Dear Men: Please Stop Grabbing Our Boobs At Sporting Events. Sincerely, Women.

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

Dear Men:

There is a thing that some of you have been doing that we humbly request that you stop doing, and that is grabbing our boobs during sporting events. You usually do this when some kind of recording device is fixed on you and a woman with a boob, and usually when you are making the kind of facial expression one makes when one is doing something revolting or when one is Sammy Hagar. We're not sure how this all got started. We do not grab your penises when Dustin Pedroia moves the runner over. There must have been a moment, a mammary "Eureka," when a man first found himself so moved by the televised proceedings before him that he had no choice but to grab the nearest boob. Alas, that moment has been lost to history. The world changes almost imperceptibly. The hug becomes the handshake becomes the high-five. And now here is where we are: The boob-grab, it appears, is the new high-five.

We will concede that, at the moment of boob-grab, the women whose boobs are being grabbed on national television are smiling and sometimes waving and more often playfully pushing the offender away, and that this might suggest that women would like for nothing more than to have their boobs grabbed at the ballpark. But we think that is misguided. We think that women go to ballparks these days because they want to watch sports and drink a beer and feel like they are at the ballpark, which, as we all can acknowledge, is a rather sacred experience that isn't necessarily enhanced by having our boobs grabbed. Because our boobs, for all of their social power, are not inviting any of this. They are, if we may speak for them, quite content to rest on their own and take in the game. (Which, it should be said, shouldn't ever be interrupted by marriage proposals, either. But that's a different letter.)


Most women, we would venture to guess, have not had to experience a boob-grab in public. Most of us have been subjected to the unsolicited butt-slap or the back-caress or the knee-brush, and generally they, too, are awful and unwelcome. But the nationally televised boob-grab at a sporting event is a special kind of masculine assertion, and when a man grabs one woman's boobs at a ballgame, he is, in essence, grabbing all our boobs. If we were, hypothetically, to theorize about the phenomenon for a moment, we might bring up Simone de Beauvoir, the Hegelian-Marxist proto-feminist, who might've posited that a woman, even in a ballpark (or perhaps especially in a ballpark), "is simply what man decrees" and "is defined and differentiated with reference to man and not he with reference to her; she is the incidental, the inessential as opposed to the essential."

That is to say, the woman's boob at the ballpark is, hypothetically-theoretically speaking, just a natural extension of the man's rightful space and of his five digits. The grabby man "is the Subject, he is the Absolute"; the lady with the boobs is "the Other," and "the Other" is merely an annex to his domain.


Or perhaps we could give the boob-grab a Freudian gloss and suggest the impulse is rooted in an early frustration of oral dependency. It is an expression of longing for the mother's breast, in other words. One might say, then, that the boob-grab is the new "Hi, Mom!"

Or maybe the boob-grab is really about the new economy and the decline of manual labor in a post-industrial society. Maybe it's a man saying, in the 21st century, "Look what I can do with my hands!"

Whatever the reason, the boob-grab really must stop. We have found ways to express our joy at sporting events that do not involve your erogenous zones, and you are encouraged to do likewise. Trust us: You do not want to continue down this path. Keep grabbing our boobs, and maybe one day, one bright spring day, that deep fly ball will stay just fair, and we will cheer, and the camera will pan to the happy crowd, and a national television audience will watch as you get kicked very hard in the balls.

In celebration, of course.


COUNTERPOINT: Dear Men: Grab Me! I'm There For The Taking! Sincerely, Boobs.