You’ve come a long way, baby.

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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.

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9 thoughts on “You’ve come a long way, baby.

  1. Pingback: Slut Shaming? Nice. | Bleached Bone Valley

  2. “The sad part is that I was the one who felt ashamed and dirty” – that is the sad part to me. I’ve seen too much to ever be shocked by the way people treat each other but I still feel sad when I see the way people are affected by the way people treat each other. You are still the same person that you were before this happened. If you were strong and proud before, you are still strong and proud now. The problem is that events keep occurring are are magnified by one another without ever being put in perspective. They can wear on even the strongest and proudest among us to the point where we just take on the abuse as if it belongs to us.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve grown a far thicker skin since then. The older, wiser me wishes I could go back and give younger, more vulnerable me a hug.

      What still bothers me is that there will always be this chorus of voices in the background telling us that it’s OK because “at least things are better now than they used to be.” It’s the same thing as saying, “Sit down, shut up, and be grateful it isn’t worse.” I call bullshit.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: You may have noticed: I sort of make a lot of posts. | Bleached Bone Valley

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