Bring Back the Slap

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks during a daily briefing in New York City, July 13, 2020. (Mike Segar/Reuters)
On pigs, predators, and bullies.

I’m getting a bit bored of #MeToo, and it seems I’m not the only one. In a piece entitled, “Why Cuomo’s #MeToo Moment Hasn’t Brought Him Down,” the New York Times notes that most New York voters are indifferent to the matter, or, at least, don’t think he should resign over it. I believe I know why.

After reading through the various (credible) accounts alleging that Governor Cuomo pawed at and sleazed on often-much-younger women, making them feel uncomfortable and disrespected, I would like to make an observation: that there is a difference between a pig and a predator (and also, a difference between a regular pig and a pig who is also a bully). A regular pig can often be dealt with by using a healthy dose of womanly assertiveness and gumption, to be administered with swift and immediate effect.

Both the pig and the predator require apprehending, naturally, but to stun a piggish man, one normally need only splash him in the face with a cold drink. Or, should such a beverage not be readily available, a hearty slap will suffice. (Though it’s important to keep in mind that this is mostly a symbolic gesture and that, with a first offense, you need not bust his lip.) The predator, meanwhile, requires an intervention of an altogether more drastic nature. Pepper spray. Frying pan. Elegant silver pistol. Whatever happens to be handiest. In any case, the point is that proportionality is the better part of valor. And as for discretion — well, that is a woman’s art!

It is worth noting that we are, all of us, regardless of sex, humiliated in various ways throughout the course of our lives, and while this can often be unpleasant at the time, it can also serve as a useful and educational experience. Relations between the sexes are no different, and many misbehaving men do actually respond to being humiliated with immediate desistance and/or an apology. So, if you tell him to get the hell off, you may actually be doing both of you favor. You have set the boundaries. He has been warned. There is a chance for you both to leave it at that and move on.

Some men are not so open to feedback, of course. Some men are bullies (just as some women are bullies), whose response to a wounded ego is a torrent of viciousness and an attempt to abuse his position of power. If that’s the case, then yes, go right ahead to the New York Times or call up your lawyer. But don’t make it about “your truth,” for goodness’ sake! Make it about the truth. (And the truth about the injustice, the abuse of power after you told him “no”; not about the initial episode, which might not have been a huge deal if he’d just said sorry or, at the least, not attempted to punish you for standing up for yourself.) An even rarer breed of man is the covert rapist. But again, he is out there. And, again, if you happen to have the misfortune of meeting him, then, by all means — Annie, get your gun.

To return to the subject of Cuomo, that boorish, bumbling buffoon. I would like to propose that, based on the evidence thus far, Cuomo falls clearly in the pig category. According to polling, it would seem many New Yorkers agree. Mr. Cuomo is a man of limited attractiveness, foolish enough to presume that most women he meets fancy him dreadfully. He has in part been led to believe, by the likes of Ellen DeGeneres, that there are countless “Cuomosexuals” out there, dying for a slice of him. Was he a bully pig or a regular pig? I’m not sure, in part because I’m not sure that any of these women told him, in real time, that what he was doing made them feel uncomfortable. I am curious as to why they did not. If the explanation is, “Oh, but he was the governor! They were scared!” I cannot help but think, scared of what, exactly?

The year is 2021, not 1951. No man can expect to get away with that sort of behavior in the long run. Even if you have to go through the almighty hassle of getting fired, with support — and you’d certainly have mine — you would emerge, if not victorious, then at the very least heroic in the eyes of many. As one gutsy female friend recently said on the subject, “Some things are more important than keeping a job.” The same friend tweeted: “Ladies, you don’t need to ruin his life and think of yourself as a victim for the rest of yours. Slapping him is both more satisfying and more effective.” Amen to that!

So, if any woman out there has been fired or knows some other woman who was sacked or otherwise punished simply for stunning a pig in the manner I suggest, then please do not hesitate to write to me. I would be glad to report it — not your truth, not his truth, but the truth of the matter — and to help you in your refreshingly bold pursuit of justice. Generally, ladies, I advise that you keep with you at all times, in reserve, a water-spritz canister and one of pepper spray. One for the pig, the other for the predator. Just do be careful not to mix them up.


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