Huggy Bear accused of improper and unwanted hugging. A new charge against an important elected official. This one stunned me so deeply I called his office because I have known Huggy Bear for 20 years and I could not imagine him doing anything untoward to a woman. I offered to defend him though he is of the other political persuasion.
Huggy Bear is Bob Hertzberg, currently a state senator in California and former speaker of the Assembly. Everyone knows that Bob is a hugger. Bob would hug a parking enforcement person giving him a traffic ticket. One person I know accused him of thrusting his groin into her. Two others accused him of unwanted hugs. Now Bob, who does not to my mind really have anything for which to apologize, will have to get a written release before hugging someone.
Yes, matters have gotten way out of hand in our raging sex scandal deluge. A perfect example occurred at our recent family Hanukkah party. Our employee at the business my son and I operate came to the party and was excited; it was her first Hanukkah party. When things were winding down and people were leaving I was standing at the door wishing them good tidings and hugging everyone except when it came to her. It felt odd and I am not sure how she perceived it, but I did not hug her on her way out. It was a very un-Jewish thing to do (not hug).
Matters have gotten so out of control that during this recent Christmas season there were suggestions that the 1944 Christmas classic, Baby, It’s Cold Outside, encouraged sexual misbehavior. The song which was written by Frank Loesser (think Guys and Dolls) won the Academy Award for best original song. The silly season has reached a peak when people suggest this encourages date rape.
Not enough has been discussed regarding what men think about this whole explosion of sex-charged innuendoes and mea culpas. Certainly, we are not the victims of this perverse behavior, but some of us are victims in another way. It is the perception that most or all of us are guilty.
You may have heard this before, but almost every normal, healthy heterosexual male, once we achieve puberty, constantly think of women and sex. Possibly it is something that we have never progressed beyond the rest of the animal kingdom, but it is what it is, and we accept it. But, most men in our society never, ever act upon that. Sometimes we flirt or make passes and we always look. That goes both ways -- especially today where women have become more open to starting interplay between males and females.
I have spoken to many males about this, many of them peers chronologically. With many of these reported incidents like Harvey Weinstein, we find his and their behavior bizarre and disgusting and potentially illegal. If the charges are accurate against some of these men (Charlie Rose and/or Louie C.K.) of exposing themselves to women in questionable situations, we think these people are animals. What would ever get into their heads to think that was acceptable behavior? Let me give you a hint, Senator Franken: grabbing a posterior of a female, unless maybe if she is your wife, is just nuts. Who does this crap? What planet are you on?
I spoke to a psychiatrist friend of mine who made three points. These bizarre actions have nothing to do with sex. It is often cited by people that rape is more about power than sex, but so is this alleged behavior exhibited by people like Louis C.K. Another point the psychiatrist made is that these people have been sick for a long time. The position they achieved in their career just provided them a chance to act it out.
The last point which you may have concluded by now is these are very insecure individuals. One might think since they have achieved either such prominence or in other cases such positions of power these individuals would be confident individuals, but at least in regard to this area of their lives they feel a high level of insecurity. In my mind, that probably spills over to other areas of their lives.
As for me, I get offended when a peer refers to their staff person as the “girl in their office.” Are you living in another century? This a grown woman supporting herself and/or her family; she is not your “girl.”
It was probably high time we went through this catharsis. There are some men in influential positions that acted as pigs and deserved to be outed. But we need to get to a place where we start to swing to a proper medium rather than lumping in some of the mildest behavior with sick and illegal behavior. People are having their lives destroyed without a proper review of their actions or a fair hearing.
This standard was established during the Obama administration with their guidelines for college campuses. Young men were having their lives ruined without due process. We want to protect young women from aggressive sexual behavior and the fear they are going to be accused for just mentioning the improper behavior, but taking the constitutional rights away from a young male is not the right prescription for the disease.
We need to begin to search for an equilibrium before we completely destroy communication between the sexes. Here are a few items to think about:
1. Grabbing a women’s backside is always improper, but doing it in a social situation is a lot different from doing it in a work environment. One is rude behavior, the other is illegal.
2. Inducing a person to have sex with you in exchange for something to do with one’s livelihood is always improper unless the person is a hooker or a gigolo. We know it is a power thing, but how amazingly stupid to expose yourself in such a manner. They obviously thought they could get away with it, but now their reputations are destroyed.
3. We have to, as a society, begin to separate these actions. They are not all the same. I never liked Al Franken and never thought he was funny and thought his cronies stole his seat from a fine and honorable man – Norm Coleman. Yet, I believe he was railroaded and should have been given due process. The charges I read and the pictures I saw were stupid or childish, but not a crime. He certainly should not have been lumped in with Charlie Rose or Matt Lauer.
Until we begin to swing the pendulum back and analyze these sex scandals with the points above in mind, we will have some innocent people hurt and the relations between men and women will be like walking on eggshells.
To my thinking, thank God I am happily married and not looking for someone while maneuvering through the minefield of relationships today.