Wrong Signals

Two quick stories….

Two weeks ago, my wife had her high school class reunion.  The night of the dinner/ dance,  Nancy, (one of the organizers) asked my wife if she wouldn’t mind dressing up in a fancy gown and wearing a tiara. One of my wife’s jobs was to  hand out drink tickets and greet people as they arrived.  Several of the organizers were going to dress up in clothes from the 70’s…  Wife had been elected home-coming queen her senior year, and Nancy thought it would be fun to have her do this… Wife does not like to be in the lime light, but said, she’d do it as a good sport….

Well, the next morning as we got ready for a school tour, Jerry, one of the guys from her class commented on how much of a flirt she was the night before.  His comment took my wife off guard and by surprise.   Knowing my wife’s heart as well as I do, after 30 some years of marriage,  a flirt-er she is not.    A kinder, more thoughtful person you will not meet…but what Jerry her classmate took for flirting was her trying to be a good sport.

Pause.

I have been working on a remodel job the past month for a very challenging and difficult person.  Angry, PTSD, verbally abusive,  the word bully came to mind the first week I was there….I am used to dealing with a wide range of personality types, love my job, felt very comfortable with the things we were doing to his house, so all of the negative energy, was going right past me…until the 2nd week in.   The guy started dropping homosexual comments in my direction.

It creeped me out.

A few of you have written about this sort of thing in your blogs and how a sense of humor can go along ways to diffuse sexual comments.  Well, after the “sense of humor/ ignore it” approach didn’t work, I finally laid the law down last Friday.

If I hear another perverted comment in my direction, I am walking off the job.  Period.

Me having a positive, can-do attitude  and being a good listener was somehow getting misconstrued into only God knows what…

It made me mad.

Because I am the father of 3  daughters  and have heard  (after the fact) multiple situations where they were harassed, more than once, I wanted to straighten out a set of kneecaps with a baseball bat… (in love mind you)  🙂

This sort of stuff gets wearisome .

We live in a sexually saturated culture.  I get that.

Mostly writing this out to vent.

Very thankful I don’t have to put up with it every day.

Later! DM

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And on a completely unrelated note… here’s a short video I filmed this week in the garden.  We had a heavy dew that morning and a spiderweb caught my eye. I grabbed the camera to take a few pictures….

It is so peaceful out there.

To Hug or not to Hug…That Is The Question

bees coming in for a hug

These thoughts flow from three recent encounters…

For me, hugging is a boundary issue.

I have three drop dead, gorgeous  daughters who get their looks from their mama…which is fine, although, sometimes, because we live in such a sex crazed culture, it has gotten them more attention than they like.

Quick story….

We used to attend a small local church with the normal assortment of personality types.  Two of the men, (Farmer Bob as he was affectionately called),  and Mark, both liked to hug the ladies…especially the young pretty ones.

At some point, our family was talking about Mark, and his  increasing interest in hugging our two oldest daughters.  Now Mark had emotional issues..some kind of autism as I recall…and all of us in the church made allowances for him accordingly….but when my daughters started voicing their discomfort, I knew it was time to do something. I made an appointment with our young pastor, told him we were no longer comfortable with Mark’s public displays of affection, and if he (the pastor) didn’t say something to Mark quietly on the side, I would, and it would probably happen the next time he did it…in public.

Pastor said something and life went on.

People’s attitudes about a hug run the full range of thought…from not a big deal, to yes it is a big deal.

I know  people  who are just naturally huggers. They hug people all the time.  They probably grew up in a home with lots of hugging.. it is just who they are.  I also know others, to whom  a hug IS a big deal to them, and  to have someone initiate a hug to whom they are not very close to, is definitely a violation of their boundaries. Period.  Because of this,  I as a husband/man have opted to err on the side of not hugging a woman other than my immediate family unless the other person initiates.

And even then, I probably come across as an uptight, unschooled farm-boy, unless you are my wife or daughter. 😉

I have  more to say on this topic, but  before I do, I would LOVE to hear your thoughts on hugging – especially people outside your immediate family.

Danka.  DM

 

When Someone’s Hitting On Your Spouse

     I ran into “Jackass” Friday at  a Buy Fresh workshop .  Here’s his picture:

He mentioned he and his wife hadn’t seen us for awhile  (it’s been two years).  I’m not sure what to do with him  them relationally.   He suggested we needed to get together again.

Every time we are with them- Virtually every time  “Jackass” will say some form of …”It’s too bad you are here (meaning me ) …MM  (my wife) is who I really enjoy seeing“.   😉   (or some variation of that statement)

We’ve known this couple for 8 years.  He’s a 60 year old hippie, been married a time or two….he’s a big flirt with every attractive woman he sees…not just my wife… to be perfectly honest, for the first 5 years we knew them, I thought to myself..he’s harmless enough..that’s just “Jackass.”

Scripture talks about how the words  we use are an index of our heart…both good and bad…we give others a glimpse into our hearts by what we  talk about.

Anyway, 3 years ago, in another friendship we had as a couple…I kept insisting  that the boyfriend of my wife’s good friend was an out and out pervert.  Guys can pick up on things in other men, I swear women are sometimes blind to.   My wife wasn’ t so sure,  so I  had to bite my tongue, so not to rock the boat.  One day my wife comes home and says…”You were right about Wilbur.  He is a pervert, he tried to kiss two  women who   stayed over night @ so and so’s house.” 

      I wept  from  the pent up turmoil I’d been carrying for over a year. 

My wife and I had a heart to heart talk , we  both agreed “Jackass” while not cut out of the same cloth as Wilbur,  was a firt, why submit our marriage to that?   So we backed  off.  It was hard because we did enjoy his wife’s company.

Any suggestions?….?  Address things head on with Jackass and his wife?  If so,  where and when?  Have you ever had to deal with this sort of thing?

Suggestive Remarks In Mixed Company

 We attended a small  retirement dinner last night for a friend.  Of the 7 couples there, I knew two of them.

Now I am no Pollyanna, I’ve worked for  40 plus years in the construction field, and have heard it all.

More than once.

I’m actually desensitized to profanity, having been around it so much.

Before we ate, we went around the table introducing ourselves

What made last night’s suggestive remarks by one of the men on the other end of the table so agitating  were three things.

He started by saying he and his dear wife had been married for 60 years.

Secondly, he professes to be person of strong religious faith.

Thirdly,  his suggestive comments were in mixed company.

There was (is) a real part of me that would have liked to call him out on it,  but last night was not the place.

I am not a self-righteous twit….really I’m not.  But the older I get, the less I am willing to give a pass to old men who think they can get away with telling crude jokes, because they’ve done it before.

Quick story-

I was on a tour of the Pella Window company manufacturing plant , along with several other builders and their clients. (There were 15 to 20 of us.)  One of the contractors, (who happened to be a preferred Pella contractor)  had  brought along a young couple  who were thinking about building a home.  The contractor was 10 to 15 years older than me. Sharp dresser, quick wit, and a dirty mind.  One suggestive sexual comment after another. (I’m not talking one slightly off-color comment but multiple.)   I got home and vented to my wife about the unprofessional behavior I’d been witness to for a couple of hours. All I could think about was if that was my wife he had been hitting on, there would have been scene.  Normally, if something like that is bothering me after talking about it with my wife, I am able to get it go…but in this case, I was still ticked, and not sure if I should say something to someone from Pella or not..

This was not a black and white situation, but because the guy did have a business relationship with Pella, I decided to follow up with a  call to  my Pella Rep. After I gave him specifics he said he was going to follow-up on it.

(Tour was on a Friday afternoon.)

The following Monday morning…6 AM, I was just starting to get ready for the day.  My phone rings.  It was the contractor I’d Narked on.  He had some pointed questions for me and I gave him some pointed replies…in spite of the fact I was just waking up. 🙂

Normally a little sense of humor can go along ways in diffusing these kind of things…maybe it was the blatant hypocrisy that got me last night.

Sorry if this post is a little bit of a downer.

I try to stay away from venting here as much as possible…..  but I do feel better now having written it out.   🙂

Any thoughts, comments, or questions?  DM

When Sexual Harassment Came Knocking

    ” A truck driver sexually harassed me this morning on my way here from Walmart,”  my eldest daughter  told me when I got home from work.  

     She continued: “As I was merging, he waved and I waved back thinking it might be someone I knew.    Then I realized I didn’t .    Addy was in the back seat sound asleep in her  car seat.  A couple of minutes later when I tried to pass him, he sped up- and I couldn’t get around.  I looked at my speedometer – I was going over 80 mph so I said, what the heck and got back in the right lane….then  he started to slow down.    This cat and mouse game went on for 15 minutes until I got to  our exit.  It really shook me up.  I didn’t get his license plate number but I do remember the name on his mudflaps….”

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I (DM) am a dad to 3 beautiful daughters.

They have all grown up  and moved out,  the oldest is home this week visiting with our granddaughter.   Today for the 7th time in my life I got wind that someone had sexually harassed one of them. I got onto the internet, typed in the name of the company, found their website and e-mailed them this note:

To Whom it may concern, Today is July 19. I just got home for lunch to the news that my 27 yr old daughter was “propositioned” by one of your fuel truck drivers as he was driving North on Hwy *** between A.  and B . she said that as she was passing him (it is a divided highway) he honked at her and continued to indicate something was up. She thought maybe there was something wrong w/ her car and he was signing her to pull over….This went on for several minutes. She slowed down but eventually decided just to pass him. As she did, he made a gesture which she took to mean he wanted sex. she had out of state plates so it probably looked like she was traveling across country. I’m not sure how easy it would be to identify who the driver was, but she said it was a semi fuel truck w/**** mudflaps.

As her dad I would like to meet with that trucker in person.. My daughter also was carrying my grandchild in the car with her.  Any thing you can do to address this situation would be appreciated. DM

I got a phone call the next morning from a company rep,

First, he said, “We take this sort of thing very seriously and will deal with it accordingly.” He apologized for the incident, even if it turns out not to be someone from their company, but just the fact that it reflects badly on the trucking industry as a whole. He also said that he himself has two daughters (22 and 19) and completely understood where I was coming from.

In the end, we were not able to positively identify the trucker my daughter encountered. It’s a good thing for both of us because I probably would have done something that would have gotten  me in trouble with the law.

Have you personally or someone you love been sexually harassed?

If you’re comfortable talking about it, how did  that make you feel and what did you do about it?

Any tips for the person who happens to stumble across this blog post later who is dealing with sexual harassment?