Terrorism? Or molestation?

If you see a suspicious package, alert someone. Tell the train crew or police.

Why put energy there? Why not somewhere where it actually might have a benefit?

I thought this on a crowded train as I tried, hard, not to grind my cock, my hand, into the very attractive ass of the very attractive woman who was, in spite of my best efforts, wedged up against me.

Seriously: how often are suspicious packages found on public transport? How often are they, in fact, malicious?

Leaders have a choice: they can seek to scare us, to keep us vigilant; or, they can inspire us to be better versions of ourselves. The former makes for good politics, the latter, good leadership.

I wasn’t doing anything wrong, but the line between being part of the crowd and copping a cheap feel was perilously thin, and I could see – without telescopic lenses – just how far (not far at all) I would need to travel down the road of moral depravity to behave a smidgen (and infinitely) worse. And I thought, this must happen hundreds of times a day, to hundreds of women.

As I was thinking this, the absurd announcement about suspicious packages came on, and it infuriated me. What we need, what we all would benefit from, is encouragement, not admonition; hope, not fear.

If the message had instead been, “Respect yourself, and others, in a crowd. Keep your hands to yourself,” I got a nickel says at least one woman IN THE CAR I WAS IN might have avoided a little furtive groping.

Instead, we all were reminded of the vanishingly small threat of unattended bags.

My political message for the month.


  1. I got groped on a packed subway car in Mexico city. I had a massive backpack on and couldn’t turn around to see who it was, and I couldn’t do anything but submit. I remember it as being quite awful, I tried elbowing hard a few times but it didn’t stop. I agree, perhaps a message like the one you mention could help, but those who have no morals and want to take advantage will do so, whether there are messages or not. The messages may dissuade people who are contemplating it, which is a decent place to start I suppose.

    1. I want to clarify a couple of things. I think the idea of people who “have no morals” is seductive, but probably not that helpful. As I tried to confess, I’m a dude with what I think are heftily-developed morals, and still, there I was, staring in the face an opportunity not just to grope, but to grope in a way that likely wouldn’t even be PERCEIVED as groping. I think binary divisions often are unhelpful, and here, particularly so. My point is that there aren’t “good” and “bad” people, but that we make better or less good decisions as we go through our days, and we all could use a little support in making the wisest possible decisions.

  2. I really like your line “I tried, hard, not to grind my cock […]”.
    And I really like your message. It wasn’t in a crowded train, but I was groped (there was no misinterpretation there) at the entrance to the subway. A long time ago. It’s still a very vivid (unpleasant) memory…
    I like your proposed message. Or we could go with “don’t be a dick, if you see a pregnant woman or someone travelling with a young child, or an older person, give up your seat”…

      1. But see, the thing is, it’s easier to manipulate people when they are scared!
        I completely agree with you on that.

  3. You should be ashamed at what you’ve posted. There is a fine line between eroticism and perversion and in this post you’ve clearly crossed a line. How does brainwashing about terrorism correlate to potentially taking advantage of a woman’s proximity to you on the train? You clearly don’t ride the mta often because if you did, you’d be well aware of the warnings of sexual assault on a crowded train. How entitled in your ‘sexuality’ that you would even bring to light in a casual manner how easy it is for a woman to be molested in her day to day. You make me sick.

    1. Sometimes I fail to make myself clear. Sometimes, my clarity is irrelevant, because my reader is in a world so different from mine that communication is difficult, if not impossible.

      I wasn’t aiming for eroticism. And you may disagree with what I write here, but it isn’t perverse. Like you, I believe in women’s right to safe passage on public transportation – and everywhere. Like you, I’m opposed to any behavior by anyone that violates anyone’s space, bodily or psychic.

      I’m sorry I make you sick. I assure you, my intent in writing this was to reduce incidences of molestation, or at least to imagine a world in which such a reduction were possible.

      I’m sorry this was lost on you. I’m sorry I failed to express myself in a way that communicated that you and I are on the same side of this issue.

  4. There are reminders that a “Crowded subway is not an excuse to assault or touch someone inappropriately” Thank you for the reminder that women are constantly subject to men’s arousal within proximity to a woman. Do you think this is a smart post? I think it makes you sound like a pervert.

    1. Somehow I failed to respond to this. I’m not sure what you mean by “smart.” It seems you’re suggesting that if the post makes me look like a pervert, then it’s not a smart post. But I’m not trying not to look like a pervert (whatever that is meant by you to describe, to mean). I’m thinking in semi-public, trying to share my thoughts.

      If that makes me “look like a pervert” to you, so be it.

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