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Red Light – Green Light – Sex

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By David Elmore

January 7, 2018

 

Every decent human above the age of 12 knows how the sexual pas de deux works. There are those who telegraph “come hither” and those who “go thither.”

Every decent human above the age of 12 knows how the sexual pas de deux works.

There are those who telegraph “come hither” and those who “go thither.” The Omegas and the Alphas. The Omegas are in charge of “the look” and the Alphas get their butt out of their chair and walk the walk as dignified as humanly possible to the all-seeing Omega.

If the walk is good and the talk is good, “the look” becomes a smile. Sparks fly, embers burn, and the universe is good. It’s the Alpha and the Omega.

With heterosexuals (my particular flavor), that means the female is the catalyst. Good boys (my particular brand) know this. We know that there are three basic signals from a woman:

  • Red Light: Not interested. Please get lost and stay lost. Have a nice life.
  • Yellow Light: Possibly, kinda/sorta interested, still trying to figure you out, not total attraction, but there’s something there maybe, so I’ll give you a quick look that means you better freaking impress me with that walk!
  • Green Light: Hot damn, you better get your sweet ass over here and talk to me right now, you tall drink of water, you!

Psychologists, of course, have a phrase for the green-lighting by women: proceptive signaling. And even young women in this post-post-post-modern feminist age do it. They signal. The dudes walk. It’s in our primate DNA. The woman determines interest and safety. The guy takes the risks (the walk) and ensures safety.

Good guys also stay tuned, like gentlemen, to the lights changing. The yellow or green light may turn red, so the good guy sucks it up and walks away.

Good guys also stay tuned, like gentlemen, to the lights changing.

The yellow or green light may turn red, so the good guy sucks it up and walks away—hopefully with as good a walk as the approach. No hard feelings. It just didn’t work out. Life happens. Go brush your teeth and put your boots back on.

Occasionally, a red light may actually turn yellow or green if the woman finds the guy funny, or just begins re-evaluating, or she herself has changed recently. These, as we know, can often be the best romances and/or sexual experiences because they are often based on personality alignment, which is the optimum anyway. Hollywood scripts are full of red or yellow lights turning to green.

Good women are careful about the light they give off. They don’t want to deceive or be flattered or have hangers-on for show—or waste their time and the guy’s time. Sexual harassment does not occur between good women and good men.

Good women are careful about the light they give off. They don’t want to deceive or be flattered or have hangers-on for show—or waste their time and the guy’s time.

Sexual harassment does not occur between good women and good men. There may occasionally be a misunderstanding, but being good people, they acknowledge it immediately—probably even laugh about it—and they move on.

This happened to me in the sixth grade (and several times since). A girl started green-lighting me in class. I “did the walk” up to her during recess and told her nicely that I saw her looking at me. She apologized and said that she’d been looking at my best friend sitting behind me (Yikes!). I apologized and did the “oops” walk back to my friends, telling my best friend, who ended up dating her. She and I became friends for many years, laughing at parties when one of us told that story.

The “lights” rule also applies to good men and women in power—with an important twist. They are extra careful in such situations about flirting and exchanging signals with anyone they are in charge of or have leverage over. If they get a green light, which often happens, or a yellow light, they first determine the appropriateness of any “walk”—in that moment or at any time or place. (Yes, women do the walking, if they are in charge.)

They don’t act with probity because there may be prohibitive laws or prohibitive social rules that impel them. They act properly because it is moral. They respect not only themselves, but also the man or woman in their charge. It would not occur to them to use power for inappropriate conquest. They do not see relationships as a conquest. They see them as equal agreement.

For such good people, there would be no “casting couch”—no situation in which they use their employment leverage, or any leverage, over another person seeking any work-value from them. Even the thought of such a situation repulses them, and they are aware of even the perception of such situations. So they would take extra pains to ensure comfort and decorum for the prospective applicant.

They would do things such as ensuring that the door to their office remains open to other office personnel during “casting” interviews. Or they would ensure that a respectable person of the same sex always accompanied the prospective applicant during the interviews. Or they would insist that parents or other adult caretakers always accompany a child seeking employment.

This isn’t rocket science for the benevolent, self-respecting human being in power. When they are in a position of power, they aren’t acting on green lights, as if they were at a honky-tonk or sports-bar—even if the casting-couch prospect is flashing a clear, green light.

Some say that it takes discipline not to act on green lights when in a position of power. That’s true, but not in the sense it’s meant.

Some say that it takes discipline not to act on green lights when in a position of power. That’s true, but not in the sense it’s meant. The discipline isn’t one of “I see the green light, but I can’t act on my strong desire, and I don’t want to get in trouble.” The discipline is, instead, one of principle that is worked out ahead of time by the power person: “I have a responsibility to myself and to others to always be respectful and fair in all situations, even if the other person isn’t being principled.” For this person, the green light is ignored temporarily or permanently, depending on the appropriateness of outside-the-office interaction.

The rash of prominent and powerful men who have been “outed” since Harvey Weinstein in October (50+ now) is not an indictment of all men. It is only an indictment of those men, if they are indeed guilty.

Good men don’t even think of committing the nasty, brutish, and unseemly acts that many of these men are accused of. But there is no limit to the nastiness that bad men will commit if they think they can get away with it—or simply don’t care if they’re caught. Bad men don’t just look for green lights like hyenas on the prowl for raw meat. Bad men attempt to invoke a green light by saying provocative things or doing lewd things. Bad men give off the green light, even when in power. They attempt to impose themselves and reverse the natural process of human sexual interactions, regardless of the woman’s light.

And all adult women know this. Women often know men better than men know men. Women know how men, bad and good, operate, and this applies to positions of power as well. Good women do not “use their sex” when in power, and they don’t use it when getting a job, even with someone who wants them to use it.

And, like the great Maureen O’Hara, they don’t put up with perverts, even when the men are supremely powerful in their industry. Good women don’t complain about or “out” harassers a decade or two after the harassment. Good women own their dignity and own the men in those bad situations, in the moment. They never ever give off a green light inappropriately, and they never ever allow a powerful man to attempt to green-light them into “favors.”

Bad men can carry through on their harassment only if they have enablers—compliant women, who know quite well what is going on, and agree to it or submit to it. One of the most troubling aspects of the last three months of outing is that there has been very little recrimination against these enabling women. The bad men obviously deserve their ostracizing from good society, but the compliant women have also been bad—weak, accommodating, forgiving, rationalistic, deferential. Weak women green-light or yellow-light even when they don’t want to.

Nazi Germany didn’t rise because of Hitler. It gained supremacy because of a weak, compliant, apathetic citizenry that enabled its predominance. The same goes for bad men and interactions of any kind, in which physical force is not being used. Bad interactions are highly limited when one party simply won’t put up with bad conduct—won’t allow a green light. The interaction ends that very moment, if the offending party does not back off. What stops the conduct is principled thought and action (Sarah Palin) by one person.

Unfortunately, for centuries, intrusive conduct by boys (“boys will be boys”) and appeasement conduct by girls (“don’t cause waves”) have been the predominantly-accepted parental paradigms. The result of this has been the Weinsteins and the Weinstein Women. The problem has always started at home during childhood. The greater aggression of boys has not been curtailed by the informed knowledge of the boundaries and the rights of others, and the social proclivity of girls has not been informed by the importance of the right to self-determination and strong judgment.

Fundamentally, children have not been taught the importance of being rational all the time about themselves and others, and they have, likewise, not been taught about the rights of all human beings to their own lives. This knowledge inculcates in them the vital necessity of pursuing their own dreams always, with the understanding that they cannot force themselves on anyone else (boys) or allow anyone else to force themselves on them (girls).

If neither party in an interaction has this knowledge, this self-respect, then it opens the door to harassment—the harasser and the compliantly harassed. It takes only one of the parties to shut down any brief attempt at harassment or inappropriate green-lighting. Only one green light is not enough for ongoing harassment. It takes two to irrationally tango.

It is good that there is a national, ongoing discussion now about the lewd behavior of men-in-power and men-not-in-power, but the discussion needs to extend to the obedient and submissive behavior of women (and men) in these situations.

And more fundamentally, it needs to go much deeper. It needs to go into the households of kids all across the world. It needs to extend to teaching parents what objective rights are, and how to respect children and their value-pursuits fully, so the children have complete ownership over their actions and all interactions.

Confident, self-possessed men don’t mind having to do “the walk.” In fact, they love it. Confident, self-possessed women don’t mind having to beam over the lights. In fact, they adore it. They are in charge of the man’s natural aggression towards them.

The world of relationship lights—green, yellow, and red—is exquisite, exciting, and adventurous if it is approached objectively, respectfully. Confident, self-possessed men don’t mind having to do “the walk.” In fact, they love it. Confident, self-possessed women don’t mind having to beam over the lights. In fact, they adore it. They are in charge of the man’s natural aggression towards them.

This enjoyment extends to the power-relationship, too. Confident men and women know how to handle a sudden attraction to either a subordinate or a boss. They understand that it must be handled subtly, if at all. For a female subordinate, it may mean a very faint green light, and for the boss, it would be an easy, polite expression of acknowledgement that only a confident woman would notice.

The “walk” by the boss may be a discreet request for a coffee “chat” across the street, where both parties understand that they will decide whether they are a good fit, and whether it is appropriate to take matters further as two self-respecting adults.

Again, for two rational adults, this is not rocket science. In fact, many men and women take this kind of respect-interaction for granted—something not mentioned or discussed in the media. These adults most likely came from households where they, their bodies, and their pursuits were largely respected.

The boys know that the “come hither” by a girl is not a green light to take advantage of the girl. It’s simply the light that allows respectful discovery. The girls know that they are in complete charge of their “come hither” and they will determine the right boy to “go thither”—and that they can change their minds at any moment if an interaction is not going the way they want.

This kind of fun and mutually-enjoyable discovery could become ubiquitous if all children were treated as rights-bearing people with an understanding of the importance of their own happiness and the boundaries of their actions—becoming confident, fair, and enlightened Alphas and Omegas relishing life’s pas de deux.

 

 

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  • Sarita Rani

    Dear David,

    At a time when love itself seems to have become such an hazardous venture, your story is a much welcome gift from a more benevolent and simple time. Thank you.

    • David Elmore

      And thank you, Sarita.

  • sallyjanedriscoll

    Good article. Thanks, David & Vinay.

    • David Elmore

      Thanks, Sally.

  • ftwitty

    Good article, David. As a woman, I am glad to see someone finally attempting to put things into perspective — calling into the discussion the woman’s role and responsibilities as well as putting a focus onto how much of the basis for the interaction is learned (for good or bad) in childhood.

    • David Elmore

      Thank you, and yes indeed!