Trigger warning: Mental health issues, terrible doctor-patient relationships, implied slut-shaming.
On Friday evening, Hank couldn’t get the upcoming business meeting off his mind, which was probably to his advantage considering the young lady sitting across from him in his little office corner of the house. He had asked Mary to stick closely around and act loving and wifely. […] The way she dressed and carried herself, Hank made sure that it was Mary who answered her knock at the door and let her in.
I do not posses a Y-chromosome. Therefore, I can’t say I really can relate to the male condition in all its physical fineness; regardless of my gender orientation, it’s entirely possible I do not have the same hormonal reactions when I am attracted to someone that a biological male would undergo. Time and time again I am told that “men* can’t help themselves”, that the mere physical presence of a reasonably-attractive female in anything less than a burqua prohibits polite interactions due to the male’s overwhelming physical response. I can’t actually speak on this topic because I have never experienced it. I’ve experienced momentary distraction by thoughts of desire, but perhaps my ease at pushing them aside has to do with the lack of a penis and Y-chromasome. On this topic, I’ve asked a real, honest-to-goodness, cisgendered male to speak:
As far as the idea that men have no self control, I think it’s a complete crock. Being a man myself, I can honestly say that I don’t find myself unable to concentrate on what a woman says because of her boobs, legs, lips, eyes, or any other attractive feature. I make note of them, but that doesn’t sway how I view their opinions. In fact, I find the entire idea to annoy the hell out of me. How exactly am I supposed to feel when it’s just assumed I’m not going to listen to what someone is saying just because they happen to be female and wearing a skirt?
Yes, I understand some men are like that, but that doesn’t mean the majority are. I’m not going to start spouting sports analogies and belching, so I shouldn’t be expected to turn into some sort of horn dog just because you happened to show a bit of skin. It’s as much of an unfair stereotype as the idea that women can’t enjoy football or that all they care about is how much money you have. It’s stupid, it’s discriminative, and I can’t wait until I won’t just be expected to act like a sexist pig because of what other people say or do.
I then informed him that the context was a pastor having a meeting with one of his flock to discuss some problems she was having that she thought might be of a spiritual nature (specifically, hearing voices). This was his response:
Alright, this situation is just stupid. Firstly, how the hell would you even get any sort of meaningful council if someone else is sitting there and staring at you as if waiting for you to do some sort of whore-ish thing. Because that’s what the person would obviously be thinking. Second, he’s a pastor…and he doesn’t think that he can be alone with this woman. The implication is that either A) He actually CAN’T control himself, at which point….what the hell, why are you a pastor, or B) That he doesn’t want his WIFE to think anything happened, which is even worse! So either he has no way of defending himself from her ‘feminine wiles’ or he wants to prove a point that he isn’t going to be doing anything shady with the woman to his wife…which means he’s a terrible person and doesn’t care about what the person coming to him for help is saying, even before it’s pointed out later. This is the kind of shit that makes it to where no guy who is actually decent can ever be perceived as such, and is either stupid or just trying to trick you into liking him.
I am, however, qualified to speak about mental illness and how you should approach a situation that might involve such. Carmen has been hearing voices. This little exchange rankled me:
“You don’t think I’m crazy, do you?” […]
“Uh…” Hank withdrew his hand to scratch at a nonexistent itch. “No, Carmen, I’m not– I mean, I don’t.”
“I knew you’d believe me.” […]
“Uh,” he said, trying to be comforting, sincere, and nonjudgemental. “Listen, I think it’s been a fruitful hour…”
If you honestly think someone is suffering from mental illness, please, for the love of god, don’t lie to them. I had mental health professionals smile and smile and assure me that they believed what I was saying, that they understood my point of view, and then turn around and tell my parents that I was dangerous and needed to be locked away and/or heavily medicated. Not one of them bothered to look into my situation; I was the crazy person and my mother was sane, so if my mother said I was crazy, they’d happily drug the spirit right out of me. Today I have panic attacks if I’m in a therapy situation, complete with an overwhelming compulsion to lie. Dishonesty helps nobody; it just erodes doctor-patient trust. In this situation, Hank is standing in for a doctor; what’s Carmen going to think when she finds out he does think she’s crazy but he’s too polite to say so? What are the odds she’ll ever share that bit of herself with anyone else ever again?
It’s entirely possible I misread this situation. It’s hard to tell what Hank thinks, since all he seems to think about is the way Carmen is dressed:
Hank closed the door and leaned against it.
“Whew!” was all he could say.
“Hank,” Mary said in a veyr hushed voice. “I don’t think I liked this!”
“She’s… she’s a real hot one, she is.”
“What do you thin of what she said?”
“Ehhhhh, I’ll wait and see.”
In other words, Hank is a very shitty pastor.
*I would assume this is meant to be Cismen, but I’ve never heard this statement in a conversation that acknowledges anything but a binary directly corresponding to naughty bits.