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Lists in the face

I remember being surprised at being invited to that executive’s retirement party given we’d hardly interacted.  I was around 27 and, looking back, a bit naive.

The night of the party, one of the (ancient) executive’s pals, in his toast to the retiree, joked about inviting “pretty girls like __(me)__ so we all have something nice to look at.” Their wives looked horrified and sad, most men chuckled, and I can still feel the rage at being reduced to “something.”

I know and have loved many wonderful men – decent, kind and gentle men.  I’m fortunate I can easily rattle off a long list including Grandfathers,  Great Uncles, Dad and his brothers, my husband and our sons. But I also have known – and had to work with – creeps.  And, in my experience, the creeps spoil the well for the good men.

Now, as a Grandmother, my Spidey senses are on FIRE whenever I’m out with our grandkids – both grandSON and grandDAUGHTER — I watch them like a hawk even though they aren’t “babies” any more.    I’m hyper-aware of everyone around us; if one asks to go off to another aisle to “see just one thing” we all go; it’s not up for discussion.

I’ve talked with the grands about good people and bad people, about trusting their instincts, and if someone makes them feel uncomfortable or unsafe to tell any of us, and that they will never be in trouble for doing so.  I worry about Social Media and creepy perverts who lurk in shadows everywhere.  But, as many of us know, creepy perverts were in our churches, schools, and communities long before Facebook or SnapChat ever existed.

I made a quick list of how experiences with creepy men has impacted how I live; the list wrote itself in minutes.

  • I stay alert and pay attention to surroundings; if someone feels “off” I get away from them.
  • I never walk, shop for groceries or stop for gas in the dark.
  • I prefer to exercise in the house vs. in the neighborhood.
  • I wear a cross body purse, always and my cell phone remains charged and accessible, even at home.
  • I check the back seat of any vehicle before getting in, anywhere and in every light.
  • I rarely venture away from the hotel when traveling for business ~ Company (male) colleagues like to walk to restaurants for group events (because they never have to think about lists like this!). I prefer to take a taxi but will walk in a larger (mixed) group.
  • I never sleep on flights.
  • All windows and doors are locked  ~ if I find myself alone at the office (very off-putting) I take the cell phone with me to the copier or the restroom.
  • On business trips /outings I stick to water or (sometimes) order a cocktail I don’t like and sip it; whatever I have goes with me to the ladies’ room.
  • It’s Hubby’s deep voice on the answering machine.
  • I’m not thin anymore;  extra weight has lessened the burden of unwanted attention.
  • I never use parking garages,  valet where possible and expense it, and offer no explanations or apologies.
  • I don’t get on elevators with men, not even one.
  • I limit fluids during road trips which limits stops, and never use highway rest areas; Fast food restaurants only.
  • At company functions I employ the Irish Good-bye – excuse myself and don’t come back.

Your turn:

  • Can you relate to this post?
  • How have your experiences impacted the way you navigate your day-to-day life?
    • Any tips or thoughts to add?

 

“Men often ask me, Why are your female characters so paranoid? It’s not paranoia. It’s recognition of their situation.” — Margaret Atwood, author of “The Handmaid’s Tale”

 

 

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Categories: Attitude, Determination, Faith, fear, Grief, Growth, Life, Life Lessons, News, Opinion, Personal, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Travel, Useful Information, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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6 thoughts on “Lists in the face

  1. Through stories shared, I believe everyone has their “me too” moments. For some it’s creepy or groping behavior. For others much worse. I’ve done most but not all on your list. I love the Irish goodbye. I’ve done that for years, at any function, but I’ve never had a name for it. I went to a party where I walked in the front door and out the back, saying hi to the host and hostess. They didn’t know I left immediately but surveying the group lead me to believe that it wouldn’t be a fun party.

    • Your post inspired me to write this one, thank you. The Irish Good-bye is the “bees knees!” I have a work trip coming up and, thankfully, I feel really good about who I work with. But. I am still careful.

      I loved the story of you coming in one door and walking out the next – way to own it!

      -MJ

  2. So crazy that I grew up thinking this was normal, just the way it is. Then when I’m older realizing men of course don’t have the same life experience. And even more shocking, finding out they didn’t know we lived like this.

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    • Right? Most don’t. When I read my list to hubbs he was shocked – some of it he knew, b/c he offers constant reminders to “not stop in the dark,” but much of it we hadn’t talked about. He was shocked but also glad I take steps to try & ensure my safety.
      It’s exhausting really. Thanks for your comments, Lissa!!
      MJ

  3. I’ve employed the Irish good by for years and never ever realized it was a thing 🙂 I too have spidy senses..(as a dad to 3 beautiful daughters and a beautiful wife) Believe me, I have picked up stuff even my wife was oblivious to. I am angry and sad all rolled into one MJ when I think of this issue. I’ve literally wanted to go to our local golf club with a baseball bat, where my sweet 16 yr old daughter @ the time was subjected to the most vile sort of comments imaginable..(I didn’t hear about it until years later) Go there, (maybe with a few other dads as back up? ) start swinging and not stop until I was done. Yep, I hear you.

    • Totally get it.
      There have been times in my life where I wanted to do the same thing, on a daily basis.

      But when I spoke up against the establishment (all men) their first instinct was to huddle and discredit us make us appear crazy. You want crazy? Keep calling me that … I’ll go all “Hand the Rocks the Cradle” on ya (80s movie reference).

      I’m sorry that happened you your daughter and I can see why you’d want to pick up a bat. I’d want one with a few nails in the ends … Thanks for the support kind friend. this was not an easy post to write but it’s a topic we need to talk about.

      MJ

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