Oh I know, months and months with barely a whisper and then I return with, of all things, a goddamn serious post! The nerve!
Still, I think that some of this deserves to be said. Or written. And, if I'm particularly lucky, actually read. You never know. Well, you do, if you're reading this. I suppose I never know.
And then he reaches up and manages to snag the trailing edge of the topic as it floats gracefully past him.
I don't know how many of you saw the Yahoo thing about a professional basketball player who, to end an interview with a pretty blond reporter, kissed the side of her head as he exited, stage left. It was certainly inappropriate, even though I got the sense that she had interviewed him before so they weren't exactly strangers, but was it more?
The reporter reacted professionally, laughed it off and nothing more.
A writer on Yahoo wrote a scathing article claiming that it was "straight up sexual harassment".
Look, firstly, I'm not one of the knee jerk anti-political correctness brigade. PC, as a thing, exists because there were, and still are, abuses of minorities, sexual and racial. that sometimes are passed as just banter or conversation, or such like. As a white heterosexual male I'm acutely conscious that many of these excesses originate with people who look like me.
The problem with PC is that sometimes it's taken to ridiculous extremes. Like, in my opinion, it was by the Yahoo contributor. Incidentally Yahoo then reported on their own writer's article, and sought comments. At time of writing this there were 400 odd, and, on a quick skim, I didn't see a single one that supported her position.
The problem is, though, that this is how I see things. The issue is how the reporter who was kissed felt about it. If she felt demeaned or intimidated then she was certainly harassed, although to claim any discomfort is of a sexual nature seems extreme.
This brings us to the crux of the issue; sexual harassment (and the politically correct reaction to it) is ultimately in the eye of the harassee. Ugh. that's clumsy. Let me rephrase; if you feel you were sexually harassed then you probably were. If you don't, well, you weren't.
Not every one will agree with this. For some any suggestion relating to a woman's appearance, for instance, would always be inappropriate, unless from her partner.
There's an episode of The West Wing in which White House lawyer Ainsley Hayes (played by Emily Proctor) is called back into work from a date, whilst wearing a particularly attractive dress. Her boss, Sam Seaborn (Rob Lowe), makes a comment about how good she looks, and a temporary assistant in the office takes offence. Even when Ainsley insists that it is just office banter and that, far from being offended, she was gratified that her outfit had the effect that she intended, the temp insists she is letting down her sex by accepting it.
Obviously I don't agree with this point of view, but still, whilst being a bit parochial, I can see that it is possible to receive inappropriate comments without realising what they are.
As a male spanker, when I put a lady over my knee and spank her, am I abusing her, despite her consent?
There was a long thread on the ITC Spanking forum recently, after a gentleman advertiser offered £500 to a non-professional spankee who would take a hard caning (although not of a judicial level). This excited speculation that he was looking for an inexperienced girl, maybe short of money, who could be compelled to take an excessive punishment by her desperation. In short, that he was looking to exploit her.
This was all bollocks, of course. In the end he was defended by Tara Red, an experienced spanking professional who had referred a friend of hers to him, and whom he had treated respectfully and generously.
Some would say that he still abused her, that consent isn't the crucial issue. That the level of punishment is more important.
I'm a switch, and relatively inexperienced at taking punishment. I like a firm hand spanking that leaves me red and sore, and I adore the deep feeling of bruised muscles that tend to last a couple of days.
To some of you who love to be spanked I'm a wimp. Those of you who pay professional ladies to administer 60 or so firm strokes of the cane certainly are entitled to feel so.
Ask anyone outside of our scene and they would, I'm sure, be horrified at the idea. Surely that would be abuse?
Most of us, it seems, are opposed to the use of corporal punishment in the raising of children, largely because of the possibilities that the system is open to abuse. I'm sure that, except in the most unusual and excessive cases, school children have never been subjected to the levels of punishment that we not only crave but often pay to receive!
So are we being abused, despite our willing acquiescence?
Say I pay a professional spankee £125 for an hour session. We have a little role play, I put her across my knee, lift her skirt, take down her knickers and spend the next 20 minutes smacking her bottom with increasing force.
By the time I'm finished her cheeks have a healthy red glow; she is wriggling each time I spank her, and she utters the occasional gasp. When I let her up she rubs at her bottom.
Have I abused her? If I did this to my wife (who isn't really into spanking) I could certainly be convicted of wife beating.
Does the smile on her face as she hugs me preclude my actions from being abusive?
Returning, for a moment, to the beginning of this rant, I question whether the sportsman's action could be considered sexual. My mother kisses my head whenever I take my leave from her. I kiss my daughter on the forehead or hand when I wish her good night.
I can't see the act as sexual.
However, I am reminded of the various lengthy debates I have read about exactly how much of a sexual act spanking is. As a group we have no consensus on this fairly fundamental issue.
I don't think spanking is always sexual, as such; I rarely get aroused during spanking sessions, somewhat to my surprise, as watching spanking videos always gets me up and ready. When I pat my wife on her bottom I always feel a stirring, When I plan a session I certainly get sexually excited.
My wife, as a non-spanker, cannot understand that a spanking is entirely satisfactory to me of itself. I don't need it to be foreplay. I don't feel cheated if I don't get a happy ending. I really don't need it; my reaction to spanking seems, to me, to be something deeper than a sexual one.
Mind you, I have, since before I was a teenager, used spanking fantasies to become aroused.
Could be that I'm just emotionally and sexually fucked up.
Might be it's not just me though.
My wife is aware that I occasionally session with spanking people; it's a compromise we have come to, so that she doesn't feel she needs to submit to my spanking desires. For years though she did put up with me spanking her periodically, albeit very mildly and generally as a lead up to sex. Was I abusing her?
A few years ago when I developed an interest in being spanked, mush to her discomfort, was she being abused when I pushed her to smack me?
I don't have an answer to any of this; it occurs to me that we should be careful in hurling around accusations of abuse or harassment, but equally, it's difficult to say that someone hasn't been abused unless you know exactly how they feel about what has happened.
Things were easier when I was young; I slapped a lot of bottoms, without giving a lot of thought as to whether my actions were welcomed or not. I believe they were in general, as many of the girls involved stayed good friends with me (and several invited me to take matters further) but, with the benefit of hindsight, I have done things I'm not proud of, that I would never do now.
Certainly I committed acts that would now be considered sexual harassment, at least, and quite possibly abuse.
The thing is, while I don't like political correctness when taken too far, it's hard to argue that things aren't better for young women now than they were 35 years ago. I have a 16 year old daughter, and I sleep easier for knowing that, in some areas, she won't have to worry about things we took for granted.
Humans, it seems to me, are designed to overreact. Extremes don't force us to become moderate; they shove us, pendulum like, to the far end of our tether. We've always been this way, and I see no signs of our changing in the near future.
Of course it can be argued that these extremes have produced some of out greatest achievements. From the horrors of the Second World War, the ultimate example of man's inhumanity, came the creation here in Britain, of the Welfare State and the National Health Service, my country's finest attempt to support those in society who are struggling, to ensure that no one is left behind.
So, no conclusions, but a lot of questions. Any thoughts?
I'll try not to leave so long next time.
All the best