Why would we try solving society’s most ancient problems with worn-out solutions? Sexual harassment and assault are as old as any issue can get. What do you think would have happened if the Garden of Eden had an HR department? Actually, nothing, just like today. These days, however, Eve would have decided that in the process of starting the human species, Adam acted inappropriately when he took a bite from the apple. Adam would be fired, and Genesis would have removed his blog.
The point is that nature requires that in the name of propagation, there’s always been a huge amount of piggishness. Let’s face it, most of us guys are boars. Actually, with our time-worn hit-on tactics, we’re also bores. But women have always pretended that we’re not and they have accepted their lot as mindless objects whose main purpose was to be breeding stock.
Finally, after eons, that’s changing. Fitfully, but those of the female persuasion have decided that they’re full-fledged people who think, create, the whole megillah. No longer are they going to tolerate the range of animallike behavior. No more will they fear rape and sexual assault because they have no recourse. No more will they accept groping or inappropriate touching, and no more will they tolerate the barely camouflaged, gross come-ons that are ridiculously clumsy and inappropriate in the workplace, or anywhere else for that matter.
However, and this is a big however, we males don’t know how else to act but boorishly. Committing assault and putting your hands on someone’s private parts are no-nos that are relatively easy to understand, except maybe for a certain president of the United States. But what about the more subtle stuff, the awkward innuendo, the touching that we consider innocent fun that really isn’t? It’s too easy to say that we men have to change our way of thinking. That’s too gradual, even at the place of employment.
So we need to come up with a new approach. And I’m your guy. Some of you might recall that I’m the one who came up with some alternative ways to solve the deficit. I proposed selling naming rights to government buildings, like the Boeing Pentagon, or the Exxon Interior Department headquarters and certainly the Twitter White House.
And who should possibly argue that Guantanamo Bay prison couldn’t be turned into seaside condominiums, a gated community? Unfortunately, strange as it may seem, these ideas have not yet been adopted, but with the Republican tax cut that will add a trillion dollars plus to the national debt, it won’t be long before officials will be desperately looking around for anything to help prevent economic collapse.
But onward and downward. It’s that same vision we need to utilize to solve this crisis. Actually, in this case, we don’t have to invent venues, just redefine them. Let’s start in and around the workplace, because that’s where so much of the problem happens. By “workplace,” I mean where people hold jobs, civilians as well as the members of armed forces. Let’s not exclude the campuses, since we’ve had so many problems there. We will have to include secondary schools, too, so we block the pervs who stalk any female who’s reached puberty, including those who run for Senate. We change anywhere there’s a hierarchy of supervisors taking advantage of their power over subordinates, and a lowerarchy of leches.
The only approach that will work is stark but simple: We need to separate the sexes at work. Nothing else will really do the job. It’s probably a good idea to shut down all the bars, because some of the sleazes from the office might show up there to hassle colleagues.
The one place men and women can, uh, interact is online. If they can agree on ground rules in cyberspace, then they can get together and pursue keeping the species up and running or whatever their pursuit. Let’s call it the “Tinder Solution.” Oh wait. That’s already happening? Well then, our problem is solved.
Bob Franken is a longtime broadcast journalist, including 20 years at CNN.