Every woman has met a man like Donald Trump

donald-trumpThis Mashable article sent me down memory lane, to a newspaper internship I had 100 years ago at the now-defunct Baltimore Evening Sun.

I was young, fresh-faced, and thrilled to enter the hallowed halls (think “smoke-stained” and “stale-smelling”) of that paper, which shared a newsroom with the better-known (and still alive) Baltimore Sun. The newsroom had an invisible Maginot Line you dared not cross. I worked on the seedier side.

Almost immediately, they put me on a big project about drunk driving. Maryland was trying to tighten its laws, and they gave me the awful job of calling up the families of the victims of drunk drivers, and asking for a photo.

I hated it.But it was good training. Journalists often talk to people on the worst day of their lives, and it’s important to learn how to do so compassionately.

I was mostly treated with benign neglect by the editors at the paper, except for one editor named Jim. He started saying suggestive things pretty much as soon as I sat down at a borrowed desk. This was a new experience for me. I had always enjoyed the respect and joviality of journalists when I was the youngest and least experienced of the bunch, but his attention was something more, something icky. Within a week, he’d started to follow me to the break room to tell me that his wife didn’t understand him. He asked me to lunch, to dinner, offered to show me the sights around the Inner Harbor.

Even someone who just fell off the potato wagon (that would have been me) could see this was going nowhere good. Ol’ Jim kept after me, complimenting me on the one hand, and then reminding me that I worked for him on the other. When I objected to things he said, he’d quickly pedal backward. He didn’t mean that, he’d say. I’d misunderstood. What was wrong with me, anyway?

I am not sure at that point I’d even heard the phrase “sexual harassment.” I only knew his particular brand of nonsense made me mad.

I was young and scared and unsure of myself, but I grew up with brothers and though my religion taught me otherwise, I wasn’t completely unfamiliar with fighting back, and so one day in the break room, I turned on him with a “Look…” and said in the most conversational tone I could manage that if he didn’t stop following me around, I would punch him in a personal and private place and once I punched him, I swore, he’d stay punched.

Probably it would have been better if I’d gone to a supervisor, but in my neighborhood, a short phrase like that kept both authorities and bad behavior at bay. Had the behavior not stopped, I’m pretty sure I’d have followed through. I was pretty sure I knew what he wanted, pretty sure he had no right to ask for it, and fairly certain I could punch someone into the state of staying punched. I’d already punched a guy who’d backed me into a corner in my dorm room. I don’t think I ever saw a young man flee a room so fast and I felt pretty awesome save for the tooth I’d broken off of him that lay on the floor. What is the etiquette of such a situation? Does one wrap the tooth up and return it? Wear it like a pelt?

Plus, my hand hurt like hell for a week.

(I kept the tooth.)

(Is punching people a hillbilly thing? Dunno. I’m not advocating this, I promise. But still.)

And so when I hear Whatzisname say something stupid about women, and then backtrack immediately, I think of that idiot in Baltimore. There’s one in every crowd. I don’t recommend punching — I promise — but a little push back worked then and works now.

Maybe you have a Trumpesque story of your own. Maybe you handled it without resorting to violence. I encourage you to share your story. In numbers, there is power.

 

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11 responses to “Every woman has met a man like Donald Trump

  1. Wish I’d had you in my corner when the Preidenr of the bank I worked for showed up at my condo to tell me he was lonely……first job I was fired from…

  2. Great picture of Drumpf.

  3. I was just 19 yrs old – had just obtained my Real Estate license… One of my fellow students (an older man) had gotten hired by a local company- he told me to come in and he would get me hired too. I was so excited, I got hired by a local “Big name” company, I couldn’t believe my luck! Just 2 days in and the owner started to cozy up to me, pass my desk and rub his body ( privates) along my chair, stand behind my desk and lean over me to point out something on my desk, cornering me in copy room by blocking the doorway and eventually when I had to stay late to meet a client, he made his move- crushing my face with his discusting mouth and groping at my boobs… I pushed him away, as best I could and ran for my car. I couldn’t get home fast enough to take a shower… I felt so dirty. I had experienced many such experiences earlier in my life … ie: Neighborhood guy who gave me a ride home grabbing me, High school shop teacher – kissing me, Friends father kissing and grabbing my boobs, the father of the kids I babysat for grabbing me, but I thought as a adult I wouldn’t have to deal with this anymore. To add insult to injury the next day the pig called me and fired me! I was devastated and angry and vowed to Never let this happen again! So next job interview at another Real Estate Company… Owner asks… Do you have any questions for me? I respectfully answer… Yes I do… Do you have a need to rub your body parts against me, grab my boobs or smash your face against my lips or put your hands on my crotch? Because if you do, I don’t want to work with you, in fact I don’t even want to know you and if you say no you would never do that and then you do… I will be forced to castrate you. ( He never laid a hand on me.)
    I have been a REALTOR for over 45 years now and for the past 10 years have worked for myself ( Best Boss I ever had) and totally respectful.

  4. i can’t understand why anyone with one X chromosome and two working brain cell would support that idiot, let alone anyone with two X chromosomes and one working brain cell.

  5. Jack Kaminsky

    Susan, I recall a day, about 35 years ago, when you accidentally kneed me on a Little Merchant Carrier float trip on Sugar Creek. Lucky to survive, I was. Blessings to you always.

    • Jack! It was an accident, I promise. I normally kept my kneeing aimed at people who deserved it. And thank you for my first-ever job in Big Time Journalism. You were a great boss.

  6. Good job putting an end to it- both times! The scumbags! I’m sorry you had to deal with any of that crap! I’m just gonna say, I tolerated a lot more than I should have. I also became good at avoiding, moving myself away, making excuses etc, rather than directly confronting. I was way too polite about it when dealing with jerks.

    • I don’t know if there is such a thing as too polite. I don’t think my way is effective in a larger sense. I mean, I got them to stop with me, but I didn’t address it on an official level — I didn’t even try. So these jerks were able to go ahead and try again with someone else.

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