[trigger warning: rape. please enjoy an otter if this will disturb you.]
This, the column and the comments, are an excellent study in the difference between being a woman in the patriarchy/rape culture and a man in the patriarchy/rape culture.
I'll start this by saying that I don't like Cary Tennis. He's pretentious. He ignores the possibilities of medical/mental illnesses in favor of existential rambling, which, as far as I can tell, means nothing. Honestly, the man doesn't give advice, he rambles for a few paragraphs and then calls it a day. His qualifications for advice giving seem to be that he can use big words, quote dead white guys and he is an alcoholic in recovery. Yeah, okay, I actively dislike Cary Tennis.
Anyway, this woman, LW, writes in and says that she is an alcoholic. (Actually, she's not sure if she's an alcoholic, but a 6 pack a day every day drunk by oneself does put one squarely in the alcoholic category.) She's also lonely and clearly quite depressed. Her problem is that she attends AA* and the men in the group make her uncomfortable. As in sitting too close and touching her uncomfortable.
Are you a woman? Then that last sentence made you uncomfortable, and it had nothing to do with alcoholism.
It didn't bother Cary Tennis, who seems to think that a woman being touched by strange men is just part of recovery and nothing to be concerned about. It concerned every woman who commented, and there were pages of comments. Mostly from women, saying things like, "Um, no, being touched by strange men is not part of recovery, it's a sign of danger, get out."
And that's the difference between being a man and being a woman in our patriarchy/rape culture. When a man experiences another man sitting too close to him and getting touchy, he's probably freaked out, but he's not thinking, "So, exactly how alone would we have to get before he rapes me?" When a strange man offers another man a ride, he may turn it down because he doesn't want to make small talk with a stranger, but he's not thinking, "Oh, fuck no, you creepy rapist! I'm not that stupid."
Chances are, Cary Tennis has never paused in the middle of a conversation with an appliance repairman and thought, "Oh, shit. I'm alone in my house with a strange man. I wonder when the raping starts?" Cary Tennis has likely never looked at a random man walking down the street and thought, "I wonder if that's the man who rapes me." So Cary Tennis can totally ignore this woman's reasonable fears and bullshit some answer about working the program and existential whatever while every woman witnessing this shrieks, "NO! GET OUT! NOW!"
Must be nice, Cary. Must be nice.
*AA is total bullshit, though Cary thinks it's awesome. Despite the PR, AA is as or less effective than going it alone.