Thursday, March 30, 2017

No surprise to me

What's that I hear, you wanna go for a ride?
Oh, don't be afraid boy, to come inside
I got the thing that you want, the fix that you need
Chase this with a little lust and greed

I'll be the devil on your shoulder saying "Hey boy, come over"
My black heart beats crimson and clovers
So operator, operator, patch my boy in
This is Nightlife and I'll get under your skin

~~ “Nightlife” by Green Day

I guess there is a story out there about Mike Pence’s dining habits:

As part of his faith, Pence won’t eat alone with other women or attend events that serve alcohol without his wife. Within the faith, the practice of not being alone with a woman has been called “the Billy Graham rule,” after the famed evangelist preacher who encouraged it to avoid even the appearance of infidelity. (from Motto dot Time dot com)

I never knew it had a name, but I have experienced this firsthand. I chalked it up to a generational difference. I see now that there was more to it than that.

I’ve had conversations in the past with an older relative that gave me an idea of this whole weird concept of Pence’s. I happened to mention that Ken was in New York City and was planning on getting together with a good friend of ours, and I mentioned her name. This relative said, “Is she married?” I said, “No, why?” My relative said, “Oh. Well, I’m not sure it’s right for an unmarried woman to get together with a married man.” (Or words to that effect.) Never mind the fact that I have been friends with this person for something like twenty years. Or that she sent flowers to my father’s funeral. Or that I trust her implicitly and know that she would never do that to me. Or that Ken is a good man who would never do that to me. Or even that people actually can control their libidos and make a conscious decision not to act upon things.

But the real disapproval was saved for me. I mentioned that I had lunch with my friend Jim. This relative said, “Did Ken go along?” I said, “No, he was at work.” They said, “Oh. Well, I would never think of going to a lunch alone with a man other than my husband.” I swear, I could have cut the disapproval and judgment with a knife! Again, never mind that I worked with Jim at the lab for ten years and helped train him when he started out, and that we have also been friends for going on twenty years. Or that he told me all about how proud he was of his infant son, or when his second son came along a few years later. Or that he was a steadfast friend who helped me through some rough times and was so happy for me when I got together with Ken. Or that I met his wife, tried to be a friend to him when they hit hard times, and tried to offer as much support as I could when they split up and then when he found a new love, I was as happy for him as he was for me and Ken.

No, the main thing is that it didn’t “look good” for me to be out having lunch with a man who wasn’t my husband. Because someone “might get the wrong idea.”

Hmm, I guess I should never have lunch with Cousin Shane again, or heavens to Betsy, Shane AND Matt! That is downright scandalous!

I can’t really be super angry about it. I just think it’s silly and it still is very much a generational thing. It is predicated on the idea that men and women can’t be friends without losing their damn minds, and I completely reject that premise. I have had many male friends over the years and they were platonic relationships. Is there occasionally an awkward moment or some sort of tension? Well, sure. But civilized people understand that you can make a choice on whether or not to act on something.

And as far as “people getting the wrong idea,” fuck that noise. People can think what they want to think. It’s none of their damn business. Sitting across a table from someone having a beer and eating lunch does not mean that there are shenanigans going on. Jeez.

So it was a little weird for me today to see this revelation about Pence and learn that it has its roots in the evangelical faith. Although as I said, it should come as no surprise. There are some weird ideas there about temptations like alcohol, rock music, and dancing. I’m guessing you won’t see Mike and Karen Pence clubbing anytime soon!