Herman Cain claimed today that, ” I can categorically say I have never acted inappropriately with anyone.” Whether or not that’s true — either way, poor Gloria — he definitely has a lady problem. As in he can’t stop saying the word lady. Today, for instance, he said of Sharon Bialek, ” I don’t even know who this lady is!” Last week, he said in an interview with Greta Van Susteren, “Some anonymous ladies have stirred up a controversy with respect to these false claims of sexual harassment,” and also referred to “the lady in charge of human resources.” He explained sexual harassment: ” I believe I have a good sense for where you cross the line relative to sexual harassment. But you have to know the lady, the individual.” He explained his office manner: “So I would, you know, say that about, or I would, you know, pay a lady a compliment.” He even eventually remembered a little about one of those anonymous ladies: “I know I never made any innuendos with the lady that filed the complaint that we were talking about at first,” and “I do recall that the lady making the charge had gotten an attorney.” Was the attorney a lady? We don’t know, but he probably would have mentioned it if she were!
Now, Intel Noreen has nothing against the word lady. She’s been known to use it ironically in e-mail subject lines (hey, ladiezzz), casually when greeting friends (hey, lady!), and thoroughly unironically when referring to her own pristine manners and virtue (hey, mom!). But it’s not the only word she uses to refer to humans of the female persuasion, and she doesn’t typically use it in the context of national sexual-harassment scandals, because, well, in that context it makes you sound perhaps a hair more harrass-y than someone who says “hon” and only slightly less so than the kind of guy who says “babe” when a camera is rolling. Just a little advice from a lady, dude!