When I was in high school, and my dad was dropping my friends and me off at a high school dance, he called out as we exited the car, "Have fun but keep it in your knickers." Honestly, I had heard it before and at this point had tuned it out but it was the first time my friends had heard it, and they found it hysterical. I hadn't yet even kissed a girl so the implication of the statement, 'keep it in your knickers' was well beyond my comprehension. Until it wasn't, and then I realized I had been given both a humorous warning and a weighty admonition: keep it in your knickers, or there will be consequences.
Apparently, Matt Lauer, Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, David Weiner and Bill Clinton did not get the message. Honestly, I thought most of what I am about to write would go without saying but the actions of these men (and many others) have pushed me to make it explicit for the sake of my sons and my daughter, and sons and daughters everywhere.
1) Dick Pics - why is this a thing? I was in a classroom with some women in their 20's and one of them was telling me she preferred Bumble over Tinder. I didn't know the difference so I asked her why. "Fewer dick pics" was her reply. I was stunned and asked out loud if guys really did that, at which point all of the young women bemoaned in harmony, 'YES'. Guys, let me help you out - no woman, ever, has been sitting around thinking 'I really wish some guy would text me a picture of his dick.' No one - not strangers, not co-eds, not co-workers - wants to see your dick. Ever. No one. Your girlfriend or wife has seen it and is over it, there is no reason to take a picture of it for her or your nanny or cleaning lady or neighbor. Never. Ever. Never. Furthermore, if you do take a pic - plan for everyone you know seeing it. It will come out, and it should've stayed in your knickers.
2) Tits and Ass - are the sole property of their owner - do not touch unless invited. Even then, proceed with caution. Would you walk up to a strange woman in a bar and grab her purse and start rummaging through it? No, of course not, what sort of asshat would do that. Would you grab her iPhone and take a SnapChat? No and with good reason - there is a 80% chance you are going to get slapped and look like an ass. This may come as a surprise, but women feel even more strongly about their bodies than they do their iPhones. Grab her ass or her boobs and there is a 100% chance you are going to get slapped, look like an ass or both - deservedly.
3) Innuendo - as in, this could be an 'inn-u-endo to your 'career-o.' Do you like being a college athlete on scholarship? Then don't make inappropriate remarks to or about the girls drill team. Yes, they already know what hockey rhyme with. Team mascot is the Beavers? Don't go there. First off - friends don't let friends pun. Secondly, these are bad jokes made worse by sexually frustrated comedians. This rule holds just as true when you get to the workforce - no innuendo, no 'off color' talk. In case you don't know what that means, let me give you the range: from filthy to smutty to dirty to crude to rude to indecent to suggestive and all the way to indelicate. There is a time and place and it isn't at work, it isn't while you are flirting and for the love of all that is holy, it is never ever never in writing.
4) Guilty and never to be proven innocent - is basically the burden of proof in college and workplace settings. Sorry, it's not fair, it's not right but it is how it is and it isn't changing soon. Of course, this probably isn't a concern if you are a good guy, exhibiting good behavior, proceeding with caution and offering respect to your female peers. However, if you are merely indelicate or suggestive, you are open to accusation and presumption of guilt. It's a ridiculous standard which begets the Pence approach: never take a meeting with a woman alone, and never go to dinner with a woman unless your wife or another woman is in accompaniment. I've develped Robert's Rules of Rectitude for College Men: 1) never walk a drunk girl home alone, 2) never allow a really drunk girl into your dorm room alone, 3) never be in a drunk girl's dorm room alone, 4) never be a drunk guy alone with a girl, 5) if you are both drunk - do not even consider sex unless you have had sex before, preferably on a regular basis in a committed relationship, 6) if you are both buzzed and considering sex - make a game of it and tell her 'you tell me what to do next'. It hurts my head to write this but a young man has so much responsibility and so few rights in this day and age that there need to be guidelines beyond decency to guide them.
5) Feelings, nothing more than feelings - a lie that foments into a rage. It probably isn't politically correct to suggest this but IMHO, women have deeper feelings, suffer more from their feelings and those feelings will fuel their actions. So if you make a mistake with a woman, you need to make a real apology to diffuse those hurt feelings she has corked up as a result of your actions. Research has demonstrated that a good apology has six elements and the more of them you include the better. They are:
- Expression of regret
- Explanation of what went wrong
- Acknowledgment of responsibility
- Declaration of repentance
- Offer of repair
- Request for forgiveness
Number three is the most important, so own it. If you cannot, you are a weak fool who will suffer the wrath of a woman scorned.
Meg, Coop, Keaton - I hope I have said all of this to you in one way or another not the least of which should have been my behavior. In the event that I didn't say it, here it is. Please feel free to share it with your friends, coeds and colleagues because based on today's healines, it needs to be said.