All kids embarrass their parents at one time or another with their unaware comments or actions that are not societally acceptable. As a kid mine was definitely unacceptable. If I saw an attractive woman, in public or not, I would say "Woo woo, hers purdy mom". And no I did not have a southern accent but that's how I talked as a little kid. I had an infatuation with women and I have no idea the degree of nature verses nurture but the behaviours were definitely nurtured to a large degree. I didn't learn my cat calling toddler behaviour from my dad (trust me), it was absolutely television and other men. I suspect media was the biggest influence looking back at 80s tv and how women were treated.
The reality is that is doesn't matter if it is nature or nurture, the origin of the issue doesn't excuse the behaviour. Throughout my life I have absolutely mistreated women in various ways. Before you get too judgemental here I have never done anything that would send me to jail but that shouldn't be the standard. With the whole #MeToo movement there have been all kinds of guys being charged, fired and going to jail, but for a lot of guys the mistreatment carried out is just as real even if not a criminal offence.
As a teenager I remember a very real lesson I learned from a great male role model in my life. He was driving myself and some of my friends somewhere and it was summer so the windows were rolled down. As we drove by some girls I whistled at them. Suddenly the car slowed down and came to a stop and then to my horror it was in reverse. This amazing man had backed up the car so I was directly beside these women who were walking that I had just whistled at. He said "My friend here apparently has something he needs to say to you". I was mortified but it was a lesson of incredible importance. I apologized to them awkwardly and embarrassed as I should have been. Looking back I am so thankful for the lesson he taught me doing that.
My teenage years had numerous moments of poor judgement. Girls that I absolutely acted inappropriately towards. Wrestling with girls that was anything but innocent. I remember a game we used to play at the local camp we attended called "Steal the bean". The short explanation is one group hid a bean on their body and tried to get from point A to point B and the other team would catch the first group and basically do anything to find the bean. It essentially could have been called lets grope the girls.
One of my girl friends (friend that was a girl) in a group of us claimed she had never been kissed, so I leaned over and kissed her, without asking or anything. I stole her first kiss in a horrible way that was anything but special. The girl I was head over heals in love with from basically middle school through high school finally agreed to go on date with me to a youth event. Before the end of the night I was off holding hands with another girl because I was impatient and unthoughtful about her feelings.
I wish I could say that my adult years were wiser but I have numerous times hurt women in my life. Lisa is a saint in that she for the first 10+ years of our marriage was really the adult in our family. I was not ready to grow up and was not overly helpful as a parent. I remember my sister saying "You have to grow up Ben". Sadly I didn't for a few years still. Thankfully I did eventually grow up and became more involved in raising our family. The truth is, I was not ready to have a family at such a young age, but again that is no excuse for the behaviour. And I have hurt her many times even after I grew up and will spend the rest of my life trying to make it up to her.
I write this blog as an apology to oh so many women but I also write it as a plea to men to grow up and behave in an honourable way towards our planets mothers, daughters and sisters. I also write it for women in saying that not a single one of you should settle for less than a partner that treats you with the love and respect you deserve. I end with a simple I am sorry to any and all women I have ever mistreated, hurt, or done wrong. I have a apologized to some in person but the sad reality is that there are likely women I don't even know that I wronged or hurt. Perhaps you read this and think that none of my offences are that bad, I sometimes think that. Then I realize the smallest of injuries can become infected and spread destroying life. Our words and actions have greater meaning then we can ever imagine. While an apology is not enough it is a good starting point.
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