I am a writer. Yes I know I have never been shy in saying that but I have only accepted it in the last year. I write in the world of indie fiction but before that I was something of a Role Playing Game (RPG) writer. Yes I know you know that but I am trying to build a framework here. I have also been a fan and wanna be comic book scribe since almost before I can remember.
Lately there have been stories bubbling to the surface of the comic book world of sexism and misogyny. I’m not going to comment on the specifics of the allegations and denial flying in that world, I’m not your butler or your personal Google Bot so go look it up yourself. I will however say that I tend to side with the stories of the women as opposed to the men, I tend to be biased and I want to tell you why.
Life is never simple and even if there was an instruction manual it would be inadequate, written in a forgotten language, and printed backwards. I have stumbled in my journey and I have soared. If you have been reading these essays for any length of time I do not wish to bore you with a rehashing of all of my woes before getting to the point of the writing. That being said let me lead with the following, I promise to be brief and to try and keep the bad language to a fucking minimum.
I have had problems telling people I love them. I have had documented sexual difficulties which have left me feeling weak and scared. I have been abused physically, emotionally, and sexually (Not looking for sympathy I’m a big boy, I just need to set some of the bedrock in place). I have failed at many things in my life. Sometimes I have redoubled my efforts and ultimately succeeded in my endeavor and sometimes I have left the broken pieces of my effort on the ground never to be touched again.
There is only one time I have ever felt like a complete and unmitigated failure.
I am going to keep the names, dates, and places general and murky. I chose to forgo my usual candidness and directness because allegations are about to be made which will never be proven and some people are litigious mother fuckers, or at least they like to make bombastic threats. So while I am sure you will be able to decipher this tale and ascertain the reality of my story I will name NO names.
In 2008 I got my dream job. It didn’t last very long and it turned out to be more of a heartbreaking nightmare than a dream. That being said I learned more from the negative reinforcement and bad example than I ever could have learned otherwise. I wish I never had to go through it and I am thankful in a dark and nebulous way that I did go through it.
In June of 2008 my wife and I stopped by the company headquarters to chat with … let’s call him “Boss Man” for brevities sake. It was more than a hundred degrees outside that day and my wife was wearing shorts, sandals, and a tank top. We were in Boss Man’s office when the surreal events took place.
First he started talking about sex. He talked about his sex life. He talked about women he found sexy. This all made me a little uncomfortable, sure he and I had these kind of guy conversations all of the time but I didn’t think it was appropriate to be saying this stuff to my wife who he was meeting for the first time.
But I let it go, my wife is a grown ass woman and far from a shrinking violet. She is far from a nun and has been known to curse like a longshoreman and make rednecks blush with frank talk if she has half a mind. I figured if she had a problem she would say something and I didn’t want to embarrass her by drawing Boss Mans attention to what I was sure was just a case of letting his asshole override his mouth.
I was wrong.
At some point in the conversation he drew his seat really close to my wife. If I am going to be honest it was way too fucking close and I am a really big fucking idiot for not realizing what was about to happen. As the son of a bitch droned on about his stupid bullshit he placed his hand on my wife’s bare thigh and gave it a squeeze.
Let me reiterate this for you just in case you missed it the first time.
He placed his hand on her bare thigh and squeezed it right in front of me.
My wife went white, shock. Then she went red, rage. Boss Man probably realized his action was not well received because he quickly moved away and then invited us out to dinner.
I have to give it to my wife. She knew I really wanted the job and she is stronger than I am when it comes to things like that. She said nothing and we all went to a very tense dinner that tasted like paste in my mouth.
I said nothing.
I did nothing.
I was weak and I was scared.
I failed to speak up for my wife who, instead of making a scene, choose to let the incident pass because she didn’t want to destroy my dream. At that moment I should have been a man and said fuck it. I should have punched him, or at the very least I should have done my best impression of poor George McFly and yelled,
“HEY YOU GET YOU DAMN HANDS OFF HER!”
I did none of that. Instead I tried to forget it. After my dream was shattered and I no longer had the job, I walked away and was not fired, my wife brought it back up. She wasn’t mad at me for never saying anything. She wasn’t mad I didn’t stop him either. No it was much worse than that.
Her feelings were hurt.
Never have I been so ashamed of something I did, or in this case failed to do. I have no excuse for why I didn’t act or at least speak up. I have no justification for it either. My only hope is that I have helped raise three sons of better moral stock than what I am made of and three daughters who are as strong as their mother.
But if I had it to do over again … well it would be different, at least in my dreams.