06/28/2013 10:41 am ET

It's Okay to Call a Guy Creepy


Be handsome. Be attractive. Don't be unattractive.

These are the three steps men should take to avoid a sexual harassment lawsuit, according to a now-infamous 2005 Saturday Night Live sketch. More than eight years after it first aired, the YouTube video of the skit still gets cited in online discussions of sexual harassment as "evidence" that our culture is deeply hostile to socially awkward and homely men.

In the sketch, NFL quarterback Tom Brady and SNL regular Fred Armisen play office workers trying to pick up female coworkers played by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. Armisen's character is shy and nerdy. Even his most tentative moves result in a charge of creepiness - and the prompt filing of a sexual harassment complaint. Brady, famously easy on the eyes, is physically aggressive, even pinching Poehler's breasts as she offers an appreciative, welcoming smile. The take-away of the spoof is obvious: What gets a man rejected by women (or slapped with a sexual harassment suit) has nothing to do with how he behaves and everything to do with what he looks like.

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