Not All Old Men Are Pervs

It has recently come to my attention that something needs to be said in defence of 'old' men - that is the teenage definition of an 'old' man; any man above 40.

Saturday evening at Glastonbury Festival with my Dad and brother, struggling through the mud and the Adele crowd we head to our campsite. A 'young' woman of approximately 26 is drunkenly obstructing the path. Leading the pack single file Dad carefully navigates the small gap, he puts his hands up to shield himself from her unpredictably flailing arms. 'Excuse me don't touch me' she shouts in my Dad's face, erupting in some sort of aggressive rap routine, her friends scowl at my Dad unaware he's with us. Dad being sensitive and not one for conflict he quickly walks on without looking back, he doesn't say anything about the women's misreading of the situation but it has obviously put a dampener on his evening.

I think of defending my Dad with 'how dare you speak to my Dad like that', but conclude Dad would prefer to walk on. Later I think about how often that happens to him, if it does, how often it must happen to men of his age. I think about the woman and hate her for instantly assuming the worst and then I think about what I would have done in her situation... and I realise that i'm not sure. Perhaps after a few drinks and faced with a stranger, a middle aged man, who I assume is too close to me by his own doing perhaps I would fire some abuse.

Why? Because that's the narrative - 'old' men, and now all men according to Andrea Leadsom are pervy. As a 21 year old woman I'd be hard pushed to find anyone who thinks I'm 'pervy' for squeezing through a festival crowd, why should all men over the age of 40 suffer such a horrible stereotype.

So next time you forget to smile back at an 'old' man, don't thank him for holding the door open, don't return polite conversation, consider that you are likely the one in the wrong.

And yes I have started smiling at 'old' men.


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