« Previous | Home | Next »

The Pint Of No Return

Your advice to the woman who slapped the man in the bar who tried to guess her age, weight, and bra size was completely disgraceful. Yes, she overreacted somewhat; however, your comment “To avoid attention from men, hold girls’ night out in a convent, not a bar” was appalling. The conversation was obnoxious no matter how drunk the guy was. I don't feel she acted like a victim, but like a woman strong enough to handle herself. For that I applaud her! Women and men alike should be able to go anywhere and be treated with respect. My guess is that you believe women should also expect to be raped if they go through the wrong part of town!


“Women and men alike should be able to go anywhere and be treated with respect.” Yes, they should! And I should be a rock star/Nobel Prize-winning physicist and live rent-free in Bel Air. And Osama bin Laden should renounce terrorism and devote the rest of his life to crocheting iPod sleeves in the form of bunnies and turtles while whistling “I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing.”

Unfortunately, I’m still waiting for MapQuest directions to Utopia. Until I get them, I’m compelled to give advice for people who live in the real world -- where Osama isn’t known for his slip stitch, the best manners aren’t found at the bottom of a beer mug, and where I’ll have a shot at the Nobel the day they start giving it away on lottery scratchers.

If Albert Ellis, one of the fathers of cognitive behavioral therapy, heard what happened in the bar, he’d probably quote the Greek philosopher Epictetus: “What disturbs [people’s] minds is not events but their judgments on events.” A woman who’s convinced of the idea of men as oppressors -- especially one who’s been brain-snatched by the Victim-Industrial Complex feminism has become -- will see everything through victim-vision. An extreme case is “feminist vegetarian theorist” Carol J. Adams, who claims eating meat promotes the subjugation of women, and, according to “The Harvard Crimson,” “called asparagus a phallic symbol and said parsley was representative of pubic hair.” (No word on what it means if your mashed potatoes resemble Betty Friedan.)

So, some drunk asks your bra size. You can outsmart him, out-funny him, or treat him like a bar snack stuck to the bottom of your shoe. But, delivering a lecture in women’s studies at the top of your lungs, then smacking him one? You don’t do this because you feel powerful, but because you have the self-image of “Squash me, I’m a bug.” If you’re looking to effect change, consider the difference between “losing your temper” and directing your temper like a laser. Rage is toxic. Stress hormones shut off your ability to reason, and turn your body into a little shop of poisons. This is your idea of empowerment? Well, that, and the notion that men who hit women are guilty of assault, but women who hit men are worthy of…applause?

Life is a hostile workplace. Approach it accordingly. The woman in question wrote, “The last thing I wanted was attention from men,” but proceeded to run off to a pickup joint. This makes about as much sense as going to a packed stadium for a little solitude, or holding your A.A. meeting in the corner liquor store. As for whether women should expect to be raped in a dodgy part of town, well, admitting it’s a possibility seems a better defense than celebrating your freedom to jog in a short skirt through dark alleys shouting, “Take back the night!” and “No means no!”

Posted by aalkon at April 18, 2007 12:12 AM


I totally agreed with your response...people who declare that they want to be treated equal (but better) to everyone else drive me insane. It's not just about women thinking it's okay to smack a man, but call it abuse if the roles are reversed, either...for example, why the hell is ok that we have the NAACP and other groups like that, but if I ran out and started a "White Association" I'd be crucified?? It's completely inane. Sigh.

Posted by: Sarah at April 18, 2007 3:11 AM

The work you're doing here on behalf of common sense is simply brilliant.

Posted by: Debra at April 18, 2007 4:11 AM

I think Epictetus has (had) it right. The dude in the bar is pathetic, rude, obnoxious and probably doesn't get laid (not surprisingly). A far cry from Lothario. That said, she reacted like an asshole. It really is about perception, attitude and subsequent action. I would have laughed at the guy...laughed and said "seriously, guy, you're a joke." Because he is. A big, slobbering joke. It's happened to me plenty of times, the "Sorry, I have a boyfriend" line doesn't work (probably b/c guys assume chicks are lying when they say that).

Conversely, I do think people who speak so rudely to others should probably not drink so much. I argue this along the same lines as women who drink too much, make a bad choice, then call it "date rape," leaving the poor guy (who is equally as "guilty" for the sex) to deal with saving his ass. If you can't handle what goes down when you're drunk, stop drinking so much! And if you turn into a complete waste of life who dribbles tit-talk at the nearest woman - you should also stop drinking...unless you want to die alone.

Amy - does the advice change when a guy actually makes a grab, say, for your breast (and succeeds!)? Or is that also just to be expected when I go out to a bar? Just curious if you'd consider that there is a line which can be crossed to make slapping okay.

Posted by: Gretchen at April 18, 2007 6:03 AM

Gee, same issue...and Amy's still right. Go fig.

This is your idea of empowerment?
"Empower" is a popular buzzword these days. The thing I don't get, is that when a lot of people use it, they're using it to rationalize acting like a poor widdle victim.
If you're "empowered", you should consider yourself above the situation, and able to react in an intelligent, rational manner. The second you get all hurt and offended and slap the guy for being obnoxious, you've just given HIM power...because he GOT to you. You're showing fear, not power over fear. You also showed yourself as the weaker of the two, not the

"Well, that, and the notion that men who hit women are guilty of assault, but women who hit men are worthy of…applause?"

Resorting to violence in that situation doesn't show strength, does it?

Posted by: Jamie at April 18, 2007 6:32 AM

Nah Jamie, I won't go fig anything. If I go out to a bar and a guy grabs my breast, it's okay b/c hey - I'm in a bar!

No - it's NOT okay to grope someone. I am intelligent, rational and would consider myself "above" the situation. Afterall, I would NEVER consider any man who just grabs my right tit to be date-able. It's one thing to go into a bar and get attention that is unwanted - that's inevitable, I agree. But touching someone in a place that many consider sexual is not. If I get drunk and run you over with my car in the bar parking lot, is that okay too? You dumbass, shoulda known better, but now you're a pancake.

I'm sorry, I must be a fucking idiot, because I don't understand how grabbing someone's tit is justified just because you're a drunk and in a bar.

Posted by: Gretchen at April 18, 2007 6:59 AM

Gretchen, I'll remind you that you said it and not me. You might want to work on the reading comprehension portion of the life exam again.

I don't recall Amy saying anything regarding a response to physical assault. It's called proportional response. You don't respond to a snide comment with a hail of bullets. If someone makes a grab, then a slap is proportional. If someone's merely being a cad, then a snappy retort is in order.

Oh, and Amy - watch it on the reality bit - Amynda and her "anti-rape" minions will be on you like fat kids on pie. After all, why should a woman have to take responsibility for any risks she exposes herself to? Don't those evil men know they shouldn't rape women?

Posted by: brian at April 18, 2007 7:10 AM

Sorry, but I was replying to the column, not your response to her (which is why I quoted her), which says nothing about any form of physical contact until she slapped the guy. That's a hypothetical situation you introduced that wasn't there before. I honestly hadn't even read your response at the time I was writing mine. I apologize if my comments were misinterpreted as being towards you, and gave you offense.

Now, I AM responding to you.
He made comments about her boobs, but wasn't making a grab. Yes, I personally feel that if he made unwanted physical (let alone sexual) contact, that goes into the realm of "self-defense." At which point, the minimum physical response to make her feel safe is warranted. By all means. slap/shove the guy on his posterior and make a beeline for the bartender or bouncer, as at that point, he should be thrown out of the place. I say "minimum" because shooting him, or having a gang beat-down is excessive. If he doesn't cross that line, you don't need to.
I never said it was okay to let someone grope you. Amy's point was that it wasn't physical...the guy was just having a case of verbal diarrhea. At that point, responding verbally (or ignoring him), is a much more appropriate response than being violent and feeling self-righteous about it.

Posted by: Jamie at April 18, 2007 7:27 AM

"If someone makes a grab, then a slap is proportional."

No, it's not. What's proportional is to have the manager bar him and/or the police arrest him. Two wrongs still don't make a right, even in 2007 (so no blowing up the middle east).

Posted by: Hasan at April 18, 2007 7:34 AM

PS: I can't give you Mapquest directions to Eutopia, but I can give you Google Maps directions to Paris, France (note step #23)...

Merge onto I-84 E
Partial toll road
Entering Massachusetts
40.7 mi
38 mins

Take the exit onto I-90 E/Mass Pike/Massachusetts Turnpike toward N.H.-Maine/Boston
Partial toll road
56.0 mi
56 mins

Take exit 24 A-B-C on the left toward I-93 N/Concord NH/S Station/I-93 S/Quincy 0.4 mi
1 min
Merge onto Atlantic Ave 0.8 mi
3 mins
Turn right at Central St 0.1 mi
Turn right at Long Wharf 0.1 mi
Swim across the Atlantic Ocean 3,462 mi
29 days 0 hours

Slight right at E05 0.5 mi
2 mins
At the traffic circle, take the 2nd exit onto E05/Pont Vauban 0.1 mi
Turn right at E05
Partial toll road
17.3 mi
22 mins

At the traffic circle, take the 2nd exit onto A131/E05 heading to A131/Rouen/Paris/Evreux
Partial toll road
9.1 mi
8 mins
Take the exit onto A13/E05/L'Autoroute de Normandie
Partial toll road
20.3 mi
17 mins

Take the exit onto A13/E05/L'Autoroute de Normandie
Partial toll road
56.5 mi
47 mins

Take the exit on the left onto A14 toward Nanterre/La Défense
Partial toll road

Posted by: Hasan at April 18, 2007 7:49 AM

Hasan, stuff it.

Attitudes like yours are why 33 people died on Monday.

Posted by: brian at April 18, 2007 7:49 AM

Brian - I know there wasn't physical contact in the initial letter. I responded to the verbal crap spewed by the guy in the bar. I was merely adding to the discussing by relating something that happened to me - a physical grab - to see how people on here would react. Because to some drunken men in bars, a grab is just as small a deal as asking about the boobs.

But thanks for trying to insult my intelligence - you're a real prick. If YOU knew how to read, and read the paragraph in full, you would have realized I was introducing the issue myself and not responding incorrectly to the letter.

And Jamie - thanks for clarifying, I thought you were crazy for a few minutes! I appreciate your response to the issue I brought up. And I'm glad we agree that grabbing isn't okay.

Next time, I'll just ask Amy directly instead of confusing people.

Posted by: Gretchen at April 18, 2007 8:21 AM

"Hasan, stuff it.

Attitudes like yours are why 33 people died on Monday."

Yes, asking for a reasoned response to being a jerk is exactly like a psychopath going on a killing spree. Let me guess, that was you in that bar. Asshole.

Posted by: Hasan at April 18, 2007 8:30 AM


To me, it sounded like you WERE asking Amy, which is why I didn't reply to that initially. I had thought about it, but I figured if you were asking Amy, I'd let her reply before I threw in my 2 cents.

And I prefer "slightly-mad" (as my website will show), not "crazy". :)

Posted by: Jamie at April 18, 2007 8:32 AM

It could have been worse. The drunk might have turned the other cheek and asked for more.

Posted by: james wilson at April 18, 2007 8:34 AM

Gretchen - I'm not a prick, I'm an asshole. It appeared that you were setting up a straw man, and then knocking it down two posts later without the benefit of actually waiting for Amy's response.

Hasan -

No, it's not. What's proportional is to have the manager bar him and/or the police arrest him. Two wrongs still don't make a right, even in 2007 (so no blowing up the middle east).

Waiting for the manager or the police to do something is often precisely the wrong thing to do. A physical attack demands a physical response. Self defense is hardly a "wrong".

And although I don't go to bars, I thank you for getting the proper appellation when referring to me.

Posted by: brian at April 18, 2007 9:37 AM

The reason so many people are reacting the way they are is the situation. If a woman is minding her own business and a man walks up and says "hey, nice tits" and she tosses a drink on him, we'd not bat an eyelash.

However, this woman intentionally put herself in a place where there were other people while she explicitly admits she did not want the attention of men. Her response was incorrect only because of the fact that she reveled in the glory of her 'empowerment' after the fact.

And for that, she ought to be excoriated.

Posted by: brian at April 18, 2007 9:41 AM

damn html tags. My 0937 post should have had that paragraph after 'Hasan-' indented, since I'm quoting him.

Posted by: brian at April 18, 2007 9:42 AM

Writing my ass off at the moment, will respond later!

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 18, 2007 9:51 AM

When this first came up, I wanted to respond, but writing is my worst skill so I let it pass, but since it came back, I will respond from the other side. First a confession, I play the bagpipes, and am proud of it. This means I play a lot of bars/pubs in a kilt (not a corduroy one) and have been groped by women occasionally. There is very much a double standard, if I reached up a lady’s skirt and copped a feel, I would be in jail, but they do not seem to understand why I think their behavior is wrong. I like to respond with an educational experience. I usually sit down next to the offender and place my hand very high on her thigh, when she complains about it, I always let them know I thought their introduction was an invitation and ask if I should have them charged with sexual assault instead. This approach usually ends with an apology (my goal), sometimes a drink, and the person understanding that they did wrong. Only one time did it go to the authorities, the girl was very pissed at me and grabbed the cop from outside, who after hearing the story, gave her a choice leaving the bar or going to jail. Her excuse of “but he was wearing a kilt” did not work. No real point, just an anecdotal that the tables are sometimes turned and sometimes people can learn.

Posted by: Piper at April 18, 2007 1:44 PM

Grabbing a tit is definitely assault and the woman should feel free to defend herself.

Piper - women are usually much more hostile about unsolicited physical contact than men are, but I agree that groping is too much. I love bagpipes by the way.

Posted by: William at April 18, 2007 7:49 PM

"Lets be careful out there, people"

Posted by: Jane Doe at April 18, 2007 10:02 PM

Brian, I just want to say that I agree with you 100% - sometimes we need to take our safety into our own hands.

Posted by: Anne at April 19, 2007 11:22 AM

That woman is reminding me of this psych study I saw of different scenarios- how people react when they see a white guy abusing a white woman, a black guy abusing a black woman, and a white woman abusing a white guy. First couple, people stepped in often, second couple only once (some people told the black guy, "this isn't the time or place for that"- like there is one) and the woman abusing the man? People smiled, women cheered her on, everyone assumed he had it coming. Clearly our interactions on a basic human level are screwed up in a lot of cases. But this is another example of okaying behavior in women we'd never tolerate from men- hitting is wrong whomever instigates it- and this woman writer's "I bet you think women who get raped had it coming" nonsense is something I've heard that never fails to piss me off. No one can have that coming, anymore then someone can have being murdered in random acts of violence coming either- but there are defensive avenues you can take and being aware of your surroundings and who is arround you is a huge first step toward all kinds of prevention and self protection- whether it's being hit on by short, drunk and pathetic or avoiding places most likely to get held up after dark. Maybe we can't ever avoid all forms of crazy but drunken morons? It takes little effort to avoid them.
And fyi, hitting a drunk person, for whatever reason, can lead to extreme violence- she's lucky he didn't hit her back (i don't drink at all but if she'd hit me for whatever reason, i'd a knocked her on her ass, i am far from a pacifist)

Posted by: Julie at April 19, 2007 11:55 PM

Amy, thank-you for giving real world advice!

While the author of the origial letter may have thought there was karmic justice in her actions, she was lucky she got away with it. In the real world striking someone, especially a drunken moron is an invitation for them to return the favor. Police? Considering she struck the first blow she could have found herself bruised, behind bars with the drunk suing her for damages.

Posted by: G at April 20, 2007 6:37 PM

Who struck the first blow? Is it possible that neither recognizes the angst they suffer leading to the altercation? Is it possible that both were striking out against pain suffered long ago? Do either seem enlightened enough to claim responsibility for their actions? Perhaps separation for a time would have given both opportunity to reflect on the choices they made leading up to their rendezvous. I believe Amy holds them responsible for the choices they made; to be at the bar, to behave as they did. Anything less is believing them to be less than human. There's no right or wrong here, they each had a choice in how to treat another human. Amy is merely expecting them to own the choice. If you vote who's right and who's wrong, aren't you making the choice more important than the chooser?

Posted by: Paul at April 20, 2007 9:26 PM

Amy, I'm a huge longtime fan, but this time I disagree with you.

Posted by: Susan at April 21, 2007 4:22 PM

I think that women who react in the way the original letter writer did, and the one above, have a deep seated need for men's approval. That is why they react so violently when they don't get it. They also feel that men are better than they are, probably subconsciously.

Really, if you think about it, if for example a dog growls at you (not saying men are dogs, guys-just a simplistic example), you don't turn around and hit the dog, do you? Or convince it that it is wrong, that you're a really nice person, please love me! (sob sob) You would just keep your distance, and move on.

Posted by: Chrissy at April 22, 2007 6:54 AM

She Should of said my tits are alot smaller than your balls. Gave him the look (disgusted) and walked away.

Posted by: laun at April 25, 2007 8:08 AM

Post a comment

Remember Me?

(you may use HTML tags for style)