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My Me Too moment happened a while ago, before a movement existed to crown me a designated survivor. After all these years I had almost forgotten about it. Christine Blasey Ford’s tremulous deposition at the Kavanaugh confirmation circus revived my memory.
After three decades, much goes missing. No matter. The Blasey Ford performance showed it is never too late for a woman to declare herself the victim of a man, however dubious the charge.
Day - Encounter - Name - Term - Harassment
On the day of this old encounter, I did not give it a name. Yes, the term sexual harassment was in the air. It had been making its way through academic and legal circles through the 1970s and ‘80s. Catherine MacKinnon and the improbable Andrea Dworkin were, at that moment, alerting women to the magnitude of their abuse.
At the same time, notions of toxic masculinity had not yet seeped into popular culture. Distinctions in gravity between boorishness and sexual assault still held in ordinary life. There was no sisterly hashtag to goad aggrieved women to indict male perfidy, real or imagined, decades past its sell-by date.
Besides, I was not aggrieved. Let me explain.
While my children were still young enough to need a parent in the house, I worked at home. I took on design projects for a textile house, plus the occasional commissioned essay. Paying gigs were catch-as-catch-can and my ambition went no further than helping to make our mortgage payments to Williamsburg Savings Bank. Those were lean years. The tempo of life was slow, the days unglamorous.
Afternoon - Nook - Socks - Sheets - Phone
One afternoon, while I was in the laundry nook sorting socks and folding sheets, the phone rang. A resonant male voice at the other end introduced the caller as an editor at the venerable Alfred A. Knopf. I liked the timbre of the voice, authoritative and courtly. But why was it...
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