I am not like those men in the hashtags. I don’t mean the rapists, I mean the other ones. Relax, I have never ripped a woman’s clothes off and impaled her forcibly on myself. I understand and respect consent. No, I am not like the rapists: those stories horrify me and wrench my heart. I am just not like the other guys in the hashtags.
I mean the demigods who never undress women with their eyes but are driven by spotless squeaky clean intentions in all their interactions with the fairer sex.
No, my heart skips a beat at wiggling hips and bodacious voluptuousness takes my breath away. When I look away from the stories flashing on my portable screen to immerse myself in the business of daily life, put my phone in my pocket – and the hashtags go silent – I am tempted. Tempted to give in to the chest tightening passions that muddy my intentions and bid me strip her of her humanity, objectify her and then use her to slake my unbridled lust.
The hashtags can only make me aware of stuff but they can never change me. They can ignite my horror, tantalize me with distant lofty ideals but they can never expunge temptation. I need more than words on a screen to leap over lust. Collective horror is no catapult.
I am not alone in my limbo. There are others who find themselves tossed in the swirling waters between rapist shore and demigod island but I cannot agree with their proposed solution. They think it best to eradicate temptation – lengthen every dress, raise every neckline. There are billions of women on this planet, that’s too many wardrobes to police. Besides, no skirt is long enough to keep out the wandering eye and the mind can fill in all the blanks. Temptation can be avoided but not eradicated.
In the end, while the demigods bask in the retweeted adulation diffused through the limelight of their mobiles, we mortal men must contend to stay afloat by learning to resist temptation. We can scream “No!”, to the evil suggestions that assail us but that can only take us so far because evil suggestions can become screams too. It is much better to say “Yes” to better influences in the quiet times before temptation surges. Marathons, after all, are won in training. It is the dog you’re feeding that wins the battle.
Oh! And to the ladies… Happy International Women’s Day!