I’m going to go way out of the comfort zone here for most people. We are living in a world that seems to WANT to believe every slight is discrimination, every touch an inappropriate act, and every compliment has a hidden double meaning.
I fully support the original intent of the #MeToo movement, which has morphed into something Tarana Burke, the originator of the movement back in 2006, doesn’t even recognize (her words, not mine). I also understand sexual harassment as a gay man by straight men that think I want them (don’t flatter yourselves, boys), and I’ve been raped.
I am more than fully aware of being physically intimidated.As a tall, senior-aged, white male with a high middle-class income I’ve got privilege coming out my ass (no pun intended), but I don’t permit others less privileged or underprivileged to tell me I can’t empathize with the plight of those, male or female, who feel they have been unjustly touched. In fact, my ability to empathize is the basis for the professional work I do with just such people.
However … I’ve also been involved with teaching men over the past 40 years about ways to express erotic and tantric energy. I teach people to look at how we can make this world a better place with tenderness, caring, and affection … and, yes, physical touch. I was a licensed massage therapist for over 25 years – I know what’s appropriate touch and what isn’t.
But, I grew up in a family that greeted old and new friends alike with a kiss and a hug upon meeting. I’m naturally very physically affectionate with others, even though many people who know are not. I now find myself constantly second-guessing almost every physical encounter. I even wonder if I’m holding a person’s hand too long when I shake hands! I carry liability insurance for my professional practice, but hope and pray that I never have to utilize it. These days, who knows?
What has initiated this piece is the current media feeding frenzy about whether Joe Biden’s touching or kissing was or is inappropriate. It’s also about whether he should drop out of the Democratic race for the presidential nomination. I will not comment on whether Biden should run or drop out (I personally hope he does not run, but it has nothing to do with these recent reports) – that’s his and his family’s decision. Nor will I judge whether or not these women coming forth with the empowerment of #MeToo about these encounters. What they are doing now may allow them to heal in ways they’ve never been able to. Or, if it’s a publicity stunt for them or a means to get back at Biden for some other reason, I know karma will take care of that.
What I WILL say, however, is that this whole messy conversation we are now having is enabling all of us to more fully disclose our needs, our wants, and our intentions in ways we should have long, long ago.
And, out of THAT conversation and new attitudes, only the greater good for all concerned can come about.