Sunday, 6 May 2018


It should come as no great surprise to anyone that, occasionally, I re-read some of my old posts.  For two reasons, the first being that I'm quite proud of a few of them, the other being that I can correct any typos or poor spacing that fell through the net when I first wrote them.  Even the ones that are guff can be educational to me, because I can (hopefully) learn how to improve any future blog posts by learning what I did wrong in the past.  So, earlier, I was re-reading the post entitled "Said The Actress To The Bishop..." (about sexual harassment) and I realised I had more to say on the subject.

Recently, actress JULIANNE MOORE said that she only just realised she'd been the victim of sexual harassment after hearing other women tell their stories about their experiences.  "When this movement started, I felt sure that I hadn't personally been a victim of sexual harassment or assault, but as I read and listened to the countless other women's stories, I began to look at my experiences through a different lens."  Apparently, this 'sexual harassment' took the form of a director 'persistently' inviting her to his home for an 'audition', which she always declined.  Is it just me, or does the possibility also strike you that this might be an instance of someone rewriting the past in order to jump on the present bandwagon of victim-hood?  If you're being sexually harassed, surely you'd know it at the time?  Of course, without knowing the precise details of Ms. Moore's experience, we can't be sure either way, but at the very least it suggests the possibility of the scenario I just proposed.

If he was constantly ringing her and in a sleazy, innuendo-laden voice, asking her to "Come round and 'audition' for me sometime, baby" then he was certainly making a nuisance of himself.  However, if he merely said on a few occasions at chance meetings "I'd love to work with you some day, Julianne. If a role comes up that I think might suit you, I'll be in touch about an audition.  Must dash, 'bye", then that puts quite a different slant on the situation.  I know nothing about the guy by the way, he might be a total slime-ball, but I just think that Ms. Moore's total shift in attitude should be treated with caution until we know the full facts of the matter.  What do the rest of you think?  I believe there have been other allegations about the guy, but, if true, that doesn't necessarily mean he wanted to sleep with every woman he knew.  Has she simply assumed that because he's been accused of harassing other women, then he must have been harassing her as well - even if she never thought so at the time?  It does sort of come across that way.

And now, a true story.  Around 15 years or so ago, I was in Glasgow one evening, standing in Gibson Street (around the corner from the University), when I spied an attractive woman walking in my direction.  Our eyes met and we sort of smiled at one another, and she stopped to talk to me.  I was waiting for a friend coming out of a newsagent's behind me, so our chat was brief.  I quite liked her, so I said "I hope you don't think I'm being forward, but could we meet up for a coffee sometime?"  She was perfectly agreeable to the idea, and told me of the place she usually frequented, saying that I could find her there most days.  Surprisingly, this cafe had an area where they occasionally held art exhibitions, and the current one, she revealed, was of pages by an artist who had freelanced for 2000 A.D. and DOCTOR WHO MAGAZINE.  Well, that sounded like fate to me.

A few days later, I popped along to this cafe and was surprised to see that I'd actually lettered some of the pages - and who should I spy but the lady herself.  We had a coffee, seemed to be getting along famously, and, emboldened by her friendliness, I asked if she'd like to go out for a meal sometime.  Yup, she was up for that, so we arranged a time when she could manage and I counted the hours.  On the day, pillock that I was, I waited for two and a half hours, but no show.  Cut to several weeks later, and I was in another cafe when I saw the lady in question coming along the street.  I went to the door to say hello and she stopped to speak to me.  Eventually I addressed the 'elephant in the room' and said "Perhaps I misunderstood, but you never turned up on the day we'd arranged."  "Oh, sorry, I was busy" she replied.  "That's okay.  If you'd rather not, just say so, but do you still want to go out for a meal?" I asked.  "I'd love to" she said.  I invited her into the cafe for a coffee and she said she'd join me shortly after she'd attended to something.  (She lived nearby apparently, though I didn't ask where.  And in case you were wondering, I'd regularly used this cafe for years before I ever met her.)

Two hours later it suddenly dawned on me that she wasn't going to show (yeah, I was a bit slow on the uptake), but as we'd swapped email addresses (and phone numbers) at some point, I decided to email her from the cafe's basement Internet room.  I explained that I didn't quite understand, but didn't want to make a nuisance of myself (or waste my time quite frankly), so if she wasn't interested then I'd prefer her to just say so, no hard feelings.  If she was interested though, I said that I was intending to go through to the upcoming Edinburgh Festival, and if there was anything she'd like to see and wanted to accompany me, then to let me know.

A day or so later (no, I wasn't still waiting in the cafe's basement), she replied, apologising for not coming to the cafe (had to clean her bike she said) and saying yes to the EF, and enquiring what I'd like to see?  By this time, however, I'd lost interest, so I merely said "Sorry, I'm too busy to be able to make it" and closed the book on that particular chapter of possibilities.  Some months later, I was in Glasgow again and thought I heard someone call my name from behind me.  I turned around, and about 20 feet or so away from me was the woman herself, but I just turned back and continued walking.  I wasn't even sure whether she'd actually called out to me or not, but I wasn't prepared to let her mess me about again.

Why relate this sorry story now, you may wonder, especially as it makes me look like a clueless sap who was getting the p*ss ripped out of him?  It occurred to me after re-reading the post I mentioned above, that, in the current 'anti-man' climate, an entirely different picture could be painted of a situation like the one I've just described.  A woman could easily present a tale of a guy who just didn't get the message, and kept asking her out when she wasn't interested - was 'sexually harassing' her in fact.  Of course, if a woman isn't interested, then she should say so, and that would be the end of the matter.  (In my case, however, the individual concerned repeatedly said she'd love to have dinner, etc., and seemed keen to maintain my attention.)

And that's part of the problem, isn't it?  Some women like to encourage attention from men, even if they have no intention of doing anything about it.  It's their way of validating to themselves and to their friends their attractiveness and desirability, and also their sense of self-esteem.  And although it won't be popular with any feminists reading this, even when some women say no to a date, they don't always mean "Definitely no", they mean "Try harder, convince me of your ardour, make me feel wanted by your passion, pursuit and persistence, until I've satiated my need to feel desirable - and made up my mind as to whether I'm interested in you or not!"  Whereas other women (or even the same women on different occasions), when they say no, that's exactly what they mean, with no room for negotiation or reconsideration.  How's a guy to know when there doesn't seem to be any consistency in the way women respond at different times in similar situations?

If you're a woman who isn't interested in guy who's interested in her, just say so and don't play games.  As I said, some women (and some guys also I'm sure) want to keep their fish on the hook with no intention of ever landing it.  Better to massage your ego some other way, instead of leading on some poor sap and then alleging that he was being 'a nuisance' a few years down the line.  I hasten to add that no such thing happened in my case, but I'm now aware how such instances could be misrepresented by some women determined to prove to their friends and family (and to themselves) how awesomely irresistible they must be by claiming they were 'sexually harassed' at some past point in time.

When such harassment genuinely does take place, no decent person, male or female, would condone or excuse it, but I'm not yet convinced that every alleged instance we've read or heard of recently (and the ones we've still to learn of) properly falls into that category.  Again, what think the rest of you?


I've been 'fine-tuning' this piece since first posting it, in order to better convey precisely what I was trying to say, so it's a bit of a work in progress.  Just when I think I've got it, I notice that some sentence or other either doesn't say quite what I intended - or suggests more than I'd intended.  Hopefully, it's not too confusing for anyone.                         


TC said...

Julianne Moore's claim about how "this movement" (presumably, #MeToo) has caused her to re-examine her past experiences "through a different lens" somehow reminds me of the Marx Brothers movie, A Day At the Races.

The rich hypochondriac (Margaret Dumont) sings the praises of Dr. Hackenbush (Groucho Marx). "I didn't know there was anything wrong with me before I met him."

Kid said...

Totally spot-on, TC - as usual.

Mike said...

I think Julianne Moore knows the situation better than you. It appears she was too trusting of people then the penny dropped when she'd heard of similar scenarios.

As for your situation, yeh sounds like she was a timewaster.

Kid said...

On the contrary - she clearly doesn't even know her own mind. One minute she's convinced she's never been sexually harassed, the next - purely based on other people's reports of their experience - she says she's convinced she has been, which is the polar opposite of her former opinion. And note that I said that until we know the full details, WE can't know either way what the guy's intention was, or what really persuaded her to change her mind. However, based on what she's said so far (or has been reported so far), I think the public can be forgiven for wondering whether this is purely a case of bandwagon jumping.

Mike said...

No means no. As you said yourself, the director persistently invited her to his home and she kept declining. That's harassment. Might or might not be sexual harassment but it's still harassment.

Kid said...

Ms. Moore apparently didn't think it was harassment at the time, which suggests it MAY have simply been a repeated invitation (with no sinister intent) that has been reinterpreted later (or maybe not). It would really depend on which way the invitation was issued - an aspect I addressed in my third paragraph. If you read the post more carefully, you'll see I allowed for different options.

And there's a huge difference between harassment and sexual harassment. Reader's Digest used to harass me for what they claimed was an unpaid bill that had actually been paid on time and in full. I don't think they were interested in my body though.

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