language well, but when we got there the head counselor was reading a book at the cabin. It was obvious that neither man expected to see the other there. The head counselor yelled at him, then escorted me back to my class himself. Again, I didn't understand what was going on, and I'll never know what was said that night. I just knew that I was so scared when the counselor made me go with him, and then was so relieved when I saw the head counselor in the cabin and he got so mad. To this day I wonder what would have happened if I hadn't been lucky that he was there that night.

But, according to the logic of folks like Oodletrend and cockyballsup, maybe he just wanted to give me s'mores or stopping me from walking over a cliff. Right? We should give him the benefit of the doubt. It's not like he did anything really creepy, light touching and a kiss is pretty harmless, right? Perhaps I was just an oversensitive little girl who felt that something was not right about his behavior because I was overimaginative and raised by hypervigilant parents (actually I had a pretty typical US suburban childhood where I stayed out until dark with nary an adult in sight).

Yeah, how about no.
A publicly intoxicated man, stocking up on more booze, is ignored by the sales clerk? In a lot of states, sellers of alcohol can be liable for the effects of their products.

Even if his behavior had been no more than rudely 'familiar' this is a person who represents a public hazard. How was he going to transport his purchase? How many lives were put at risk because he was allowed to leave the store without a call to the police?

I'm deliberately bypassing the assaultive behavior that MADDER describes. There is something horribly wrong with the way the whole X and millennial generations categorically refuse to address alcohol as a slow motion train-wreck.
If a women grabbed me on The bus I would be happy.
@45 If a women grabbed me on The bus I would be happy.
Uh, huh. Hopefully said woman will be a Russian weight-lifter type, with one tooth, bad breath, serious acne and skunk-gagging body odor. Enjoy.
Well said, Dan, great responses to both letters but especially to MADDER. And even if girls or women are alone when someone tries to force themselves on them, make some noise, LOTS of noise.

Don't put up with it and don't be silent about it, either.
@45 Paul231 - That's great. You should announce that when you go out in public, that you will be happy to be grabbed. Then maybe all the pervs, male AND female, will grope you to their hearts' content and leave everyone else alone.

What's that, you only wanted women to grab you? Well tough, if we don't get to choose who gropes us in public (or if we even want to be groped, for that matter), then you can't either.
Ms Thinking - Mr T is just the forerunner. I'm alarmed by the views of the 14-19 set. Abortion may be safe, but it's become cool again to be anti-gay, though for quite different reasons than the last time.

Is your plan for the Republicans never to win another presidential election? Even if that were a practical prediction, it would be worse for some of us. I'll grant that it might work out well for you, as you'll be at the forefront of The One Party Forever. But a lot of small fry could be dropped with impunity, and a poll follower is just the sort of person to do the dropping.

Perhaps instead you'll advance that the polls will never turn. If so, I can only hope you're right.

My main thought is that Mr Savage has become part of the problem instead of part of the solution. Which side is crossing the aisle? It would be lovely to be wrong, but it looks as if the young left is much more willing to lend an ear to the other side than the right. Is Mr Savage drawing in any conservatives any more? From here, it looks as if he's not even interested in trying, perhaps a side effect of having gone full Clintonista. I'd be quite willing to believe that he's been turning quite a lot of Sanders supporters into full-on anti-SJWs. I probably know at least half a dozen.

It's not entirely his fault. As we have in this election perhaps the most dislikable candidate ever and perhaps the most unlikable candidate ever, the campaign has required a hectoring style that isn't his strongest suit. That's been all he could do when there's no there there. The one thing for which I will blame him is keeping the F word in play as acceptable. One doesn't have to be Cassandra to have foreseen its eventual use by the other side.

There might be excuses to be made for someone voting for Trump (I'm a dumbass single issue voter who only cares about unborn babies or guns, etc.) but there are no excuses for buying into conspiracy theories, on the left or the right. They are intellectual weakness, bias confirmation worshiped as a god, intentional self delusion. There is no greater sin for an evidence-based human than to accept on faith and bias something that has not been reasonably proven to be true. living in a very liberal town I generally agree with my neighbors.. until they bust out the conspiracy theories then they sound just as dumb and deluded as bible thumpers.

So DTMFA LW2, any guy who will believe things that agree with his biases that easily will believe terrible untrue things about you if it suits him to as well.

If there is anything at all 'good' that may come out of Trump running (and really, there isn't, I know) ... it may be that he has galvanized so many women with his full on groping admissions. It has sparked world wide conversations among women about the violations that have been visited upon us. I have learned to my dismay and disgust that literally every female member of my family but one, all of my female coworkers, and the vast majority of my female friends have had these same experiences - being inappropriate touched, fondled, groped, menaced, insulted and/or made to feel small, powerless, unsafe and uncomfortable if not downright threatened, just when being in our homes and/or even at work, or just walking down the fucking street (via catcalls including humiliating, demeaning insults about our appearances, fuckability or lack thereof, etc.)

And based on the MILLIONS of responses that Kelly Oxford got, this is the norm.


When I was 17 I was babysitting 2 kids, ages 7 and 3. We were out having ice cream at Friendly's in the Boston area. The kids left ahead of me to head to the car and I was on my way to go to the bathroom when a man who had been sitting at a booth a few down from us approached me and asked me an unintelligible question in a a low down voice - I could barely hear him - and while doing so, he quickly flicked one of my tits hard with his thumb. I didn't even realize what had happened, when he did it again, saying something with a big menacing grin about how he dug 'flower children' (I was wearing a tie dye tshirt, see). I pushed him away and hurried out of the place - too afraid he might follow me into the bathroom. I repeat, I was 17 years old, and in charge of 2 small kids, and he knew this.

When I left the building, I had no way of knowing if the guy was going to follow me out into the parking lot, and what he might do if he did. He could have been armed for all I knew, even just with a knife. Thankfully I was able to leave in a hurry, peeling out of the parking lot quick as I could, but thinking, well, he's probably watching us, probably seen the car - he might even follow us, right? All the way back to the house? The woman I worked for - she was a single mother - was out of town, and I was new in the job and new in the town - a live in nanny who knew none of the neighbors.

Do you see the ripple effect this guy's actions had on me? On a 17 year old kid? I felt not only humiliated for having (what I mistakenly felt) 'allowed' him to touch me - twice! - and in my teenaged mind double humiliated in thinking that the whole restaurant must have seen it - but then I was afraid for my own bodily safety, and for the safey of the 2 young kids in my charge. Afraid to be followed home and potentially assaulted/harrassed.

What impact did it have on him? He undoubtedly beat off about it. That's it. Fucking with some unknowing stupid insecure teenaged girl. Hilarious! I wonder, did he have daughters? Teenage ones? Ones younger than that? Did he not ever THINK?

I have had numerous similar experiences - all women have - just ask us - from the guys muttering things just loud enough for me but no one else to hear about my body - both on city sidwalks or to my face at my then job - or the couple of guys who literally shrieked insults at me and barked like dogs at my appearance/lack of perceived hotness, to my ass being fully groped in a packed crowd as we left a sporting event ... to the proverbial pack of asshole firemen routinely catcalling and harrassing extremely shy and iinsecure 19 year old me as I walked by the fire station every day on my way to my shit full time minimum wage job, and my eventual decision to cross to the other side of the street to get to work, where there was no sidewalk, and this was an extremely busy and dangerous road and intersection. You hear that? I took the much less physically safe way to work rather than face the daily barrage of insults and demeaning, degrading, humilating inquiries and endless taunts. These were grown adult men - some middle aged - who undoubtedly had 19 year old daughters, some of them. DID THEY NOT EVER THINK? Was it SO CRITICALLY IMPORTANT TO THEIR MANHOOD TO MAKE A YOUNG GIRL FEEL AWFUL AND UNCOMFORTABLE EVERY DAY? A GIRL WHO NEVER SPOKE WITH THEM, NEVER DID A THING TO THEM?

Nearly the exact same scenario ie the boob flicks happened to my best friend while she and a female friend - both of them aged 14 - sat on the steps of a church. A dude just walked up to them and quickly felt up their tits, and ran. Too much to resist, I guess - two unsuspecting teenagers on church steps.

All women of a certain age, ie before the advent of cell phones and caller ID, know the experience of a creeper calling their house and saying menacing and/or perverted shit. This happened to myself and to numerous friends and coworkers - including my sister when she held a live in nanny job herself (nannies run in my family). The parents weren't home - they were often away for days on end because they travelled for work. Their house faced a golf course and had a huge two storey glass atrium, so anyone could see into the house at any time of day or night from the other side of the street, or from the golf course, or from houses that surrounded the golf course. This dude called her off and on over the space of several months - again, this was before the invention of caller ID or maybe the couple just didn't have caller ID on their phone. She had to answer the phone as part of her duties, and because the couple would call to check on her and their infant son. This guy spaced out his calls to keep her off guard, but always managed to call her when she was home alone and vulnerable, without a car and in charge of the child on her own. She was 21. There was nothing the police could do. He got his rocks off reaching into her space and making her feel unsafe and paranoid and scared. Every time she left the house, on her own or with the kid, she had to wonder if the guy was watching her, if he was going to follow her on her walk, or break into the house when she was there on her own overnight. Wonderful terrorizing mind fuck that when on for months.

One universal thing about this shit is that men always target very young women and girls - ages say 7 to mid twenties or so. Had the firemen or boob ficker harrassed me later on, I would never have stood for it, but as a teen - at the ages women and girls so often are when we are groped and insulted and catcalled and assaulted - and the guys rely on this, I'm sure - we simply don't have the confidence yet, or the language or whatever it takes to stand up for ourselves. To feel safe enough to do so.

The undeniable message that is behind all of these acts - what women and girls hear loud and clear - is that we, as females, are on male territory, always. Whereever we are, men own and can fuck with our bodies and mental states - our general states of well being - all they want, all day, without reprisal. All over the world.

I think what needs to happen, knowing that this happens to their friends, coworkers, female relatives, sisters, etc., is that MEN NEED TO START TO FUCKING STAND UP and take responsibility for each other, and police each and accept and recognize the man's world that this still is - a culture that allows this damaging, menacing shit to happen every single day, day in and day out, TO HALF THE WORLD'S POPULATION.

GUYS! ASK THE WOMEN YOU KNOW IF THIS SHIT HAS HAPPENED TO THEM. SIT AND LISTEN THEM ABOUT IT. Absorb the impact it has had on them, and the ripple effect for them and for all women. AND THEN FUCKING TURN AROUND AND CALL OTHER GUYS OUT ON THIS SHIT. It's not hard! Make it uncool in the locker rooms and boardrooms and high school and college campuses and frathouses. DON'T be on the side of the Trumpists excusing and dismissing this shit. YOU HAVE THE POWER TO HELP MAKE THIS BEHAVIOR AND ATTITUDE NO LONGER UNACCEPTABLE - AS UNACCEPTABLE AS IT IS TO BE RACIST. AS UNACCEPTABLE IT IS TO BE ANTI-GAY.

STEP UP AND SAY SOMETHING TO YOUR MALE FRIENDS AND RELATIVES. STAND WITH WOMEN AND GIRLS ABOUT THIS SHIT. Really! It's not too much to ask. Think about it! The girl being harrassed, groped, catcalled, humliated, made to feel unsafe, may be your 12 year old daughter one day. Even if that never happens - even if you miraculously know no females your entire life who experience these things, which trust me, isn't possible - it's the right and moral thing to do.

LW2, If you don't have kids, DTMFA immediately. If you do have kids, think about how you can make a divorce work and minimize his contact with them. If you can figure out a good way, DTMFA.

There is nothing wrong with a bipartisan relationship (one Democrat, one Republican), but that's not what we're talking about here. We're talking about a conspiracy theorist (your husband) who uses stories that he knows to be false (or he is actually insane) to justify support for an irresponsible hateful misogynistic racist asshole. People who take joy is such antagonistic, antisocial behavior are not just contrarians, they are terrible human beings who deserve to die alone and have nobody notice that they're dead for several months because they are not missed, even a little bit..

Be glad that Trump let you realize what a miserable piece of shit your husband is and get him out of your life as soon as possible.

Good luck.
LW2, Also, a person who deliberately picks fight on subjects he or she knows will be very upsetting for his or her spouse is being emotionally abusive, not just "contrarian." Divorce the Mother Fucker Already.
A lot of people here putting words in my mouth, thoughts in my mind, and motivations in my heart. But in fact all I did in the post @8 was do what everyone does here every week – treat the original letter with some skepticism and try to think through - and against - its presumptions. It seems that alone is enough to be dismissed as myself a pervert and a groper, candidate for mandatory reeducation etc.

So go back and read the letter with a skeptical mind. What is described? A man (we are not told his age, although this has not stopped some here from presuming him to be "old"), who apparently smells of alcohol, who asks a kid to put the divider on the check-out conveyor belt, addresses her as "sweetheart," who reaches out to put his hand on her arm (because that is what is described, albeit in slightly strange terms of "wrapping a hand around her arm") and tells her to "be nice to your Mommy sweetie," and then tells the mother "you have a beautiful daughter."

Now I wasn't there, and neither were you, but to me - simply going on what is described in the letter - it sounds like a strange overreaction to leap to condemn this person as a "monster," a "predator," worthy of being taken out the back and having the crap knocked out of him (or worse), worthy of being hit with a blunt instrument, etc. (If you actually did that, on the basis of the actions described in the letter, you would rightly be looking at a prison term.)

Perhaps this was a truly nasty individual with sordid intent, but perhaps he wasn't. It is easy to imagine the scene in dark terms, but also easy to imagine it happening in a completely innocuous way. (For the Americans among you, think of the scene in Mexico, or in Italy, or in India: someone going "you have a beautiful child" and patting the kid's head or whatever - you would not necessarily leap to think of it as an instance of universal male predation.)

I am the father of a young daughter and have no wish for her to live in a world where she is liable to be groped or otherwise sexually abused. More than I specifically protect her from the possibility of it happening. Like any parent I teach her to be wary of strangers, and give her absolute rules ("do not take things from strangers unless I am with you" etc.) until she is old enough (which is a lot older than she is now) to make judgements for herself.

But I am also very very wary of the new(ish) trend in public discourse to presume more danger in the world than there is, to take all male strangers to be pedophiles until proven otherwise, and to rush for the cheap pleasures of performing one's own righteousness on the internet.

I am not saying that there is not - worldwide - a big problem with male violence on women, male intrusion onto women, and a legacy of sordid macho sexual culture. I just don't either much like the kind of self-righteous performative judgement that you get these days, even here. I do think there are such things as "moral panics" and I think they are also unpleasant and dangerous, and I think we are - to some degree - living in the midst of one (or many) right now.

If you want an example of where that can lead, take this recent case:…
Not the greatest source (the Daily Mail), I grant you, but there is enough substance there to give some pause for thought. And no, it is not identical case, just that there is something similar in the pattern of reaction that is worth thinking about.
That's a lot of words just to double down on what you were already saying, man.
@58 well when I didn't elaborate, I had my thoughts summed up for me as amounting to "I can't believe women don't want strangers touching them, what's the world coming to", so I figured I'd rather spell them out on my own behalf :)
@40: "molesters, catcallers and date rapists pick out people who look vulnerable as marks, but this is a learned behavior."

Only to a degree. It can also be a symptom of an underlying sociopathic personality. Teaching (particularly by people lacking experience in psychological disorders) can backfire.

"But you can't treat the men who engage in this behavior like Alpha Wolves;"

If it's a sociopath you are dealing with, they are quite skilled at controlling the people around them and maintaining a positive image in the eyes of others. Like Ted Bundy, for example. But sociopaths can be dangerous when confronted about their behavior. So as someone not in law enforcement or the mental health community, I'm not calling out someone that I have no responsibility for. Being a white knight just isn't worth my health or life.

"And as someone who's actually been in a women's locker room, I never heard anyone there talk about grabbing men by the dick."

I've had my ass grabbed a few times by women. And I've been told that the event was discussed in advance in the ladies room. And I've heard reports of who the Big Man on campus (and the not so big) are as well.
Underlying "rape culture" (a term I don't like, but it fits here) is the assumption that women's bodies are public property. Total strangers think it is ok to put their hands on a pregnant woman's belly, to comment on a little girl's looks, or to tell grown women to smile. Most of this isn't explicitly sexual, but communicates the assumption that women and girls out in the world are there for public consumption, not for their own agendas. That's why it feels bad to the subject, even when the intentions are benign. SJW might call these "microagressions" but I think we need a bigger conversation of the assumptions underlying the behaviors, not more perpetuation of the feeling of victimization.
@57 and 59 Oodletrend - the reason you are getting so much crap for your response is because you are doing exactly what is part of the problem: brushing it off as an exaggeration, saying that everyone is overreacting, and quite simply not believing the storyteller because maybe, MAYBE she's an "uptight, hyper-freaked-out, danger-is-everywhere contemporary American parent, who completely over- and misinterpreted a harmless gesture from a friendly, slightly tipsy person." Is that what you would say to your daughter if she said to you "Daddy, some man who smelled bad touched me at the store today and scared me"? Would you tell her, "oh, sweetie, you're just being oversensitive, he probably didn't mean you any harm"? My friends didn't believe me when I said I didn't like that counselor touching me either, they just thought I was being shy and he was just being friendly, and look where that went. Their reaction - thinking it was funny and sweet - scared and confused me and made me second-guess my instincts and wonder if his behavior was really okay.

It's pretty clear that you have very little understanding of why rape and sexual assault is one of the most under-reported crimes in the US. It's because people like yourself think that it's "healthy skepticism" to question victims' accounts and essentially blame them for blowing an incident out of proportion, misinterpreting a "friendly gesture," or implying that the victim did something to incite the incident. I strongly recommend that you read the non-fiction book "Missoula" by Jon Krakauer, which chronicles several rape cases in a Montana college town over several years. The cops and prosecutors treated many of the victims exactly the way you're interpreting this story, and it affected the victims severely.

I also hope you realize that part of the reason you think everyone is overreacting is because you are male, so your chance of getting creeped on is far lower than every woman's, including your little girl's. I don't know about everyone else, but I shared my stories because I think people like you should know that it can happen to anyone and anywhere, it's a common occurrence for women, and try as you might, you can't always protect your child from such things happening (seriously, do you think I didn't have a dad who cared about me the same way you care about your little girl?). Just read the stories here. Many of them start with a similar "harmless" encounter like the one in LW1's story. And many of us perceive that the drunk man's intentions may not have been pure or friendly because we've seen it escalate when it happened to us or other women we know *so many times*. Your "healthy skepticism" reaction is like telling a doctor who has made a lifelong study of a specific disease and diagnoses it in a patient, "are you sure it's not just a cold?" And, by the way, your "healthy skepticism" defense of your first post doesn't make sense, considering you made that post before anyone wished violence on the drunk customer.

Lastly, you do know that the Daily Mail is a tabloid, not a real newspaper, right? I will agree with you that Internet vigilantism can get out of hand and threats of violence are not okay, but you don't have to imply that a woman's account of her child being made uncomfortable in public by a drunk man is exaggerated or false in order to make that point.
The best deconstruction of the trump tape I have heard, especially the "locker room talk" aspect of it, is here:…

He gets to the heart of the matter at 7:40, if you aren't interested in the whole thing. I missed last weeks column, so apologies if this has already been brought up.
Jina @62 - yep I am well aware that the Daily Mail is a tabloid, I say as much in 57, as a warning to read carefully and with a large pinch of salt. I dislike linking to it because it is a right-wing rag, but it was the most succinct summary of the story, of which there is other corroboration elsewhere.
@Oodletrend: Even giving the incidents described in letter #1 the most benign and generous reading, here's what happened: a man who was obviously drunk reached over a child's mother to wrap his hand around that child's arm as he made some drunken comment that he was out of line making. The child hated it and told her mother so: "I hated that man," my daughter says once we get in the car. "He smelled bad, I wanted to hit him, if anyone ever does that to me again I'm going to scream."
The mom used that opportunity to tell her child that she was once the victim of sexual assault and presumably to tell the child that she should always advocate for her own sense of bodily integrity.

And you are suggesting this woman is overreacting why? What would you have told your own daughter had the incident occurred as described and had she said what this child said: "oh honey, you shouldn't assume that the man meant any harm." Maybe you would have said, "I think you're overreacting, sweetie. He didn't hurt you, and he was probably a nice man. If someone does something like that to you again, there's no need to scream. Just smile and wait for them to stop." Seriously, what would you have said to your own daughter had some drunk stranger put his hand on her and scared her and had she told you afterward that she hated it?
@8 Oodletrend: I find your comments trivializing MADDER's sickening incident in a grocery store with her daughter troubling. Please stop, especially if your sole purpose is for the sake of trolling.
@47 Donny Klicious: Thank you and kudos for calling @45 Paul231 on his bullshit.
@62 Jina: Spot on! Thank you.
@66 ffs, I am not trolling neither am I trivializing. I explained briefly and then at some length what I found disquieting about that PARTICULAR letter, not about those questions in general. If you look at my longer post, you'll see that. If, on this topic, you prefer neither to read nor to think, and to abuse anyone who does, that is your choice. Enjoy the warm bath of your own righteousness.
Oodletrend, how would you react if your daughter came home and told you what the LW's kid said to her? What would you say to her?
Polyphemus @44: You just made up the "stocking up on more booze" bit. The LW never said what the guy was buying.

Paul @45: What about if a woman kicked you in the balls?

Velvet @54: Can I just hug you. Ugh! The shit we all have to suffer just because we had the misfortune to be born with vaginas.

Oodle @57: "go back and read the letter with a skeptical mind"
See, THIS IS EXACTLY THE PROBLEM. When women say they are harassed, they are not believed. When they say they are raped, they are not believed. Because men like you greet their stories "with a skeptical mind." Why not just BELIEVE people when they say they have been abused? Have you not read all these posts? Jina's? VelvetBabe's? Rowing@Dawn's? Have you read their posts "with a skeptical mind" too? What's behind this presumption that their stories cannot possibly be the truth? Why are you clutching so strongly onto this "skeptical" attitude, which you claim is to just this one letter? Your attitude does not lead to the conclusion that you are an abuser, but certainly to the conclusion that you would condone abuse, or at the very least your initial reaction would be "what was she wearing/she brought it on herself." You ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM. People like you are the REASON victims do not speak up. Can you not see this? You admit that "perhaps this person had a sordid intent." Is that not enough to want to get the child out of harm's way? Even if this particular person didn't have a "sordid intent," isn't the fact that the contact creeped the kid out sufficient to use it as a teaching moment for what they should do in case the NEXT creep DID have "sordid intent"?
Good lord, man. Please re-read all these stories and learn something. Your daughter deserves to be believed if she ever comes to you with a story like this.
Your elaboration changes nothing. You're still dismissing women as liars, exaggerators, their instincts as wrong, their fears as unfounded. You may not be trolling, but you are definitely trivialising. You are part of rape culture.
I like how Oodletrend@64 completely ignored the bulk of my post and only responded to the part that doesn't require him to actually answer any hard questions.

Ooodletrend, I would take you more seriously that you really just want to discuss if you didn't deflect and evade the hard questions. As it is, though, I see no reason to not think that you're just a troll, you made up having a daughter so you could say "see, I care about women!", and you enjoy playing a hurt victim cuz all the mean hysterical uptight hypervigilant wimminz who are blinded by their self-righteousness are ganging up on you.
Jina, your story @43 -- The camp counselor story is terrifying. So glad that the head counselor was there that night.
Yep. Every female friend I've ever been close enough to to have a conversation about this has had at least one, usually several, experiences of stalking or unwanted touching, or worse. Every one of them.
@30 In other contexts I can certainly see this, but not in the context of strange drunk men and girls.
@45 You're pathetic.

@70 BiDanFan - as a guy, watching you fight this uphill battle is a bit depressing. Why is everyone so fucking interested in giving the benefit of the doubt to some drunk asshole who made someone's daughter feel unsafe at a grocery store?

To all the drunk asshole apologists:
1) There's nothing about the letter to make us think there is false information here. The mother doesn't sound irrational at all and took the time to put together a very well though out letter

2) Once you're drunk in public, you're already an asshole, and no parent wants you near their kid, let alone talking to them or touching them.

3) The daughter expressed discomfort with the man to her mother. Imagine you're a small girl and some drunk guy leans in on you and starts asking you to do things and touches you. It would be terrifying.

4) Disregarding the legitimate frustrations of women who experience a lifetime of sexual aggression from Men and live in a culture that waves it off as 'boys will boys' makes you an asshole. Stop being an asshole.
My takeaway from this thread is that discussing the doubting Thomas types must itself become a part of the Trump talk.

Not only are there men out there who feel entitled to inappropriately touch and comment on women's and girls' bodies; but that for every one of those there's three more guys who will approach the incident with ""skepticism"" which always manifests as discounting the victim & minimizing the inappropriate touch. Cops do it, bfs do it, juries do it, and even some of the folks in this thread are doing it.

I really wish guys who do this (ahem) would stop to consider *why* they're so invested in substituting their feeings (namely, sexual assault is rare and horrible) with the facts being presented to them (namely, sexual assault is common and presents as a spectrum of behavior ranging from catcalling to groping to rape, which almost all women face to some extent during their lives.) reals before feels, y'know??
@57. I don't know that there is a feeling about that all male strangers are pedophiles. That is a big jump from teaching our girl and boy children to stay aware of their surroundings.
And you must allow in your skeptical look at what is presented for intent and intuition. The mother picked up sleeze intent and so did the daughter.
As a pretty strong contrarian myself, I can attest, it does not require you to support Trump or wish him anything better than public, humiliating death soaked in a combination of his own tears, feces, and urine.
@45 having been groped on the bus by a group of women, it is not especially fun. In fact, i've been groped probably half-a-dozen times by strangers (and once by a man) there are literally zero jollies to it.
Oodletrend you're a Rapist Cheerleader.

I'm going to say that again. You sir are a cheerleader for rapists. Everything you've said so far makes it clear that you think it's okay for women to be molested, harassed and assaulted. It's clear you think this is acceptable behavior and that you want it to continue.

I feed bad for you daughter. I fear for the day when someone goes to far and you jump to their defense. The day when you happily throw your daughter under the bus to protect some scumbag who assaulted her. You are a creep of a worst sort.

Fuck off.
I stopped around comment #40 because I was so sickened by the groper-apologists on this thread. I assume you are men, and I sincerely hope you don't have daughters. And if you do, I hope they learn to run far, far away from you the minute they are able to.

I am one of those "resting bitch face" women who repel men at a single glance. You know how I learned it? Because I started being catcalled and ogled at age 11 when I grew breasts. Because when I was 16, on a youth group trip where we were all piled in the back of a van and driving overnight, I awoke to feel a boy's fingers going down my pants, into my vagina. Because I was too bewildered and shocked to make a scene. Because I didn't know what to do other than to roll over and pretend that I was still asleep.

So FUCK all of you male assholes who think that this doesn't happen. FUCK YOU for not believing the women in your life when they tell you this happens to them. You ever wonder why women snap at guys who hit on them? This is why -- because women like me have been groped, ogled, molested from the time we hit puberty. We expect the worst from men, because we have the experience that tells us that men are predators.

So why don't you "good guys" stand up and SAY something instead of just shrugging or raising an eyebrow? Why should the burden be on women to change men's behavior?
I had to have "the talk" with my son about revolting, predatory men.
Mr. Venn @ 51 - I am not at all in favor of a one-party system, and might in fact prefer a set-up not so strongly rigged in favor of two major parties. But when even many members of the party to which he purports to belong can't face the idea of T***p winning the election, I think it's fair to say "one more democrat this time, please."

I think in some circles it never became cool to be gay, and those circles are just getting more vocal again. I think the shift in public attitude that resulted in the sanction of gay marriage (isn't it funny how sanction can mean opposite things?) came from 1) an increase over time in the numbers of younger folks (gen Y and younger) whose norms include sexual differences, and 2) the acclimatization to the concept on the part of the silent majority (perhaps more of a silent plurality, these days).

While those of us who are regular readers may be influenced one way or another by Dan Savage's views, and while he has gained more cultural stature in American society, I don't think he's yet achieved the kind of status you ascribe to him - that would give him the power to push a sizable stream of Sanders supporters further along the petty "my way or the highway" road they were already on. But I could be wrong about that.
I would never argue that women are not capable of sexual harassment and assault.

I also know that I didn't realize the degree to which I was always consciously and subconsciously on my guard against male predatory behavior until I went to the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival at the age of 20, realized there were absolutely no men present, and felt myself relax in a way I had never relaxed before.
Rowing @77: "My takeaway from this thread is that discussing the doubting Thomas types must itself become a part of the Trump talk."

Yes, good point. My mother had the Trump Talk with me, and it included "tell an adult," but it didn't include "if that adult doesn't believe you, tell a different adult. Not all adults want to accept that sometimes other adults do bad things."

The worst part of Oodletrend's groper-apology post @57 was his rewriting "Waiting to pay for my groceries at the market this evening, this guy, stinking of booze, says to my 9-year-old daughter..." as "A man ... who apparently smells of alcohol..."

Apparently smells of alcohol. Wow. You don't even believe this woman's sense of smell. Why would she make something like that up? Why would you question that, Oodletrend? Why was your immediate reaction to disbelieve the very plausible claim that this guy smelled of booze?

And FYI, no, not everyone here reads every letter "with a skeptical mind." With rare exceptions, I read all the letters as being an accurate portrayal of, at the very least, the LW's perception of the situation at hand. I do not read them with the presumption that the person is making shit up. Because making shit up, generally, benefits nobody.

No, I am not claiming that this particular drunk man is a child rapist. You're correct that I don't know what his intentions were any more than you do. But the point is: A child felt unsafe and grossed out by unwanted contact. And I ask you again, because you never answered: What makes you feel that drunk men -- that anyone -- has more right to touch children than children -- or adults -- have to not be touched in ways that make them uncomfortable? Answer that, please.
Ms Thinking - Well, at least you're not one of those whose plan seems to be along the Magical Thinking line that the Ds can just take back Congress and keep it and the presidency forever and ever. I don't quarrel with anyone's wanting the next Republican administration to be "not this time", but it must be planned for. What the Rs will want to do after twelve or sixteen years without the executive will probably be much more extreme than after eight.

It reminds me of a Canadian right-winger (by Canadian standards) who correctly sensed the Harper government had lasted as long as it could and voted for the least intolerable of the parties that might win. Here we don't have that luxury.

On the anti-gay thing, I'm more concerned over numbers than over who has the microphone at the moment (and was perhaps a little misleading in my last post). The socially conservative wing of the anti-SJWs has been crowing lately over the newest round of studies indicating that the current generation of the Young is about four times more conservative than their predecessors. I don't know whether to be more frightened by what the regressives want to do or by what the repressives want to take back.

I would argue that Mr Savage has been as reasonable a claimant as anyone for the position of The One Gay Voice that society as a whole will allow, much the way left-leaning news channels will have a panel of four with one conservative (and not a robust one at that), or vice versa. Maybe Rachel Maddow is another possibility, but straight society won't allow for a wide range of non-straight voices - two or perhaps three at the most. I'd guess that Mr Savage has the highest level of name recognition, and not that long ago he had the Young. But now it seems he's losing them, and it's the non-7%er gays who will suffer for what the take-backers dislike about Mr Savage. Sorry I've no time to express this properly, but am leaving in four minutes.
BiDan@86 I do not read them with the presumption that the person is making shit up.

I would add that it doesn't matter even if the LW is making it up (aside from the obviously fake "I fucked a tiger" letters)...the whole point of Savage Love letters is to present a situation and offer insight. As such, I generally proceed on the assumption the facts given are kosher.
When I was six, another older boy used to come up behind me and rub his crotch on me. All the time. Gross.

When I was around nine a certain non-blood relation fondled me.

When I was 17 my boss (30 years older) got me tipsy and tried to get into my pants

When I was twenty two I had a house party, became black out drunk, and was apparently going to blow some dude until my fiancé intervened.

I btw don't consider the latter assault because the other guy was drunk off his ass too. But I learned a big lesson.

None of this includes being catcalled etc. and I am not miss hotness

I tell my daughters their body is sacrosanct. If they don't want to hug anyone (occasionally that includes me) they don't.

When assault is committed against our sons, we don't tell them they have to stand for it. If another boy pushes them down we say, tell a teacher, or walk away, or punch the kid back (depending on your background). But we never ever say "oh just take it, let them do it." Why accept it for our daughters?

DarkHorse @89, thank you for this:
"When assault is committed against our sons, we don't tell them they have to stand for it. If another boy pushes them down we say, tell a teacher, or walk away, or punch the kid back (depending on your background). But we never ever say "oh just take it, let them do it." Why accept it for our daughters?"

I think that's a great point, and gets to the heart of it. Sometimes a switch like that makes something clearer. If had been a little 9-year-old boy, and the same actions happened--including the guy grabbing his arm, telling his mom "your son is so beautiful"--wouldn't everyone have the heebies hard-core? Well, I won't make arguments that things are (or should be) exactly the same across gender lines, but it's a big clue that you're acting under some biases of your own when it seems pretty nasty the one way and you don't mind it the other way.
I'd like to add: it doesn't really *matter* if the dude had pedophilic intentions or not. It doesn't matter whether or not the contact would have "gone anywhere."

Unless you're preventing an accident or attempting to get around, YOU DO NOT TOUCH STRANGERS. EVER. Have people never been to preschool? Hands to yourself. Look with your eyes.

I don't know why this seems to be debatable, but in a world where at least some guys think pulling a woman's headphones off is an acceptable conversation-starter, I can't say I'm *surprised*. Sigh.

@LW2: DTMFA. Trump supporters don't really deserve love, and neither does that guy who needs to "play devil's advocate" all the time. I don't need to know anything about you to know that you can do better.
ST @85, your comment reminded me of a friend from my immediate post-college days. When it came to making social plans for Friday night, this straight single woman would always lobby for our mostly straight crowd to hang out at the local gay bar. (At that time, in that city, there was only ONE gay bar - mostly populated by gay men of course, but open and welcoming to all paying customers, with a little private side room for lesbians and any other women who preferred not to mingle with Y-chromosome types.) She told us, "It's the only place in town where I can openly ogle a room full of beautiful and well-dressed men, get a little tipsy, smile and chat with complete strangers, dance as sexy and wild as I want to...and never have to worry about getting hit on."

Also, with regard to those who thought LW1 was being overprotective - it's not a subject I know a lot about (fortunately), but I would guess that many kids get molested due to UNDER-protective and overly distracted parents. Predators do know how to seek out prey, and pederasts are more likely to target children whose parents are either out of the picture much of the time, or who don't appear to mind when a stranger is compelled to touch their kid and make creepy remarks.

I am really shocked by the many people who have suggested that LW2 should actually divorce her husband over his support of Trump. Fun @91, "Trump supporters don't really deserve love" - man, that's rough. I hope you said it tongue-in-cheek. We all have to live together after this election, people, and LW2 is hardly the only person whose family split along partisan lines in this especially divisive contest. How will we manage to survive Thanksgiving dinner this year, with that kind of attitude being expressed on both sides? I was a strong Bernie supporter and I'll be holding my nose as I cast my vote for HRC, but I do appreciate the power and truth of her slogan - "Stronger Together." No one deserves to be treated like garbage, like they are personally full of evil, just because they hold different political views.
@51 - Even though I am a Democrat, I see the value of a two party system, but right now the Republicans/Teabaggers have done their best to make sure our system doesn't function at all. It's time for them to either radically reform themselves, or be replaced by a party that is willing to be the "loyal opposition" - for whom compromise is not a dirty word, and civil disagreement, decorum and basic decency are part of their values. We all know now that "abortion" was not an issue they really cared about - the issue was really segregation, but they whipped up abortion into a wedge issue because talking segregation had become a hot potato. Trump's doing the same thing with immigration but plans to stick it to the gays if he gets in office, which thank goodness, it looks like won't be happening. But in 4 years, I fully expect the Republicans to put forth a more urbane, polished version of Donald Trump. Will a candidate who uses words other than "yuge" and "tremendous" appeal to his base? We'll have to see. But like Dan, I don't find Trump the least bit funny.
For the moment, some young people are still sulking that Dan has thrown his support behind Clinton rather than Jill Stein, and that he saw the handwriting on the wall about Sanders' run before the actual convention. That sulking will pass once the election is over. Sanders can play an important role making sure that the midterms aren't a disaster, and getting young people to bring their enthusiasm where it is needed then.
denounces trump in one paragraph, spends the rest talking about himself and his fans. normal, just normal. and consent goes out the window when it comes to killing arabs in their own homes so there is no consciousness raising, just shifting the targets for who must be violated.
@92: Not entirely tongue-in-cheek, nope. There's different views, and then there's believing that I and people I care about don't deserve basic human rights--and at that point, yep, "garbage" and "personally full of evil." I'm not advocating legal discrimination against them, so I'm still sleeping just fine at night.

I survive Thanksgiving by avoiding those relatives as much as I can, sticking to the weather when I can't, and rolling my eyes in private or among like-minded friends later. It's worked well so far.
@86 Look I think it's pretty likely that this guy didn't have a rape van warmed up in the parking lot, but so what? That doesn't make his actions somehow acceptable. That's like saying it's okay to stab someone as long as you don't hit an artery.

No. This is not okay. I mean the simple fact the guy was drunk off ass is not okay. And someone else brought up the question how did he get to store and how is he getting back? How many people are going to be dragged under this guy's bumper?

He's not an oppressed victim. He's not being treated unfairly. You don't want parents mad at you don't grab their kids and be creepy about it.

#90 brought up a good point that there's a chance Oodle would've been screaming blue murder had a 'boy' been assaulted. But a little girl? She might as well get used to it.
@92. Granted I'm not American, so it's a situation I observe from afar.
Thanksgiving is one day, it's not like a marriage. I felt LW2 should leave this man because for whatever reason,he agrees with a man who is advocating hate. Trump encourages his followers to just let it rip because the election process is rigged, unless he wins. He is a horrible human being and his followers are agreeing with him. That by inference makes them just like him.
Everybody here is strongly stating one has to stand up against his attitudes to women, the cultural attitudes to women. The LW talks almost jokingly about her husband's political position. Like many talk of women's reactions to being treated like objects. Uppity women who just don't accept boys will be boys.
So, where to draw the line? I doubt the letter writer will leave her husband. She's said as much.
She still needs to face she is married to a creep, because his attitudes align with the creepy trump.
Capr @92
Fun @91, "Trump supporters don't really deserve love" - man, that's rough. I hope you said it tongue-in-cheek. We all have to live together after this election, people

That's the classical tribal strategy of "dehumanizing the opponent" at work.
"What is the point?" I ask myself. "It's the comments section of a sex advice column. No one will read it, and even if they do, no one will care."

"The point," comes the answer, "is that you won't sleep tonight unless you write this down."


From a very young age I was surrounded by adults who drank. Not necessarily heavy, usually the 'few beers after work' sort of thing, but certainly at any social gathering, (including kids' birthday parties) there was drinking. And at the end of the night, after Thanksgiving dinner was over, but before the yearly showing of Willy Wonka came on the local affiliate, after the birthday cake was all eaten, or the condolences were given after the wake, I was forced to say goodbye to adult women and men that had been drinking. Some of them heavily. And that often included a hug.

Usually this was no big deal, but sometimes there was an Uncle who was particularly sloppy, or a mechanic friend of my father's who was a bit too rough or scary looking, or really, just a near-stranger that I didn't want touching me. But my parents compelled me to be polite and well-behaved and allow men who stank, men who squeezed too hard or for too long, and occasionally, even a man who got tearful, to draw me in and hold me there however he liked and for as long as he liked.

Were these men all perverts? Certainly not. Did they make me uncomfortable? Certainly many of them did. As a matter of fact, given the way some of them awkwardly fumbled during these hugs, I'm sure some of them were a bit uncomfortable as well.

Did they have ill intent? Mostly they did not. Until some of them did.

I had an Uncle who squeezed too tight for too long and who was famous for being the one who loved to dole out "birthday spankings". He made me uncomfortable, but I had long ago learned that was normal. So when he did something that made me very uncomfortable, I didn't question it. I didn't protest. And I didn't tell. There was no need for him to threaten me. I just knew there would be no point.

Then the bus driver in the 3rd grade who took a special interest in me. He bought me little gifts, which at first thrilled me and made me feel special. My favorite was a yo-yo that would light up mid-spin. Something my parents denied me because it was too expensive. Something none of the other kids had. So how could I protest when he kindly drew me onto his lap and held me there tightly and told me what a pretty little girl I was?

And at age 10 my summer sitter's elderly neighbor. Again, he took a special interest in me, embarrassed and delighted me by telling everyone how pretty I was, and eventually, was left alone with me for short periods during which he would inevitably seat me on his lap pressed against his erection. When he pressed my hand against it, I didn't protest, I just (as had done with the other men) waited for it to be over. No one understood why I began to hide when he appeared. They all laughed at my shyness, thought I must be embarrassed by what he fuss he made over me. And so they compelled me to come out, compelled me to go sit with the long-widowed, lonely old man again. And so I did.

When I was thirteen, I spent New Year's weekend at my eldest cousin's house. She had to work NYE at the local tavern and her 20 year old husband was put in charge of my other female cousin, 15, me, and my 11 year old sister. He offered the 15 year old a beer, and soon my sister and I were drinking too. We felt so adult, no parents around, playing board games, listening to albums, and drinking on a snowy NYE. Then he suggested strip poker. Already tipsy and wanting to impress him and my 15 year old cousin with how adult I was, I went along with it. I think my sister was just too stunned to say no. It ended with him naked and the three of us girls down to only our underpants. He called me to lie down with him on the couch. Obedient as always, and somewhat drunk, I did. I lay there quietly while he put his hand into my underwear and fondled me. Sick to my stomach, I froze. Eventually he stopped and went off with my 15 year old cousin into another part of the house. I told no one. Not his wife, not my sister, and certainly not my parents.

Encouraging, or even allowing unwanted touch by adults sends a very clear message to a child: Adults decide when and if and who may touch you. It doesn't matter if you're uncomfortable. It doesn't matter if you hate it. It doesn't matter if it hurts or makes you sick to your stomach. You need to keep your mouth shut and be polite and endure it. Period.

This is how we groom our own children to be victims of sexual assault before someone with ill intent ever lays a hand on them.

So to these MOTHERFUCKERS who want to apply "skepticism", who want to call this "hyper vigilance", who want to challenge this woman's read of her own child's discomfort (WHICH WAS LATER CONFIRMED BY HER DAUGHTER) and her decision to stop the unwanted touch, get her daughter out of proximity, and have a discussion with the child about the mother's own very relevant experiences:


Apoptotic @99: I want you to know that I did read, and I do care. I have angry tears in my eyes right now, anger at those who violated young you. I am so sorry you had to go through those things. Hugs to you, and if it were somehow in my power to find those men and kick them hard in the balls, I would.
apoptoctic: I, too, want you to know that I read and I care and I am so angry at all the adults who failed you. You deserved better, and I know that if you have a child or someday have one, that you will arm that child with the the ability to say "stop," "no, I don't want to hug you." I offer you a virtual hug of sympathy and am glad you decided to tell your story.

I am lucky in that I don't have a similar one myself, but I well remember having to kiss and hug adults who scared me or disgusted me or whom I didn't know at all, as part of the arrival and/or departure ritual. I remember adult men who made "jokes" that scared me or made me uncomfortable and when I complained to my parents, being told that they was just kidding and it was supposed to be understood to be joking. I have never understood why adults--why the parents of the kids involved don't take the complaints of children more seriously. Why they so often force their children into uncomfortable embraces. But you're right: it does set up a dynamic in which the child knows that they have to accept whatever the adult wants to do.
Apoptotic @100, thanks so much for writing in. It won't change any of the awful things that happened to you as a child, but maybe it will give a few parents out there a wake-up call to take better care of their own children. I wish you an adult life full of love, healing, and self-acceptance after that traumatic and chaotic childhood. No kid should have to experience what you did, and I admire your courage for saying everything you had to say in a public forum.

RE @98, exactly. I had forgotten that terminology, but you nailed it - and it doesn't become any more acceptable as a moral choice, just because you are on the same side politically as the dehumanizers.

Hating the haters, refusing to engage with them, amounts to fighting your opponents on their own turf and with their own weapons. It will NEVER lead to peace and reconciliation, which is what this country desperately needs. I prefer Michelle Obama's philosophy - "When they go low, we go high." God, I wish President Obama could run for a third term! History will treat him very well, I think.

Also, Lava @97: if LW2's husband's current preference for Trump is symptomatic of a huge litany of underlying incompatibilities and disrespectful actions throughout their marriage, she would certainly be justified to DTMFA. But if his major flaw is supporting the "wrong" candidate in the 2016 election and teasing her about it, that's a pretty flimsy reason to dissolve a marriage IMHO. And no, I don't buy that "by inference" all supporters of Trump are like him, personality-wise. I am NOTHING like HRC, in fact I think her governing personality is scarily Nixonian and her foreign policy is far too hawkish for my tastes. I am voting for her solely because she is the lesser of two evils, and because I think she will make good Supreme Court appointments. I know many people voting for Trump who find him personally and politically disgusting, but they think HE is the lesser of two evils, and they want to maintain a conservative majority in the Supreme Court. But at the end of the day we are all American citizens. I'm hopeful that this is as low as we will ever go in terms of Presidential candidates, and that after this toxic election cycle ends, we will all be able to start healing and coming together as a nation again.

Can we dispense with the premise that women don't know the difference between somebody intending to creep on/prey on them, and somebody who is just going about their business? That we're incapable of reading body language and people who intend to push on our boundaries and our safety because our poor little ladybrains can't handle the cold cruel world?

True story: my older sister used to have a big black mutt dog. They got him from a street litter when he was 8 weeks old and he looked like a lab puppy. A year later, he grew up to be 110 pounds, he came up to my hip (I'm 5'9") and going by what we knew of the parents and how he looked, he was part black lab, part afghan hound, and part great dane. This dog was a total sweetheart and all he wanted to do was either swim or sit in your lap and cuddle...unless he thought somebody was threatening my sister.

One day, she was out walking him with me and my mom there. Across the street, a man none of us knew started staring at her and walking towards her with those kind of predatory moves we all know at this point mean CREEPER. And...this dog saw the guy. He turned to face him, with his tail straight up, and the mane on his neck straight up, and staring the guy down. If you've ever seen an afghan or a greyhound or any other sighthound working prey, you've seen that stare.

The man took one look at this dog and found somewhere else to be, quick. The dog relaxed went back to wagging his tail and smiling.

So....why is it that when I tell this story, people trust the dog's reaction, but don't trust my reaction, or that of my mother or my sister? If I say, the guy was behaving in a way that men who have creeped on us behave, I get told I'm overreacting, or maybe he just wanted XXXX, or what have you. But when the dog saw the same damn thing, and reacted to this man the way he would to a predator threatening my sister, the dog is right? Why would we believe the judgement of a dog over the judgement of a woman?

Because that's what #8 did to LW #1. LW1 knows what creepers look like, well enough to warn him off her child. LW1's daughter felt uncomfortable and unhappy and creeped on, which is usually what happens when somebody is creeping on you.
I'm going to say two things upfront: one, I believe LW1's account; and two, as a child I was targeted by a pedophile within my family, and though my parents' vigilance kept me from any real harm, there were incidents of unwanted touch and MANY instances of emotional manipulation. So I guess, loosely defined, I'm a survivor.

With that said:

Someone once wrote that feminism is the radical proposition that women are human beings. I fully subscribe to that proposition, but it's more double-edged than it appears. Because women are human beings, they -- like any human being -- lie, cheat, steal, kill, and any number of other bad acts (yes, even sexual assault, especially upon children).

Women aren't special in this regard, either in a positive or negative sense: if women seem less prolific in their awfulness than men, it's either because they have less power, or because they've gotten better at being awful covertly. They're not missing some "evil" gene that lives exclusively on the Y chromosome.

More importantly, women do the exact same thing that practically every human being I've ever met does: when telling their own stories, they change things -- subtly or dramatically -- to make themselves look good and righteous. Sometimes it's semi-intentional, like repeating something someone said in a "village idiot" tone designed to make them seem unsympathetic, even if they originally said it in a normal voice (I had an ex who did this constantly, and it drove me nuts; Trump does it too). Sometimes it's totally unconscious, as when we rewrite our own memories to omit our own bad behavior, but can vividly describe everyone else's.

I believe individual stories, if and when I so choose -- and for the record, that's the vast, vast majority of the time. I believe that, collectively, women are on the receiving end of a continuum of behavior ranging from mildly unpleasant boundary violations to rape and beyond.

But I've heard my own sister -- a lovely and compassionate person whom I love with all my heart! -- describing how, if her soon-to-be-ex-husband tried to get custody, she'd make up false allegations of child abuse because "If he tries to get dirty, I will too". I've known a teacher who was nearly thrown in jail until a student admitted she accused him of molestation to get back at him for failing her.

And I've read accounts of lynchings whose details I'd rather not relive...just ask a black man over 60 what he thinks of the idea that, when a white woman accuses, she should be believed uncritically. Perhaps he can show you a picture of an uncle, grandparent, or cousin who died that way, surrounded by a smiling white mob who were every bit as confident in the righteousness of their cause as you are of yours (and who shared your belief that the law didn't suffice to enact justice as they saw it).

So when someone tells me I have to believe survivors, my answer is simple: NO. I don't "have" to believe ANYONE, and I sure as hell don't believe any class of people en bloc, no matter how sympathetic they are. I don't join mobs, no matter how righteous they think they are. And if you have a problem with that -- if you expect my blind allegiance and obedience, as long as you say the right hot-button words -- then you may have more in common with your political enemies than you think. Maybe if you'd been born in a different time and place, you'd fit right in to the mob.

(And also: fuck off if you think the experience of being vulnerable and having your boundaries broken is uniquely or especially female. We've ALL been children, and most of us have been victimized at some point, whether sexually or otherwise.)

Again, to be clear: I think both incidents described by the LW happened. I think it's possible she catastrophized or embroidered the incident in the market; it doesn't much matter. Her little girl felt unsafe, and she did what she needed to do to protect her and help her understand what happened. I CHOOSE to believe her story (at least as much as I believe any narrative told by a stranger on the Internet), but it's my own damn choice, not yours -- and if you try to take that away from me or shame me for trying to be a normal, autonomous human being, you're not my friend or anyone else's.
By the way, why do I believe that everyone embellishes and/or lies to make themselves look good, including survivors and children? Because I DID IT MYSELF when, as an elementary-school kid living in the suburbs, I was ambushed and attacked by a group of my classmates while walking home.

Oh, that attack really happened. But I thought that people would make fun of me for getting beaten up, so I told my parents and friends that one of them had a weapon. I knew full well it was wrong, I knew I was a lie -- but I did it anyway, so that I wouldn't get belittled for not somehow fighting my way out of the situation. (In retrospect I don't think anyone would have done that, but what do I know?)

Fortunately there were no lasting consequences for any of the kids, all of whom were basically OK kids who did a stupid thing because they wanted to be tough, or simply didn't like me. (I became friends with a couple of them later.) But that lie has stuck with me and probably always will. I was a victim, AND I did the wrong thing: I lied to make myself look good.
Apoptotic, hugs and strength to you.

Don't Tess With Mexas, not sure what your point is in reference to this thread. I'm sure most here recognize some people do lie re abuse from others in order to retaliate etc. I assume that is a very small minority of women who call abuse/ rape.

My daughter and her children were over for dinner last night as her partner was working. I asked my seven year old granddaughter to come sit by me and give me a hug. She said no, and that was that. Her body her rules.
Capricornius. Mmm. How can anyone seperate trump from his words, his attitudes, his hatred. My response still stands. The LW should walk from a man who agrees with another man who has attitudes of division and hatred, who thinks a woman's body is not her own. His abortion words in that last debate were disgusting.
I don't read this guy is doing it because Supreme Court.

Oodletrend @57 wrote: "Like any parent I teach her to be wary of strangers..."

I hope you (and others) learn from these discussions that it's usually not strangers who pose the greatest danger. Usually it's the dad driving you home after you babysat his kid; or the camp counselor; or the cheerful neighbor; or your own uncle. Tell your children you'll believe them, no matter who they say touched or spoke to them inappropriately. Then don't lynch that person, but keep them away from your kid.

Jina @43 and apoptotic @99, thank you for sharing your stories in such detail. I'm sorry that happened to you.
The problem with describing skeptics as rape apologists is simply this:

Skepticism is a requirement for a functioning rational society. Claims presented without data or evidence can be manipulated.

This applies to any and all claims, regardless of the "feels" that go behind them, or how horrific the claims are.

There are plenty of mentally ill people who will make up things, or lie about things for attention. There are plenty of people who will exaggerate for effect. There are plenty of people who misremember, misconstrue or misunderstand situations - human memory is massively fallible.

It's nothing personal. All claims require proof. Otherwise they're just gossip and games of telephone.

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