Right, I’ve got it. The solution to all our current woes. Jimmy Saville, lustful maths teachers, predatory child-snatchers, raping taxi drivers, even abusive footballers. All these nasty, horrid men could be sorted out so easily – just by adding a bit of bromide to our tap water.
I don’t know why no one’s thought of it before. Though it could well be connected to the fact that men are often in charge of governments, and they tend to be quite attached to their sex drive.
Nevertheless, the greatest good of the greatest number could definitely achieved by a judicious squeeze of bromide into the nation’s water tanks every now and then. I’m not saying every man, everywhere, should get a dose. But most media figures could definitely do with some. If it’s not Jimmy Savile on the prowl, then it’s Frank Bough, who, despite his avuncular cuddly-jumpered image, was notoriously unsafe in lifts, let alone taxis. Even dramatically unattractive media types like Andrew Marr have to take out injunctions to protect their rackety private lives. How much happier they, and we, would all be if you could wander around in a newsroom, pick up a piece of paper, and not have to listen to some wag call out, ‘while you’re down there…’
As the Jimmy Savile case has shown us, it takes huge guts, to stand up and complain about someone in a position of power. Women tend to deal with these things in a subterranean way, by warning each other subtly who to avoid and when (erm, quite a lot of men, most of the time, and in my day, pretty much all of them after lunch). They don’t go to personnel departments and complain, unless things get really bad. There are reasons – the subject is embarrassing, the man may well deny it all, other women may not support the complainant, and the whole thing will almost certainly have an impact on her career.
The bromide in the water is another way of sidestepping confrontation. But it is so tempting, because it would just make life so much easier for an awful lot of us, day in, day out. Women would not be the only ones to benefit – men also seem to spend a lot of time hitting and harrassing each other in various awful ways.
If you had a proven nice man, and wanted children, it would be easy enough to get them onto bottled water and away from the cosy embrace of the bromide. Otherwise, we could all just sit back and enjoy the peace. Go on, you know you want to.