Trump’s locker room is a distortion of truth

We’d like to say a few words about locker rooms.

Donald Trump, who is running for president, said that his lewd comments about a woman caught on tape were just “locker room banter.” He said he wasn’t proud of what he had said, but by describing it that way, he tried to minimize it and implied that it was something that goes on in locker rooms routinely.

In other words, Trump is saying that when guys get together in private settings, it’s OK to talk about grabbing women by the genitals, talk about their anatomy in crude terms, and talk about your attempts at sexual conquest, even if the woman in question is married. (And, evidently, if you are married as well.)

Sure, guys are more crude when they’re off by themselves. They say things about women (and about other guys) that they wouldn’t say in polite company. They do. But we’ve been around a lot of locker rooms, and poker games and gyms and all that. And we have never — not once — heard a guy brag about grabbing a woman the way Trump did. We have never heard a guy boast about going after a married woman. We have never heard a guy brag about being unfaithful to his wife. Pro athletes are saying this, too.

Seriously, if a guy were to start down that path in any locker room we’ve been a part of, somebody would have said: “Dude. Pump the brakes, huh?” Or maybe they would have kind of chuckled, but then would have started calling Donald the “crotch-grabber” or some other nickname to shame him. “What’s up, Donnie? Grab any crotches today? Take anybody furniture shopping?”

Guys aren’t really all that bad. They have a rough sense of justice, and — even at the middle school level — that somehow generally works out OK. It can get twisted and mean, no question. But it works itself out. And the judge and jury in locker rooms we know of would have convicted Trump of out-and-out ugliness.

We don’t know how this election is going to turn out. Clearly, the revelation of such crude talk is not going to help Mr. Trump. But one thing we never thought we would say is this: A presidential candidate has somehow brought DOWN the reputation of locker rooms, and what goes on in there. The notion that we are now defending them is almost inconceivable, but, in case our sons and nephews think that’s they way it’s supposed to be, it just needs to be said.


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