Male associations

As I listen to all the conversation about Herman Cain’s purported sexcapades when he headed The Restaurant Association,  I recall all the “association” heads I met in the seventies, most of whom made Cain look like an amateur. As an editor of a major trade publication that covered the home furnishings business, I met the heads of furniture associations in North Carolina, cookware associations in Indiana, and electronics associations in New Jersey. They were constantly on the road, away from wives and children, attending one industry meeting and event after another. They’d congregate at hotel bars with their colleagues every single night, where they’d drink themselves silly and go after women. Gallivanting wasn’t restricted to association honchos. The heads of companies, as well as their lieutenants, jumped right into the fray. Why should they be any different than politicians and actors?

Michael Douglas didn't think his flirtation would lead to Glenn Close's "Fatal Attraction"

When I became the public relations director of a big consumer products company in the mid seventies, the married executives there screwed around non-stop. The married chief executive, as a matter of fact, was having a torrid affair with a woman who worked in my department. Everyone in the company knew about it. He’d come to our side of the office to pick her up after work. When his wife filed for divorce and asked for lots of money, he tried to enlist me to help him do damage control with the press.

Three decades ago, there were far fewer working women and we got a lot of “attention” from men who either had dismal marriages or simply craved a romp in the hay when they were away from their wives. You’d never call them “gentlemen.”  Lots of them flirted, but went no further. One I remember well, a big fat man who made a big fat salary and flirted shamelessly with one my colleagues, a perky woman 20 years his junior and a third his body mass. G, the woman in question, played it for all it was worth. The man had a big job in the industry she covered as a reporter and was a great source for her.

All this happened before “sexual harassment” entered our vernacular.   Regardless, many women enjoyed the flirtations or happily hopped into bed. I swear they did. It was rumored, as a matter of fact, that a female executive at a major fashion publication propositioned men in the industry.

Many men undoubtedly were, are and will be guilty of  making inappropriate sexual advances,  but women are not always pure as the driven snow. I wasn’t. I was not even mildly surprised to hear about Herman Cain’s behavior when he was at The Restaurant Association 15 years ago.  I do question why women felt the need to come out of the woodwork to tell us he touched them inappropriately. Would that  behavior make him a horrible president?

Presidents and presidential contenders, on both sides of the aisle,  have been having affairs for years. It didn’t seem to affect Thomas Jefferson, JFK and Bill Clinton’s performances, pun notwithstanding.




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6 Responses to “Male associations”

  1. Heather Ann Chapple says:

    Ah…a minefield of truths and challenges still for both sexes!

  2. Colby says:

    ‘sluts will be sluts.’ as astounding as it is eloquent. this post sets the women’s movement back roughly 40 years.

    i feel sorry for any woman who thinks so little of herself as to forfeit her right to a decent work environment, free from harassment, just because *some* women use sexuality to their advantage (which is their right.).

    our society is supposed to provide baseline protections so we’re all more or less on equal footing. that means protecting the more defenseless and weak among us.

    not expecting them to ‘suck it up’ when theyre mistreated. im hoping we’re moving past that kind of darwinian sociology.

  3. Veritas 2011 says:

    I forgot to include my blog address!!!!

  4. A. Miller says:

    If it just happens once – a man propositions you at work – and you turn him down and he accepts that, then fine, you don’t need a lawyer. But if your workplace is a “good old boys club” and you are constantly being treated differently for being a woman, then please speak out! In 1991, Glamour magazine named Anita Hill one of their “Women of the Year.” I wrote a letter to the editor, that was actually published in a subsequent issue, complaining that Ms. Hill was really not a hero, but a victim. She did not make any complaints at the time of the harassment, and only testified when Clarence Thomas was being investigated for his Supreme Court nomination….I believe she may have been subpoenaed……she did not stand up for her rights voluntarily. I was a police officer in the early 1980s, in New Jersey. In my county, if you added all the towns together, there were 2500 police officers…only 15 of us were women. I sued my police department for sexual harassment and sexual discrimination. We settled out of court…the whole process took 5 years. It was not about the money – it was about making changes in the department that would benefit all the officers. However, to my dismay, my settlement money came out of the pocket of the town taxpayers…and none of the officers involved were punished or even reprimanded. So, speak out when it happens….not years later……keep the issue of sexual harassment in the forefront of the American public’s conscience…..let the violators know that we are all paying attention – and we are not going to take it anymore!

    • Kate Line Snider says:

      I was working on a professional mental health certificate when the Anita Hill thing was all over the news. The assessment of my counseling class- and the teacher- was that Ms. Hill had possibly been rebuffed by Clarence Thomas, either personally or professionally, and sought revenge; perhaps she was also financially motivated to create the stink. I think this happens a lot.

      @A. Miller, I know this wasn’t the case with you, but did you really think the good ol’ boys would reprimand any of their own?

  5. Kate Line Snider says:

    Thank you for this!

    Women in our age group understand men. We might not LIKE how they think and what they do, but we don’t dash to a lawyer ( or a reporter) when a man directs a suggestive remark to us that he thinks is flattering. We’ve learned to laugh it off.

    The fact is, boys will be boys, and, well, sluts will be sluts. There’s always a few of them around, too. They’re ready to be had, then to bat their tearful eyes and spill all ( except an honest report of their own eager cooperation) for cash; and some of them outright LIE, also for cash.

    Anybody out there really BELIEVE Monica Lewinsky parted with her treasures out of true love and devotion for old Bill Clinton?? When he was the PRESIDENT? (Let alone, saving the evidence)

    Come on, tell me another one.


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