Joe Biden does not deserve our defense. This isn’t some weird Democrat Party hit job. People have been pointing out Biden’s creepy creepiness when it comes to women for years. There are memes and tweets and jokes. There’s no shortage of awkward looking photos. Line them up end-to-end and it’s hard to deny there’s a pattern.
Joe Biden is a Creepy-toucher.
That doesn’t qualify him as some sort of rapist or a political Harvey Weinstein. Every grown woman in the world has had a Joe Biden in her life - an older man who uses his age as a permission slip to behave toward women in ways that would otherwise earn him a slap in the face were he younger. Every single woman on this planet has a story about an old creepy-toucher.
When I was in my early 30s I ran a non-profit community center. On the weekends I taught basic computer skills to senior citizens. One man was 86 years-old and wanted to learn how to email his grandkids, so he was in class every Saturday. He never missed a chance to hug me, rub my shoulders or kiss my cheeks. In fact, some days when he was out running errands with his wife he would stop by the center just to come in and give me a kiss. The staff used to joke about this man and how his wife would be sitting in the car just glaring at him as he hugged and held all the young ladies on staff in front of the big picture window in the front lobby. She knew what was up. We all did. We laughed about it. He was a Creepy-toucher, but there was an unspoken understanding that his behavior was largely harmless.
I’m not totally sure how Creepy-Touchers start out. I tend to believe most senior Creepy-touchers were once very attractive, desirable young men - Mr. Handsomes. They rarely encountered resistance from women when they invaded their personal space with an unsolicited shoulder rub or hand that lingers too long on the waist. He was probably very charming and most women welcomed his attention. Perhaps he was a celebrity of some sort - either in the public meaning of the word or just locally.
Creepy-toucher was never thought of as a creepy toucher in his youth. He was always just described as “friendly, flirty” or a “ladies’ man”. His looks (and/or social status) insulated him from accusations.
But like all of us, Creepy-toucher got older. His skin sagged. His hair thinned. Despite all of the money he spent on botox treatments, hair dye and personal trainers Creepy-toucher can no more escape the hands of time than the rest of us. Even the Mr. Handsomes of the world eventually become just some old dude to the majority of young women at one point or another.
Mr. Handsome-turned-Creepy-toucher can go in one of two directions as he ages. He can give in to delusion and refuse to acknowledge the hands of time or he can take advantage of the “shield” that comes with age and continue to creepy-touch any woman he pleases, knowing she’ll just brush it off.
The older man I described above was the latter. At 86 he was getting in his jollies wherever he could find them and he seemed perfectly happy to lean on his age to get away with behavior I never would have conceded to had he been 50 years younger.
I believe Joe Biden is the former. I believe he’s never really come to terms with his aging and still sees the world through the searing, entrancing blue eyes of a younger, more attractive man. I believe he genuinely enjoys touching women intimately and believes that they genuinely enjoy being touched by him. I do not believe for one second that he thinks those women are uncomfortable or creeped out. Biden is a Creepy-toucher not because of aggression but out of a need to be the “ladies' man” he’s always seen himself as.
I write all this to say that Joe Biden most certainly deserves to be roundly ridiculed and exposed as the Creepy-toucher that he is. It’s not OK for him to act like that but it’s also not OK for any woman to suggest she had no choice but to accept that behavior from him.
Every woman has been in a situation where she’s instinctively pulled away from a Creepy-toucher, hoping he’d get the hint. Every woman has a choice (at least in our great, free nation) about how she’s going to deal with it. She must weigh the consequences of any given choice - what it might mean for her spouse, her career moving forward, her dignity, etc. Sometimes those consequences might seem grossly unfair. It’s wrong to pretend that we women are just helpless creatures who must acquiesce to the whims of every Creepy-toucher because of THE PATRIARCHY. We have a choice in how we respond, even if those choices aren’t ideal.
Yes, Biden deserves mockery but he does not deserve to be #MeToo’d to death. He does not deserve to have his candidacy negated right out of the gate because of it. The #MeToo movement has been a disaster, as I always knew it would be. It has blurred the lines between assault and discomfort and I’m quite sure good ol’ Uncle Joe never once believed he’d get caught in the mushy “in-between”. After all, he served the first Black president. That should count for something, right?
Not in the era of #MeToo. Sorry, Joe.