There was a post on The Culture Monk‘s blog today that got me remembering some of the ridiculous shit that has happened to me in workplaces over the years, and I really feel like I need to get this off my chest. I have put up with everything from daily sexual harassment to thinly veiled threats of violence from men who felt rejected. I think the worst thing that ever happened, though, was at a five-and-dime in New Jersey where I worked as a cashier back in 1992.
The store was located in a rough area of town. Management rented out a small space in the front of the store to a man who set up a stall there and sold newspapers, magazines, and such. Usually, the man’s wife was working the stand, and I had a friendly relationship with her in the way of co-workers. Her husband, however, made me extremely uncomfortable. He would constantly stare and make odd remarks that just didn’t sit well with me. He was, in a word, creepy. Enter “Billy”.
Billy started working in the stockroom, and he seemed like a nice guy. He would chitchat with me occasionally, but for the most part he just did his job. Then, one day Billy asked if he could talk to me about something. I don’t remember the conversation with Billy verbatim, but the upshot was that he wanted to know if I would be willing to sleep with the creepy newspaper guy for money. Billy was gracious enough to offer to set it up for me and only take a small percentage of my fee…
Yeah. That fucker wanted to be my pimp and the other one wanted to be my john.
I tried complaining to management. I got brushed off. I went home sick. I needed that job, though, so I had to go in the next day. The sad part is that I was the one who felt ashamed and dirty, while those guys acted like nothing had happened.
P.S. Yo, Kenneth! It was a good post, btw.