Like shell-shocked casualties stumbling about an apocalyptic wasteland, men (on the internet at least) seem so disoriented by the Weinstein scandal that the likelihood of life ever returning “to normal” seems quite unthinkable.
“How have I allowed this to happen?” is a common appeal from beneath the debris.
“What must I do to ensure this never happens again?” another.
And, “As the father of daughters…” a third, although the traumatised listener, attention span in ruins, rarely makes it to the end of this particular sentence.
While some men are at a loss as to how to react, though, in others the urge to rebuild is strong.
Too strong, perhaps, (and while we’re at it, a bit too literal. Sleeves-up, repair-based rallying cries such as “Let’s fix this, guys” don’t seem to quite strike the right key.)
So, on one hand there are men who can’t help but feel that admitting this problem is too big for them to solve on their own is an utter betrayal of their masculinity.
On the other, the unwelcome news that to remain silent is to be somehow complicit. In something.
Saint Peacock would therefore like to add to the shouting by proposing a third, gender-neutral path: the making of a list.
Unlike the media’s reflex reaction though, which was to compile a list of celebrities, here are five recommendations that anyone in a position to implement should adopt immediately.
Stop watching porn on public transport
Just because the Transport for London suite of brands can feel a little grubby at times doesn’t mean the Hammersmith and City line is the right place to enjoy Milf Handjob V.
Quite how other passengers should combat this explosion of porn on the move is not obvious, but perhaps like the posh old boy who used to keep railway compartments to himself by beckoning anyone who spotted the empty seats to join him, maybe the solution is to say to the perv “How charming! Shall we watch together?”
Stop making embarrassing seat selections
Wherever seating is available there’s always a man will pick the spot that provides the “best view”.
Which is often directly opposite an appalled woman and from a distance of just a few feet.
If this is one of your moves, it may feel discreet to you, but everyone else can see exactly what you’re up to.
So if you’re feeling a bit creepy, sit as far away as possible, not as close.
Stop issuing instructions to cheer up, smile, or the less aggressive but equally nauseating “turn that frown upside down.”
In the entire history of emotion, no one has ever been known to “cheer up” on command.
Likewise, ordering anyone to smile is inherently counterproductive, given its “or else” subtext.
If smiling or cheering up is of such importance to you, worry about your own facial configuration and let other people make their own arrangements.
Stop writing sermons
The internet is now awash with lists on what men should do to react to #metoo.
Here’s a particularly fierce and comprehensive one for men who want some no-nonsense instruction.
On all the lists that have been assembled, however, one item yet to appear anywhere is “write a sermon”.
Like being told to cheer up, this sort of message just has the effect of lowering one’s opinion of the messenger.
Enough with the crusading Twitter bullshit
That #HowIwillchange thing is embarrassing.
#HowIWillChange means sacrificing some of my own social capital so that male-centric spaces in which I am safe are also safe for women
— BOO!ryani brah (@garliquorice) October 16, 2017
As noted, the urge to make oneself the centre of attention in all of this may be too strong for some to resist, but posturing on social media is not the same as doing something.
Furthermore, surely the whole point is NOT to do things – don’t do those things that you know you’re not supposed to.
Then we can all get on with the crossword.