“Spiro, why don’t you come to the House Saturday night. We’re importing 40 bush from Mills.”
The above quotation is one that I will never forget, even though I heard it fully 38 years ago. It was said to me by a friendly acquaintance back when I was in college. I would be hard pressed to remember his name, but I do recall him being a pleasant, affable guy who happened to live in the Delta Tau Delta fraternity, commonly known at Stanford as the “football frat.” No doubt, he thought he was doing me a solid by inviting me to his fraternity’s next party. There, I could meet, in addition to the usual Stanford girls who show up at frat parties, 40 women from Mills, an all-girls college in nearby Oakland. The presumption is that they would be prime one-night stand material.
I’m no saint and was even less of one in college, but treating women like “bush” was never one of my vices. When I heard that comment, I was actually shocked by its crudity, especially coming from someone who I thought was a genuinely nice person. But here’s the thing – I still think of the person who made that comment as a genuinely nice person. I appreciate that back in the 1970s, it was common for adolescent boys to think that casual sex is acceptable and to use words like “bush” to refer to the objects of their lust. It didn’t make the speakers’ monsters. It just made them immature – and insensitive to some of the most fundamental and profound teachings of feminism.
Personally, I may have been “above” the one-night stand, but I was hardly above the use of crude language. My friends and I appreciated crude jokes and told our share of them. These jokes could be said at the expense of any group whatsoever, and the only applicable principle was the cruder the joke, the bigger the laugh. Sexist jokes, racist jokes, even Holocaust jokes ... they were all fair game. We weren’t easily shocked, but we were, apparently, easily amused.
Still, something about the use of the word “bush” in that particular context chilled me to the bone. I pictured the ladies who might be coming over to the Delta House as innocent, naïve, sweet, pretty, and intelligent. And then I imagined their essences being encapsulated solely by their pubic hair. For some reason, I didn’t laugh. Nor did I ever join a fraternity despite being offered the opportunity to do so. I lived for two years in a trailer park instead, sharing a bedroom for half of the time rather than getting my own bedroom all year, which is what you’d get in a frat. I just couldn’t abide the idea of separating men and women altogether. I didn’t want to be part of a system where women become “bush” and men become ... well that’s the problem, we had no word for the men on the prowl. They were just being men. Their conduct was treated as socially acceptable. Their female counterparts were “sluts,” “slam hounds,” and “hose monsters,” whereas they were just guys being guys. I hated all that. But I didn’t much hold it against the guys who were living the dream; I just didn’t want to be one of them.
I am taking us back down memory lane as a reminder that, like most members of my generation, I became aware of these issues when dealing with men and women who were in their late teens or early 20s. People have a right to grow up. I don’t want to judge them fully by their youthful indiscretions. Today, however, America is waking up to a reality that the Republican nominee for President never shook that “we’re importing 40 bush from Mills” mindset. Admittedly, the audio that went viral yesterday was made over 10 years ago. But the fact remains that Donald Trump was FIFTY-NINE years old when he said that:
I did try and fuck her. She was married.
I moved on her like a bitch. But I couldn’t get there. And she was married.
Yeah, that’s her. With the gold. I better use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her. You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.
Oh, it looks good.
Yes, “it” can look good. “It” can be quite beautiful, even arousing. But if you’ve lived 59 years and have become a father to multiple daughters and you’re still thinking of a beautiful woman as an “it,” then YOU are the hose-monster.
The Trump tape doesn’t appear in a vacuum. We’ve already been exposed to other demeaning statements that he’s made at women’s expense, most notably his comment that Megyn Kelly “had blood coming out of eyes, blood coming out of her ... wherever.” He made that statement when he was SIXTY-NINE years old. Unless you’re Methuselah, you can’t exactly call that a youthful indiscretion.
It was Henry Kissinger who once said that “Nobody will ever win the battle of the sexes. There is too much fraternizing with the enemy.” That’s a point every prospective politician must take to heart. Plenty of voters live without sympathy for blacks, Jews, gays, ... or for that matter, “gun toters” or “Bible thumpers.” But we all come from mothers, and many of us have daughters, sisters, or beloved spouses who are women. Plus, it’s a fact that more than half of American voters are themselves women. This is one “interest group” that a male politician insults at his own peril.
Yankees’ fans love to quote Yogi Berra, who famously said that “It ain’t over till it’s over.” But I’m a Lakers’ fan. And I love to quote their long-time announcer, Chick Hearn, who routinely identified a point PRIOR to the time the clock expired, where a Lakers’ opponent had lost any real chance at victory. It’s at that point where Hearn would make his most famous declaration: “The game’s in the refrigerator, the door’s closed, the light’s out, the eggs are cooling, the butter’s getting hard, and the jello’s jiggling.”
Well here we are, exactly one month prior to the Presidential election, and I’ll say what every non-neurotic American is thinking: the game’s in the refrigerator, the door’s closed, the light’s out, the eggs are cooling, the butter’s getting hard, and the jello’s jiggling. A big-time bigot has been exposed – and I do mean exposed! His bigotry is a slap at everyone’s family, for none of us would exist without women.
You hardly have to be Nostradamus to predict that this latest revelation will be a bridge too far for Trump to win a plurality of votes. But I want to close with a different point. I want to address those who read this blog and who are still thinking about supporting Donald Trump. Please, think again. You’re about to enter the realm of an enabler. Besides, Hillary is qualified. And it’s about time that America elects our first woman President. If you don’t understand why we need to do that, just reflect on the words of Donald Trump.