Because we know guys never lie about stuff like this.

11 Sep 2009 02:48 pm
Posted by: Donna

A Republican State Assemblyman named Mike Duvall from Yorba Linda, CA resigned in disgrace a couple days ago after a camera caught him bragging, using graphic detail, to fellow lawmakers about his sexual conquests with female lobbyists. This “family values” conservative (ardent Prop 8 supporter who got stellar ratings on his voting record from socially conservative organizations) acknowledged that his comments were inappropriate. I suppose the brief period when gays were allowed to be married caused him to reject his own marital vows. At least in his own mind. I say that because he is now denying the affairs and at least one of the women, a married lobbyist, is denying it. So it’s possible that this guy’s lurid accounts are fictitious. Which is why I find myself somewhat aggravated by a lot of the commentary on this story and what it says about the assumed credibility of a man’s word versus a woman’s. I have some personal reasons for this.

I spent ten years in the military, and nearly a decade more in a male-dominated technical occupation. On more than one occasion, three that I’m aware of, men that I worked with spread false rumors about my sexual promiscuity, and specifically the supposed trysts I had with them. In each case the guy had tried to date me or made a pass at me and I turned him down. Either because they had already told their friends they were going to “nail” me, or as a way to exact revenge for my uppity insistence that I had personal autonomy and could refuse a man (or both), these men talked all kinds of trash about me and smeared my reputation at work. The last time it happened, shortly after I moved to Arizona and was working the night shift at a major manufacturing company, was particularly odious.

“Randy” was a married guy on shift with me. He was entertaining at times, but mostly he was an obnoxious annoying bully. Y’all know the type. They now exactly how far to push people with their jerk-y behavior until they tell him to get out their faces, at which point they become apologetic and behave themselves for a while. Lather rinse repeat. We’ve probably all worked with them and it’s draining enough as it is but I got the special extra privilege of Randy’s persistent amorous attention. He hit on me constantly. I rejected him, constantly. I was far too polite (in retrospect I don’t know why) to tell him I found him repulsive but he was married anyway. I made it (what I thought was) emphatically clear that I don’t take up with married men. Which is true, since I’m one of those godless amoral liberals who actually respects marriage enough not to go around breaking them up. But I digress.

Over a period of several weeks I noticed my coworkers were acting weird around me. Couldn’t put my finger on it but something was a bit…off. One night a female coworker who was sort of a casual friend asked me if it was true about me and Randy. If what was true, I asked. She blurted out that Randy had been telling everyone about the wild and torrid trysts he and I were having on a regular basis. Shocked and appalled, I cornered other people in the department and, yes, they too had heard the Randy’s stories of the assignations I was having with this cretin in hotels and even in the parking lot of our work! Against my better judgment I opted to confront him directly rather than going right to HR as I should have. He denied it at first but as I pushed the matter he finally acknowledged he might have said some things that could have been misconstrued. He apologized profusely and begged me not to tell management. My compassion for his family was the deciding factor in not pursuing a harassment case against him. His wife was a stay-at-home mom and they had 3 kids. I’d like to say my ordeal ended right then but, alas, no. I moved to another shift in early 2000 and after a few months a friend of mine from my former shift called me and let me know that Randy was telling his locker room tales about me again. This time I decided I’d had enough and consulted HR. They thought I definitely had a case against him but I was going to have to line up witnesses willing to sign affidavits that he’d said what he did. Not likely in that good old boy “no snitch” environment, even though several of the guys were sympathetic to me and thought Randy was a pig.

Unsurprisingly, I was not the only woman he lied about. There were at least three other women that I know of whose reputations he tarnished with his sick compulsive lying. The person I really felt sorry for was his wife. Apparently, rumors about Randy and one woman got to her. She confronted the woman at the company holiday party, throwing a drink in her face. It was a horribly embarrassing scene, with the woman Randy lied about professing her innocence profusely and the wife refusing to believe it. I’ve often thought about the wife and wondered what would be worse, having a husband who’s a philandering louse or one who is the kind of weirdo loser who wants to cheat on you but can’t find a woman to do it with him so he lies about it instead.

I don’t know what the deal is with this Duvall character but when I look at him and read the outlandishness of his claims I’m reminded of Randy. This story has been the subject of much tittering and speculation in the blogosphere and it ticks me off that even though the energy lobbyist 19 years his junior is denying Mike Duvall’s claim (as of this writing) most people seem to believe him. And they are doing so based on some pretty flimsy evidence. When I suggested that Assemblyman Duvall may have been telling tall tales on a progressive discussion board here are some of the comments I got:

She may have thought it was part of her “job” description.

Her first lobbyist job only lasted 3 months, I wonder what the reason was for the change. She just became a lobbyist this year. (All of this is available on a CA government lobbyist oversight web page…

Isn’t bragging about sex with a lobbyist a bit like bragging about sex with a prostitute?

Excuse me? I happen to know several female lobbyists in Arizona and they are ultra-professional and take their jobs very seriously. But here’s my favorite:

Yes, but if he was telling a whopper just to impress he would have made it the waitress at the local Hooters or the head cheerleader at the college…or even the hottest intern. That he made it a 36 year old lobbyist…well that one has a ring of truth to it.

Well of course it does. You know, once women hit 35 and get all old and gross and stuff we take whatever we can get, am I right ladies? Thanks so much, liberal dude, for the helpful reminder.

I wonder what the reaction would be if the female lobbyist had accused the male lawmaker of raping her. Something tells me her account of the alleged incident would be greeted with a lot more skepticism than his account of their alleged affair. Yes, rape is a serious charge so skepticism is warranted, but this story and my own experience speak to a big problem we have in society where, when it comes to matters of sex, women are usually assumed to be lying while men are assumed to be telling the truth.

4 Comments

  1. Comment by paisistratus on September 11, 2009 7:08 pm

    I admire your honesty in this post.

    However, it is possible for a woman to lie about this kind of crap.

    I am a married man, and eleven years ago I was suspended from my job (with pay) while they investigated an unfounded (non-sexual) claim that was made against me by a female janitor. I was eventually reinstated to my job after the whole thing was thoroughly investigated and they found no evidence that I’d done anything wrong (because I didn’t so ergo there was no evidence) but it was still a humiliating experience, in fact humiliating enough that I eventually left both the job and the community (I work with a lot of young people and I couldn’t do my job with those kinds of rumors in the background.)

    Your point however is well-taken. Our laws may be several generations beyond the Taliban, but perceptions change more slowly, a lot of people (and not just men either) still automatically believe the word of a man over the word of a woman (never mind that most embezzlers, thieves and swindlers are male.)

    To be honest, I will tell you the one thing that I hate the most when a male politician gets caught with his pants down. He calls the obligatory contrite, “forgive me for I have sinned” news conference and makes his wife share in the public humiliation in the moment, remember Mrs. McGreevy, Mrs. Craig, Mrs. Spitzer, etc. and then he publically puts his arm around her as he walks off stage. At least Mrs. Clinton, Mrs. Edwards and Mrs. Sanford had the spine to refuse to be used as a stage prop.

  2. Comment by Zelph on September 11, 2009 7:48 pm

    I know I shouldn’t find this funny, but I almost spit coffee all over my computer screen reading this. I thought most guy ceased this sort of behavior after high school. Shows what I know.

    Did I ever tell you about the time… they were triplets…

  3. Comment by Donna on September 11, 2009 9:52 pm

    It’s okay Zelph, enough time has lapsed that I laugh at it. It really sucked when I was going through it, though.

  4. Comment by Lloyd on September 12, 2009 5:46 am

    Thanks for this reality check. I did the same as most – accepted the guy’s story as true, and assumed the lobbyist was guilty. But really, your take on it makes much more sense and fits with the characters more truely. I’m glad he did step down and not weather it. Good riddance.

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