Friday, November 10, 2017

On Louis CK

So apparently this is a thing that needs to be talked about because I’ve been having some surprising discussions about this, and fair warning that there’s gonna be the word “penis” and descriptions about what penis-havers do with said appendage. So.

What Louis CK did was wrong. You can feel all the ways about it. But it was wrong. And this is why. 

Listen, if I’m working late… or if I’m on a business call…or if I’m at a conference and someone has had the foresight to bring a bottle of whiskey and a bunch of us go to someone’s room for a drink (which is a regular normal thing that happens in Grownupland)… and a colleague whips his penis out and asks if he can beat off (or just commences forthwith), how easy do you think it would be for me to work with him again? How comfortable will I be going back into the office? It’s weird enough when a co-worker asks you out on a date — which is why there are rules about this kind of thing — let along even asking about doing what Louis did.

Now imagine it’s your boss. Or someone powerful in an industry in which you hope to get ahead. Now you know what they think of you, and the degree of respect in which they hold you. What do you think your odds of advancement are now? Moreover, now you know what you think of THEM and how difficult it would be to have a meeting with them, or even look them in the eye. They have given you three choices: report them to HR, interrupt your career and leave your job, or just take it, giving them the satisfaction of knowing they got away with it. 

And reporting anyone to HR for harassment, which is absolutely an option, is NOT FUN. Especially if it’s your direct supervisor or a senior person in the field. Your motives will be scrutinized. You will have to answer uncomfortable questions. And even if HR does the right thing and removes that person and you know you did the right thing, you will never feel great about it.

And yes, I know from experience. And yes, I have almost never talked about it. Because it was deeply unpleasant. It did not involve dick-presentations, but it did involve extremely inappropriate and uncomfortable things said by a direct boss, repeatedly, to me and other women. Just the idea of thinking what I would have done if he took his schlong out or even asked if he could makes me physically ill.

And even if it’s not a professional situation, it’s wrong. If a friend did this to me, he would no longer be my friend. Even if you are on a date, there are infinite scenarios in which this is not okay. Good rule of thumb, if the circumstances are such that the presentation of genitalia or the suggestion of such would be shocking or surprising, such actions should not be pursued jeezustapdancingchrist did I really just have to spell that out.

The “classic” (ugh) weiner-exposing scenario that is practically an unwanted merit badge for women in NYC is the subway perv. If you or someone you know has ever had the honor of having some weirdo whip it out on the subway or somewhere like that, it’s unsettling and awful and stays with you for a long, long time. Of course I’m not traumatized to the point where I can’t use mass transit — I doubt I’d have the choice anyway — but I think about it every time I’m in that subway stop, and I kick myself for not telling the cop I saw a minute afterward because I just didn’t want the inevitable hassle. And I remember his stupid arrogant face, knowing he was doing something that made me uncomfortable that I would likely do nothing about. And this is a stranger’s dick that I saw for half a second five years ago. It’s a sick power thing. It’s wrong for the subway perv, so it’s definitely wrong for someone with actual power over you and your life to do it.

And fine, if we have to play the “what if it were your [fill in the female relation of choice]….” If this is harmless, how would you feel if someone did this to your wife or daughter or niece? How would you feel for that person to go forth without consequence? How would you feel meeting them at a company event? Would you shake their hand? (Now please practice empathy so you don’t have to pretend something awful happened to someone you know in order to recognize something as awful, please and thank you.)

And here’s the thing: if you’re still feeling super conflicted or defensive about this — you can still enjoy his work. You can still think he’s funny or enjoy his show. You can feel sympathetic and hope he gets help. Or you can feel angry and hope he never works again. Or you can feel anything in between. Life is deep and rich and weird and complicated and god knows the list of problematic things I enjoy is long and robust. This is your god-given right to that thing we call perspective.

But what you can’t say is that he did nothing wrong. It's more than just a gross creepy thing you can laugh about later, and it's not that dicks in and of themselves are scary (though, lezbehonest, they are pretty silly-looking floppy little things). His actions had actual consequences on people's lives. 

Yeah, he’s done some brilliant stuff. The women he mentored and harassed who consequently left the industry because of his behavior and the harm they felt he could do to their career if they spoke up might have also done some brilliant work. But we won’t know that. And he needs to be held to account.  

And if you're STILL confused about why this is harmful...then okay, but I genuinely hope that you or someone you know never has to find out otherwise through personal experience.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Meet Miss Bossy

IT'S A GIRL!!! Sometimes when God closes a bunny door, he opens a bunny window. Cleared for adoption today, meet your best new internet bunny friend MISS BOSSY. 

The ASPCA bunnies are being adopted out this week or re-homed at bunny-specific rescues who can give them better long term care than we can here, and Miss Bossy and I have been bro'ing down for a while. She's sassy, snuggly and the same size as Penny the Cat so THEY WILL BE BEST FRIENDS GODDAMMIT I WILL MAKE SURE OF IT.

Just like with Penny, I wasn't totally planning on replenishing the pet situation this soon, but clearly I am not meant to be petless. Think of it as Bun and Tippy paying it forward. 


Monday, February 13, 2017

Meet Penny

I was going to wait a little while, but circumstances changed, and besides, a Shep without pets is like a sky without stars. So… meet PENNY LEE RIGGS-CAPRA-SHEPHERD, FIRST OF HER NAME. 😻😻😻

Penny and I tried to do a Beyoncé/Madonna on the Rocks type photo shoot to announce her arrival didn't work so good.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Bun Scott Shepherd (2007-2017)

Last night my littlest boo stopped being his bright, bouncy, curious self and was rushed to the animal hospital. Today his little bunny heart just gave out after 9 and a half years. A lot of people always asked me "What does a rabbit DO, though?" and if they got the chance to meet Bun Scott they understood right away what a charming animal he was. He had no fear of people (cats were another matter, hence his awkward co-existence with Tippy), and would follow you from room to room, jump up on the couch to snuggle with you, and generally wanted to be where you were. His trusting and gregarious nature is what saved him when my friend Paul found him on a doorstep on Connecticut Avenue, and he was all too happy to be scooped up and taken in on a new adventure that eventually led to his being my sweet little buddy for the better part of a decade.  

And even though he barely ever made a sound, the apartment is far, far too quiet without any little critters there right now. I actually had to leave on a business trip as soon as I paid my final goodbye to Bun, and I am not looking forward to the silence.

Farewell, Bun Scott Shepherd. Loyal friend and prince among rabbits. July 7, 2007- January 17, 2017