Before passing a few years ago, my grandpa spent his days of retirement either shooting golf balls or playing cards at a country club with his drinking buddies.
This hodgepodge of ex-marines, bankers, politicians, steelworkers, and businessmen spent most of their days reminiscing about the good old days.
A fine caliber of gentlemen, they carefully juggled refined classiness with just a touch of devious bravado and jokingly referred to themselves as The Lotharios. For all intents and purposes, they were what most people would refer to as “Good Ol’ Boys.”
My grandpa was a good man, but he was also a man, one who continually pushed the boundaries of appropriateness when in the presence of young, attractive women. All of the Lotharios did – just enough to make females uncomfortable but not enough to warrant a confrontation.
Waitresses would smile through gritted teeth as my grandpa and his friends told the same tasteless, sexist joke for the hundredth time. Attractive, young patrons would politely shrug off unwanted physical contact. Women in the grocery store line would nervously steel glances in my direction as he unapologetically complimented a feature or body part.
My grandpa has been gone for a while now, but his off-colored, sexualizing, and demeaning remarks are very much still alive and present in today’s world.
When discussions surrounding this topic are broached, the consensus of men is, “Why don’t women just say something if they are offended?” It’s a good question. Here’s why:
It’s usually not worth making a scene over.
See, women have to continually gauge and assess a situation before being reactive. Whether we are in a business meeting, out at a bar, walking down a street, or working out at the gym, at any given moment, we might be put in a situation where we have to decide if a comment or inappropriate touch is worth reacting to. Ultimately it comes down to this: Do we want to draw attention to this situation or diffuse it as quickly as possible? That’s the judgment call us women have to make in any of these uncomfortable situations and most of the time, it’s just not worth inflaming an always undesirable interaction.
Confrontation rarely humbles a man. Instead, it makes US look reactionary or overly sensitive or “angry feminists” – all undesirable attributes women want to be associated with. So, instead, we just giggle at a dirty joke or casually shrug off an advancement or fake a smile when all we really want to do is get the hell out of that situation.
In more extreme situations, women will often play along just to avoid upsetting a man’s ego. The reality is that some males don’t do well with rejection or confrontation, and then the threat can become physical.
So, as a plea to my male counterparts out there – cut the crap. Don’t be THAT guy. If you want to flirt or pay a woman a compliment, go for it. But do it respectfully, then read her demeanor and body language afterward. If she’s aloof or dismissive – kindly leave the poor girl alone!
And if you’re REALLY that dense and just can’t discern what is acceptable behavior, use this rule of thumb:
Don’t do or say anything to a woman that you wouldn’t want someone in prison doing or saying to you.