#MeToo confuses me.
First, let me disarm the fembots, programmed to attack at the implication that their movement is anything less than necessary and good. Relax, ladies. I am happy you are speaking out! I am sad you felt you could not speak out for so long.
The #MeToo movement is necessary and good. But it can also be seen as a reminder to women that they are victims, continuously being subjected to the animal and asshole instincts of men. That’s just the way it is. I am a woman. I am a victim. This is my #MeToo moment.
Today, I am sharing a different kind of moment. The kind of moment that portrays women as champions instead of victims. The kind of moment that helps women feel confident and act brave. The kind of moment that reminds women that men may be animals, but they are most certainly not pieces of meat.
This is my #NOTMeToo moment:
I was 27 and working as a copywriter at an advertising agency in New York City. As a grand gesture to celebrate the agency’s 60th anniversary, the executives arranged to fly the New York employees to the headquarters in Chicago for a fabulous party at a fabulous venue.
At 6pm everyone met in front of the corporate office, dressed for a dapper summer night. We filed onto the bus and were escorted to the main event, rooftop dinner and dancing with a view of the Chicago skyline.
After the party, came the afterparty. The Senior Creative Director said the bus driver, “We are from New York City, where should we go out tonight?” We filed off the bus and into the club.
Drinks on the Senior Director! He loved his creative team and gave an emotional toast about the agency and his gratitude for his talented employees. Everybody clinks glasses. We cheer when the Director joins us on the dance floor. Now, everyone is dancing. Coworkers tomorrow. Friends tonight on the dance floor. The DJ plays to his drunk, corporate audience. We sing along as we dance to the songs we know.
That’s when he grabbed my ass.
When I turned around, the Senior Director was there, smiling at me. I did not smile back. Above the din of the music, I said directly to his face, “Don’t do that.” His expression dropped, like a puppy being told he was a bad boy.
Then he grabbed my ass again. Again I turned around to see him there, a dumb smirk on his face, like the previous incident never happened. We were surrounded by coworkers. But the lights were low and the dance floor was crowded. No one was policing where he puts his hands.
No one, except me.
“Don’t do that.” I said again to his face. This time, the puppy apologized.
A few minutes later, he grabbed my ass a third time. When I turned around, he looked nervous, like he was pretty sure I wasn’t going to like it when he grabbed my ass, but he just couldn’t help himself. He had to give it a shot.
Like a dog with a bone, I took the Senior Directors beer from his hand and led him off the dance floor. He followed me to the bar, where I set down his beer, still holding it by the neck. Then, I gave the Senior Director some direction. I told him this was a warning. And if he touched me again, he would regret it. I gave him back his beer and walked away. My coworkers welcomed me back onto the floor. A minute later, we all cheered as the Senior Director rejoined our dance circle.
We danced until 2am because that’s when bars close in Chicago. At the end of the night, everyone filed back onto the bus. “Go to the hotel,” the Senior Director told the bus driver.
By the time we reached the hotel, the magic of the evening had worn off. We were all coworkers again, tired and eager for the privacy of our personal rooms. I thanked the bus driver and the Senior Director for a really fun night. Then I left the lobby.
The next day was Sunday. Everyone was leaving at different times. Everyone was responsible for getting themselves to the airport. My flight wasn’t until the afternoon. I went for a walk along the Chicago River. I dipped my feet in a Great Lake.
On Monday morning, my team gathered in the Senior Creative Director’s office for our weekly meeting. The Senior Director sat behind his desk while we updated him on our projects. These meetings were always fun. The Senior Director loved technology and was constantly disrupting our meetings to show us new, state-of-the-art API that he thinks is awesome.
When the meeting was over, I opened the door and held it while my team members filed out of the Senior Director’s office. Then I closed the door, and walked back to stand in front of my superior’s desk. I might have been scared. I don’t remember. Fear didn’t matter. My actions were on autopilot, saying and doing what needed to be done.
“You grabbed me,” I said.
“I know.” He said.
“And when I told you to stop, you didn’t,” I said.
“I know.” He said.
“Why did you do that?” I said.
“I don’t know.” He said. “I’m sorry.” He said.
“You cannot treat me like that.” I said.
“I’m sorry.” He said again.
“Don’t let it happen again.” I said.
“It will never happen again.” He said.
“Good.” I said. And walked out of his office, closing the door behind me.