No means no

No country for dirty old men.

Jack Engelhard,

Jack Engelhard
Jack Engelhard
צילום: מתוך האתר האישי

Back earlier there were no sexual predators. We called them dirty old men. Somehow that made it okay.

Nowadays they’re not so cute, and it’s about time they get what’s coming. Seems to be taking forever (among some of us) to learn that girls and women are neither our property nor prey. That part appears to be sinking in, with a sense of alarm, now that so many predators are being outed and publicly shamed.

The most recent big name suspects include comedian Louis C.K., actor Kevin Spacey and the most unwelcome man of the hour, Roy Moore. 

Where’s the line between flirting and assault?
For most  -- about 30 of them named as guilty over the recent months, triggered by the outing of Harvey Weinstein  -- there’s no way out. They’ve been caught. Good. Let them pay. Quite a few admit that they did wrong and are ready to make amends. That’s a start. But it may be too late. 

Others don’t know what hit them…and that’s where the other part comes in, or rather two parts:

1: Where’s the line between flirting and assault?

2. Where do you begin responding to an accusation that goes back 30/40 years?

Please don’t search me for the answers. I do know what’s right and I do know what’s wrong, but everything in between is your guess as good as mine.

Republican Roy Moore, for instance, is running for the Alabama senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions. He is controversial for other reasons, no place here for that, but weeks before the election came word, from The Washington Post, that back in 1979 he had inappropriate intentions and relations with underage girls. 

If he is guilty, I say let him rot. But the accusation comes when the man is denied his timely day in court. So was this simply a good old-fashioned takedown from the Left against the Right? Now that a fifth woman has come out against him, with strong evidence, it appears that Roy Moore is guilty as sin.
Sean Hannity, in fact, made a more persuasive case against him than did attorney Gloria Allred. 

But then the bigger picture…

Are we into charges of sexual misconduct as a political weapon? If so, we’re in the witch-hunt phase of our culture and everybody watch out. Nobody’s safe. 

Except, maybe the Clintons, who seem to weasel their way out of everything, starting with Bill. Now there’s your public enemy number one on this topic.

Bill was a hard-core offender. After that we enter some dubious territory – like that of Richard Dreyfuss and Dustin Hoffman.  

Once they were young. Now they are old. Once upon a time it was the 1960s when free love was the thing. Now it’s 2017 when everyone in America is uptight.

So each in his own way is being accused of inappropriate behavior back then…way back then. 

The two actors are accused of wrongdoing that includes inappropriate language. 

Dreyfuss remembers it as just coming on, or just trying to hook up. Obviously the girl didn’t see it that way. 

Sometimes guys are just too clumsy and too full of hormones and allurements. On this I have no choice but to mention a line that appears in my novel “Indecent Proposal” but that never made it to the movie – “Sex is nothing. Temptation is everything.”

No means no, that’s for sure.  

But the climate being what it is, I wonder how much damage has been done to casual flirting and if romance as we used to know it, has gone out of style.

Well it went out of style some time ago. Used to be that the guy prided himself if he could steal a kiss. Or get to first base. Now it’s all or nothing.

Thanks to the rap culture for all that. 

Listen: we should know the rules, that it takes two to tango, and if it’s just one – that is sexual harassment. Or worse. Period.

New York-based bestselling American novelist Jack Engelhard writes regularly for Arutz Sheva. Engelhard wrote the international book-to-movie bestseller “Indecent Proposal” and the ground-breaking inside-journalism thriller “The Bathsheba Deadline.” His latest is “News Anchor Sweetheart.” He is the recipient of the Ben Hecht Award for Literary Excellence. Website:


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