There was no knocker on this door.
There was no doorbell either.
It was opened by appointment only, so it did no good to just show up – or to be late or early. It was on time or nothing.
It hadn’t always been this way. But she’d read about rules for the queen of England. You couldn’t touch her unless she initiated contact. Not a handshake, not a pat on the back – nothing. She was the one who would reach out first. It seemed like a good rule for everybody – not just monarchs. It would certainly start very instances of sexual harassment.
She’d first thought it was a good idea for just women, but then thought it would be a good rule for everybody. Men had been harassed too. Men had been victims too. And whether the encounter was between people of the opposite sex or the same didn’t matter. Boundaries and consent mattered for everybody, all the time. Even if an interaction had occurred before. Even if you were married, or family. Every time you touch somebody there must be consent.
The guys who acted badly – maybe they had never been taught otherwise. Nobody has said “No, that isn’t right”, so they assume it is OK. This is not blaming women… but how can men know how we feel if we don’t tell them? They do not have the same lived experience. They can’t empathize with being groped, ogled, cat-called. They don’t hear “Hey baby, why don’t you smile?” Or “That dress looks hot” or “while you’re down there” with a smirk and a glance to the crotch to a female coworker who is digging something out of a cabinet at their feet. They don’t hear or experience this, and they are told that having a woman, a “piece” (not a whole, just that part, not a person), is what makes them a man.
It was time for new rules for an old door.
It was time for things to change.
Nobody got through unless she invited them.
No matter who they were.
(written early June, 2019)