What do creepy old men and the NYPD have in common?

Cn: street harassment, creepy behavior, pedophilia

They’re both useless, unnecessary, and just the worst.

So the playgrounds in NYC are finally reopened. And since I had my nieces and nephews (henceforth referred to as niephlings) for the weekend, I decided to take them and my daughter to the playground.

Now this playground is also a park but the areas are clearly defined. There is a policy in place that adults are not allowed in the playground without children.

My niephlings range from ages 7-3. My daughter is 10. So mami joined us to help out. It was a warm day and the playground was not crowded so it was perfect to keep social distancing protocols. While the smaller children played on the baby slide the two oldest (my daughter TJ and niece V) ran around the playground. I noticed a man who seemed to be by himself staring at the kids, particularly the girls, and smiling. I kept my eye on him.

Eventually TJ and V went to the swings. And the man moved to the seats in front of the swings. After a little while TJ tells mami that they feel uncomfortable because the man kept staring at them and their cousin. I asked V and she also said she felt uneasy. While keeping an eye on the other kids (they were close by to be safe) I went and stood by my girls. Mami stood next to the man.

We both watched him. He kept smiling. If you’re a woman or non-man, you can trust your gut about this sort of thing. It wasn’t just a kindly old man smile. It was creepy.

Finally mami asks him what he was staring at. He says he could stare at whoever he wanted. So mami starts to tear into him. I come along and he asks me, “right? I can stare and smile all I want?”. No, I replied. Especially not at little girls. I was getting shaky and told him I would rearrange his face if he kept it up. He told me to bring it on! The audacity? It only gets worse.

So we’re yelling at each other. He keeps insisting he can stare at whoever he wants. He actually mansplained sight to us! He says the cops would prove him right. Now I’m not a fan of cops, much less the NYPD and this encounter didn’t help. The man calls 911 and the cops eventually show up.

Mami and I explained to them what happened. They went and talked to him. They were with him for about 10 minutes. They come back and say he wasn’t breaking any laws. That since the playground is also a park, they cannot move him. I mean, it’s really convenient, you know? The police sure do know when to use force and when to not. But whatever. This post isn’t about police brutality. Although we DID talk about how useless the police were to us and about the whole organization at large.

They asked him to move and he refused. He said he had a long walk so he was tired and he wasn’t going to move.

So, he has a long walk and rather than sit in the benches at the entrance he walks his ass all the way into the playground. Make it make sense. And to refuse to move when he’s been told he made people, especially children, uncomfortable is just even more audacious.

The cops told us we could stay in the park but not speak to the man or we could move to another area. So this man’s pants feels are more important than my children’s right to safety. One cop told us not to let this man ruin our fun.

We went home. Once home I called the parks department and filed a report. I explained and they told me that the man was NOT supposed to be in playground area, regardless of it also being a park. So, the cops just didn’t want to do their job? I’m shocked. /sarcasm

This is not the first time my daughter has been creeped on and I know it won’t be the last. Creepy, predatory behavior is something my daughter and my nieces will have to endure. What did this teach my nephews? That they, as men, can do and say and sit and stare and make people uncomfortable at the least, but it’s ok? My daughter and nieces are just supposed to deal with it?

This is rape culture. It’s a culture that tells women and non men we just have to take creepy behavior. It’s a culture that doesn’t respect children. It’s a culture that tells you to trust your instincts but then chastises for doing just that.

I spoke to my niephlings, especially V and my daughter and we discussed what happened and how they felt. I told them they did the right thing by saying something.

Oh and by the way, since I was so shaky, the man had the nerve to laugh and tell me not to be nervous. The audacity of this jackass, not to mention the entitlement.

I hope he has a heart attack. We have a term in Puerto Rico for creepy old men, viejo verde. And he’s definitely green as hell.

Creepy old man

What do creepy old men and the NYPD have in common?
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Grace & Frankie: Nick is a Creep

Netflix’s original series Grace & Frankie returned for it’s third season March 24th. I love this program. However, a plot point which begins towards the end of the latest season bothered me and I needed to write this.

Spoilers ahead, content note for stalking and manipulation

Episode 11, The Other Vibrator
Grace and Frankie now have their own company, Vybrant, and they’ve launched a vibrator made specifically for older women. 
They discover another company , Onmi Tech, has stolen their idea. They send a cease-and-desist letter via their lawyer and then have a meeting with the other company’s legal team. It’s during this meeting that the head of the company, Nick, spots Grace. He immediately walks into the meeting.

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Spoken like a true entrepreneur

The whole time he’s in the meeting, he doesn’t take his eyes off Grace, to the point that even when he’s responding to Frankie, he only looks at Grace. He’s told why the meeting is taking place and proceeds to kick out his legal team (which by the way, includes his own son). Grace dismisses her lawyer as well. Grace can already tell this man is interested in her and her intent seems to play this to her advantage. Which, I can get behind. Nick is the type of man who likes to feel powerful and have his ego stroked. If Grace can use her “feminine wiles” to save her company, then by all means. There’s some flirtation and Frankie’s attempts to also be a part of the conversation, which honestly save the whole scene. Otherwise this is a very run of the mill cis hets being bland. Nick suggests he and Grace go to dinner so he can “make this all go away”. Frankie however sees what’s going on.

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I love you, Frankie

Frankie tells Nick they’ll sue him. He says, “Ok, I’ll see you in court”. He turns to Grace and says, “At least I’ll get to see you again.”

Episode 13, The Sign (Episode 12, focuses on Sol and Robert which is why I’m skipping it)

In this episode the women is served cease-and-desist papers from Omni Tech.

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Really, Frankie is the star of the show

Later in the episode, Grace is on the phone with Nick. And well, see for yourself:

Grace: Are you kidding me? You can’t sue us! It was our idea!
Nick: Grace, you said you were gonna sue me, but I never heard from you.
What’s a guy got to do to get your attention? 
Grace: You’re suing me so you can see me?
Nick: I’m being proactive, one of the things you like about me.
Grace: [scoffs] There is nothing I like about you.
Nick: Oh, come on, it’s cute. I’m a scamp. 
Grace: Oh, stop. This is not a game to me. We built Vybrant from nothing in our 70s. And it was just starting to take off. And not filling orders is not good for business. And if you think that I’m going down without a fight, you’re not as smart as you look.
Nick: You think I look smart?
Grace: What is wrong with you?

And scene! (emphasis mine)

So, what do we see here? Nick used the legal system to get a hold of Grace. She and her new company are vulnerable and he knows this. He dismisses her very legitimate concerns by laughing it off. He tries to gaslight her by making it seem like she is the one who likes him, he’s doing this for her, really. This is a joke to him. Like Grace said, she and Frankie built their company in their 70’s. If you’re familiar with the show, you know they’ve dealt with the topic of ageism and how society views (or doesn’t) women over a certain age. This is clearly a way to manipulate Grace. He’s counting on the fact that as an older woman, she’ll feel like she can’t say no.

Later in the episode, Nick shows up at the house, comes in even though Grace never invited him in. Grace tells him Frankie has had a stroke, he shows concern for a second and then it’s back to pressuring Grace to go out with him.

Again, emphasis mine:

Grace: Would you stop playing games with me? Things are hard enough right now.
I can’t even work because of your cease-and-desist.
Nick: I just wanted to see you. Look, Grace, my original offer still stands. Have dinner with me. One little dinner. I’ll drop our vibrator, nobody sues anybody, and we all go on with our lives.
Grace: And what do you expect to get out of this dinner that will never happen?
Nick: Nothing untoward. I want us to get to know each other. Come on one dinner.
Grace: That’s all I’d have to do and you’d drop everything? Stay out of my business? My life?
Nick: Yes.

Then there’s a back and forth about what type of meal, where it’ll be, how they’ll get there, even what they’ll eat. I’m sure it’s meant to be cute. It’s meant to show that Grace isn’t easy and just look at how hard poor Nick has to work to get a simple date with Grace.

After shaking hands on the “deal”:

Grace: Why are we doing this?
Nick: Because I can’t get you out of my head.
Grace: Then you should get a new head.
Nick: I would, but I have great hair.

See? He’s so funny. How very charming.

The “Date”:

Grace arrives and brings along paper work for Nick to sign saying he won’t pursue the lawsuit. Once that matter is settled, Grace begins to tell Nick about herself in a very disinterested tone. Nick offers her alcohol which she at first refuses because “pre-late lunch drinks” had “not been negotiated”. Nick then says he’ll have “to pour out this extremely dry martini with olives flown in this morning all the way from Spain”. Again, if you’ve watched the show, you’ll know a dry martini is Grace’s drink of choice. She asks how he knew that.

Nick: Because I did a little research on you.
Grace: That’s terrifying.
Nick: I got the lowdown on Say Grace.
Grace: Oh, did you?
Nick: Solid growth ten quarters in a row, despite the beauty market’s volatility.
Grace: Well, it’s 11 quarters, but who’s counting?
Nick: We are. It’s so us.

From the beginning, Grace has been rightfully upset about Nick’s behavior. She correctly identifies that his STALKING is indeed terrifying. After another charming  obnoxious back and forth:

Nick: If you’re an expert, explain them to me.
Grace: Oh, God, no. I am a nightmare when it comes to relationships.
Nick: Yeah, well, I read that in the research.
Grace: Where are we going? There’s no restaurants out here.
Nick: We never said “restaurant,” we said “food”. I’m meeting all the criteria of our negotiation.

So, we know that Nick is aware of Grace’s past with Robert. He knows she’ll be hesitant to start anything with him or anyone, so he’ll be prepared to use whatever he can to get her to do whatever he wants. He has so far.

I wish Nick wasn’t in this show. His character is gross, a creep who doesn’t respect boundaries and who is willing to use the legal system to bully Grace. This isn’t cute. It isn’t romantic. It’s stalking, manipulation and abusive. This plot line is extremely common, all you need is to look at the synopsis of any “romantic” movie 

But just because it’s common doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t speak up about it. I am hoping next season won’t involve Nick but I know better. I just hope I’m proved wrong, because I love this show and I’d hate to have to quit it, but I will if it comes to that.

Grace & Frankie: Nick is a Creep