Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Let's have a little Locker-Room talk ...

“This was locker room talk,” says Donald Trump about his vulgar and very dangerous comments whereby he bragged about his willingness to commit sexual battery. (If you’ve been living under a rock and missed it, just Google it. I won’t be linking to it). 

Men’s locker rooms: I have been in countless of them over the course of my life, from high school and hockey arenas to military barracks and high-intensity training centres. 

Is Trump correct in placing his recorded mindset and language in “the locker room”? Well, yes, and no.

Teenagers, with hormones raging, occupy the locker rooms of high schools. There was, if my fading memory serves me correctly, a lot of talk about sex and girls. There were always the braggarts who would claim to have bedded the “hot chicks”. Virtually all of that turned out to be utter BS. It was high school and claims ran higher than any substantive activity. I can never remember, at any time, anyone suggesting that the best way to get the attention of any girl was to force oneself upon them. 

Over time, with age, the conversation in most locker rooms changed. The people were more focused on the task ahead or one just completed. I spent hours in locker rooms in the company of some of the toughest men on this planet. Whether we were training to be divers, jumpers, fire-fighters or just win a soccer game, any talk of sex was fleeting and discussions about women were pretty minimal. The language would have been considered by many to have been extremely foul, but it was linguistic embellishment, common in an all-male environment. In the naval service, (I was in two of them), we were particularly adept at constructing sentences peppered with expletives which served only to add colour to the language. 

Once in a while a guy would come along who DID start talking about his sexual exploits. And, on even fewer occasions, someone would go down a path asserting a psychopathic disdain for women, objectifying them as a group and suggesting that women “wanted” to be sexually assaulted or abused. It was never a “discussion”. It was usually an unwelcome monologue foisted on the group by one loud-mouthed individual seeking to become the centre of attention. In a locker room or a barracks or a mess-deck, it usually meant, to us, that the person doing the talking was attempting to cover some inadequacy in his competency or character. It typically ended when another person told him to shut up, (a gentrified way of describing it), or his audience simply left the room. 

I have witnessed, in a public pool locker room, some guy ask if we saw “the hot babe in the blue bikini”, only to find himself tapped on the shoulder and be told by an indignant stranger, “That’s my daughter.” The offender immediately assumed a state of mortified silence.

So, Trump is partially correct. It IS locker room talk. It’s what HE says in a locker room. It’s what HE says on a bus. He takes over the conversation and spouts his psychopathic bile. 

Where he’s dead wrong is that it isn’t locker room talk until he starts talking

(And apparently, I'm not the only one who feels this way).