My mother didn’t like me hanging around with Jack. She sensed that he lacked a moral compass or control to check his impulses. It was about 1966 when my best friend Philip and I hitchhiked to Hampton Beach, New Hampshire, which was then the coolest place for fifteen-year-old Tewksbury, Massachusetts boys like us to hang out, and Jack somehow managed to tag along. We strolled along the boardwalk and met a trio of pretty girls our age.
We made introductions, paired off for walks along the beach, and made a plan to meet back at the boardwalk in two hours. Philip and I got on well with the girls we accompanied, but upon return we saw Jack being arrested. “You’re arresting me for swearing?” Jack said to the cop. “That’s against the law here?”
“Yup,” he said as he walked Jack toward the cruiser.
“He’s a garbage mouth!” said the girl who made the complaint. “Come on,” she said to the girls with us. “We don’t want to be with these guys.” Jack was actually arrested for making making lewd and lascivious remarks in public. Philip and I hitchhiked back to Tewksbury without him and with soiled reputations for being associated with him. It was my first exposure to what we now call sexual harassment.
The way some men act, they should be ashamed but they aren’t, and that’s the problem. When exposed they say they’re ashamed, but are they really? I don’t think so. Jack wasn’t. They regret their facade of respectability is gone, but that’s not shame. Sexual harassment has been around forever but fifty years ago it wasn’t tolerated in the company of good men. Then it was for decades. Now suddenly, it isn’t. Women are reporting it again like that poor girl who ended up with Jack.
The rest is here.