Nice girls are tramps (apparently)

23 Jun

Yee olde married male co-workers who hit on girls at the office scenario. Are you familiar with it? I am. Oooh fuck, am I ever.

My current married-man-who-doesn’t-quite-know-his-boundaries situation is a little different than the norm. It’s also kind of weird and getting increasingly embarrassing (for both of us although I’m not quite sure he realizes it). It’s definitely getting on my nerves.

Contrary to how I might come across in this blog, I’m actually a pretty decent person. I’m nice and do my best to be accommodating, especially in my job. These two traits have gotten me into more trouble that I care to remember.

At the risk of sounding vain and insufferable, I’m going to put it on the table here: I’m easy on the eyes. I’m tasteful and professional in all of my interactions and dress but OBVIOUSLY that doesn’t matter because this is not the first time, nor do I anticipate it being the last time I deal with this brand of bull shit in the office. Ladies (or gents, I don’t discriminate), if you feel me, put yo’ hands up.

Desperate Co-worker Du Jour is a nice person. In fact, he’s a very kind man who just happens to be more than a little hapless. I’m not the first young woman to come into the office that he has become foolishly smitten over. He’s kind of like a cartoon character in the way he falls over himself trying to impress pretty girls but he’s harmless.

If I had known what was in store, I would have put a stop to it much sooner. I always knew that he was a helpful guy (not just to the ladies but for all of his colleagues and friends too. Like I said, he’s a nice man), so I didn’t think much of it when he helped me located office supplies for my cubicle. Then he started bringing me tea every day and soon he was stopping by to chat. And chat. AND CHAT.

It didn’t take long for his constant fawning to go from flattering to OMG STOP. I made sure I brought up Boyfriend as much as possible, going on and on about him as if sun shone out of his ass (even when I was mad at him, which for me REALLY isn’t easy to do). I started cutting the conversations short by telling him I was super busy and had to get back to work and making tea as soon as I got to work in the mornings so he had no reason to bring me some. He reeled it in a bit but by no means got the hint.

Then one day I met his family one day at a work function.

“Oh it’s SO nice to finally meet you!” his very adorable little wife gushed. “I’ve heard so much about you!”

“Err, thanks?”

I have never witness a spousal reaction like this. Even if my only association with a guy is that we work in the same building and have only maybe ever exchanged hellos whilst passing one another in the halls, the moment a wife/fiancée/girlfriend spots me, I’m done for. And by done for I mean that they first try to kill me with their eyes before labelling me as the devil and resorting to giving her man the stink eye every time he even so much as glances in my general direction. It’s hatred unlike any other, and it sucks.

So, needless to say, I was NOT expecting such an enthusiastic greeting.

“Don’t worry,” she continued, as if she could READ MY FUCKING MIND, “I don’t have a problem with you being friends with my husband. You seem like a nice girl! It’s awful how the guys at work joke about you two having an affair isn’t it? Hey, wanna come over for dinner sometime?” And her husband just stood there giggling like a moron next her.

This is about where I threw up everywhere and spontaneously combusted from embarrassment.

SAY WHAT?

Yeah.

From that point on I went out of my way to avoid him and ensure that all conversations were kept short and on topic. I started turning down the occasional tea that would show up at my desk and I was suddenly always busy and OMG WHY DOESN’T MY CUBICLE HAVE A DOOR. I even made sure that my co-workers in the immediate vicinity knew how embarrassed I was every time he doted on me, just to clear the air.

Things had pretty much stabilized and, hurt as he was, he eventually came around and started interacting with me like a semi-normal person. That is of course, until yesterday when I came into work yesterday to find a message on my voice mail:

“Oh hey, guess you’re running late. AGAIN. Ha ha, anyway, nothing important. Just waiting to head out to [an off-site building] and was bored so I thought I’d call to chat. Later.”

What. The. FUCK.

I tweeted this shit. AndyGirl came back with, “Oooh, uncool”

I responded with, “I know, right? It’s embarrassing”

To which she came back with, “Yeah, for the douchebag.”

To a certain extent, she’s right. He’s making an ass of himself for everyone to see and see it they do.

Still, I don’t really care about his embarrassment, I care about mine.

This situation might is tame. This situation it manageable. Not all of them (or even many of them) are. Even if his wife doesn’t believe there’s a problem, people are obviously whispering. They are watching every move and even without doing a thing, I’ve been labelled. And him? He’s just a silly man gone gaga over a pretty girl.

In the end, it doesn’t matter that he’s the instigator and I’m just unlucky. It doesn’t matter that all I’ve done is be myself and he can’t help himself. In the eyes of everyone else, it’s always my fault. In any situation like this, it is my fault,

It’s my fault because I’m pretty. It’s my fault because being kind is all too often perceived as flirting. It’s my fault because I’m young and often men lost in the throes of mid-life crisis just can’t help themselves. It’ll be my fault if they make a pass at me because I’m a temptress, a vixen, some young slut home wrecker who likes the attention. Because that’s exactly what young, pretty, successful women do, right?

Fuck it.

I’m sick of it. It’s hard enough to be a young, educated woman trying to build a career for herself, even now. You have to fight to get respect in the workplace, and not just from the men. Men look at you like an object and women look at you like a threat. This is a generalization to be sure, but it happens nonetheless. This is the type of life where just working hard and doing a good job will never be enough. You have to struggle to shatter stereotypes and make a name for yourself so that everyone knows that you’re not just some slacker bimbo hoping to get by on her good looks.

And fuck if that’s not hard enough without bull shit like this.

Anyway, I kind of went on a bit of a tangent there at the end. What say you, dear reader? Have you had a similar experience? Have you witnessed it go down, been one of the other players in this scenario? Do you want to weigh in on the issue? Leave your story in the comments, let’s vent it out.

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9 Responses to “Nice girls are tramps (apparently)”

  1. ksluiter June 23, 2010 at 10:54 pm #

    um, that guy? is a douche.

    I do know what you are talking about though. 10 years ago I was in your situation (now I am just an old married mom in my 30’s). I never knew how to act because if I was nice, I was a whore. If I was cold, I was a bitch. There was NO winning!

  2. Margaret June 24, 2010 at 1:09 am #

    I used to work at the SAME COMPANY as Husband, and I STILL got hit on by vendors. He sat near the door, and sometimes they’d hit no me RIGHT THERE.

    [creepy flirter guy talks]
    [i say something about Husband]
    [creeper makes joke about him not being here]
    [me- *points to Husband*]

    It only got that bad once or twice, but it was pretty hilarious.

    F*ckers.

  3. tara June 24, 2010 at 2:23 pm #

    This is what you do when he comes around next time. You make the sound of a phone ringing (it will sound fake and contrived and he’ll see your lips moving, dring dring!) and then you pick up your phone and pretend to be talking to someone. I did this ALL the time and there’s one thing that will scare even the most amorous man away and that my friend, is mental illness!

    • Kat June 24, 2010 at 8:09 pm #

      I love this, Tara. What a great idea!

      • Jam June 24, 2010 at 9:36 pm #

        Amazing

  4. Jo and the Novelist June 26, 2010 at 4:50 pm #

    Yeah. I get this all the time. Even my *mother* once told me “you know, you might not mean it, but some people may think you’re a prick-tease”. Thanks Mum, love you too…

    I’m not a flirt, I’m anxious and socially awkward and make an immense amount of terrible jokes to make up for it. And some men, for whatever bizarre reason a) find it attractive or b) mistake it for flirting. More often than not, it’s women who tell me I’m a flirt or a tease. Truth is, I don’t even know *how* to flirt. And I don’t even think I’ve really got anything to flaunt. So I don’t.
    ‘Hey baby – check out my freakishly flat chest.’ It doesn’t follow does it?

    I once had a guy, a middle-aged divorcee, who offered to help me work through the first draft of my novel. As it turns out, he always wanted to meet late at night in a bar, and soon enough I figured, he didn’t give two shits about my work. Just my flat chest. Awesome.

  5. the grumbles June 28, 2010 at 9:14 am #

    GAH! girl. i feel you. i feel you SO HARD right now.

    first of all, that guy is a weirdo mccreeperson. even if it’s harmless creeping, he’s still a douchecanoe with no boundaries. and his wife being ok with it makes it weirder not less weird because clearly that’s a sign that he’s had this problem before.

    but the situation does sound manageable, as long as you can convince everyone at your office that you dislike him. who cares about what crazy guy thinks but it could be bad if your coworkers are talking about it.

    it is one of my biggest dilemmas- just because i’m being polite/nice does not mean i’m interested. it just means i’m not a jerk. back the fuck off. it makes me want to be mean to people all the time just to be safe.

  6. reneedavies February 10, 2011 at 10:22 pm #

    Hi Jam,

    Found your blog via Best of Fates. I enjoyed reading your writing and the fact that you are a fellow Canadian! From personal experience, standing out in any way in the workplace is deemed good enough reason for gossip. Seems people can only tolerate uniformity. I realize this was a while back and I hope the situation is better!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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    […] that I am always taken care of. What about my awesome co-workers? (don’t get me wrong, they aren’t ALL awesome) And what about the job itself? Sure, it’s not even remotely in my field and doesn’t […]

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