I never expected to care about anything I heard at my old office job. Then some "feminazis" started talking about "rape culture bullshit," as I've heard some folks call it.
Five women sat with me in my old cubicle. One day, these estrogen monsters started talking about #MeToo, and I quit doing what I was doing and listened. I didn't think I could be that shocked, but by the end of it, I felt like I just found out my favorite sandwich spokesman liked child porn. Or my favorite TV dad drugged and raped people. A stand-up comedian I looked up to flapped his wiener at women. An astrophysicist could be the next of the big dirtbags.
I had notions of who was harassed and who did the harassing, but I never had the opportunity to sit in and listen to women talk about this stuff.
One of the ladies said, "It first happened to me when I was walking to school and some guys yelled at me. I was probably about 8 years old."
I stuttered, "Wait, what? You were only 18 when you were catcalled?" I was about to learn the most uncomfortable fact.
"No. I was 8 - 8 years old - walking to first grade. I remember because I had to ask my mom what 'sexy' meant. He asked me if I'd suck him off."
For some reason, I thought the only people who liked children in "that way" were trailer park psychos - or comedians, actors, directors, etc. "Regular, everyday people" didn't do that.
"The one nice thing about getting older is you deal with that less and less," our elder coworker sighed.
Again, I needed to ask a question. "Wait, what? You STILL get catcalled?" She glared at me like I just explained the world is flat.
I guess I thought catcalling only happened to "really hot chicks."
Then a bigger lady coworker talked about how the guys in this neighborhood are worse than that neighborhood, and that she was date raped in college. Yet again, I guess I thought that only happened to a certain type of woman.
For the rest of the day, my lady coworkers exchanged #MeToo stories. I was too horrified and fascinated to say anything. Do any of my bad stories compare to getting asked by a stranger for oral sex when I wasn't even 10 years old yet?
I have a mom, a dad and two brothers. I didn't really talk to my family about anything relating to sex or girls. I didn't even talk to girls until I was about 20, but that was only to ask about favorite "Star Wars" characters, the best Limp Bizkit song or the commitment I needed if I wanted to bleach frosty tips into my hair.
Today, I learned about two other close friends who had run-ins with creepy #MeToo jerks.
I don't know what to do about this. I am happy shutting up and listening, but I would like to know what else I can do to help.