I have mixed feelings about this.
I’ve never been truly sexually harassed by anyone. I know that makes a difference in how I feel. The closest is when I was under some woman’s desk at work fixing an ethernet jack and she sat down in her chair and opened her legs a little and said, “While you’re under there….*”
But I didn’t feel threatened by her. I could’ve thrown her halfway across the room without much effort (I’m stronger than I look as more than a few folks have discovered over the years). Not that I wanted to do that. I was mostly just amused.
At the same time, if it is always wrong to flirt, and is always right to pretend that our fellow human beings are sexless automatons, then what does that mean (for not just men), and how will that work?
Meeting like-minded people for me anyway has always been hard enough as it is. If it is impossible to meet like-minded people at work or even in work-like settings, and it is wrong to show interest in anyone without it possibly being harassment, what do you do?
I don’t have a good answer for that. Does anyone?
And note that I am in most cases abso-fucking-lutely oblivious to when a woman shows interest in me, even if she is frantically pulling my pants down. I’ve been trained to never assume. Though I have gotten more aware as I’ve gotten older. Ok, it’s not quite that bad, but maybe if I am distracted, I might think she is trying to brush dust off my pants.
One woman, I went on three dates with and she finally said, “We’ve been on three dates and you haven’t even touched me. Is something wrong?”
I said, “No, you just didn’t seem to be that interested.”
Turns out she’d been sending out all sorts of signals I’d utterly missed. My default unless I know someone really really well is to treat any women like they are robots, as that is the only way to be sure. (And I treat men like that as well, because I don’t really understand humans, not just women.)
Hmm. Not sure what my point is. I don’t have any good answers.
*She was later fired for completely different reasons.