Like just about everyone else in the country, I’ve been following the fallout from the Harvey Weinstein situation very closely. The amount of men who have seen their careers destroyed is damn near too long for me to mention in one paragraph. Plus, you know them all anyway, so why bother? The point of this exercise is not to rehash the specifics of those cases or to argue about what should have happened to who. Instead, I wanted to write about the things floating through my mind in the wake of this giant shitstorm. Let’s start with men and women as friends.
I’ve long argued that most men only become friends with women in order to hopefully one day get to fuck them, be with them, marry them, what have you. There’s a brilliant Chris Rock bit on this from one of his 1990’s stand-up specials. The woman in his construction comments on the niceness of various men, with Rock always noting how they want to sleep with the woman in question. One of the lines is “ever since you were 12 years old, every man you meet has been trying to fuck you.” That’s a paraphrase, since I don’t have the clip handy, but I think you get the drift. And there’s a reason that I believe in the truth of Rock’s sentiments there (although it’s purposefully overstated for effect). That reason is that I myself have employed this technique. I was friends first with every woman I’ve ever had a relationship with, including my wife. I always assumed that women could just tell this right off, with no notification necessary. That’s not always the case, though.
Sure, some women use men and string them along for their own benefit. I’ve experienced this. But on the other hand, there are genuinely friendly women out there as well. I remember this girl I talked to on the phone almost every single night for over 1 year in Junior High school. She had come to my school as a mid-year transfer during my first year of 8th grade. I first met her at a high school (not junior high) basketball game. She was very attractive, blessed in the breast area, nice ass, etc. I came up to her group, which was filled with people from my grade who greeted me warmly since I hadn’t been to class for like 3 weeks. I started holding court, like the class clown I was, and we immediately hit it off. We ended up laughing for a couple of hours and I left with her number.
Amanda was the first true friend I ever had from the opposite sex. She told me all about her life, how her father had wasted away from disease right before her very eyes only a couple years earlier, how she couldn’t understand the meanness and gossip culture of my hometown. It was worse than most places, plus she was an outsider and people were harder on her as a result. This girl was truly my best friend. But she was also the object of my desire.
For almost 20 years, I saw this as one of the biggest disappointments of my life. Why couldn’t I “close the deal”? Why couldn’t she see that we were perfect matches for each other? Of course, we were 14, so that has to be kept in mind. Even if we had gotten together, it’s unlikely to have lasted long. Plus, I’m married now to the true love of my life. Which makes me thankful for fails such as this. But, what was the true failure? Something my wife said earlier this fall, post-Weinstein, made me reconsider.
My wife is one of those genuinely friendly women I mentioned earlier. She’s not nearly as cynical about people’s intentions as I am, which is one of the things I love about her. She didn’t even realize how head-over-heels I was for her until I flat out told her one morning (a notably different path than the one I just described to you all). But her ability to look for genuineness also leaves her open sometimes. After helping a friend through tough times, he made it clear that he had a thing for her. There was no attraction on her part and she told me about it immediately. The thing that bothered her most was not that the guy had a crush on her, it was that here she thought she had a good friend when actually all she had was someone who wanted to somehow “obtain” her. Although it had never occurred to me until that moment on the phone with my wife, that’s likely how Amanda felt all those years ago. I could have had a great female friend all those years I really needed one, but instead of seeing the immense value in that, I trashed it because I couldn’t “close the deal”.
That was the real failure.
What does all this have to do with #metoo and Harvey Weinstein you ask? Not much, on the surface of it. However, I would argue that the examination of intersex relations is pretty fundamental to this whole topic. I guess the whole thing just made me think about certain things from the other side’s point of view. That’s usually a good thing, whether you end up revising your opinions (as I did here) or not.
I’m not going soft. A lot of the media firestorm is ridiculous. Every man who has been accused since the New York Times dropped their exposé on Weinstein has been presumed guilty. I don’t think men should lose everything because they made a few unwanted advances or grabbed a couple of asses back in 1983. Personally, I don’t partake in unwanted grab-ass, (I have a hot ass wife to harass) but there are levels to this shit. Rape? Sexual assault? Sexual harassment and/or coercion by a workplace superior? All of those are very serious and should be treated as such. For example, that creep Matt Lauer who’d invite women into his office and then lock the door with a push of a button located on his desk. What the hell did he say to the NBC when he made the request? “I just don’t want someone to leave in a middle of a meeting”? But, the lack of due process and the minor offense witch hunt is absurd. We have truly reached a level of mass hysteria and I don’t know where we go from here.
I would suggest following Mike Pence’s advice and not having dinner with a female who isn’t your wife. Keep your wits about you.
Still, I learned something about myself and expanded my understanding of life in general. So, I’m going to call that a personal victory. Thank you to Nora, my wife, and collaborator, who I hope doesn’t want to slap me for being too open after reading this. I love you dearly.