It’s quite amazing how many dudes are getting into trouble these days over allegations of sexual harassment. To me, the most astounding part is that when one accusation is hurled, dozens seem to follow. Talk about playing the field. Sheeesh!
Quite frankly, I’m not sure what to make of it all. It won’t be long before we have no more congressmen or entertainers left to speak of (and the ranks of the Catholic priesthood have already been decimated). What’s a mother to do?
I keep wondering when the shoe will drop on me. Oh, don’t worry. It’s not that I’m a sexual predator or anything. In fact, at the ripe old age of sixty-seven (sixty-eight in fifty-six days—but who’s counting), I’m pretty docile. Still, it seems to be happening with regularity to every possible kind of male. Representative John Conyers is not exactly a spring chicken at eighty-eight. It’s getting to the place where I’m afraid to look at anyone sideways.
No Gesture Too Innocuous
An incident took place in my life about twenty-five years ago that I will never forget. I patted a young lady on the shoulder. I know that may sound rather innocuous to some of you, but a person who happened to be watching made the following comment. “That gesture could be misunderstood.”
I remember being put off at the time (and somewhat incensed) to think someone could mistake my intentions from a mere pat on the shoulder. But now, that comment is making more and more sense to me. I haven’t stopped patting people on the shoulder, but I’m keenly aware of the possible consequences.
To make matters worse, I’m a hugger. I hug everyone—men, women, boys and girls (well, not the boys so much…you know how macho teenage boys are). Hugging someone could get me into even more trouble than a pat on the shoulder—just sayin’.
Dirty Old Men
Things seem to be reaching a tipping point as far as hurled accusations are concerned. It seems like every other day, someone is coming out of the woodwork to point a finger at some supposed perv. Dirty old men seem to be the favorite targets at this point, but I doubt it will stop there.
Don’t get me wrong, though. If these guys are guilty, they probably deserve whatever they’ve got coming to them. But for the sanity of us clean old men, we’d like a few, clear guidelines. We used to have a pretty good idea, but the rules seem to be changing. We would hate to inadvertently cross the line simply because we didn’t know where it was.
I suppose we could all attempt to avoid the opposite sex as much as possible. The biggest problem with that, of course, is that there are more of them than there are of us. Plus, it would make for a very dull existence.
As for me, I intend to continue passing out the pats and hugs. Hopefully, nothing will get hurled at me. I’m getting too old to duck.
[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and is currently pastor of Smith Chapel in Great Falls, VA.]