I feel like Rip Van Winkle lately. I just woke up one day recently to find that everybody is accusing everybody else of sexual harassment. Which is now defined as “anything somebody does to you that you don’t like.”
I don’t know what the laws are in each state, but apparently, there’s no statute of limitations on telling one’s story.
Not wanting to be accused of being out of touch, in denial, apathetic, sane, etc., I’ve decided to come forward with my own tale. Cue the tiny violins.
The Wonder Years (i.e. “I Wonder Why Daddy Is Naked”)
When I was very little, my stepsister and I shared a bedroom in my father’s house. Our room was at the far end of the hall upstairs.
Next to us, and in easy view when our bedroom door was open, was the family bathroom. (How six people managed to share one bathroom successfully deserves a post all its own).
After he showered, my father used to emerge from the bathroom completely naked and walk down the hall to his bedroom. Meanwhile, my stepsister (who’s six years older than I am) and I had a full view of his bare butt.
Not to mention that he was walking toward a full-length mirror mounted at the opposite end of the hall, directly across from our bedroom door. So depending on our whereabouts in the room, we also got a full-frontal view.
Now, my father did carry a towel … but he used it to dry his hair as he walked.
When I was 6 or 7, I had to use the bathroom very badly at my mother’s house. My stepfather was in the shower, so I knocked on the door and asked him if I could come in and use the toilet. He said yes.
When I entered, he not only had the shower curtain open, but he also stood there facing me, completely naked, as he dried his hair with a towel.
Apparently, hair dryers were not very powerful in the 70s.
It’s no wonder that I drew naked pictures of my first-grade classmates. I depicted myself and some other students with breasts AND a penis.
The same year, I also drew a picture of a kangaroo with breasts and huge red nipples to make the boys in my art class laugh. The teacher threw it in the trash.
Interestingly, I was promoted to the second grade after just one month in the first.
The Adult Years (or “Hey, That’s Not My Vagina!”)
After I became sexually active, I had to endure countless horrors far more graphic than those already described. Examples are as follows:
- The guy who tore me up with his porn-star-sized penis–and didn’t care one bit when I told him I had to go to the doctor afterward.
- Sexual coercion and “accidental” sodomy by the same guy.
- The guy who agreed to have sex with me while I was having my period–and then stopped midway and essentially threw me out of his apartment.
- Getting a text from the same guy a week later, asking for another date and saying he was sorry that the blood freaked him out. (Yeah, I’m one of those freakish women who bleeds when I’m menstruating.)
I could go on, but I’m still in contact with some of the people I could mention in this post. I’ll just say that I’ve endured:
- Four years of drunk. I mean college. (Okay, it was really five years. Or so.)
- Groping in bars and at parties.
- Inappropriate comments from relatives.
- Comments about my breasts, which are on the same level as the Hindenburg in terms of both size and being disturbing.
The memories are flooding back now. When I was 15, I went to a college party on New Year’s Eve. Several guests wore leis. I said, “I want a lei.” A handsome guy said, “Oh, REALLY?”
Should I formally accuse all of these people? There are too many to list. I don’t know all their names or where to find them. But I think I’m due a lot of money, considering what I’ve been through.
Frankly, though, I’m getting a little fuzzy on what constitutes sexual harassment.
On the same night that I tried to get “lei’d” as a teen, I passed out on somebody’s bed and woke up to find a guy sitting on the edge of the bed, putting his shoes and socks on. Had I been harassed?
I had a great sex life with one now-ex-boyfriend. For months, he asked me to visit him every weekend because he wanted to have sex with me. Maybe I was being harassed at the time and didn’t know it.
I’m also concerned that I’ve unknowingly harassed other people. Must I live the rest of my life in fear that men will start coming forward and pointing their “finger” at me?
Or maybe women. One time, I was standing in line at a CVS Pharmacy, wearing ugly clothes, and the woman in front of me seemed to be hitting on me. I made it clear that I wasn’t interested.
Dear God, I hope she’s forgotten. Or, wait–maybe I’m supposed to accuse her. Damn, I’m confused!
The McEnroe Cure
I whine about a lot of things in my life. I’ve had bad luck and been traumatized by a lot of shit. People offend me almost daily. I’ve been depressed, medicated, and beyond.
However, my sexual “harassment” stories are nothing more than ludicrous dinner-party entertainment.
I have friends who were actually raped or molested. They have a right to complain.
As for everybody else: In the words of my favorite angry tennis player, “You cannot be serious!”