I’m not safe on stage next to a girl.

I’ve been a musician for most of my life. At the age of 21 I became a professional and full-time performer, I got to travel overseas to the Middle East and back multiple times for 7 years, I performed in front of Osama bin Laden’s brother, on secret RAF and U.S. Navy bases in the UAE and Oman, surrounded by alcohol, surrounded by different nationalities, religions, ideologies, I performed in the nice parts of town and the rough parts of town. Never in the 10 years that this has been my life have I ever felt as though I was in danger. Not. Once.

That was before. Before I accidentally made the mistake of performing in a duo with an attractive, 19-year-old girl.

Not on a secret military base. Not to the sibling of a now assassinated terrorist. Not even in the bad part of town. It doesn’t matter where we go, it doesn’t matter what we do. Performing with a 19 year old girl in my home city of Adelaide, Australia is the most unsettled i’ve ever had to feel on stage. In my life!

For some reason, men of all ages want to touch her, cat-call her, grab at her, pick her up and run out of the fucking bar with her and (wait for it, because this one’s my favourite) at our previous gig this past weekend decided to sit 20 feet away from us mid-song and rub his penis (for her entertainment of course) for 45-fucking-minutes. Now I’m not one to judge by appearances, but this lovely fella looked like he’d just fallen out the back of a paddy-wagon (which is fine, people can look how they want!) and it’s pretty safe to say the second you sexually assault my singer (in the presence of her FATHER) it would appear the contents of said book matches the cover to a T. Right?

“She’s the one being sexually harassed, how does that make you unsafe?”

How? Because she’s 19 and I’m a 31 year old male and i’m 6 feet tall. 9 times out of 10 we’re performing an hour away from home, it’s midnight when we pack up and if ANYTHING is going to happen to her, i’m the only person there to defend her. And I would any day of the week. But i’m one guy vs a sea of generic wife-beater wearing bar flies and their mates. We have to coordinate leaving together, I’m always looking over my shoulder for the guy I had to ask not to use our gear for “karaoke” during a set-break, I mean fuck! In this part of the world you don’t even have to do anything wrong to wind up on the floor after you’ve been punched in the back of the head by an unprovoked stranger. So what odds am I playing at working with the 19 year old that (rightfully) told some dick-head to get fucked after he LITERALLY strokes his penis AT her?!

The cops do get called at times. But chances are they already know the guy pretty well. “Come on, mate, that’s not o…. oh, please, stop urinating on the bar” as we make our way out the back.

I get it. It’s not about me. It’s about her and all of the other ‘hers’ around the world who have to consider what they should or shouldn’t wear on stage whilst singing soul music! My duo partner hardly shows up in fishnets and a duct-tape bra singing about her vagina (and so what if she did, still not an invitation). We’re playing 60’s and 70’s top 40 and she’s in a full-length dress. Which to me, hardly says “Can I see your penis please, guy with no shoes on?” She can’t get through one song without having to wonder if she should or should not smile at passers by, what if she sends the wrong signal, I mean it’s not like we’re meant to be entertaining or anything…

Is this stuff getting worse? I feel like it is. Is it because we’ve got a “pussy grab’n” president in the world now? Or was he merely elected by a wave of misogyny that broke before him? I don’t know. I don’t care. It’s not an episode of ‘Popeye’, fellas. So please…

…put your dick away and when she tells you to fuck off? Don’t think you’re in one of those ‘P.S. I Love You’ “she wants it but she’s just not showing it yet” moments. You’re embarrassing yourself and you should be extinct.

-Yours sincerely, the Punching Bag sitting next to her.

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