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This is not OK, I thought. It was the second presidential debate, and Donald Trump was looming behind me. Two days before, the world heard him brag about groping women. Now we were on a small stage and no matter where I walked, he followed me closely, staring at me, making faces. It was incredibly uncomfortable he was literally breathing down my neck. My skin crawled.
It was one of those moments where you wish you could hit pause and ask everyone watching “well, what would you do?” Do you stay calm, keep smiling and carry-on as if he weren’t repeatedly invading your space? Or do you turn, look him in the eye, and say loudly and clearly “back up you creep, get away from me! I know you love to intimidate women, but you can’t intimidate me, so back up.”
I chose option A. I kept my cool, aided by a lifetime of dealing with difficult men trying to throw me off. I did, however, grip the microphone extra hard. I wondered though, whether I should’ve chosen option B. It certainly would’ve been better TV. Maybe I have overlearned the lesson of staying calm, biting my tongue, digging my fingernails into a clenched fist, smiling all the while determined to present a composed face to the world.
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