'Locker room talk' is real, but it's not what Donald Trump wants you to think it is
Conversation that took place this week between pretty much every straight couple in America: Wife: So, do men really talk like that? Husband: (Warily) Like what? W: You know — locker room talk. H: (A little indignant) Well, they don't talk like that. W: (With avid curiosity) What, then? What do they say? H: (Like a person who just recalled an urgent appointment or possibly has just noticed the house is on fire) Just stuff. It's stupid. But not that. It's reminiscent of a scene in an old novel when a respectable matron eagerly asks her husband what the inside of a whorehouse looked like. I forget what his answer was — something along the lines of, "My dear, you are not yourself. I fear you must take a tonic and rest in a darkened room." I don't want to go all gender warrior on y'all, but this may have been a pivotal point. It's probably not the watershed-moment-we-keep-experiencing in this presidential election, which has experienced so many "pivotal points" now that our noggins are spinning like that child's in The Exorcist. Rather, it was a kind of cultural barometer reading, a moment when we all wondered: How ugly are we, really? Is this how most people would behave if they were assured they could get away with it (or that they'd never run for president)? It's an awkward question. Nobody wants to be asked outright: What is the crudest, most embarrassing thing you ever said in private? Or worse: Would you grope, kiss and paw people you found attractive — people who did not want such attention — if you were confident there would be no repercussions? A lot of us — women in particular — may be fishing for some kind of reassurance that GOP presidential candidate (!) Donald Trump's abusive, objectifying behavior and language are an aberration. We want to believe that they are not — as the candidate himself apparently believes — a benchmark for how all men would behave if only they were rich enough, powerful enough, sufficiently (in their minds) bulletproof. Well, people are different. The rock-bottom basement level might be lower for my elevator than for yours. But I strongly believe that Trump's grotesque, predatory behavior and attitudes toward women represent a small, socially stunted minority and not, as some would have it, a jocular guys'-club norm. I threw the question out, like hopeful chum upon the waters, to more than 2,000 Facebook friends.
Almost no one had ever even heard a locker-room-type discussion about sexual assault, or even uninvited sexual boorishness — not just because it's "off limits," but because it's repulsive and doesn't come to mind. A few comments: ...
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