Tales From the Bar: It’s Not Personal

I dropped by my usual bar and grill of choice today after an intensely boring day at work.  As usual, I was warmly greeted as a friend by the servers, most of whom have known me for at least a year or two.  I’ve attended some of their birthday parties, met their boyfriends and best friends, and shared many a laugh and hug with them.  These are my friends whom I care for, people whose companionship I value.  Because my friends happen to be quite gorgeous through some fault of their own, men in the bar often seek their approval and attention in ways that I simply don’t need to (and of which I often disapprove).  This evening, after I had finished paying my tab and while I was talking to the bartender, a gray-haired man hobbled up next to me and spoke to one of my friends, suggesting in an almost archetypal creepy old man fashion that he would be happy to give her a back massage anytime.  It was fairly clear that he was hoping this back massage would be turning into a frontal massage at some point, and I think that after looking at her, any straight guy would at least understand the instincts that drive his hope.

This isn’t the only incident that has bothered me, and I reported an instance of sexual harassment to the owner of the bar at one point, mentioning that the victim had definitely not enjoyed it or encouraged it and also that I very much would like to smash the perpetrator’s teeth in with my elbow, but that I was going to try to handle it peaceably first. 

What bothers me the most about these events is not that it’s personal.  While it very much is personal for me because of my relationship with them, what bothers me is precisely that it’s not personal.  The folks who smack them on the ass, make crude comments about them after they leave after being nice to them in person, and invite them to go out after their shift for drinks generally have no personal relationship with them.  For me, the women bringing me my water and low carb dinners are people who are kind-hearted, generous, loving to their children, loyal to their friends, intelligent, and capable.  For those folks, the women bringing them drinks and food are just bodies with a hotness factor, not people and not worth treating as having human dignity.

This sort of juvenile treatment of another human being as something other than a person is the same thing I see when one of the girls at my job talks about how hot the lead actor is on her favorite television show or how much she’d like to bang the star of the latest action movie or romantic comedy.  It’s what bothered me when a woman I used to work with told me not long after she was hired that she would like to take me out to dinner and then fuck me.  Her words, not mine.  And that’s certainly not the only instance of a woman objectifying me.  One of my former employees left her notes on her desk after she quit the job, and as I was cleaning out the training area, I found them and got to read about how she thought I had a great body and she just wanted to fuck my brains out.  Again, her words, not mine.

My advice to both men and women who want to avoid treating other human beings as mere objects is to make it personal.  Become friends with the person before deciding whether or not you want to have sex with them.  Take the time to know them as a person and it is thereafter intensely difficult to objectify them in the same way.  It has the dual benefit of making you a more moral person and the world a better place to live.

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17 Responses to Tales From the Bar: It’s Not Personal

  1. QuantumStorm says:

    This is part of the reason why I’m planning to get K to meet with me in a public area and get to know me a bit more first. We owe it to each other, at the very least, to know what we’re getting ourselves into (if we want to do that). 

  2. HUMOR_ME_NOW says:

    We need to treat all people with respect and like persons. While our long range goal should be noble in my opinion, the reality of life is that most people wills settle for less due to a variety of reasons—some understandable and others selfish.You point is well taken and I agree.

  3. The problem with your conclusion is that given our culture, people are blinded by personal gain. I am in no way in favor of such objectification that you found so distasteful, just less inclined to have faith in the masses who praise things that I’ll never want to understand. I will say some faith in humanity was restored in reading this though, kudos

  4. Kellsbella says:

    So are you saying I can’t grab your tush anymore?

  5. You bring up great points. I am in high school and am surrounded by boys who think they are men and ;therefore, are the bosses of the world, etc etc and I would like to bring them all down a notch or two, but that would mean sinking to their level. I can not see how any woman, no matter how desperate, would stoop so low to sleep with a man/boy with out knowing him first-and by knowing I mean by really knowing him….becoming friends with him for at least 6 months,etc. I could never treat my body that way, I see it as disrespecting my body, and myself by letting myself be used by those…types.Have a good weekend!

  6. MzSilver says:

    Well said!!! I couldn’t agree more…

  7. manic_lizard says:

    I completely agree with you except on the point of thinking about actors and such.  I’m going to find men and women attractive and hot, and I would never say so to them or act on it (because like you said, then it should be personal and not just sexual), but there are men and women that enter my fantasies that I’ve never met or spoken to.  And I think that as long as it stays there that it is acceptable.  Once you start stalking or touching or anything that’s where there’s the difference.  For instance, I just about had a heart attack when I found out that the guy who played Tommy on Power Rangers was going to be at New York Comicon, because he’s been a part of my fantasies since the original came out.  However, if I met him I’d rather speak to him about his role and maybe giggle about my childhood crush, but not objectify in person.

  8. Such_are_you says:

    Objectification is indeed a growing problem.  When I look at anyone attractive, I have learned to see them in the context of relationship.  When I look at a pretty woman at church, I see her husband, children, mom and dad, and indeed the rest of the people in out church family surrounding her.  It is very difficult to look with lust when a person is surrounded by the love of family.  

  9. amateurprose says:

    I agree, however, when I was waiting tables, the majority of the guys and girls I worked with would brag about “working over” their customers by flirting with them. I think it goes both ways. I don’t think patrons should objectify their servers. I ALSO don’t believe that servers should objectify their partrons.

  10. Yeah… this problem used to be such a man doing this to woman thing, but apparently we’re learning this is just a part of human nature.  Sad, really… you should not actually say that kind of stuff to people or even begin to think it.  😦  

  11. rajeev_nomad says:

    cool thoughts… liked them. Make it personal…. 

  12. Nous_Apeiron says:

    @QuantumStorm – That’s a very good idea.  Ah, young love.  I miss it and yet I don’t.@ANVRSADDAY – Good insights.  Some people do have more understandable reasons than others.@TheVampiricWriter – I’m glad that I could restore some faith.  That’s a rare compliment. Thank you.@Kellsbella – Exactly! @Want2FitIn2Fat2Fit – I’m glad to hear that you don’t let yourself be used.  Stick with that approach for sure.  @MzSilver – Thanks!  @manic_lizard – A fair point.  I have no problem with thoughtful disagreement.@Such_are_you – That’s a very good way of managing your own perceptions.  I may try that.@amateurprose – Yeah, I’ve had servers objectify me occasionally.  It sucks being attractive sometimes.@TiredSoVeryTired –  Very true. It’s definitely a cultural shift.  I would rather have seen men improve their behavior than women take on men’s bad behavior as if it were a privilege to act in a dehumanizing fashion toward other people.@rajeev_nomad – Many thanks!

  13. QuantumStorm says:

    @Nous_Apeiron – Well if I DON’T sit her down and explain things and draw a line somewhere, she’s going to tie me to a bed and ravish me. I don’t think that would work well for deflating my ego, although I’m sure my stress levels would drop considerably. 

  14. @Nous_Apeiron – True, true, true. It might have been liberating at first, but then we risk women just becoming the assholes of the world.  

  15. Such_are_you says:

    @Nous_Apeiron – I Can’t take credit.  My new perception of things comes as a direct result of my own relationship with, and obedience to, God.   

  16. Nous_Apeiron says:

    @QuantumStorm – De-stressing is so difficult these days.  I can’t imagine how tough it will be to let her ravish you.@TiredSoVeryTired – …and that would be bad.  I really like women and I would hate to have to change that perspective.@Want2FitIn2Fat2Fit – You too.  @Such_are_you – I’m glad that you’ve answered the call to virtue.

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