For a long time, my husband had a friend who we will call *Ben and Ben was a guy who liked to drink. Lucky for us, Ben is no longer in our lives, but one of Ben's worst qualities was when he was drunk, he became hugely inappropriate. He was a compulsive liar. He was also a serial sexual harasser.
At the time, I told my husband I wasn't sure if his boob grabs and brushes were accidental or on purpose. I was never sure whether his comments made out of ear shot of our spouses were jokes or not, and I was never sure what to do. A new article on CaptainAwkward.com kind of brought this back.
My husband dumped this friend for other reasons (thank God), and I no longer have to tell my husband he isn't welcome in our home. But it was awkward and weird and neither of us knew how to handle it.
Now, eight years later, I know exactly how I would handle it. I would confront him. I would be open about how gross he was and how I was on to him and his "accidental" boob brushes.
Women are socialized to not say anything when awkward things happen, especially with their man's friends. I can't count the number of times I have laughed off gross comments or innuendo from men who WEREN'T my husband's buddies.
It made me sad that he didn't know what to do either, though. Just like the woman in the article.
Now that I have a daughter and I am a good decade older, I know exactly what I should have done and what I would tell my daughter (and son-in-law) to do. You dump that friend. You call him out. You say, "Was that on purpose?" when his hand brushes across your breast or you say, "That's so inappropriate" when he tells you that you are hotter than his wife.
It's wrong. Objectifying women is gross and crude in the best of circumstances, but a friend's wife or girlfriend? It's wrong on SO many levels.
We women need to collectively stand up and say: "Dude, it's not OK." And our spouses also need to do the same. Because it's not OK. It's gross and wrong.
I wish I could go back in time and punch him. But it's over. I hope he learned from his mistakes. I know I did.
Did you ever have a situation like this?
Image via Linda N./Flickr