Recently, I went to watch a dance performance at the local community college. This program marked the end of the semester for the dance department, and two separate shows were scheduled to accommodate all the dance classes. I was there to cheer on a student from the ballet class who was performing in the second show. As I was standing in the very cold night air waiting to get in, I witnessed a sad spectacle, one indicative of our cultural malaise. One of the dancers from the first show had made his way outside the studio, seemingly ready to hear praise and receive accolades for his first performance. On first glance, this young man’s affected air appeared to be an open declaration of his sexual orientation. Living in California, especially in the San Francisco Bay area, this is not something out of the ordinary.
What was noteworthy was how this young man dealt with many of the girls he saw. You would think that he knew every young woman on the campus. Almost all who passed by were effusively greeted with intense embraces as though it had been years, not days, since they had last seen each other. What was particularly offensive was the nature of those embraces – his freely putting his arms around and placing his torso against their bodies in a very sexual fashion. He managed to handle these women in ways that husbands should reserve for private displays of affection with their wives. Yet, this man, perhaps because of his apparent sexual preference, was given cart blanche, without any opposition from the women involved. In fact, these women seemed to welcome the encounter as some sort of badge of honor or show of acceptance. I could see that some young men were uncomfortable, but seemed overpowered by the situation. It’s hard to say what others around me were thinking, since in such a “politically correct” environment as a college campus, many tend to keep their “politically incorrect” reactions to themselves.
I was wondering if I was the only person who found this disturbing, but realized that in today’s culture, this man might be viewed as a confused person who was struggling with his sexual orientation, or just a friendly person whose “love” for others was being misconstrued by me. However, neither one rang true. As he was embracing one girl, his eyes were on the look out for a new target for another “hands-on" display of affection. The whole scenario reminded me of how dogs mark their territory.
What truly floored me about the experience was how willingly all the girls he approached received him. It was as though he was the quintessential “girlfriend” who was “safe” for these girls. Yet, in other contexts, this sort of behavior might well be grounds for sexual harassment charges– much more pronounced than anything charged against a certain Supreme Court nominee 17 years ago.
For those who have been indoctrinated in the state school system, I am not sure there is an easy “fix” to help them see how little respect they show for themselves by allowing such conduct toward their persons. After all, diversity, acceptance, homophobia, and the like are pounded into their psyches from day one. However, for those of us who have reared our children away from such influences, it is important for us to equip them for the time when they must interact with their publicly educated counterparts and prepare them for the proper responses to predators should they become their targets.