No, not me. Wall Street. Excerpt:
No more dinners with female colleagues. Don’t sit next to them on flights. Book hotel rooms on different floors. Avoid one-on-one meetings.
In fact, as a wealth adviser put it, just hiring a woman these days is “an unknown risk.” What if she took something he said the wrong way?
Across Wall Street, men are adopting controversial strategies for the #MeToo era and, in the process, making life even harder for women.
Call it the Pence Effect, after U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, who has said he avoids dining alone with any woman other than his wife. In finance, the overarching impact can be, in essence, gender segregation.
Interviews with more than 30 senior executives suggest many are spooked by #MeToo and struggling to cope. “It’s creating a sense of walking on eggshells,” said David Bahnsen, a former managing director at Morgan Stanley who’s now an independent adviser overseeing more than $1.5 billion.
Now I’m the least threatening guy in the world to women young or old. At 57, I’m well past the hormone-driven stage; as a happily married man for 26 years, I’m not interested in shopping around. I enjoy women aesthetically, but I also enjoy golden aspens in the fall, beautiful sunsets, kittens and wildflowers for much the same reasons.
And yes, I’ve adjusted my behaviors because of all this crap. No one-on-one meetings behind closed doors. I’m probably speaking more deliberately because my natural tendency is towards rough language and I have to watch that more carefully now. And unlike years gone by, I never, ever complement a woman (other than Mrs. Animal, my Mom or my daughters) on their appearance. My one exception to the above rule is a 30-something colleague who a few years back asked if I could mentor her through her advancing career, and I have agreed to do so, but have known her for a long time, she and Mrs. Animal are great friends, and I trust her.
It’s a shame that things like this have to suck every last bit of enjoyment we have in human interaction. I like women; I enjoy being around them and talking with them, even though I’m not interested in hitting on them or sidling up to them.
But even I, as harmless a sort as you’re liable to find, have cut way back on my interactions with female coworkers. It’s not worth taking the chance. No way. And that’s just too damn bad.