Courtesy, Chivalry

A man I love, a man who has loved me all my life, wrote me this:

“After talking to you I’ve decided not to make any more #metoo jokes until further notice because I realize how painful it is for some women.”

The only way this sentence makes sense is if edited as follows:

“I will not make #metoo jokes.”

There needs not be impetus, end date, or census.  Being decent needs no reason. Joking about anyone’s trauma, liberation, sovereignty, or safety is simply never decent.  Nor is it proper, kind, called for, or timely. Ever.

Sir, please note the Full Stop.

If you - if one - has the ability or the urge to joke thusly, you might as well be bathing in a pile of your own hegemony and it’s time to take a long, cold shower.  The only cure for this - in this instance: a straight white man “realizing” that joking about women’s sexual trauma (“generally”) might be hurtful to some women (“specifically”) - is to stop talking.  Seriously SHUTTHEFUCKUP. However you get yourself to do it, shut up.  Swallow your own tongue if you have to. Perhaps then you’ll grow some compassion for those of us who have been silenced by you.

It is utterly incumbent upon each of us to vigilantly cultivate awareness of how we affect others and act with according decency and kindness.  This is the true meaning of “courtesy”.

Courtesy is not chivalry; chivalry is misogyny in white gloves.  If you, sir, wouldn’t hold the door open for a man, do not hold it open for a woman.  The latter can only be an outcropping of the premise that you have power and she does not.  He says, “My mother taught me to respect women.” Well, good for her. And good for you. Now listen to this woman as I tell you, “I’ve got the door; You may respect me by not laughing at my claim to Life.”