Thanks Donald, on behalf of women everywhere. Really.
I used to know men like you. I’ve partnered with them, heard them at parties and listened to their banter over pints of Guiness. They’re out there, along with the rest of the uneducated, unsophisticated, young reptilians crawling around out there looking for insects.
But they’re not trying to occupy the highest office in the nation. And I haven’t any respect for them, either.
Thanks to the benefit of life experience and onset of maturity, I left men like you behind in the dusty past from my 20s, after I learned what self-respect and self-esteem looked like. I left them in the alleys and garbage cans where I used to live, because that’s where they belonged.
It takes an awareness of the past that was once ours to appreciate the progress of the present.
You have just reminded me, viscerally, how far I’ve come.
But there is something still nagging me about how we’re treating all of this. Even worse – how some women are ignoring your words and still intending to check the box in your favor this November.
It’s this – It takes some of us a lifetime to undo the cultural damage that some men do to women. The objectification, the disrespect. The dehumanizing, the abuse. The double standard – men are subject to the ravages of time just as women, and yet they discard members of the opposite sex frequently because they regard women their own age as being “past their prime.” (The “bloom’s off her rose,” I once heard a 70-year old polo player utter to my then-partner, referring to an older woman. And yet this man, regardless of him finding himself alone and aging in his daughter’s basement at the time, still found it appropriate to judge women his age with the harshness a sharp steel knife.)
I know men like you too well. I’m intimately familiar with them from my own May-December romance – at the young age of seventeen –with a man twenty-five years my senior. I fell for him because he was a handsome, charming, intelligent polo player. He fell for me for the obvious – I was young, hardworking, beautiful and naïve.
Don’t you want to be with a woman your own age? I asked him.
Have you seen women my age? He responded.
It’s obvious to me now, though it wasn’t then, why men want “trophy wives.” The better part of maturity has informed me of this blatantly pathetic attempt to deflect the insecurity festering within, a grasp at the eternal fountain of youth. How old is your wife again, Donald?
I want to thank you sincerely, Donald. But for you, you would not have brought to light how far American women have come. How far I’ve come. (I didn’t learn self-esteem, self-love or self-respect from my own mother as she didn’t have any support for such notions of self-actualization. She was too busy ironing my father’s shirts and washing his dirty undies to learn of such things. Rather, I was self-taught) You’ve reminded us also, that there are still lizards out there who believe that once you’ve attained a certain position of power and status in our country, respect for the institution of marriage evaporates like a dry lake in Nevada. Echos of my past come flooding in from the day I first heard this kind of response. I was enjoying my first sip of plum wine with my December romance at Kyoko’s Japanese Restaurant up on North Clark Street in Chicago. I had just asked him in the innocent way a seventeen-year old could ask, What’s up with your sleeping with married women? He educated me thusly:
If her heart’s not in it, I figure, why should I honor her marriage vows?
I seem to recall, dear Donald, your failed attempts at Ms. O’Dell, who you said, was married at the time. Maybe you didn’t respect her marital vows – but she obviously did.
Ah, the passage of time, the texture of experience and the onset of maturity can shed light on the darkness of such distorted views. I thought, then, that was how all men believed and behaved.
You’ve reminded me: How you and he have behaved is not how decent, mature, secure men behave.
I know you’d like American women to dismiss what you said as “locker room talk.” Fortunately, as we are now able to take complete advantage of all the human rights that should have been afforded to us from the very beginning that your gender enjoyed – you know, the right to go to college, the right to vote (sorry, the whole Repeal Amendment 19 will never fly), and the right to pursue professional careers (have you noticed your competition is a woman?) — we know such dismissal is some toxic cocktail of your inability to claim personal responsibility and narcissistic personality disorder. If Sean Hannity were leering at your beautiful daughters’ Ivanka and Tiffany’s breasts as you both sipped a scotch or bourbon, I hardly think you’d be so quick to dismiss his behavior.
On behalf of American women everywhere, I’d like to say, We’ve come too far in our evolution and moral progress to allow men like you to speak to us in such degrading ways. You don’t define who WE are, WE DO. We are strong, intelligent, capable and empowered women who not only deserve to be respected for ourselves, but we are not here to serve you. Indeed, we are here to honor the best of what we are in ourselves.
In case you’re wondering, Donald, why we women just won’t let it go – it’s this – there are still women, like the caller from Massachusetts on NPR’s On Point last week who said:
I’m tired of people vilifying Donald Trump. It’s up to the beautiful women he goes after to tell him no –
who need to get some self-respect. They need to know what self-love and self-esteem really look and feel like. (Pick up a CoDependent No More – or Revolution from Within, for God’s sake woman!) These women, once they realize how men like you have treated them, will join the rest of us who would slap you square in that ugly mug of yours for ever uttering anything so offensive about us. The way you’ve spoken about Nancy O’Dell and others like her would no longer be tolerated – should never be — these women will join us as we turn sharply in the opposite direction on our stiletto heels and walk far, far away.
When I think about the millions of daughters and sisters out there who take into their minds, hearts and spirits what men like you say to and about them, I shudder. I shudder because if they haven’t enough support around them to teach them otherwise, they will allow it to impact them and they will mold themselves in someone else’s image. I shudder because they will do things to their own bodies to conform to someone else’s idea of what they should look like. I cry because I know the pain they will suffer until they realize no one can define them as they define themselves.
I sigh, too, for the women my own age who feel thrown away by their male peers looking for the trophy wife some twenty years their junior. (These are the same men showing up at the fertility clinics to have another go-round at that baby their hot little 30-year old wife wants to have, while their husband’s first set of children is well off to college. Thank you for the visual, It’s Complicated!)
At the end of the day, it takes a sisterhood of women – still in all the progress we’ve made – to support each other, including the women who’ve come forth to share their stories of the things you’ve done – excuse me, allegedly — done to them. It’s up to us as a culture of strong and intelligent women to support them and teach them that good men – secure, mature, kind and sensitive men – men who grew up respecting and loving their mothers — don’t behave as such.