I’ve never assaulted a woman, but my mother thought I came close once and boy did she let me have it. Here’s what happened:
It was a warm winter afternoon during my senior year of high school. There was lots of powdery Denver snow on the ground, and my girlfriend and I were making the short walk from the front door of my suburban home, where we had been doing homework together in the kitchen, down the narrow driveway to my dented up Datsun, parked on the street, adjacent to the front lawn. I was driving her home.
With my mother watching from the doorway, my girlfriend stealthily cupped a handful of snow and flung it at my head. I retaliated by wrapping my arms around her knees, lifting her off the ground, and–with her slight frame squealing in protest–dropping her in a pillowy mound of front lawn powder. We both laughed.
I helped her up, but as we brushed ourselves off, my mother called to me from the front door. There was anger in her voice.
When I got close enough that my girlfriend couldn’t hear her, my mother warned me in a low growl to never do that again. I was confused.
“You overpowered her. You are much stronger than she is, and you used your strength against her while she was telling you ‘no.'”
I went red with shame. It was just some roughhousing in the snow. Yet in a moment I came to see myself and my adolescent strength in a terrible light, to imagine the terrible uses to which it might be put.
I’ve been wondering the last several days if more young boys don’t need such censoring from their mothers as I got on that winter day.