As a reformed authoritarian, I have become more aware of women and women’s rights. It’s like being “saved” a second time because you are consumed with guilt over the mistreatment of women in your past.
As a rationalization, I must point out that many of us were raised in authoritarian families. You never asked who was boss of the household. Beginning with the first day on earth, you instinctively knew that you were never going to wear your cap in the house.
Women have been making big news, with International Women’s Day beginning on March 8. Then the state Legislature, for the first time in known history, voted to put one of its members on the road for being sexist, arrogant and otherwise obnoxious.
And the popular governor of New York has been answering a number of complaints from women about his sexist behavior. For men, the New York case is worrisome because it has done nothing to define the meaning of sexist. It’s only fair that everyone knows the rules.
Of course, at my age I am not in the sexist major league. In fact, I guess I am not in any league.
In a small state, everything social is friendly. And how do you express friendly? I often use the word “honey” but my neighbor said that will get me five-to-forty so I better quit.
You could use “mustard” or “ketchup,” but calling ladies mustard doesn’t have much of a cozy feeling as “honey.” It is obvious that North Dakotans will have to back off of friendly. We can no longer be sure of the dividing line between neighborly and sexual assault.
For the past months, I have been churching on the computer so I haven’t had occasion to greet the church greeters. The Bible says to greet each other with a holy kiss so I would give the lady greeter an option: a holy kiss or a hug. The hugs warmed me for the whole week.
But you hug a lady uninvited and you’re up a Sexist Felony I. Because we need to take the vagueness out of the crime, it is necessary to be invited. That’s putting nature on its head because men have always been expected to take the lead in relationships.
A woman that invites you to anything is considered a ”hussy.” So will the women fill the gap by flirting and offering themselves in respectable ways? As you can see, we are going to see a slowdown in coziness until women get over their classical reticence.
It’s going to take a long time to reorient women for their new role in this sexist revolution. Many will never develop the boldness to ask for a date, a kiss or a hand in marriage and will remain single all of their lives. Whether they like it or not, men will have to figure out a way to ask without asking,
With fears of socialism aside, the government should issue a pad of invites to every male of 12 years or more to smoothen relations over until this reorientation occurs. The pad could include something like the following: “Would you invite me to give you a hug?” Or “Would you invite me to kiss you?” Or “Would you ask me to marry you?”
It’s important that the initiator get a signature of approval from the invitee so when charges of sexual assault come up 13 years later, the initiator has some proof that he had consent. I don’t know if notarization would be necessary.
Unfortunately, man is vested with predatory instincts which he must harness if society is going to rebalance men-women relationships. I suppose we will get it all sorted out and some man, overcome by emotion, will shout “I love you” and unravel the whole plan.
Lloyd Omdahl is a former state lieutenant governor and professor at UND.