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On the Receiving End…

Time for an OP ED:

There are so many arguments with regard to Mike Pence’s stance of not eating alone with any woman other than his wife…

While I believe as a person, he has the right to make his own choices on a personal level, as an elected government official, this ABSOLUTELY has to have led to discrimination against women in his business dealings.

People who have had the fortune (or misfortune) of participating in corporate America know firsthand that work doesn’t stop for lunch. The work continues over lunch and sometimes dinner…meetings get extended into either of these meals. These moments of time where two people happen to be eating are also known as networking. These continued work or planned networking meals contribute to an impression that one coworker makes on the other (or as the case may be, the boss). If a woman doesn’t have that opportunity with a business associate that happens to be a man, that lack of time to make that impression hurts her chances for advancement. And yes, the same goes for a man if a woman refuses to eat a meal with him because of his gender.

THIS SHOULD BE A NON-ISSUE.

Unfortunately, in this year of 2017, in the minds of far too many men (and some women), women are still viewed as primarily sexual objects. Any intelligence or business competence takes a backseat.

Why else would she be having a meal with a man? Surely it must be to tempt him.

If she’s single, then she’s on the hunt for a husband.

If she’s married, ‘Oh what a scandal!’

Oh for God’s sake people!

What the hell about eating a salad, turkey sandwich, or steak dinner is sexual? Seriously! Two people of the opposite sex eating a meal together instantly means they’re going to fall into bed together?

…and the story continues…’Oooohhh, she thought to herself, just look at the way his adam apple bobs up and down as he swallows that chewed up pickle…that’s so hot!’. ‘Wow, he thought, the way she stabs at her salad is turning me on.’ (BTW, she’s stabbing at her salad because she’d rather have that friggin’ burger that you’re wolfing down, but Heaven knows the impression that would make.)

Next point…

Are there people who will take their business lunches/dinners to a more ‘intimate’ level? Yes.

Don’t think for one minute that I’m that naïve.

HOWEVER, why is this the first assumed thought in so many people?

Even if this is the intention of one person at the meeting, it’s not necessarily the intention of the other.

I have been on the other side of the table (dare I say receiving end?) of a business lunch where the man sitting across from me started to, not so subtly, hint at the ‘conversation’ being moved to a more intimate setting.

Knowing the best way to thwart his advances while maintaining your level of professionalism, not insulting his precious ego, and continuing your good impression in his mind for future promotions takes talent. Many women have had to learn this talent or succumb to the life of staying in their same 6′ x 6′ cubicle. Some men have had to learn it too.

In all honesty, I just wanted to hit him up alongside the head and tell him to get a clue. In reality, I smiled, not showing my disgust, and tried to accomplish all the above.

Next point…

Two friends can go and have lunch or dinner together. Period.

Two women do, two men do, and considering that both women and men obviously have to eat…surely a man and a woman can go and eat together too.

Unfortunately, this too can be sometimes thought scandalous.

Is this why Mike Pence won’t eat out with a woman other than his wife? Perhaps.

If we’re just talking about it being a personal choice about he and his female friends, then ok.

But when it comes to business, it’s not ok. If a businessman or woman treat the opposite sex differently in any situation…at the office or over a business meal, it’s discrimination.

One last point…

Mike Pence…could your stance on no meals with ‘other women’ mean that you see yourself as being so weak that just in the action of taking a bite of anything with any female other than your wife will make you want to have sex with her? If that’s the case, maybe your testosterone level is too high…I’m sure there’s a pill for that. If you don’t want to go to your regular doctor for that pill, I’m sure as a man you can find somewhere else to get it. Thank God YOU don’t need Planned Parenthood.

Or do you think that the woman sitting across from you will go all googly-eyed, unable to resist you and you’ll have to fight her off? If that’s the case, get real (insert eye roll).

Whatever the case may be for these type of men, when it comes to social situations and business, we women are still being held at arm’s length.

They can use their ‘christianity’ as an excuse, but it still comes down to inequality and discrimination.

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