Post # 1
So I work for a small business sometimes I am here by myself. Today a man walked in to check out some carpet tile etc which is normal. The whole interaction was awkward. But hey I am a bit awkward sometimes it takes me a second to understand if someone is joking or being serious if they aren’t like smiling or laughing when they make the joke. Which makes me feel kinda slow or dumb and then I get more nervous. Anyway, this interaction was not off to a great start. Then this is how things progress.
He tells me he’s just going to take a look around, I say if you have any questions just let me know and go back to my desk like 4 feet away. Then one of our installers pops in as he often does to check on me if he thinks I am here by myself or with a customer. He’s sort of the dad type and likes to be sure I am doing ok.
Installer: Hey, you doing alright?
Me: Yep! Thanks!
Random man: Yeah she’s good I am not harassing her or anything,
awkward laugh from me because I am SUPER uncomfortable
Random man: At least not yet, you never know hahaha
Installer: Standing in the doorway where I can see him and the customer can’t see him and makes weirded out face then says “Well I will be around if you need me for anything just let me know”
AKA throwing down the dad card like hey weirdo I am going to be here too so don’t try shit.
Seriously love my coworkers but wtf? Who says that to a woman you just met who appears to be alone???
So bees share your awkward encounters and let’s discuss how the hell men don’t realize this stuff is SUPER WEIRD to say and even frightening for a lot of people.
Post # 2
Have you heard that thing about how men’s biggest fear from women is being laughed at while women’s biggest fear of men is being killed?
Sexism and rape culture (like racism and heteronormativity and able-ism and a bunch of other things) allow those who benefit from privilege to wander around unaware of the experiences of a whole lot of other people around them. I’ve had men get mad at me because they’re standing too close to me, outside, at night, when I don’t know them. One guy was like “I’m not a rapist! Why are you insulting me?!” all butthurt. I responded “Don’t be mad at me. Be mad at men who ARE rapists and make women like me have to figure out which one you are. Do something about them. In the meantime, you need to back the fuck up.”
Post # 3
I was once having my tires replaced at a Mr Tire. Chatting pleasantly with the man behind the desk, discussing the work I’d done on the car previously, how the recall on the clutches in the old Hondas had been a nightmare for me because I couldn’t stand the new one, him replying about all the other complaints he’d heard about those but why they really were an improvement, why I finally buckled and bought the tool to change my own sparkplugs because I blew them out every other month – my old car was an experience, but because it was an experience, I always had great talks with car repair folks. No lack of conversational fodder. I can small talk and shop talk about alternators for hours.
Out of nowhere, we go from talking about sparkplugs to him asking me about what kinds of porn I like. And nothing could get him to stop talking about porn. After a few attempts to turn the conversation back to cars, I just told him I wasn’t cool with this, it wasn’t my scene, and went to sit down and read ancient magazines.
He kept talking about porn. Like, no engagement. I didn’t so much as look at him after that. Nose buried in my magazine, did the checkout paperwork with the guy who actually changed the tires. But he kept talking. Just kept talking about his porn.
(Not sure I can say anything about him being sexist, though, because a year later, FH went to the same Mr Tire and had the same guy and apparently he just talks about porn every time he’s in a room with one other person for more than five minutes. Maybe that’s just his coping mechanism and he shouldn’t work public service. Maybe he’s bisexual and a creeper to both sexes. I do not know. But I switched to a different Mr Tire after that.)
Post # 4
ughhh yes totally! I think that is mostly it. Just totally oblivious and it blows my mind!!
Oh boy that is really super weird. I am surprised no one has reported him to higher ups. Maybe he just gets off on hearing about what other people are into, or by making them uncomfortable asking way too personal questions.
Post # 5
Maybe he was just an awkward soul a bit like yourself and was just trying to make a joke and accidently came across as creepy. Just a thought. It’s nice you have people looking out for you at work though.
Post # 6
I love your response! There was a post recently where a woman was afraid of harassment and everyone commented on it just said to ignore it. I was like whaaaat?! Women this is why we need feminism! This crap is not okay!!
Post # 7
That is so creepy. I will never understand why complete strangers think it’s okay to say things like that. And then people wonder why women have a wall built around them for protection. It’s because we need it!!
Post # 8
Exactly! And that’s why my son is being raised to be a feminist and I keep telling his father (who has feminist perspectives but doesn’t necessarily claim the title) that I want him to embrace the term for himself.
Post # 9
That’s awesome I hope he does. We were watching American Housewife and my DH was like I NEED THAT SHIRT!!!
Post # 10
Mr Tire is a national company. Report that guy. No business wants people like that working for them. “maybe that’s his coping mechanism” — well it shouldn’t be! And if it is, then he needs to find a job where that’s acceptable. Any job that involves talking to strangers who are not trying to purchase porn is not an appropriate job for someone who copes by talking about porn. Seriously, tell Mr Tire’s HR folks about this:
Main Number: 1 (800) 876 – 6676
Customer Service: Extension 3500
HR/Non-Job Opportunity Issues: Extension 3366
Post # 11
That’s so creepy, sorry bee. I have a neighbour that lives one floor above me that I avoid like the plague, he is sooo creepy. The first time I met him it was just us two in the elevator, and this was the convo:
Him: You look nice today.
Me: *smiles/grimaces awkwardly*
Him: Why isn’t your boyfriend with you?
Me: Because he’s at home already.
Him: Oh. Which is your apartment?
Me: It’s on the 15th floor.
Him: Maybe I’ll come by sometime.
Me: *mumbles indistinguishably*
And then we got to my floor. Do you find you come up with the strength and words for what you should have said afterwards? Like in the moment when these things happen, I have no words. I’m more of a “flight” person I guess, especially when in an enclosed space such as the elevator. But now looking back, I can think of what I would prefer to say to him! Whenever I see him now I put my headphones or pretend to be on the phone. Ugh.
Post # 12
I really doubt that, while another male was standing right there, the guy was pre-confessing to wanting to harrass you. Maybe he’s just a little weird and made a bad joke. Maybe he’s tired of women assuming he’s going to attack them so he made a joke about it. You said in your post you’re nervous around people and you were acting weird and nervous before the situation happened. Maybe he’s annoyed that he’s just trying to ask the person who works there about some carpet tile he needs to buy, and you’re acting jumpy and nervous like he’s going to pull out a knife and stab you in the middle of a carpet store.
Real harassment exists. But I think we do women who really are attacked or harassed a huge diservice by blowing small incidents into a whole ‘this is why we need feminism and walls around ourselves’ arguement.
If you were a guy, don’t you think it would get frustrating that just because you are a guy, women automatically get defensive, nervous, and act like you’re trying to attack them. It would be annoying and you’d probably make some sarcastic jokes to prove your point. Real harassment exists, but there’s no reason to make every “that guy was kinda weird” situation into a “Im a woman and am constantly harassed” situation.
Post # 13
I think the answer to your question is, well, because they can. Most men likely assume that they can get away with being creepy, OR because they haven’t ever been made to feel that way, they simply don’t understand what kind of discomfort they’re inflicting.
Post # 14
THAT SHIRT IS AMAZING!!! Just added that to my husband’s stocking stuffer list. And now I’m off to hunt it down. . . Thanks!
Post # 15
Unfortunately, though, men who are
predators use women’s social training to be nice against them and that’s how many women do end up being harassed or attacked.
I have great relationships with men and I’ve heard from many of them that they do feel sad, frustrated and depressed about the fact that women will not look them in the eye (black and brown men and men who look large or “menacing” – whatever that means- especially deal with this.) or greet them and look at them suspiciously. However, their personal frustration about women’s fear of them is still not the same as women’s actual, real need to protect ourselves in a culture where violence against women is entirely too common on a societal level.