Savage Love

Savage Love: The Trump Talk


Dear Dan,

Waiting to pay for my groceries at the market this evening, this guy, stinking of booze, says to my 9-year-old daughter, "Sweetheart, can you put the divider thing there for me?" First, why is some leering grown man calling my child "sweetheart"? I move closer to my daughter; he then reaches his hand over me and wraps his hand around her arm, saying, "Now, you be nice to your Mommy, sweetie." I pluck his hand off. "Do not touch my child," I say. My other hand is pressed against my daughter's ribs, and I can feel her heart POUNDING. "You have a beautiful daughter," he says. The cashier, whom we know, a guy, looks at me, eyebrows up. I roll my eyes. So pissed. We leave. "I hated that man," my daughter says once we get in the car. "He smelled bad, I wanted to hit him, if anyone ever does that to me again I'm going to scream." Here we effing go: "Sometimes you have to be hypervigilant," I tell my daughter, "because some gross men out there feel they are entitled to touch us." And then I share my story: "When I was a little girl ..." I don't even remember the first time it happened to me. I don't remember the last time some pervert rubbed up against me. But that's what you have to deal with when you are a girl. We have to learn to brush this shit off, to make sure that this endless assault doesn't take your pride, your confidence, or your sense of peace as you walk through this world.

We should call this the "Trump Talk." The depressing conversation that every parent needs to have with their little girl about revolting, predatory, entitled men. The Trump Talk.

— Mother And Daughter Discuss Enraging Realities

I'm sorry about what was done to your daughter by that entitled asshole at the grocery store — but I'm glad you were there with her when it happened.

The author Kelly Oxford, in response to Donald Trump's horrific comments about sexually assaulting women, called on women to tweet about their first assaults under the hashtag #notokay. Oxford's post went viral — more than a million women responded — and reading through the seemingly endless thread, I was struck by how many women were alone the first time they were assaulted.

A lot of women were your daughter's age the first time it happened to them, MADDER. Tragically, many assumed that they had done something wrong, that they had invited this on themselves somehow, and most didn't go to their parents for fear of getting into trouble. And when it inevitably happened again, some became convinced they were indeed to blame, because they thought it wasn't happening to anyone else, just them.

Regarding your suggestion, MADDER, I've received roughly 10 million emails begging me to do for Donald Trump what I did for Rick Santorum. People even sent in suggestions: trump is the streak of shit a large turd sometimes leaves on the bottom of the toilet bowl; trump is the snot that sometimes runs out of your nose when you're giving a blowjob. The suggested new meanings all struck me as trivial and snarky — and I don't think there's anything trivial about the racism, sexism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and violence that Trump has mainstreamed, and I'm not inclined to snark about it.

And it frankly didn't seem possible to make Donald Trump's name any more revolting than he already has. If I may paraphrase the amazing letter the New York Times sent to Trump after he demanded they retract a story about the women he's assaulted: Nothing I could say in my sex column could even slightly elevate the feelings of disgust decent people experience whenever they hear his name. Mr. Trump, through his own words and actions, has already redefined his last name.

But then your email arrived, and I set aside the column I was working on to rush your idea into print. Because your suggestion is just as fitting and apt as the "frothy mixture" definition of santorum. It's not trivial and it's not snarky. It has gravitas, MADDER, and here's hoping "Trump Talk" isn't just widely adopted, but universally practiced. Because no little girl who gets groped on a bus or in a grocery store or on a subway or in a classroom should ever have to wonder if she did something wrong.


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