An Ordinary Man

Or, Men 101

Month: September, 2016

I wouldn’t recommend having sex in California anymore

Although several states have extended, sometimes doubling, the statute of limitations on sex crimes, apparently in response to the allegations against Bill Cosby, California has removed them entirely.  Which, plain and simple, means that any person is FOREVER subject to a charge of sexual misconduct, even if they never touched the accuser, or only did so in a fully consensual situation.

I worry for my son, a musician.  At 21 years old, I assume he is having sex, and I assume he is having only consensual sex, based upon how he was raised.  But if he steps foot in California – and even if he doesn’t – and makes it big; anyone in the whole wide world can suddenly decide, twenty, twenty-five, thirty years from now, that he abused them.  How is he supposed to prove he didn’t?  Is he supposed to videotape in full every single second of every single encounter he has with every single person?

Say he plays at a concert and attracts a young woman who loves his playing (entirely possible; he is both good and good-looking), and they have a completely consensual, very pleasant after-show, complete with dinner, a few drinks, and a roll in the hay.  Both leave happy. Fast forward to the year 2038, after he’s a success, and there will be NOTHING stopping her from coming forward and contending that he date-raped her in 2016.

But by this time, all of the evidence will be lost: text messages, receipts, engagement calendars, plane tickets, etc, all of which, knitted together, would expose her lie, or at least cast doubt on her allegations – gone.  Yes, she would have to explain why she took so long to come forward, and my son’s attorney could make much of that, but only after my son has spent presumably large sums in defense of something that never even happened.  And, like I said, it wouldn’t matter if he’d never been to California or met this woman – how can he possibly establish either one?  He can’t.

While I cannot overstate my abhorrence at non-consensual sex in any form, beginning with cat calling, this is absolutely the wrong way to address it.  It requires anyone, especially a young man with a promising future, to consider anyone else a potential threat and adversary.  It certainly doesn’t empower women or do a damn thing to address the root causes of sexual abuse.  If anything, it contributes to them. Wow, that’s tragic.

P.S. I also have a daughter who has been taught how to protect herself ….

Crossing a Line

It is after closing time when the young woman gets into an Uber with her three friends.  They become lost in conversation in the back seat so she smiles at the driver and tells him she is drunk, and she is, but pleasantly so; quietly, almost thoughtfully (even if those thoughts are somewhat muddled). She is from Canada and tells about clearing customs where the lone agent, a man of advanced years, tells the same hoary joke to everyone as he carries out his duties; that he’s against marriage, whether it’s traditional or same-sex, but especially the latter because it’s the “same sex, over and over.”

I groan, politely, embarrassed for my not-that-much-older gender representative. “He crossed a line, didn’t he – telling me that joke?” she asks, and I agree; young women should not be exposed to off-color humor from a man old enough to be their grandfather (or anyone else they don’t want to hear it from).  But, I wonder, did she cross a line telling me he told that joke?

I certainly wasn’t offended, even though it called up images of her performing certain actions, repetitively.  Like so many things male/female, it’s hard to tell and harder to say.  She gave me a lovely smile at the end of the ride and thanked me for what she obviously did not realize was a privilege for me, having someone like her in my front seat.

It Can’t Be That Simple (and Isn’t)

Interesting article in the New York Post today, run under the headline In All Likelihood, You’re Ruining Sex For Your Lady and credited to Alison Maloney of The Sun.

According to the article, a new survey by the Sex Information and Education Council of Canada and Trojan condoms found that an after-sex cuddle boosts female satisfaction by 30%, but that 53% of the dudes “bolt” after they’re done.  The study’s author, Robin Milhausen, PhD, states that staying in bed with your partner is “the easiest way” to improve your relationship.

This makes a lot of sense, intuitively – a quick exit might well leave her feeling unloved, used, cheap, etc, and I completely understand that.  In fact, I loved to stay in bed to enjoy the physical and emotional after-glow and was surprised that leaving the bed – as opposed to falling asleep – was so common.

Which makes me ask why do they leave?  At least a small part of me, in keeping with everything else I’ve written here, wonders if the sex was as consensual as they would have wanted it – was it freely, enthusiastically, willingly, supplied, or was it a grudging if-you-have-to?  I would cuddle the provider of the former until the cows came home, but flee from the latter on almost any pretext.

While it is easy to measure how many guys leave the bed, it is harder to measure how many guys were enticed into staying.  But yes, he should stay (and stay awake).

Porn is for Losers, but ….

He usually wasn’t ashamed of resorting to pornography because he understood many, if not most, married men used it to satisfy themselves periodically, just like they sometimes grabbed a slice of pizza on the run instead of sitting down for a real meal. The pizza might even taste better, depending upon the circumstances; a full course dinner took time, was expensive, and required a partner of matching appetite to properly enjoy. And even a quick, clinical release was sometimes better than none at all, as any masseuse offering a happy ending could tell you. Many wives would be surprised at how frequently their husbands relieved themselves like this; he was pretty sure his would be among them. From what he had gathered, it also appeared that few of these wives would be willing to take on the additional responsibilities needed to make that unnecessary, which is why porn sites, strip bars and massage joints would always be around. – An Ordinary Man

Pamela Anderson recently came out against pornography, saying it was “a public hazard of unprecedented seriousness,” “for losers” and “a boring, wasteful and dead-end outlet for people too lazy to reap the ample rewards of healthy sexuality.” She was predictably hit with allegations of hypocrisy in view of her (limited) participation in the industry, but her point is valid.*

The paragraph above, from An Ordinary Man, reflects the views of Richard Wilson, who, feeling the press of sexual desire, picks porn over waking his sleeping wife, who has not been very enthusiastic of late.  As Anderson says, it is a loser’s move, but it takes two to tangle and Wilson, a man, is not going to forego his pleasure just because the consensual pleasure he would prefer is once again not available.

This, of course, leads to a potential dilemma that an article on about Anderson’s essay does not address: suppose Wilson’s wife were to extend an invitation to him, but only after he has already relieved the pressure by himself on the assumption she would not extend one, because, at least in his view, she does so so seldom?  Left with little choice but to demur, because he probably cannot perform anymore, she will now feel as unattractive as he has been feeling, and that part of their relationship will continue to deteriorate, to the detriment of the entire relationship.

The vicious cycle snowballs quickly.

*her essay, written with Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, appeared in the online edition of the Wall Street Journal on August 31, 2016.