I must admit, every time I look at the news and another man has been accused of sexual harassment -I am pleased. I say, “Let it Rain!” I don’t care who it is – a celebrity crush, a politician of my affiliated party, a comedian I think is a genius. If it is my father, my husband, my most respected anything – if you disrespected and exploited a woman and are being called to answer for it today – GOOD!
My daughter is ten and both stunning and forthright. She is – as Gloria Steinem advises girls and women to be – like a cat with her affections; very particular. Last weekend we were eating lunch in our favorite restaurant and the waiter, who we knew well from our many visits, seeing my daughters bad mood (I wouldn’t buy her a Bonne Bell lip smacker at the drug store and she was sulking) insisted on hovering , asking her what was wrong. My daughter looked him dead in the eyes and said ,“Leave me alone.” He looked at me then, making no move to leave. I said, “I think you’re creeping her out a little.” My daughter empowered me in that moment but it was so uncomfortable for me to say this. I actually felt bad for him for a second but then I looked at my kid and swelled with pride at her directness and at my own. I know so many mothers would insist their daughter respond and participate in this type of banter because we’re supposed to be kind, because we’re good “fill in your religion”, because we just don’t make waves. The truth is, my daughter spoke clearly and articulately, “Leave me alone”. She was awesome. She spoke her truth. She was ignored.
After I told the waiter he was being creepy, he backed away like I was threatening a law suit. A few minutes later, when he came back with the appetizer – he put the plate and the accompanying sauces down, pointed to one and said – gesturing toward my daughter – “she shouldn’t eat this, it’s too spicy.” With that, my daughter locked eyes with the waiter, grabbed the spoon, filled it up with the sauce and shoved in her mouth. And then we all exploded with laughter. It was funny, it was a relief to laugh at that moment; shit was getting real. She blows my mind. Every day. Her mouth gets her in trouble. Her outspokenness and desire for justice and equal treatment surpasses manners and upbringing and is cause for much negative attention . I always say no one is going to fuck with this kid. But then I see the waiter, just standing there after her very clear appeal to be left alone. He is waiting for what? Adoration? For her to suddenly become precocious and cute? It wasn’t happening. I had to be the one to dismiss him, her words weren’t enough. Perhaps he was expecting me to reprimand her and demand she be respectful as if she were the problem in that moment. I have fought that urge often with my kid – she puts me to this test often. But that’s the thing, she isn’t putting me through anything, she is just protecting herself. She’s uncomfortable and letting the person know it. She isn’t disrespecting the waiter by not participating in his chatter – she is respecting her wish to be left alone. I so admire this and want her to stick with this.
If boys are being mean to you, it isn’t because they like you – it’s because they are assholes. The sooner boys learn this is not acceptable behavior, the sooner women will stop mind fucking themselves. Oh, he’s being mean to you because he likes you is a set up for a lifetime of abuse and it is so prevalent. I sometimes think parents of boys feel this sigh of relief that they don’t have to deal with the ‘other side’ and they demonize women. I’ve even seen these parents blame the girls for “exposing” their boys to things. Women are these dualistic, evil creatures that speak their mind yet melt under the right circumstances – and every man thinks he has this power to melt. They are encouraged to try. And they do.
It needs to stop. Let it rain. I don’t care who it is at this point. Just let it rain.