Things I Learned From My Father

A timely word I remember to this day

A woman in a lush forest. The woman is facing away from the viewer, towards the dense foliage. She is wearing casual hiking attire and her hair is tied up in a ponytail. The forest is vibrant, filled with tall trees, a variety of green shades, and dappled sunlight filtering through the leaves.
(Image: DALL-E 3)

I’ve learned many things from my father, and I’m grateful for all of it.

Some I learned by example, some by counterexample, and some simply by listening to what I was being told.

It’s the latter that comes to mind today. All because of bears.

At issue is the current shock and outrage that many, if not most, women would prefer to encounter a bear than a strange man if they were alone in the woods. Many men apparently cannot conceive of how this could be. Some, of course, blame the women.

This morning I read a post by James Fell, What Happened After She Said No. It’s a collection of stories from women describing their experiences after saying “no” to a man. So many stories. It’s most definitely not for the faint of heart. As Fell puts it: “MAJOR Content Warning“.

It’s the tip of a horrible iceberg.

It provides some serious insight in to why a bear might be preferable. Generic men cannot be trusted. (I know … “not all men” … but it doesn’t have to be all men for enough men to make it horrid.)

You can be dignified and decent and accept the reality of her truthful answer, or you can be an asshole.
Too often, men choose the path of the asshole.

Back to my father.

I remember few of the conversations between us. Of those I do recall, I don’t always remember the exact words.

But I remember one word very clearly.


As in, I remember him telling me explicitly to “respect women”.

It’s something he tried to do himself, though he didn’t always succeed. More importantly, though, it’s something he tried explicitly to pass on to me.

Like my father, I haven’t always succeeded. But I try.

I wish more men had fathers like mine. I wish more men understood the concept of giving women the respect that they deserve. I wish more men would try.

I’m speaking directly to men now, the ones who don’t respect a woman’s use of the word no.
What the fuck is wrong with you?

Do better, guys.

1 thought on “Things I Learned From My Father”

  1. I do respect a woman’s use of the word no. I think the scientists know ‘what the fuck is wrong’ with them, who do not. Commonly known laws say that events in our lives can be described by probability distributions, the s.c. ‘bell curves’. Many trends of our characters, our behavior, our values, are determined by our genetic heritage and our environment. There always will be some small amount of people, represented by the very extremes of these ‘bell curves’. The only issue worth discussion is how to decrease the number of these people most effectively. What is being done and what should be done, what should be changed. IMHO it is the education. We live in a complete different times, the complete different societies, our life conditions and rules have changed dramatically, and we, with our primate brains are suddenly, as E.O. Wilson wrote, willingly-nillingly thrown in into these new life conditions, but the preparing of our children for this new life, teaching them hasn’t changed. In any case, in the right direction.


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