I watch Cops, the TV show, every week, and last week one scene in particular startled me. Some horny old dude in a park walked up to a woman and said, "Hey, how about blowing me?"
Needless to say, the woman freaked out. She called the cops, and they turned up within seconds, throwing him against their car and handcuffing him. They intimidated and harassed him and asked him what the hell he was thinking, telling him civilized men just don't act that way.
And I thought, Huh? What country are they in? Civilized men act that way all the time. The thing is, usually they take the woman out to dinner a few times, flatter her, tell her they love her. Eventually they get her naked. And that's when the question comes up.
So I was wondering exactly why the police turned up. Are they enforcing semantics? Are there laws about context now? Will the SWAT team break into your apartment and force you onto the ground if you ask some chick for a Dirty Sanchez before you tell her she's hot?
I think the cops knew the guy hadn't broken any law. Instead, they were trying to enforce morality. Which, unfortunately, seemed to flatten the poor guy's right to free speech. So while the cops thought they were doing the right thing, in reality they couldn't have been more wrong.
See, Americans are all about being direct. When I walk down the street, for instance, probably five times a day somebody comes up to me and says, "Dude, you are just freaky tall."
There's no beating around the bush. No pleasantries. They just get right down to it. It's what makes us American. When I went to Japan, on the other hand, it was craziness. They were bizarre. They were far too uptight to just blurt it out. Instead, ten or twelve times a day, some Japanese person would approach me, followed by a crowd. "Hello," they'd say, bowing. "My name is Michiko. This is my grandmother Narumi. This is my aunt Miyako. This is my uncle Hideki. Is this your first visit to Japan? Yes? I hope you are enjoying it. (Pause.) Dude, you are just freaky tall."
Here in America, we have the freedom to ask whatever we want, and the people we ask have the freedom to reply any way they want. Want to intern for Vogue magazine for absolutely no pay? Sure! Want to clean the toilets at 7-Eleven for six bucks an hour? No, thanks. Wanna give me a blowjob? Oh, I dunno. What does your dick look like?
In the end, the policemen let the guy go. Which, of course, was the right thing. Straightforward speech is the American way. Ask, and cross your fingers that you'll get lucky.
In closing, though, I'd be negligent not to note that some speech is criminal, such as soliciting prostitution. So make sure the woman knows you don't think she's a whore. Make this perfectly clear, because aside from being illegal the insinuation is offensive. Say something like, "Hey, I'd sure like you to give me a blow job, but there's no way in hell I'm gonna pay you." Our founding fathers would be proud.
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