I could write a long article on Mike Pence, the Vice-President of the United States, and why he scares me more than Trump and more than almost anyone in Trump's orbit. (Almost: Steve Bannon is terrifying.)
I could write that blog, but nobody would read it.
And so I will confine myself to writing about the Pence's family rules, which came out in a televised interview last week and which have set Twitter on fire. To wit: Mike Pence does not have dinner with women who are not his wife, and will not attend any event where alcohol is served without her by his side.
This is supposedly standard practice for many Christian families. And oh, boy, I have no idea where to start.
What exactly does this say about men and women? It says, at least so far as I can see, that women are sex objects and that men, or at least men subject to these rules, are incapable of controlling themselves whenever one of those sex objects shows up.
What are we, twelve?
Full disclosure: when I was twelve through seventeen or so, every woman I interacted with showed up in a mattress-staining dream sooner or later. Even then, somehow, I restrained myself from touching...well, most of them...inappropriately. (I will never forgive myself for the shameful conduct detailed there; about the only mitigating thing I can say is that I would never, ever even think about doing something like that now.)
Many -- not all, but many -- of my closest circle of friends are women. Ask those women and most of them will tell you most of their closest friends are guys. I'm talking about platonic friendships here. I know plenty of other guys who have female best friends, and girls with male best friends.
Is there sexual tension in a small subset of these friendships? You bet your ass. Will sex happen, then? Not on your life. Any inappropriate conduct on my part and the wall goes back up: I lose the friendship. Not worth it. Not even close.
I can have dinner with any one of these friends and trust myself not to succumb to her Eve-like charms. Hell, I could share a bed with one of those women, stay fully clothed, and wake up in the morning without even the tiniest spot of rape in the night.
I am not my genitals.
Is Mike Pence? Is he nothing but a walking erection looking for somewhere to stick it? Sure seems like it, doesn't it?
If men aren't allowed to be alone with women, then they segregate. Professionally, this perpetuates the male power cycle and denies women equal opportunity. That's part of the appeal for Christian men, who are the unquestioned heads of their households (women are commanded to submit to their husbands). But it does Christian women a huge disservice. Really, it denies their full humanity.
You see this to an even greater degree in Islam, where -- in the stricter sects -- women aren't allowed to leave the house unaccompanied. This, we're told, is for their own protection. Do they need it? The plural of anecdote is not data, but I have read numerous accounts of what happens to women clad in Western attire in Muslim countries. Groping is so common it goes completely unnoticed. Outright rape is a real risk.
I am often ashamed of my gender...but never more so when it comes to this. Maybe Pence and others like him are simply prudent, not prudish. That hurts to even type.