Men of the world: You are not the weather

I am sick of being warned, or not warned, about interacting with certain people, as casually (Molly Ringwald’s words, not mine) as talking about the weather.

“Bring an umbrella. There is a man spitting on you from a great height and it is easier to treat it as though it is raining.”

“If you have lunch with him, know that he likes to set up a giant pit filled with stakes that you will have to step around.”

“He is a thundercloud. He is quicksand. He is a deep bog.”

For the last time, men are not the weather. You are not the weather.

Yes, I mean you. Maybe you are one of the good ones, but I mean you. If I say “not everyone,” you will think, “Oh, not me,” and you will be wrong. So I mean you.

You thought you were being nice, maybe. That any attention from you was flattering, maybe. That I would see it as a compliment, maybe. I have forgiven you, maybe. Or I am embarrassed for you, or I never knew what your name was. But make no mistake: Nothing about this was inevitable. This was not weather. You are not the weather, and your buddy is not the weather.

This has to stop. Instead of saying, “You cannot smoke in here,” we are telling every woman, “there is going to be smoke in the restaurant, so encase yourself entirely in protective sheeting.” Instead of saying, “Do not go around lighting people on fire,” we are telling women, “Don’t be flammable.” But you can’t be human and not be flammable. This is not like walking down a dark alley and getting mugged, because for that to be true you have to have the option of not walking down the dark alley.

If someone were standing on a corner throwing mud at passersby, we would not say to the passersby, “Well, my aunt didn’t get any mud thrown at her, and she never wore nail polish, so try that.” We would say, “Get that idiot somewhere where he can’t throw mud at people.” Do you want to hear a story? One of the things I was wearing when somebody tried to do something I did not want them to do was a Jabba the Hutt suit. Don’t talk to people about what they were wearing. A, Hutts are asexual, and b, no. It is not what you are wearing.

For the last time, this is not “the way the world works.” We were not groped by the invisible hand of the economy. That was a person who made a choice, and they were capable of making a different one.