Went to a show with a friend the other night. ‘Twas a good’un for the most part. Was gonna write a review of it but things came up and I’m writing this instead. This one’s for the ladies.
Actually it’s for the men. But it’s about the ladies. Fellas, take a knee.
After the show, my friend went to the parking garage to get her car. A girl from out of town going into a dimly-lit parking garage by herself, late at night.
She stepped into the garage elevator only to be joined by. . . three older guys who went to the concert. Probably in their sixties. No big deal, right?
One of them said something weird to her. Very weird. He went into some strange rap that made her nervous. When she told me later on what he said, I recognized it immediately. It was a reference to the band we saw that night. She went to the concert with me out of curiosity. She didn’t understand it because she’s not familiar with the band.
(I’m keeping the band out of this. It’s not their fault. I’ve written about territorial fandom in the past and there’s a bit of that here. If you didn’t you know what he was talking about, you would have been weirded out too. Trust me.)
When the elevator doors opened, she bolted for the car hoping they wouldn’t follow her. I apologized the entire trip home, sorry that she had to deal with that.
My friend had no clue that the old man was doing a bit from the band’s first album. I can only guess what reaction he wanted from her. Was he high or drunk? Was he just messing with her? I don’t know and it really doesn’t matter.
I felt bad as a friend and as a fan of the band. But the more we talked about it, the more I began to see how she feared something bad was going to happen to her in that parking garage.
Fellas, the women tell us what it’s like to be them. Sometimes they post about it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. Having to be careful and taking caution when they go out in public, especially at night. Taking the mace and the pepper spray. Taking precaution to walk with a friend if possible.
Women don’t know what men are capable of. That’s not entirely true. They know, they just don’t know which men.
We see what the women write but we don’t usually retain it because we’re not that dude. Some men get defensive and say #notallmen. Don’t be that guy. Here’s why.
#notallmen attack women, it’s true. But other men use #notallmen to discredit women and the rest of us have to remember that. Women don’t know when we’re just messing around, especially when they don’t know us. The lesson parents teach their kids about strangers are lessons women have to heed for a lifetime.
Maybe I’m the wrong guy to give this message. I’ve said all kinds of crazy nonsense to people. Granted, most of it was on a stage. Is that better or worse? I don’t think I’ve ever made anyone fear for their lives. Definitely embarrassed a few people. I wonder if I ever alienated anyone over something I said without thinking. Just because I was “messing around”. Who am I kidding? Of course I have.
I hope I’m not like that old man in the elevator when I grow up. I hope I’m not like him now.