Tarun Tejpal married at the age of twenty one. Feminists and liberals probably think this is irrelevant. In their eyes, women are helpless pawns. Men pull the strings of the world. But this cannot be true. A talented man who marries in his twenties has a difficult row to hoe. When he marries, he is usually a nobody. It is in all likelihood an unequal marriage, but often more so, retrospectively. When he becomes successful, usually around 30, his wife has become plumper, with two children. She is no longer too interested in sex. Human nature being what it is, she is also a terrible human being. He no longer values the creature that once walked away as if she bought The Fountainhead at a bargain price—because it’d make better wrapping paper. But I do not know what is worse.
He stays in the marriage, for his children. There is nothing in it for him, physically or spiritually. He probably married her when he he battled loneliness every hour of his life—-when he was surrounded by people he would have hauled out of his drawing room if he had a choice—when he felt paralyzed seeing again and again that people failed to see what he found obvious, even when he had explained patiently, down to the last detail—when he searched desperately for an ounce of morality, an ounce of intelligence in the people he worked with, and could not find.
But, now he is surrounded by many sex objects who chase him because he is a success object. He has no intention to yield, but deep inside he knows that if he loses everything overnight, the first person to leave would be his wife. And then his children. They may leave him even if it is true that he lost everything for doing the right thing. He knows if he makes a strategical blunder, ordinary men who have been hiding under the rocks for long would come crawling out to ruin his career—-to destroy his life. God has let him loose on the stump, where his moral sensibilities are tested, every single day, for many decades, when he see his own mate value rising, hitting a peak, and then declining.
I have, here, described man at his best. This is a man struggling to be moral in an immoral society. Wouldn’t he fail himself once, at some point in his life? But, if he would, wouldn’t a lesser man fail himself, many times in his life? Wouldn’t an ordinary man like Tejpal break?
Sexual desire. It is such a human desire. Babies love chocolate, don’t they? What if they are asked to suppress their desire for years, for decades, when they see chocolates everywhere? They see the ingenuity of the market that produces better chocolates almost every day. What’d they do if moralistic labels arestuck on those chocolates? “Do not touch”. It is such an important desire, an important need that is unfulfilled for so long. If a baby breaks the norm once, should we put him in jail, for a decade?
It is perhaps true that Tejpal molested his colleague. But, the fact is that we do not know whether this is true. Even an apology is not an absolute proof. A possible scenario is Tejpal forcing himself on the girl assuming it to be consensual. It is possible that the girl sent out mixed signals to snare him. It is perhaps true he apologized to prevent the matter from reaching the court. This need not be true, but this is very much possible.
Feminists say that “No” means “No,” and the Tejpal case should teach the men who did not know better. But, this is a fraud. Contra feminists, most women say “No” when they mean “Yes”. That’s waht empirical evidence says. In fact, this is the primary reason why most women hate feminists. This is the primary reason why women think that nerds are not being honest about themselves. It’s stupid to deny this, because this has roots in the evolution of male and female mating strategies. Intellectuals who deny the obvious are cheap rascals who know that much of what they say is nonsense. Of course, in an ideal world, people would mean what they say, and say what they mean. I, of all people, would very much love to live in such a world. But, if feminists want to enforce such norms, they should ask women to mean what they say. They should pressurize the bad apples among them. If they want trust, they should learn to inspire trust. A person who demands trust should be trust-worthy.
But, unlike many people, I don’t think that the fact that she took many days to register a complaint proves anything. Women who are sexually harassed at workplace are often very young. But, they rarely act out of haste. Their actions are often well-thought out. On the other hand, I do not think that a senior journalist like Tejpal would send an SMS, “the finger tips”, after he had raped a colleague. Only a fool would do that. Manu Joseph and Seema Mustafa have pointed out that the CCTV footage suggests that we cannot blindly trust the words of the “victim”. Now, this gentleman has the history of doing things for his friends (1, 2), but, if the evidence does not support the claims of the victim, there is no reason why this does not deserve a fair hearing.
When Tejpal was accused of rape, a girl told me, “Now, everyone speaks as if he is the worst human being on earth. He should be punished, but only proportionately. There is something unseemly about her account, but I do not know what it is. Why would someone go overboard in proving that she is a victim?” Perhaps. But, perhaps not. But, even if it is true that Tejpal forced himself over his colleague, we are not good human beings if we put him behind bars for ten years. Maturity is about accepting this. Even a rapist needs to be defended. Even a rapist deserves understanding.
Women often claim that we should forgive everyone and everything. Why do they find it so hard to forgive a man who made a mistake? But, then, perhaps this means that that we should look at their actions, and not listen to their words. But, then, perhaps they are not good human beings. Then, they should at least give him a fair hearing. Why should there be such a strong presumption in favor of women? Evolutionary psychologists know that women are more likely to use indirect forms of aggression, like spreading rumors to sabotage the man they could not have had. Why do people assume that when a man is accused of rape, there shouldn’t be an “other side of the story”? Before you say that he should be sent to the penitentiary with the keys thrown away, remember: What Tejpal did is by no means unusual. Most men are guilty of such sexual crimes. It is far more common than you believe.
As Roy F. Baumeister points out:
A startling yet revealing observation was made by Norah Vincent, after she had lived as a man for some months. She said that when she got men to open up and talk about their sexual feelings, most confessed that at some point they had done something of which they were now ashamed, motivated by their sexual desires. She did not elaborate on what these were, and one does not know even whether they men told her the specifics. And despite my extensive reading of research on sexuality, I have not seen any systematic data on this question. But let’s suppose that she’s right. What would that tell us?
Certainly anyone who watches the news knows that many men, even highly respectable, prominent, successful men, have done sexual things of which they were ashamed. We have seen presidents and presidential candidates admit to sexual misdeeds that compromised their careers. We have seen senators and congressmen admit to doing things in public restrooms or in their offices that have made them laughingstocks. Are these men somehow atypical? More likely these incidents are the tip of the iceberg. These men were caught because they were such public figures that when they do what many other men do, the media are eager to report on them.
There are many things men could mean when they say they have been ashamed by something sexual they once did. It is not just having sex with the wrong person or wrong type of person. It may include making inappropriate advances. It may include misleading a woman such as by pretending to be in love with her in order to convince her to have sex. It may have been trying again after she said no once. Before we condemn men as hopeless sinners, however—and I suspect many men regard themselves as such, at least when they reflect on their attempts to come to terms with the inner sexual beast—we might feel a moment of sympathy for their unrewarded successes. How many times on the dance floor, possibly head swimming with too many drinks, did he want to reach out and touch some woman’s derriere, and yet he resisted?
How many times did he stop as soon as the woman with whom he was necking said to stop? (Research has suggested that most women have said “no” when they meant “yes” at least occasionally, which introduces a further element of confusion to even the most well-intentioned young man.) He doesn’t get any credit for all the times he stifles his desires, despite all the struggle and sacrifice that they cost him. Daily he wrestles with the beast, and mostly he keeps it controlled, even though it is part of him and, crucially, when he does manage to give it the sex it wants, the result has been some of the most glorious moments of bliss he has ever known. Mostly he succeeds in restraining himself. Out of every thousand times he has to deny himself and stop himself from acting on his feelings, once or twice he slips up, and these can be enough to shame him. In fact he’s lucky if their only lasting effect is painful memories tinged with shame, embarrassment, and guilt. These little slip-ups could ruin him, costing him his career, his marriage, his happiness, even his freedom.