Source image: Artemisia Gentileschi, "Susanna and the Elders," 1610.

You’re an adult man of indeterminate age in 1967, in between subway cars, and you see a six-year-old girl with her mother. Do you: a) quickly move to the next car, as any sensible person between cars on a moving train might, or b) expose yourself to a child?

You’re an adult man of indeterminate age in 1967, on the Broadway bus, and you see a six-year-old girl with her mother. Do you: a) see a lot of other people too, and quickly push through all of them to grab an open seat back of the bus, or b) stand directly in front of them and rub one out through your coat pocket?

You’re a bunch of different adult men of indeterminate age on any form of public transportation in Manhattan between 1967 and 1979. Are you: a) trying to get somewhere, or b) looking for little girls to masturbate at?

You’re a teenage boy in 1969,  hanging with a bunch of other teenage boys on a stoop on 89th between West End and Broadway, smoking cigarettes, and you see a third-grader on her way to school. Do you: a) continue to talk amongst yourselves and say nothing; b) say good morning in an unthreateningly friendly way, like you live in Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood and not real Manhattan in 1969; c) whistle like you’re a bunch of sailors on leave in a movie from the ’50s and not real Manhattan in 1969; or d) call her baby and tell her she looks real nice in her minidress?

You’re a man in 1969, hanging with a bunch of other men outside the deli on the corner of 89th and Amsterdam, smoking cigarettes, and you see a third-grader on her way to school. Do you: a) continue to talk amongst yourselves and say nothing; b) say good morning in an unthreateningly friendly way, like you live in Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood and not real Manhattan in 1969; c) whistle like you’re a bunch of sailors on leave in a movie from the ’50s and not real Manhattan in 1969; or d) call her baby, tell her she looks real nice in her minidress, and ask her if she wants to hang out with you there on the corner, shoot the breeze, smoke up, or whatever?

You’re a man in 1969, hanging with a bunch of other men on a stoop on 89th between Columbus and Amsterdam, smoking cigarettes, and you see a third-grader on her way home from school. Do you: a) continue to talk amongst yourselves and say nothing; b) say good afternoon in an unthreateningly friendly way, like you live in Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood and not real Manhattan in 1969; c) whistle like you’re a bunch of sailors on leave in a movie from the ’50s and not real Manhattan in 1969; or d) call her baby, tell her she looks real nice in her minidress, and ask her if she wants to hang out with you there on the stoop, shoot the breeze, smoke up, or whatever?

You’re a man in 1969, hanging with a bunch of other men on a stoop on 83rd between Amsterdam and Columbus, smoking cigarettes, and you see a third-grader carrying a package on her way to the post office. Do you: a) continue to talk amongst yourselves and say nothing; b) tell her you have another package for her; c) call her baby, tell her she looks real nice in her minidress, and ask her if she wants to hang out with you there on the stoop, shoot the breeze, smoke up, or whatever?

You’re a man in 1969, hanging with a bunch of other men in front of the library on Amsterdam between 81st and 82nd on a Saturday afternoon, and you see a third-grader on her way in carrying several books. Do you: a) continue to talk amongst yourselves and say nothing; b) ask her if she wants to read to you later; c) call her baby, tell her she looks real nice in her minidress, and ask her if she wants to hang out with you, shoot the breeze, smoke up, or whatever?

You’re a man in 2018, your job requires you to take a training module, and the first five questions are weirdly specific and from ancient times that seem utterly irrelevant to your workplace. Do you: a) keep going?

You’re a man walking up Broadway in Manhattan in 1969, and a third-grader on her way to school walks toward you. Do you: a) remember lovingly, in a fatherly way, when your own daughter was that age and continue walking; b) worry a tiny bit about a little girl walking to school alone in Manhattan in 1969, but say nothing because you don’t want to scare her, but then spend parts of the day wondering what the right thing to do would have even been; c) wink at her and continue walking; or d) ask her if she’s single because it seems super funny at that moment, haha, of course I’m not really asking a child if she’s available, that’s why it’s funny?

You’re a man in 1970, getting on the mostly empty Broadway bus on which you could choose any seat. Do you: a) choose a seat on the left side of the bus facing west; b) choose a single seat on the right side of the bus facing south; c) choose a seat on the right side of the bus facing east; d) choose the seat right next to the little girl on her way to school and strike up a conversation?

You’re a man getting on a mostly empty subway car  on which you could choose any seat. Do you: a) choose any seat with a solidly reasonable space between you and another person, because that is the unspoken rule of the subway on those occasions when one happens upon an empty subway car; b) choose a seat where it smells the least like urine or worse; c) choose a seat where it smells the least like urine or worse, which happens also to be the seat right next to a little girl on her way to school; or d) choose a seat where it smells the least like urine or worse, which happens also to be the seat right next to a little girl on her way to school, and then tell her you’re just sitting there because it smells the least bad, but which isn’t true, you know it, she knows it, and the one lady way down on the other end of the car knows it too, thank God?

You’re the father of two grade-school-aged girls in 1970, and one of their little friends comes over for a play date. Do you: a) tell the girls to have fun and that you’ll be in the den if they need anything; b) put a lock on the closet with the stacks of Screw magazines; c) stand in the doorway and silently observe while the girls jump on the bed, in such a way that even a second-grader knows is not so much with fatherly concern for possible girls falling off the bed, but with total creeper vibes that the (now seven-year-old) little friend maybe recognizes from that guy between the subway cars last year; d) expose yourself to the little friend and make an invitation for further engagement with what you’re showing her; or e) all of the above except a)?

You’re the father of a fifth-grade girl in 1971, and your daughter’s best friend has come over for a play date. Do you: a) tell the girls to have fun and that you’ll be in the den if they need anything; b) invite the girls to taste test ‘edible cologne’ off your wrist; c) tell the girls to have fun and that you’ll be in the den if they need anything, but then come back later to whip your daughter with your belt because she left the hose running on the balcony?

You’re a doorman on West 89th off Riverside in 1971, and a fifth-grade girl walks by with her dog. Do you: a) smile and wave hi, because she walks by every day; b) steer her inside because you have something to show her; c) steer her inside because you have anything to show her; d) steer her anywhere for any reason; e) finally, a question about a workplace scenario

You’re twenty-two and you run a head shop on Amsterdam with your friend in 1972, and two seventh-grade girls come in for some screens. Do you: a) tell them you don’t sell to minors; b) try to upsell them on some new bongs that just came in; c) pretend to be shocked when they say they’re thirteen and tell them you thought they were for sure nineteen, at least, at least; d) pretend to be shocked when they say they’re thirteen and tell them you thought they were for sure nineteen, at least, at least, and then ask them if they want to get high in back; or e) pretend to be shocked when they say they’re thirteen and tell them you thought they were for sure nineteen, at least, and then after you get high in the back, start long-term relationships with them?

You’re a sixth-grade teacher at a small private school on the Upper West Side in 1971, and there is a student in your homeroom class you think is especially pretty. Do you: a) keep that thought to yourself; b) announce to the class that she’s the prettiest girl in the class and then open it up for the social studies discussion; c) feel a little icky and push it out of your head; or d) feel so icky, even though it is a passing thought, that you call a therapist as soon as you get home?

You’re a sixth-grade science teacher at a small private school on the Upper West Side in 1971, and the homeroom teacher invites you into the classroom to join a discussion about who the prettiest girl in the class is. Do you: a) say no, thanks, and meet up with him later to tell him you think this is inappropriate, or b) scan the room and then tell the girls not to be so upset, only a couple of them have anything worth looking at anyway?

You’re a married lacrosse coach at a small private high school on the Upper West Side in 1974, and there is a sophomore on the team whom you think is especially pretty, and one day she says in no uncertain terms that she also finds you attractive. Do you: a) tell her that crushes like this are normal, but that anything between the two of you would be inappropriate; b) kiss her in your office, but regret it; c) kiss her in your office, begin an ongoing affair, and make little to no effort to pretend that you are not having an affair; or d) use the word consensual a lot and drop names like Jimmy Page and every other rock star with a teenage girlfriend, in order to tell yourself it’s all fine?

You’re a twenty-two-year-old science teacher at a small private high school on the Upper West Side in 1974, and you think all the sophomore girls are especially pretty. Do you: a) keep that to yourself; b) joke about it with your bros at that bar on Amsterdam; c) tell each and every one of the sophomore girls, separately, any time you see one of them alone in a slightly secluded area of school, leaning in and looking them deeply in the eyes?

You are the headmaster/entire faculty of a small private school on the Upper West Side in 1974, and you hear rumors about the swim coach and the science teacher. Do you: a) do anything; b) do nothing, but wonder what to do/hope it goes away; c) do nothing, those are great guys, rumors go around all the time; d) talk to the girl’s parents about her behavior?

You’re a man in 2018, and your job requires you to take a training module, but all the workplace scenarios are relevant to jobs that existed in times and places that happened before you were even born, but you’re still here. Does this mean you: a) get it?

You’re twenty-two in 1975, and you’re with your bud walking past the candy store at the beach where the kids hang out, and you see two eighth-grade girls hanging out. Do you: a) nothing b) anything or c) “Two more years.”

You’re twenty-two in 1978, and you’re hanging on the beach with your bud. When teenage girls and women walk by, do you: a) notice them, you’re not dead, but continue the previous conversation you were having about baseball; b) read books; c) read magazines; d) read anything; e) choose from the cards you have by your side, with numbers ranging from 1-10, and hold them up like you’re Olympic judges?

You’re twenty-two in 1967, and you’re an aspiring film director. To cast your films, do you: a) hire a casting director; b) hire a casting director, but don’t let that stop you from openly masturbating during auditions; c) stop women on the street to ask them if they want to be in your movies; d) stop women on the street to ask them if they want to be in your movies, and mention that auditions will be held in your apartment; e) stop women on the street to ask them if they want to be in your movies, mention that auditions will be held in your apartment, and when they agree to this arrangement, openly masturbate during these auditions; or f) repeat some combination of all of the above for the next fifty years?

You’re a man in 2018 and you’re still here a) because you’re starting to get it b) but some bitter bitch is obviously fucking with me.

You’re forty in 1975, and you own a telephone. Do you: a) use it for work calls; b) use it for phone calls to friends and family; c) use it for both a + b; or d) dial random numbers and when a girl or woman answers, breathe heavily and maybe mumble at the same time?

You’re a balding, overweight, sweaty thirty-five-year old wearing a dirty tank top in 1976, and you got one of the first video cameras out there. Do you: a) take home movies of your family vacations, or b) take to the streets with your shirt off, and invite girls into alleys and doorways and other corners of New York City to take off their tops for your popular cable-access TV show?

You’re a college boy in 1979. Is it okay to call a college girl any of the following derogatory nicknames? a) it doesn’t matter what b/c/d are, so no

You’re a college boy in 1980. Does no sometimes mean yes? a) no; b) yes; c) I mean, what if she says no, but then you still have sex with her; d) what if she says no but doesn’t kick me in the balls? or d) what if she says yes, but then as soon as my dick gets hard she says no? or e) what if she’s totally naked walking across the quad, and is smoking hot?

You’re twenty-six in 1985, and you and your brothers and sisters own a small restaurant on the Upper West Side, and you decide to date one of your waitresses. Is that a) totally cool, or b) iffy?

You’re twenty-seven in 1986, and you and your brothers and sisters own a small restaurant on the Upper West Side, and you’ve been dating one of your waitresses on and off for the last year, and you’re currently off but you get along well, and one day you’re joking around and so you’re moved to grab her ass at work, but then she spins around like Satan just took over her body and tells you not to ever fucking do that ever the fuck again. Do you: a) even get it?

You’re a forty-year-old headshot photographer/psychotherapist in the West Village in 1986. Did you: a) consider potential problems with putting these two words together on your business card, at all; b) ever have a good sense of how to keep those two things separate; c) see a niche that was needed in which your ability to peer into the minds of the mostly-actresses and -models that came your way was a plus in terms of how well these photos would come out; or d) wonder if any of this behavior might end up with you getting murdered one day?

You’re a man in Central Park in 1986, in a field where people are lying out taking in the sun, and a woman in shorts and a bathing suit top sets down a blanket and lies down. Do you: a) keep walking, or b) find the nearest tree to lean against so you can whip out your dick and start jerking it?

You’re a man in Central Park in 1986, in a field where people are lying out taking in the sun, and a woman in sweatpants and a tank top sets down a blanket and lies down. Do you: a) keep walking, or b) find the nearest tree to lean against so you can whip out your dick and start jerking it?

You’re a man in Central Park in 1987

You’re a man in Central Park in 1987

You’re a man in Central Park in 1987

You’re a man in Central Park in 1988

You’re a man in Central Park ever

You’re a man in Central Park should you stay or just go

You’re a man in Central Park

You’re a man in Central Park

You’re a man in Central Park

You’re a man in Central Park

You’re a man in Central Park

You’re a man in Central Park

You’re a man in Central Park

You’re a man in Central Park

You’re a forty-seven-year-old actor in 1992, and you’ve recently started dating your agent’s depressed thirty-year-old assistant, and you want to kiss her but you haven’t discussed PDA. Do you: a) call her later instead, and ask her if she’s ready to go public, or b) pull her two steps away from her desk where people are walking by, mash her up against the wall with sloppy kisses, and then call her an uptight bitch when she pushes you off and tells you to stop?

You’re a thirty-three-year-old man in 1995, on the phone with a thirty-three-year-old female friend who’s interested in a friend of yours. Do you: a) ask if she wants his number; b) put him on the line so you can all discuss it together; c) put him on the line so you can all discuss it together and laugh when he asks what she’s wearing; d) put him on the line so you can all discuss it together and laugh when he asks what she’s wearing and then suggest some options for “sexy” things you can do on your “date?”

You’re a man in a car on a snowy day in Chicago in 1998. Do you: a) shovel out so you can go to work; b) shovel out so you don’t get a ticket; c) shovel out and double-park until they clear the street and then move your car back; or d) shovel out so you can drive around and double-park somewhere else where there’s a woman doing her own shoveling, and proceed to masturbate in your car?

You’re a fifty-year-old massage therapist in Chicago in 2001. What parts of her are acceptable to massage? a) whatever parts she tells you to massage, or b) whatever parts feel like they’re vibing tense to you in the moment

You’re a woman, at a forty-year-old friend’s book party in 2003, and suddenly you find her attractive in a way you previously had not. Do you convey this by: a) saying Hey, you look beautiful! and then moving ahead with the congrats and conversation; b) raving about how surprised you are that she looks beautiful; or c) raving about how surprised you are that she looks so beautiful and grabbing a sizeable handful of her ass and leaving it there while you’re chatting with a group of friends?

You’re a seventy-five-year-old guest at a forty-year-old woman’s wedding rehearsal in 2004. When you hug her hello, where do your hands go and what do they do when they get there? a) around her back, ending in a quick pat, or b) around her back, ending in a protracted slide down her sides until they come to rest for another protracted moment on her ass?

You’re a fifty-year-old writer at a book party in 2015, and you’re introduced to a similarly-aged writer you find attractive. Do you a) ask her about her work; b) hear her when she says she was just leaving, and say nice to have met you; c) when she says she was just leaving and nice to have you, tell her about your work, all of it, at length, without pause, so that no possible discussion of other work comes into it; d) compliment her outfit, using words that seem safe to you, but keep saying more words and gesturing up and down her body, saying over and over again how great her outfit is, so that it is clear that it is not really her outfit you’re talking about; e) keep saying words even though she told you she was about to leave fifteen minutes ago, and don’t leave one single pause between your words about yourself so that there’s no way for her to politely excuse herself; or e) bullshit trick question.

You’re a fifty-five-year-old writer at a reading series in 2016, and another fifty-five-year-old-writer says no to drinks after, that she’s just going to go home, but she doesn’t just go home, you see her chatting with other people. Do you a) accept her answer anyway; b) ask again; c) ask again a third time, adding what’s the big deal, it’s just a drink; or d) after getting numerous nos to your numerous asks, just try to follow her out when she does finally leave?

You’re a man on MySpace in 2005. Circle one: Y/N Do random women you don’t know want to be friends with you?

You’re a man on Facebook in 2009. Circle one: Y/N Do random women you don’t know want to be friends with you?

You’re a man on Instagram in 2012. Circle one: Y/N Do random women you don’t know want you to follow their private accounts?

You’re a man on Twitter in 2015. Are women cunts?

You’re a man on Facebook in 2018. Are women cunts?

You’re a man on the internet in 2018. Are women cunts?

You’re one of the good ones. You cannot imagine yourself in any of these scenarios. a) Right. b) Right? c) Obviously. d) “…” e) No, absolutely not.

You’re one of the good ones. You stuck with this whole exercise. You feel awful for the woman who these things happened to a) and you will try to do better going forward; b) but this is obviously one very unlucky woman in the extreme; or c) but anything

True or False: You’re one of the good ones. You have obviously never even heard of anything like any of these scenarios.

True or False: You’re one of the good ones. You treat your woman like a queen.

True or False: You’re one of the good ones. Some of your closest friends are women.

True or False: You’re one of the good ones. You have daughters.

True or False: You’re one of the good ones. You have sisters.

True or False: You’re one of the good ones. You would kick the living shit out of one of these guys if you were there.

True or False: You’re one of the good ones. You would listen to a woman tell you these stories, her story, whether you wanted to or not.

True or False: You’re one of the good ones. You maybe need to go back to therapy.

True or False: You’re one of the good ones.

True or False: You’re one of the good ones.

True or False: You’re one of the good ones.

True or False: You’re one of the good ones.

True or False: You’re one of the good ones.

True or False: You’re one of the good ones.

True or False: You’re one of the good ones.

True or False: You’re one of the good ones.

True or False: You’re one of the good ones.

True or False: You’re one of the good ones.

True or False: You’re one of the good ones.

True or False or Trick Question: You’re one of the good ones.

Extra credit:

You’re a fifty-five year old woman in 2016 who’s had a hell of a lot of therapy in the course of your life, but a few days before the presidential election, a man who seems like he would epically fail this training module (or any training module) is actually one of the candidates, and he’s on your tv talking about grabbing women’s pussies, and also the internet exists, and you come to find out that some of the things you thought of one way, for maybe decades of your life, might be thought of in other ways, and so now, in addition to all the other issues you’ve worked to address in your life (alcoholism, your mother), you maybe have a whole other thing to address in your life, information that presents a whole big new possible way in which to examine things, a way that is not at all enjoyable. Your body begins to shake like a band of Trojan horses all stuffed full of creeps just galloped into your living room. You read all the news stories and all the essays and all the Twitter threads, the ones with words like predator and victim and betrayal! and shame—dramatic, finite words. You, you’re this now, a victim, someone bad things happened to, full stop, sorry. Special victim, maybe, even, as though that kind of specialness mitigates it somehow. Predator makes it sound like you were harassed by a dinosaur, or a villain in a superhero movie, or something way, way worse than the slow parade of offenders that skulked down your street. Shame has some variables, but do you really want any of those? It’s not your shame. Or it shouldn’t be. Or mostly isn’t. I don’t know. Maybe you always knew that you didn’t know much, but now you’re not even sure about which way is up and which is down. I mean, what made you think you knew even that much for sure, honestly? Take the sky, for example. Sure, it’s clearly up, but it’s also across. And if you think about it, you know you can’t even see all of the sky at any given time, and so are you really so sure that it isn’t also down? And if up isn’t simply up, and could even sometimes be down, then we’ve already established that down might not be what it seems either. If you could look down through the ground, all the way through all the layers of the earth, through the molten core, through all the layers on the other side of the molten core and out the other side, would you not finally hit sky? I think you would, and so though previously we’ve thought of sky as up and ground is down, now it’s a little less clear, isn’t it? And that’s just up and down! Don’t even get me started on black and white. If you know thing one about color, you know that black and white aren’t colors at all. I mean, good for you, if you’re committed to that worldview, enjoy working that math out in your head every fucking day. See, you wouldn’t want to be you, with that pocket of your brain storing all the gray. Now, apply this to every interaction you’ve ever had with a man, which will not be possible to remember, but you’ll need to try, and then after you’ve done that you’ll need to think about any of these men who are still in your life, and whether or not you’ve forgotten something about some interaction with one or more of them, and whether or not they might not have done so well on one or more parts of this module, whether or not they might have failed a module with other, maybe more challenging questions—for lack of knowing what to call them—because you’re not trying to compare anyone’s pain here, you’re just trying to say that some things didn’t happen to you personally, or, you’re pretty sure, in spite of all the drinking, maybe not one-hundred-percent sure, but mostly sure, fairly sure, at least somewhat sure, that these other things didn’t happen to you, but like, if there had been a question in this module like “Did you ever rape anyone in any way?” and one of these men who’s still in your life maybe has to think about what “any way” means, and then this comes to your attention, then what? What of change, redemption, forgiveness? You believe you’ve changed, are still changing. You believe you have seen others change. Redemption? Who decides about that? Forgiveness? If there’s forgiveness between two parties, who needs me to get into their business about it, do you know what I mean? What if I have no idea about your forgivenesses anyway? Do I deserve anyone’s forgiveness? How would that ever be a yes-or-no answer? All this shit you’re looking at in this module is arguably about right and wrong, and you already know nobody really agrees on that, and not even the people you think agree with you agree with you on everything, and so good luck there, now you have to re-examine your whole life with new information about right and wrong? You don’t say! Did you not know that the very way you were taught history was wrong? You did? Fine. Don’t try to tell me you knew that when you were a kid studying history. You barely even passed history in high school anyway, because boring, what does that have to do with anything. (BWAHAHAHAHA.) You have street smarts. (BWAHAHAHAHA!) Ok, certainly some of your most basic ideas about right and wrong weren’t so far off: murder wrong, baby goats so right. But what if some of your experiences—the ones that you can remember anyway—were examples of pretty serious wrongs that you just wrote off as being (choose one or all): the way things are, no big deal, gross or disgusting or annoying but nothing any New Yorker hasn’t seen before, nothing you couldn’t have walked away from unharmed (you’re pretty sure); there was no one you were ever afraid to tell to go fuck themselves (probably), no blackout where something might have happened you didn’t consent to (probably), no men you slept with because at some point it was easier than saying no (probably), nothing happened that ever stopped you from pursuing something you wanted to pursue (hmm), it all could have been worse (whatever), and by the way, we haven’t even gotten to the part about further implications, like this identity you have of yourself as a strong, tough woman—that suddenly obvious bullshit story—or you know, what women you might have helped by not ignoring most of this shit. So, yeah. Discuss.

Elizabeth Crane

Elizabeth Crane is the author of two novels, We Only Know So Much (now a major motion picture) and The History of Great Things, as well as four collections of short stories: When the Messenger Is Hot, All This Heavenly Glory, You Must Be This Happy to Enter, and Turf. Her work has been adapted for the stage by Steppenwolf Theater and featured on NPR's Selected Shorts. She is a winner of the Chicago Public Library 21st Century Award. She teaches in the UCR-Palm Desert low-residency MFA program.

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