Whenever Bill goes away, I’m always soon reminded of how much I miss him when he’s not home. Especially when there’s a heatwave, and I’m sick with a virus.
It got super hot again yesterday and the temperatures were north of 99 degrees. That is historically a rare thing in Germany, but is sadly becoming a more common occurrence, thanks to global climate change. I read in the weather report that we might get a thunderstorm last night. I was actually hoping for that, because I was sweating so much, in spite of the air conditioner and fan we have in our bedroom. Unfortunately, we have portable ACs, and they usually require hot air stoppers.
Thanks to our previous landlady’s total conniption about us trying to be comfortable in her house during previous brutal summers, I haven’t really wanted to install the hot air stoppers in this house. Also, under normal circumstances, we can drop the shutters all the way down and snake the hoses that go with the air conditioners on the floor, and out of the balcony doors. In ex landlady’s house, we didn’t have balconies, so that wouldn’t have worked. The hoses would not have stayed in place. Our current landlord is very cool about us acting like this is our house, within reason, of course. But I’m still kind of traumatized by the behaviors of our former landlady, whom we ended up successfully suing for our deposit.
Even with the shutters down, though, because we don’t have the hot air stoppers, there is nothing to stop hot air from coming in. It usually doesn’t matter too much, since it’s usually not that hot here. At night, if we close the bedroom door, the room gets nice and cool, and Arran isn’t able to sneak downstairs and pee on my rug. But yesterday and the day before were exceptionally hot and sticky days. It was pretty uncomfortable, especially since I’m also not 100% well.
So anyway, there I was sitting in bed when the thunderstorm finally started, at about 8:30pm. I was watching an 80s era made for TV movie on YouTube. Suddenly, at about 8:45, there was a tremendous bang, and there went the power. The room was plunged into darkness, and there was no more air… and I was just sweating like crazy. I put my hair up and even rinsed off in the shower, because it was just so gross. Fortunately, I had just topped up the cell coverage on my iPad, which I don’t usually do unless we’re going on a trip. I did it the other day, because our Internet coverage in this house is pretty unreliable at times, and it’s good to have a cell connection in case it crashes.
The storm dumped some much needed rain and cooled things down a bit, not that I could immediately tell. I was coughing, sneezing, wiping my nose, and getting crankier by the minute. Fortunately, the fire brigade was on the spot, and they responded to the outage very quickly. The lights were back about an hour later. I love that about Germany, because power outages are pretty rare here, and when they do occur, they tend to be very brief.
My two years in Armenia in the 90s, where power outages were very common, have caused me to be a lot less tolerant of them in the “more developed world”. I can remember loving outages when I was a kid. They seemed “cool”. As an adult, I don’t think they’re any fun at all. I guess enduring a six week straight stint, without any power at all, will do that to a person. It turned out my Armenian neighbor hadn’t known I was living there, and cut my power so it would go to his apartment. It seemed that a lot of male Armenians in the 90s were all amateur electricians! Once he realized he had a neighbor, my former neighbor fixed my line for me, and I went back to having power for 2 to 4 hours per day. Not long after that, another neighbor harassed me, and I ended up moving out of that building.
Funny story about that. The harasser lived a level down from me, and one night, as I was coming back from a night out, he was in the hall, messing with the hall light. I tried to pass him, and he grabbed my arm and wouldn’t let go. He held my arm in a vise-like grip and kept telling me in Armenian not to scream, but I was petrified, because one of my colleagues was recently sexually assaulted and beaten up in her village, and it landed her in the hospital. Then she had to be medevacked to the States. I had visions of her black eyes, broken nose, fractured teeth, and beaten face in my head, as this guy held my arm and menacingly warned me not to scream. I was so scared that I couldn’t think how to respond in his language, but he could obviously tell I didn’t want to talk to him or be near him. For all I know, he was trying to tell me about the lights, but he had my arm, was telling me not to scream, and wouldn’t let go of me. So draw your own conclusions about what I was thinking at the time.
I informed the powers that be at the Peace Corps office, and they sent one of their drivers to come over to speak to my neighbor. The driver was the husband of the Country Director’s secretary, and he was a big, imposing, Mafia-esque looking guy. He basically told the guy to leave me alone, or there would be big trouble. I was told that my neighbor was pretty terrified, as the Peace Corps driver was quite intimidating, and made it clear that he would beat the ever loving shit out of the guy if he ever bothered me again (or, at least it was strongly implied). I never had any more trouble with him, but I never felt safe in that apartment again. And then my landlady decided to sell it, so I had to move anyway.
Not long after my neighbor imposed six week power outage, Armenia decided to restart Metzamor, a nuclear power plant they had shut down in the late 80s after Chernobyl and a massive earthquake destroyed a good portion of the country and killed tens of thousands of people. When I was living in Armenia, some experts, including a few from the United States, examined the facility and decided it was safe.
The Peace Corps gave all us Volunteers little bottles of iodine pills, in case there was an explosion. They were supposed to protect our thyroid glands. I don’t know… seems to me that if there was a nuclear accident, our thyroid glands would be one of the last things we’d be concerned about. Fortunately, Metzamor was still functional, and during the summer of my second year, we finally got electricity 24/7. That was quite an amazing thing to experience, especially as a privileged American. As far as I know, that’s how things still are in most areas. I’m sure today’s Volunteers will never know the pain groups A1, A2, and A3 endured, back in the early days of Peace Corps/Armenia. 😉
So… as you might be able to understand, I really don’t like power outages, especially when I’m home alone. And that seems to be when they happen the most frequently. Fortunately, I had my two dogs with me to protect me. Even Noyzi, who doesn’t tend to hang around with me in the evenings, stayed in the room with me, even until after the lights came on and I went to sleep. He eventually got up and went into his own room, which required me to open the door for him. Then Arran got me up at 1:30 am for a pee break, and then again at 4:00 am, because he wanted his breakfast. I tried to go to sleep again after that, but was too busy coughing. I’ll probably need another nap today, like I did yesterday.
I’m glad last night’s power outage was short lived, although I did hear that there was a fire caused by the lightening. Again, Germany has excellent firefighters, so the blaze was quickly contained. The weather seems a bit cooler today, so maybe the dogs will finally get their walk. I’ve skipped it twice this week, because of the heat and my sickness. I do feel somewhat better today, except for the coughing and mucous. You know how it is. It seems like it’s always the worst right when I wake up and have to clear all of the crap that settled in my lungs overnight. Again, I don’t know if this is COVID-19. The one test I took said it wasn’t. This virus isn’t like last month’s, though, which also evidently wasn’t COVID. I haven’t had a super runny nose, which is a blessing, since that always causes a wound under my nostrils. I also haven’t had a fever or body aches or any weird symptoms. It really is just like a regular cold, minus the runny nose phase.
Bill is also supposed to come home tonight, after he finishes working today. He’ll probably get home in the evening, and we’ll be grumpy together, as the heat hangs around a bit longer. I told him I want to get out of here… definitely for a vacation somewhere cooler. Maybe we can do something in September, after the Germans have had their holidays in August, but before COVID-19 ramps up again!
On another note, I did manage to catch some of Ivana Trump’s funeral. Or, what was shown outside the church, anyway. I’m not surprised she had a golden casket, or that her rapist ex husband was there.
This morning, I got a private message from someone who read my recent rant about pro-life men who make me want to hurl. I was surprised to get that message. As of this morning, that particular rant only has four views. However, it does have two likes, which is somewhat unusual for my blog. My posts, by and large, don’t get “likes” very often. 😉
The person who wrote to me indicated that she felt my post was “poignant”. I thought that was an interesting observation. Maybe it does seem poignant, though, that a middle-aged woman who has always had the right to choose would be so disgusted by men with “pro-life” attitudes. Very soon, the risk of pregnancy for me, personally, will no longer exist at all. So, if Roe v. Wade does get overturned, it won’t matter too much for me, at least not in terms of whether or not I would be forced to bear children. If the United States turned into an actual Gilead, as depicted in Margaret Atwood’s book, The Handmaid’s Tale, I would either be a wife or a “Martha”. Or maybe I’d just be a “working stiff” who wears grey. The bottom line is, my actual purpose– according to some men– will soon cease to exist. But, you know, even when I was still young, a lot of men didn’t think I was fulfilling my “purpose”. They probably felt like a vagina was wasted on me.
As I was reposting the two book reviews I added this morning, I watched the latest episode of Fundie Fridays on YouTube. The host, Jen, had a guest named Mickey Atkins on the show. Mickey is a social worker, like I would have been if I hadn’t become an “overeducated housewife”. The two of them were discussing Lori Alexander, aka “The Transformed Wife”. Lori Alexander, for those who don’t know, is a very controversial figure on social media. She believes that women’s sole purposes for being is to make babies and be housewives. I don’t generally pay a lot of attention to Lori’s posts, because I disagree with almost everything she says or writes, and I generally don’t think it’s productive to pay attention to her dumb comments. However, sometimes, when she says or writes something that is especially offensive, I will take note of it. I do casually follow Fundie Fridays, as well. I don’t watch it every week, but I do watch often enough. So, even though I think The Transformed Wife shouldn’t have a platform, I decided to listen to Jen and Mickey talk about her this morning as I multi-tasked.
Listening to this video led me to look up things I have written about Lori Alexander. In the process of doing that, I ran across some old posts on my original blog about related subjects. It occurred to me, as I was reading, that men who “concern troll, and “fat shame” women, are a whole lot like the pro-life men who make me want to hurl. They REALLY have a lot in common. And, I also realized, that whether or not they know it, a lot of pro-life men and fat shaming men are probably motivated by the same thing… the desire to have sex with, and ultimately control, women. I think a lot of men are, deep down, offended by women who don’t do what society expects of them.
A lot of men think it’s a woman’s duty to be pretty, friendly, agreeable, and sweet. They think it’s her role to be willing to have sex with them– and only them. She is to turn them on and, when she gets pregnant, be willing to have their babies. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the man will feel like he needs to stick around and help raise the babies. It’s only that to be “good”, a woman is to be attractive and appealing. A smart woman with an opinion– especially if he doesn’t think she’s attractive– is offensive to a lot of men. And women who get pregnant, and then decide to reject the pregnancy, are repulsive to certain men.
Notice that I specified “certain men”. Not all men are like this. My husband, Bill, is not like this at all. He’s a kind, supportive, loving man who doesn’t mind that I’m overweight, opinionated, and often unlikable to other people. Bill loves me for who I am, not what I look like, and not just for my sex parts. I realize that I am extremely lucky, too. I don’t know how I got so lucky, but I did. My husband is an absolute gem.
But I know from my past life, and even incidences from my current life, that not all women are nearly as lucky as I have been. Every once in awhile, I run into a guy who seems determined to remind me of what they think should be my place. I see them do it to other women, too. They firmly believe that women are here to entertain them, satisfy them, attract them, and serve them. They aren’t here to be someone in and of themselves.
So how did I come to this conclusion? It started with a post I wrote on my original blog about a group called “Overweight Haters, Ltd.” Back in 2015, a woman named Kara Florish was riding on The Tube in London when a middle-aged male stranger placed a business card on her lap.
The man quickly got off at the next stop and disappeared in the crowd, leaving Kara sitting there, stunned. Kara posted on Twitter, commenting:
“I am not upset myself. I am smaller than the national average and not exactly obese, but this is hateful and cowardly and could potentially upset people struggling with confidence and eating disorders. Please tweet and share this if you are also outraged. Plus – to the person who wrote this card, go back to school, you can’t spell ‘beautiful’.”
I didn’t actually write about this incident until several years later. Florish wasn’t the only one who got a card from this vile group. In another article from The Guardian from 2015, it was reported that another commuter, a man named Sean Thomas Knox, witnessed a woman getting one of the cards. According to the article:
“Young man just got on train at Oxford Circus, gave printed card saying YOU’RE FAT to overweight girl. He jumped off. She read it, [and] cried.
“Am 99.9% sure this wasn’t staged. She didn’t even realise I was watching at first. Her stunned, desolate reaction was very real. Then tears.”
Knox described the man who handed over the card as a “hipster.. smartly, trendily dressed” with a beard. “Perhaps it was a piece of conceptual art,” he tweeted
“It lasted a few seconds, but the card in that photo [Florish’s] is the same card I saw, in the girl’s hand. And her shock was real.”
I’ve seen a lot of comments fat shaming men leave for women online, too. They often couch their opinions as “concern” for women’s health. But, when it really comes down to it, I think men are less concerned about health as they are their own sex drives. A lot of them seem to think it’s a woman’s duty to be pretty for them, so they will want to have sex with them. And then, once they have sex, if the woman gets pregnant, she should want to have the baby. To not have the baby is to reject the man. A lot of pro-life men simply can’t deal with that kind of rejection. It’s a terrible assault on their egos. Notice, too, that a lot of pro-life men– especially those who are religious– also pressure women to be pleasing to them and pretty, but not sexy or, heaven forbid, slutty. Slutty women end up as handmaids, you know… or they work at Jezebel’s. 😉
Think I’m way off base on this? Consider something that happened to me back in February 2018. I read an article about a woman who had given birth to a baby girl she named Parker. The woman then left the newborn infant outside in the cold. Parker later died. Her mother was arrested and charged with murder, which was eventually reduced to a conviction of manslaughter. She was sentenced to nine years in prison.
For some reason, a man decided that the comment section was a good place to rail against abortion, even though this story had NOTHING to do with abortion. He pointed out that had the mom aborted Parker, people would be applauding her choice. A lot of women responded to him, including yours truly. I dared to tell him that I didn’t think men really needed to chime in on this issue, since it’s never their lives or health on the line when someone gets pregnant. A few days later, I got a private message from someone who was looking for advice on apartments in Alsace. After I responded to the PM, I noticed I had another one from a “stranger” named Jason. Jason wrote this to me:
Interesting that Jason, who is presumably “pro-life”, doesn’t realize that I used to be someone’s developing fetus. And yet, he felt the need to invite me to commit suicide. Sadly, when I complained about this to Facebook, they said there was “nothing they could do about it.” However, I’ve been “on restriction” all month for writing a comment that referred to “dumb Americans”. Go figure.
Now, I’m not going to tell you that I enjoy being referred to as a “cunt”. It’s not a nice word. And no, I don’t like it when people call me “fat”, because I know that’s basically akin to “ugly” in some people’s opinions. Nobody likes to be insulted. On the other hand, I am already married to a wonderful guy who doesn’t think I’m a “fat cunt”, and would be devastated if I died. But this comment did make me realize that Jason must be very, very frustrated by women who aren’t afraid to speak their minds, and would happily deny men, both access to their cunts, and respect for their views. You see, my guess is that Jason isn’t gay. He probably really enjoys having sex with women. And a lot of women have probably denied him sex. At the same time, he’s presumably here because some woman had sex and got pregnant. He probably passed through his mother’s “cunt” when he was born. So he actually owes everything to a cunt, doesn’t he? But he thinks that as a man, he should have power over women. A woman who tells him and his make brethren to STFU is very threatening and offensive. So he calls me a vile word and advises me to kill myself. Makes a lot of sense, right?
As a woman, I have been sexually harassed by men, even though I don’t think I’m conventionally “beautiful”. It started on the playground when I was a little girl, when little boys would try to make me give them some “sugar” (I grew up in the South in the early 80s, and that was a euphemism for kissing). It continued as I got older, when bigger boys would grab me and try to touch me or kiss me, and when the neighborhood pervert, who referred to himself as “The Home of the Whopper”, showed me pornography. Then, it continued when boys would make comments about my body– negative or positive– or try to humiliate me with cruel jokes and pranks. In college, I remember meeting a guy at a party, and within a couple of hours, he was trying to stick his tongue down my throat. I was shocked and horrified, and I asked him to stop. He then proceeded to treat me like I had given him blue balls or something.
I got harassed when I lived in Armenia by men who exposed themselves to me. It happened three times that I can remember. I was lucky. I knew a woman who was harassed and violently assaulted. She had to go into the hospital. On a trip to Turkey, a man felt my legs as I tried on shoes that I desperately needed. Another man grabbed my breast when I was trying to find a bathroom. Not two hours later, when I was changing clothes, a different man came into the dressing room, called me “sexy”, and asked me to come with him. The female friend who was traveling with me was also harassed, although she wore men’s shoes and had shaved her head. The trip, which was mostly amazing, culminated when we got stuck on the border with Georgia and the customs manager propositioned me. And no, I wasn’t looking sexy. I had on shorts, a t-shirt, and wore no makeup. He still wanted to have sex with me… and, of course, that was ALL he wanted. He thought I would give it to him, because I’m an American woman, and women from the USA are supposedly “loose”. I was a virgin at the time.
A couple of years later, when I was back in the States, I worked at a country club. One of the members, a guy named J.J., was notorious for hitting on all of the women who worked at the club. It didn’t matter if the female he was targeting was a minor who was still in high school, or if it was the matronly dining room manager who was in her 60s. None of us were spared his attentions. One day, he followed me into the linen closet, which unfortunately was in the men’s locker room. Thinking the locker room was empty, I had gone in there to get tablecloths and napkins. He cornered me, and tried to paw at my breasts and kiss me. It was absolutely appalling, and yes, I said “No”.
And… I have also been fat shamed by men. It started with comments from my father, who would tell me that no man would find me attractive (he also didn’t like my outspoken personality and vulgar language). He would touch me and tell me I had “fat” I needed to lose. Sometimes, he called me names, like “hog”, or referred to me as “retarded”. As I got older, some men would body shame me. It happened a lot in Armenia. I would get stopped by strangers on the street trying to sell me Herbalife, or they would flat out tell me I was “fat”. But it also happened in the United States, or on vacations. Regular readers of my blog might remember when I wrote about the man on SeaDream I who was surprised by my pretty singing voice and said to Bill, “Now I can see why you’d love her.” He made similarly disgusting comments about women, revealing the attitude that he felt like it was a woman’s duty to be beautiful and available to him. And if she wasn’t those things, he could call her a “fat cow” (he literally referred to his late wife in this way– she had just died of breast cancer).
Some men, especially in the military community, are very offended by smart, opinionated women, especially if they’re considered “fat” or not pretty enough. I’ve gotten tons of shit over the name of this blog by men in the military community, as well as some rather clueless women. One time, a military man commented on a blog post I wrote that was shared on Facebook. He wrote, “Ugh. I hope she at least has children.” WTF, guy? I responded that I didn’t have children, and I would be very happy to tell him why I didn’t, if he really wanted to know the gory details.
Frankly, I think it’s probably a burden to be really attractive to men. I remember another incident, back when I was in my late 20s and thinner and prettier than I am now. I was at a bar, and one of my co-workers, who was slim and pretty, was dancing to music. We were friends, but hadn’t come to the bar together. A guy tapped me on the shoulder. I turned to look at him, and he asked me if my co-worker was with anyone. Obviously, he’d spotted her and wanted to meet her, presumably because she was very attractive. But instead of asking her, he approached me, the less threatening “fat friend”. I think I told him that we hadn’t come together and if he wanted to talk to her, he should man up and talk to her. I’m not her “fat friend”, there to help some guy score.
Lori Alexander, who thinks that women need to stay home and pump out babies for their husbands, also fat shames women. She says that it’s a woman’s duty to be pleasing to her man. And if her man thinks she’s too fat, she needs to do something about it. And she needs to let him have sex with her, no matter what… even if it happens while she’s trying to sleep or isn’t feeling well. In that sense, I guess she’s in agreement with famously pro-life mom, Michelle Duggar, who told her daughter, Jill, to be “joyfully available” to her new husband, Derick. The year after the public heard about this advice, the news came out that Jill was one of four of the Duggar daughters who were molested by their eldest brother, Josh. We all know where Josh is right now. Mr. “Pro-Life” father of seven is currently sitting in a jail cell, awaiting sentencing for receiving and possessing images of child sexual abuse… and some of the female children being abused were in diapers!
So yeah… I think guys who would like to deny women the right to bodily autonomy are, by and large, not interested in protecting babies. A lot of those guys wouldn’t bother to stick around if a woman got pregnant out of wedlock, and they certainly don’t want more of their paychecks going to providing social welfare safety nets. These guys– Josh Duggar especially– use women for their own gratification and then condemn them as “sluts”. They are repulsed by women they see as sloppy and out of control, whether the lack of control is regarding food or sex. And so, if you pay close attention, you see that a lot of fat shamers and pro-life males respond to women in very similar ways. They have a LOT in common!
I think, deep down, most of these pro-life, hyper-religious, fat shaming guys are obsessed with sex, and controlling women. They hate that a woman has the power to do something they can’t do, and a lot of them are offended when a woman has the nerve to have a vagina, but doesn’t do enough to be attractive. Or, worse, she’s attractive, but denies him access to her vagina. Or she gives him access, but then doesn’t want to accept the grand gift of his sperm, which created a developing fetus. Remember… the vast majority of us owe our lives to a woman and her vagina.
I’ll leave you with one last anecdote. A couple of days ago, I read a Facebook post about the 1987 film, Dirty Dancing, which was released when I was 15 years old. A lot of people forget that the reason why “Baby” has to learn to “dirty dance” is because Johnny Castle’s partner got “knocked up” by Robby, the asshole waiter. She had an illegal abortion, which made her very sick. The poster pointed out that the film was a reminder of what could be at stake if women in the United States lose access to abortion. One male commenter wrote this:
What is the script was flipped? What if Robby was a loving caring father that wanted the baby, but Penny knew that if she had the baby, her life would change, and she didn’t want that? Robby would have no legal say in it, and would be forced to see his child killed. Not all guys are douchebags. And not all women are angels. If a person, male or female, doesn’t think they can handle being a parent, then don’t take the risk of it happening.
Naturally, I had to respond. I didn’t even address the fact that this dude used the term “douchebag”, which is, in and of itself, a very offensive and sexist pejorative. Who uses douchebags? It’s not men who use them; it’s women. And, in fact, we aren’t repelled by “douchebags” so much as what comes from using them– the residual nasty smelling stuff from a woman’s private area. It’s the “waste” that is repellant. Personally, I consider the term “douchebag” to be akin to calling a woman a “cunt”, but since that was the term the guy used, I went with it in my response to this hypothetical “loving, caring father” who would be “crushed” that his child would be killed by heartless Penny.
If you don’t understand that it wouldn’t be Robby’s health or life on the line, and you think another personshould be compelled to stay pregnant for someone else’s sake, then yes, you ARE a “douchebag” (not that I would use that term). Guys who want to be fathers should find women who want to have babies with them.
A few days ago, I posted about Alex Bozarjian, the news reporter whose backside was assaulted while she was doing live coverage of the Savannah Bridge Run 10K last Saturday. There she was, standing there on the side of the route as runners passed her, mugging for the camera, when a man in sunglasses and a baseball cap came up behind her and smacked her ass. Bozarjian’s immediate reaction was one of shock, then anger. But in an impressive display of professionalism and poise, she managed to compose herself in seconds and finish the job. Then she tweeted to the man who assaulted her– one Tommy Callaway– whose identity was discovered due to the number he wore as a race participant.
When I first wrote about this story, Alex Bozarjian had only reported the incident to the police and told her story on CBS This Morning. Since then, the Savannah police have decided to charge Mr. Callaway with misdemeanor sexual battery. Callaway turned himself in to the detectives, was booked at the Chatham County Jail, and then was released on a $1,300 bond. As I mentioned in my first post about this case, sexual harassment isn’t a joke. If you’re dumb enough to do it on live TV, there’s an excellent chance you will have to go to court and pay for your mistake.
Tommy Callaway gave an interview to WSAV, which is available on YouTube. A lot of people are dismissing Callaway’s apology, saying he’s just upset that he got caught. Personally, I think he mostly sounds sincere. He probably does feel some genuine remorse for what he did, and not just because there will be serious consequences. I do think he should have stopped short of offering excuses for his behavior. The bottom line is (no pun intended), he shouldn’t have touched Alex Bozarjian at all.
It doesn’t matter if he was “high” from the race or the race course was “tight”. And sorry, but I’ve watched the clip a few times, and it does look to me like he deliberately aimed for Ms. Bozarjian’s behind. It certainly wasn’t an accident, as far as I can tell. But, unlike a lot of the others who have their pitchforks and torches out, I don’t think he necessarily needs to be strung up and flogged for this. I’m glad he’s being charged, and I hope he gets a punishment that he won’t forget for the rest of his life. I also hope other people pay attention to this example and are reminded to keep their hands to themselves. But frankly, I’ve heard less sincere apologies. To me, he does sound genuinely sorry, even if his apology needs some work. Here’s a hint– a good apology doesn’t include any excuses. It’s a sincere admission of guilt and is focused entirely on the victim.
People make mistakes. I believe Mr. Callaway knows he made a mistake. I don’t know why his attorney allowed him to make a public apology, although it’s plain that he’s not disputing that he committed sexual battery. At this point, he’s doing damage control, which seems reasonable to me. I would be even less impressed with Callaway if he became belligerent and denied what he did, which is something I think a lot of truly creepy men would have done in this situation. Think Donald Trump’s reaction to being called out for grabbing someone by the pussy… he dismissed it as “locker room talk” and many people forgave him for that! At least Callaway is showing some sensitivity, and I have doubts that he’ll ever pull such a stunt again.
It’ll be interesting to see what happens to him when this goes to court. I suspect he’ll get a fine and maybe he might even have to register as a sex offender. That might be a bit extreme, in my view, since that would really have an effect on Callaway’s career and home life. I would not want to see his wife and children punished for this incident more than they already are from the embarrassment of it. But I do think a stiff fine would be a good start toward making this better, and a sincere promise that he’s learned his lesson about touching women without their permission.
I had another topic in mind to write about today… maybe I’ll get to it later. For now, I want to address a news article I just read about yet another man taking liberties with a woman and apparently thinking it’s funny. The short version, guys, is that this isn’t funny. It’s demeaning, humiliating, and downright shitty. And if you touch someone without their consent, you’re likely to pay a stiff price for it. Sexual harassment is not a joke, and doing it on live TV is really foolish. At the very least, you will be outed and shamed for it, and there is a good chance you could wind up in court, too.
Savannah, Georgia based anchorwoman Alex Bozarjian, 23, was covering the Savannah Bridge Run 10K last Saturday for WSAV TV. She appeared to be enjoying the scene as she stood to the side, watching joggers pass as they mugged for the camera. Then, suddenly, a man in sunglasses and a baseball cap came up behind her and slapped her on the ass. Bozarjian’s face immediately registered shock and indignation, but she quickly composed herself and went on with her reporting. Below are screen grabs from the video. You can see Bozarjian’s horrified reaction as she’s groped on live TV while trying to do her job.
Later, she tweeted this:
Eagle eyed observers figured out who that “masked man” was, on account of the race number he was wearing. He was identified as 43 year old Tommy Callaway of Statesboro, Georgia. I know Statesboro. I have relatives who are from that area and, in fact, I’m pretty sure my Aunt Jeanne is buried near there. I’m sure Mr. Callaway, who was also identified as a Boy Scout leader and youth pastor for the United Methodist Church, meant no harm. He might have thought he was being cute and funny, smacking the anchorwoman’s ass. It’s probably how he was raised. And in this age of Donald Trump worshipping pussy grabbers, he may have felt perfectly justified in smacking the ass of a woman young enough to be his daughter. It’s all in good fun, right?
Of course he was wrong, and Mr. Callaway may soon find out how wrong he was in a court of law. Alex Bozarjian, whose Twitter profile reports that she’s a “proud Latina”, was raised in Salem, Massachusetts, and sports an apparently Armenian surname, has filed a police report and is allowing police officers to decide if criminal charges are worth pursuing. Callaway’s attorney, Joseph Turner, issued the following statement:
“[Tommy Callaway is a] loving husband and father who is very active in his community [who is] working with those involved to correct the situation. While we regret the situation, Mr. Callaway did not act with any criminal intentions,”
Callaway has also apparently said that the butt slap was an “accident”. He stated on Inside Edition:
“I was caught up in the moment. I was getting ready to bring my hands up and wave to the camera to the audience, there was a misjudge in character and decision-making. I touched her back; I did not know exactly where I touched her.”
Callaway added, “I totally agree 100 percent with her statement and the two most important words were her last two words, ‘do better.’ And that’s my intention. I did not see her facial reaction as I just kept on running. If I did see her facial reaction, I would have felt embarrassed and ashamed and stopped and turned around to apologize to her.”
Really? I’ve watched the clip a few times and, to me, he looks pretty intent on making contact with her ass. Of course he wasn’t going to see her face as he was running up behind her, and of course he wasn’t going to look for her reaction as he was racing away. While some might excuse him for that reason, I think it’s an even better reason not to touch people without their permission. Especially if there is any chance you might wind up touching them in an inappropriate place and/or having your intentions “misunderstood” (although I think Mr. Callaway’s excuse is 100% bullshit).
Bozarjian says the slap hurt; he hit her hard. Bozarjian also says that Callaway “took her power”, and she’s claimed she even feels a little bit “guilty”, probably because she’s been shamed by people who think she should just let it go because he was just being “rambunctious”.
Well… what the hell is that supposed to mean? Tommy Callaway is married and has daughters, and he presumably has a mother. Does he like it when strange men fondle them “in good fun”? I wonder what Callaway’s wife, mother, and daughters think of this, watching their husband, son, or dad treating a young woman like a side of beef on live television. It’s probably embarrassing and humiliating for them, too. I know I’d be pretty furious if Bill ever did that. Fortunately, Bill is much more evolved, even though he grew up at a time when guys were allowed and expected to take liberties with women that way, especially in the South. Callaway seems to have a “frat boy” mentality. I’ve run across it a lot myself, especially having grown up and lived in the South, where there seems to be more of an attitude about boys being boys. Lots of guys like Callaway have been taught this behavior is just fine.
I see from Heavy.com that Callaway got married in 2015 and is a graduate of Georgia Southern University. He works in sales for Swedish Match, a tobacco company. His wife has daughters, but it’s not clear if she had them with Callaway. Either way, I would expect Callaway to set a better example and respect his vows to his wife.
But even if Callaway wasn’t married and didn’t have daughters, smacking someone on the ass like that is just a tacky thing to do, especially considering that Bozarjian was working. It certainly would be wrong regardless, but she was acting in a professional capacity, reporting the news. There she was on camera, trying to do her job, when she gets sexually harassed for all to see. Does Callaway go around smacking police officers on the ass when they’re working? What about nurses or schoolteachers? I give Bozarjian true props for keeping her composure in that situation. She did a lot better than this guy did, when he was caught off guard while reporting the news:
Watching the video of the incident involving Callaway and Bozarjian, I was reminded of a trend that was going on a few years ago. Anchors were interviewing people about various subjects when the person suddenly blurted “fuck her right in the pussy.” It started out just being one guy, but the trend soon caught on and others started doing it, because it was “funny”.
Tommy Callaway has apparently taken down most of his social media by now, but before this blew up, it was revealed that he takes part in a lot of races and running events. However, thanks to his inability to keep his hands to himself, Callaway is now banned from all Savannah Sports Council owned races. Perhaps that doesn’t matter to Callaway, but at least someone is holding him accountable for his boorish behavior on live TV. I’m not saying I think this is something that should ruin Callaway’s life, but I do think it’s good that people have taken notice. Yes, Bozarjian has gotten some dismissive comments from people who don’t think this is a big deal, but others– particularly those in her profession– are coming to her defense.
Yesterday morning, I read a news story about former U.S. vice president Joe Biden, who has re-entered the national political arena. It seems that back in 2009, Mr. Biden, then Vice President Biden, “Eskimo kissed” a woman named Amy Lappos. Ms. Lappos said that Mr. Biden leaned in and rubbed noses with her and she thought he was going to kiss her. It made her uncomfortable. She’s now complaining about it in 2019, in support of another woman’s accusations against Biden.
Former New Mexico assemblywoman, Lucy Flores, wrote in an essay published last week that the former vice president had touched and kissed her inappropriately at a campaign event back in 2014. Flores writes that she hadn’t washed her hair when Biden came up behind her, put his hands on her shoulders, smelled her “dirty” hair, and kissed the back of her head. She said she thought of a Spanish expression, “tragame tierra,” which means “Earth, swallow me whole”, when this happened to her. I understand her embarrassment. That would embarrass and humiliate me, too. I can even see why she was too shocked to say or do anything at the time, although I wish she wouldn’t have waited years to speak up about it.
Far be it for me to diminish the discomfort and pain of these two women, who were made to feel uncomfortable about Joe Biden’s penchant for inappropriate touching. To be honest, I never really paid a lot of attention to Joe Biden when he was the Vice President, so I didn’t realize that he’s well-known for being “touchy feely”. Some people don’t mind being hugged, kissed, or “Eskimo kissed”. Other people find inappropriate and uninvited touching very uncomfortable. I don’t think it’s right for people to touch others without their consent, even though I realize that this new level of respect is coming about in the wake of movements like #metoo. It takes time for people to change, though. Many people never do.
Yesterday, I posted that since Americans voted in a president who openly brags about grabbing women by the pussy, it’s hard for me to get outraged over an “Eskimo kiss”. That’s the truth. Do I think Joe Biden should be “Eskimo kissing” anyone who isn’t a relative or a really close friend who has consented? No, of course not. But I don’t see it as nearly as egregiously awful as what Donald Trump and Bill Clinton have done to women. So, you can also count me as one of those who is not that outraged about the “Eskimo kiss”. That doesn’t mean you can’t be outraged about it or traumatized by it. Just don’t expect me to share your views, even though I do think people need to keep their hands and lips to themselves. That’s something we all learn in kindergarten, right?
Americans have already proven that they don’t really care that much about white men who sexually harass women, particularly those in politics. Bill Clinton got a blow job in the Oval Office by a woman who was not his wife. He was even impeached, though he managed to complete two terms. Plenty of people still think he’s a hell of a guy. Monica Lewinsky, by contrast, suffered from extreme bullying and slut shaming for years after the incident.
Before he was elected, Donald Trump was recorded on a hot mike, bragging about how he grabs women by the pussy. This information was disseminated just before the 2016 election. He still won, and a lot of people still think he’s awesome.
Brett Kavanaugh, the newest Supreme Court justice, was accused of attempting to rape a young woman while they were both drunken teenagers. Despite evidence that Kavanaugh didn’t have much respect for women, particularly when he was a young man, he was still confirmed as a Supreme Court justice, a job he will likely have for the rest of his life.
I’m not at all saying that I think Joe Biden’s behavior is acceptable. I do think he should be more mindful of his behavior and alter his habit of inappropriate touching. However, it’s gotten to the point at which everyone in a political race gets called out for the most minor transgressions, years after they’ve happened. I understand there is an imbalance of power when you’re dealing with the vice president or president. But some situations call for bravery, maturity, and integrity. How amazing would it be if some of the women who are complaining about this inappropriate behavior actually said something about it at the time?
I get it, though. Saying something like that to someone who is vice president or president may have a seriously deleterious effect on one’s career. We don’t want to piss off the person who has power. Confronting people is a scary thing for anyone to do– especially confronting someone powerful. And yet, acquiescing at the time of these infractions encourages more abuse and, frankly, isn’t the best representative of good leadership behavior. How are we supposed to look up to female politicians who say nothing when they are abused by men, then come out of the woodwork years later? I think female leaders, now more than ever, have a responsibility to speak up and out at the time when someone demeans them. Waiting years to make an accusation is a much weaker thing to do, even if it’s totally understandable.
What would have happened if Lucy Flores and Amy Lappos had said, “Excuse me, Mr. Vice President, but please don’t touch me.”? I’m sure it would have made the news. Some people might have scoffed at the women for being too sensitive. Others would be applauding them for being assertive and strong. And the really minor incidents, like the “Eskimo kiss”, would have been dealt with at the time. Maybe Joe Biden might have even changed his behavior and stopped inappropriately violating people’s personal spaces. Maybe more people would find Trump’s bragging about grabbing women by the pussy less acceptable for a presidential candidate.
Some have complained that Joe Biden is treating women like “little girls” when he kisses them on the head or brushes noses with them. I agree. So what is the antidote for not being patronized in that fashion? Show him you’re not a child. Say something. Stick up for yourself. Tell him to knock it off. Don’t stand for it. It’s the same way you’d train any dog.
Women who want to be thought of as “equal” should respond in a way that a man would if Joe Biden came up and kissed them on the top of the head. Nip it in the bud. Tell him to stop it. That’s the only way this kind of behavior will cease.
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