Parties are back and so are the monsters we should have left behind - Alexander Brown
Trips to cities just meant holding my parents’ hands that little bit tighter, and events with other schools were something to endure.
As I got older this extended to nights out, where I would need to drink more so I could blackout and avoid the horrors of bad music and forced social interaction.
Dancing was something to be feared and avoided, always ending in friends grabbing my hands to make me move like a puppet, as if an inability to move is the only barrier to enjoying a dance.
Yet I have missed parties. I have yearned for the thrill of extricating yourself from a conversation you are not interested in, the joy of meeting new people or the sheer concept of dipping food.
Parties coming back has been joyous, giving me the chance to meet new people, or finally see friends in my industry or those around it I know from Twitter.
But it also means I recognise people I have not met, and had hoped never to do so.
Attending events recently, I have seen multiple men known for bothering, if not assaulting women.
The sort who were known about yet tolerated until it became a chance to go viral by calling them out.
Some of them lost jobs, others wrote grovelling apologies, a few got away with it completely.
Even after being outed, many retain a huge social media following, retweet or spoken to by those who know better, but choose not to care.
But in all instances the question of bad behaviour was not disputed, just minimised.
And now they are back in the wild, strolling to invitation only events because consequence wise, it rarely does.
On one occasion I, and friends, stared agape as two from separate tables sat together, with the worst people seemingly better at finding each other than a proper apology.
Instead of being ostracised, their transgressions are forgotten, washed out in the rain.
It means making small talk with someone you know was pushy with multiple friends, or sent abusive messages when they were rebuffed.
But what is the procedure? You can’t shake hands, obviously, but nor can you hit them.
What about introductions? Saying, “Hello, yes I know who you are, how on earth do you sleep at night?” just isn’t polite.
Instead it means ushering people away, telling them to watch his hands, or being asked, “was that who I think it was?”.
And the answer is yes. Because being a creep blurs the lines enough that you can push people against a wall and come to receptions.
It makes women who know them uncomfortable, and those who don’t having to be warned and sent tweets and screenshots over why they’re one to avoid.
It’s great parties are back. But we don’t need to see all of the faces here last time.
Being convicted isn’t the only red flag, and they’re a hindrance to everyone’s else's enjoyment.
Some relics are to be left in the past, and after the past 18 months nobody should have to see these people ever again.
Alexander Brown is a columnist with Scotland on Sunday and Westminster Correspondent with The Scotsman
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