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All he wanted was sex

Granted that it was unwise to send something like this by email--a New Zealand man wrote to a fellow lawyer proposing they have an affair--but the recipient's reaction strikes me as rather mean and uncalled for. What say you? (Via Reduce Idiocy.)

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I don't know, I'm looking at this one from a slightly different perspective, Debra. That clown was a first-class sexual harasser and the young woman had every right to 'deal' with him. I encountered that sort of nonsense at one time and it can be very unpleasant for the female 'object'. I think she's delivered an excellent lesson. The best I could do back in the dark ages was to return a withering look and query "Would you talk like that in front of your mother? No? Well, think of me as your mother then." I'd like to congratulate the gal myself!


I don't know, it sounds like this was the first time he'd broached the subject. It's not like he was pestering her with the prospect. If she'd already turned him down and he persisted, then it would be more of an offense.

And I guess he was a law clerk, not a lawyer as I suggested. Wouldn't that make him her inferior in some way? So it's not an abuse of power. So would any attempt on his part to introduce the idea of an affair immediately be called harassment? How's the poor guy to get someone involved in a no-strings attachment with him?


He stepped over the line, though, suggesting that she'd be 'a rocket in the sack' or some such thing. That's harassment, pure and simple. How would you feel if someone approached you out of the blue asking if you'd be interested in fornicating with him? Uh-uh. Harassment. I think the lassie is a member of a sensitive culture, too, and was probably horrified by his coarse comments. *On top of which* the overture was made in the workplace, not in a social setting.


Hmmmm. Let me think about this fornication business.....

Anyway, he clearly knew her, as he had sufficient information to have determined that she was hot. What do others think about this?


It is sexual harassment. No doubt about it. Imagine walking up to a person in the office and saying, "I bet you're really hot in bed! Want to jump in the sack for a quickie?" You want to talk like that in a bar, that is fine. But that has no business in the workplace. If he was in the US he would have at least been sent to harrasment training.


But he *didn't* walk up to her in the workplace: he sent her email. Is her email address inherently work-related? Did she open it at work? We don't know, although the article does say that he "awoke to a nightmare," which suggests it occurred after-hours.


I think it is the way people are these days --- I rambled on about it on Susan's blog so will spare you here. Those who live by the email/text, die by the email/text.


OK, a few misconceptions need to be shattered here and now:

1. They are both at exactly the same stage of their careers. If you're referring to the Russell McVeagh and Mayne Wetherell websites, the Russell McVeagh site has not been updated for some time. All law graduates in NZ at firms are termed "law clerks" until they have been admitted to the bar, at which point they become solicitors. I know for a fact that Mr Dale and Ms Bashari were both admitted in late September. They are thus both solicitors now. Both are in their first year of legal practice. They work in different firms, and have little say over each other's career. No power equation is at play here.

2. The context to the email reveals that both knew each other - it would help if the email had been read before people decided it was sexual harassment. It is fairly obvious that they had met each other several times in the past. The likely context is that she had told him that she was not interested in a relationship at present. He wrote the next day saying that he wasn't, either, but was interested in other stuff. It seems as though they *had* met each other in a bar the previous evening.

3. The "sensitive culture" bit is a laugh. Both have been through university in New Zealand, where licentious behaviour of this sort is common. People say all kinds of things in bars, and Mr Dale was probably extending the conversation. Both were writing from work email addresses, and Ms Bashari forwarded it from one, too. The email was sent last Tuesday, it was forwarded it later that day, and the advance brigade of people to receive it got it on the Thursday afternoon in Auckland (mostly at work addresses). The floodgates burst on the Friday morning, by which point it had traveled overseas.

4. I doubt Ms Bashari was offended - with the right guy, I'm certain her response would have been quite different. We don't know the context to the discussion, and a lot of the presumptions expressed here are way off-beam. It was forwarded as a laugh at best, and it is unlikely to have been construed as insulting.

5. Many people who know the likely context aren't particularly offended either, and think the real culprit is the person who printed out the forwarded email, whited out their own name in the recipient list and at the top of the email, scanned it, and sent it out around the world. To forward it to your friends and see it get out of hand is one thing. To do so while trying to keep your identity secret was malicious, and blew something that probably happens quite a lot out of proportion entirely. Passing judgment is easy. Finding the truth is not.


Random Guy, I presume that you are intimate with the lady then, since you are able to say with some certainty that her response *would have* been different with the right guy? You boys definitely need some sensitivity training. You have no business treating women this way.


Susan, let's just say I know a little about her and the way she's acted in the past. There's nothing wrong with it - I fully applaud such behaviour. But strangers who don't know either of them decide that because she's female, she's the aggrieved party. Often quite the opposite is true.

And yes, all men need sensitivity training. Women tell us that we should be honest. When a guy is honest, he has his thoughts forwarded across the world. If a girl had sent a similar email, do you think a guy would have forwarded it with "Loser Alert" written all over it? Guys can't win.

And you're right, I have no business treating women this way. That's why I don't. I can honestly say I've never propositioned a woman, asked her out, or even broached the subject of getting together with her. Unlike Mr Dale, I haven't found someone who I like enough to risk humiliation for.

That doesn't stop me from saying that people with chips on their shoulder, who don't know the context to the exchange, are sitting on judgments based on the way names sound and incomplete knowledge about the situation.


This is interesting. I can see that the intial forwarding by Bashari need not have been driven by malice, assuming she didn't intend to go farther than that first group of friends.


Susan - you have an oppressive righteousness that is right out of the 1950s. That kind of thing is a great reminder of why I left NZ. You think you are being broadminded yet you are so small minded. I agree with Some Random Guy. Azadeh is probably laughing - like almost anyone would in that situation. And Craig is probably somewhere between laughing and cringing. I'm sure his notoriety will be useful in his future quest for women. Everyone should get over themselves!! Laugh a little!!!


I did not read the article close enough. I had assumed they worked together. So Mr Dale is not an harasser... he is simply a jerk.


I don't think he's even necessarily a jerk: it really does depend on context. As Random Guy suggests, the email may have been a continuation of a previous barroom conversation.

I don't think broad-mindedness or small-mindedness has anything to do with this.


You mean Victoria, don't you, SRG?


I find that comment by "some random girl" (too scared to give her name, unlike Susan) offensive and out of order. There has been some discussion on Sharon J's blog about how quick some people are to write nasty comments on a blog that they would not say to someone's face. It is worse when, as in SRG's case, the comments are pseudonymous.

The whole incident of this email is a bit like the current case of Madonna's adoption -- a whole lot of people who don't know anything about it, but sure as hell have an opinion, are leaping in. Well, fine, let them. But please, let's not have nasty personal accusations of people you haven't met and would not say to them if you did. I am not impressed by SRG.


Actually, if it was the 50's then...

It must be the woman's fault. She was obviously leading the man on. If she was a "good girl" she would never had led that poor man into thinking an invitation such as he gave her would be welcome. She must be a slut that invites that kind of opinion of her from men.


While it's difficult to know for sure, from what I can tell the reason Azadeh Bashari called him a loser, and it's somewhat understandable, is because he basically e-mailed him telling her that he spent the evening bullshitting her, telling her what he thought she wanted to hear (about wanting a real relationship with long walks etc) to try and get her to have sex, but since it didn't work, he was going to ask her straight out "do you want to have sex?". Sure many men do this all the time, and women may be used to it. This doesn't mean it's a good idea for someone to admit they've been doing it or that the person you did it to isn't going to think you're a loser and tell everyone.

If he has just e-mailed her asking her if she wanted to have sex, then sure, her reaction might be a bit unfair. But I don't see anything wrong with her forwarding an e-mail he sent telling her he was a real loser who spent his time bullshitting women trying to get into their pants because he was too much of a loser to be succeed without the bullshit.

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About the blogger: Debra is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece, including Reading Herodotus: A Guided Tour through the Wild Boars, Dancing Suitors, and Crazy Tyrants of The History. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.

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