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Todd Herman

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‘Old-Fashioned’ rules no longer look so bad

I occasionally horrify my children and other Millennials with descriptions of university life in previous generations. Until the 1970’s, for instance, female students frequently lived in women-only dormitories with strict rules preventing men from going “upstairs.” “Gentleman callers” arrived in well-guarded lobbies for study sessions or dates and women faced serious consequences if they smuggled some guy onto the same floors where other girls slept and showered.

This may seem horribly old-fashioned in the light of today’s “hook-up” culture, but such restraints made complaints of rape and assault far less common than they are now. In the same light, Vice President Mike Pence provoked derision and mockery for his purportedly prudish avoidance of private business dinners with women without the participation of his wife.

But in an age of sex scandals, think of the ruined politicians whose careers might have been saved by similar self-restraint, just as ancient dorm rules helped spare long-ago students from nightmarish and shattering encounters.

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