Now that women are speaking out and becoming part of the “MeToo” movement, it is time for men to come clean and to confess our deviant behavior.
Many of the men I have been speaking to are, like me, going into our collective memory banks to ascertain whether we have done something immoral or criminal towards women in our past. I, for one, can’t think of anything remotely inappropriate, and so I imagined my seeing a psychiatrist to discover what ails me.
“Doctor, what is wrong with me? I haven’t had an urge to send naked photos of myself to complete strangers—not even once. Please doctor, help me.” The psychiatrist looked confused. I went on, “Doctor, I have absolutely no desire to go to the mall looking for high school students. I’m not even turned on by college co-eds. Besides, I don’t like malls. Can you do something to correct my abnormal behavior?”
The psychiatrist insisted there was nothing wrong with me, but I knew better. “Doctor, I have never wanted to pinch a behind or to expose myself, and it seems from reading the papers that all men, including most presidents, engage in this kind of activity, so why don’t I have these needs? Am I lacking in testosterone? Is there something I can take to fix my ailment?” The doctor seemed totally unwilling to assist me in getting well.
After this imagined conversation ended, I did, in fact, remember an incident which still haunts me. It happened at a supermarket in New Jersey when I was shopping with my bride. I was facing my bride when I tripped backwards, extended my arm out behind me to catch my balance, and in so doing, I knocked a stack of paper towels down. Then I felt something which was soft but unfortunately not a roll of paper towels. Apparently on the other side of the stack of paper towels was a woman, and I had touched her where men are not supposed to touch.
This complete stranger looked at me as if I were some kind of sexual pervert. I could picture myself being handcuffed and sent to prison. I would forever be mentioned in the same sentence as Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby. An unblemished life of rectitude had been ruined by a moment of lost balance.
And that is when I went into my Larry David mode: “No, no,” I explained. “I thought you were a paper towel,” I went on. She did not look happy—actually, mortified was more like it. “My wife is right here. I was looking at her, not you. You felt like a paper towel!” I said in a loud voice, as if volume would somehow help me extricate myself. Finally, I apologized, and the stranger walked off, not particularly pleased, but possibly aware I had not touched her intentionally.
These are tough times for men and women. But there is a lesson to be learned from all of this—do not lean on a stack of paper towels unless you know who is standing on the other side.