This is a story about a dude I sort of work with and his attempts to woo me. They are stupid, crappy ways to try to start something with someone, especially someone who is not at all interested. I stress that this is one guy and his own lame attempts. I am not generalizing or saying, “Men shouldn’t ask women out in the work place! Bah!” This is just something that has happened in my life that I want to share with y’all, especially because I am basically incapable of dealing with the sort of dudes who think that everything they say is charming and that designing a “compliment” for me specifically is the best way to get me…I don’t know want to say “in bed,” but probably another drink or another five minutes of conversation. Three Fridays ago, the aforementioned dude sputtered one of these oh so charming turns of phrase at me out of the blue.
Dude: You have nice thighs.
I responded like this because I was offended and simultaneously confused about how I should react. His response was something along the lines of, “It’s a compliment, just take it.”
Why is that an acceptable thing to say at work? Have you ever even heard of tact? Yes, I try to stay in shape, but commenting on my thighs specifically is forcefully intimate and uncomfortable, especially at work. Further, just because you gave me a compliment does not mean I have to accept it, and the fact that we were in the work place while you flung such words out all willy-nilly meant that I had to be especially nice to this guy since, you know, work places have to be amicable places of productivity…And plus, I am a woman, and I can’t let people think that I’ve become hysterical over such a small comment. So I let it go, because it was only one comment that made me uncomfortable and what were the chances that there would be more?
High, apparently. He told another man in the group he works for that I am his “work girlfriend,” which is still really odd to me because we never talked about our office relationship or much else before the interactions of the past few weeks. Oh, and did I mention that he’s actually in a relationship with a woman who is going to have his baby this fall? Yeah, I know.
The next time I saw this guy, he made an especially unimpressive attempt at asking me out after talking about how hot it was outside:
Dude: We need to go somewhere cool and get drinks. You and me.
That vociferously, yes. And when he asked why, I couldn’t say, “Because you’re a creepy a-hole weirdo who I am not attracted to in any way, shape, or form. Plus, you’re an idiot (1),” even though that’s exactly what I was thinking.
Me: I’m going home and going to bed.
In retrospect, I probably should have told him in a non-confrontational way how much he repulses me, but I opted for the I-already-have-plans route. He continued talking to me. He told me a story about how he accidentally added a “d**k pic” (2) onto his Snap Story instead of sending it to a woman who I suspect is not the mother of his child. But, I don’t know, anything is possible. Oh yeah, and he threw out the line White Goodman says to Kate when he also unsuccessfully tries to woo her: “We should mate… I mean date.”
How idiotically overt can you possibly be? First of all, I’m at work, so please chill the freak out and recognize the difference between someone trying to keep the office a pleasant place and someone actually being attracted to you. Second, why the hell would quoting Dodgeball have a positive effect in terms of flirting with me? OK, I actually see the reasoning behind quoting a funny movie, but now, not only am I more repulsed by (the opposite of attracted to) you, but I have to reconsider my taste in movies, even if Dodgeball is categorized under “I Guess I’ll Watch That Tonight. *Shoulder Shrug.*” in my head. Thanks for that existential crisis.
Me: No. (3)
So we fell into tense, awkward, painful silence…and he wouldn’t leave. Why the hell won’t he leave and go do his own work? I was dumbfounded by his persistence and obliviousness to the fact that his “efforts” were futile, so I just went back to work. I almost felt like I was insane for how uncomfortable these comments and he made me, so I talked to some people about it, and they all confirmed that yes, he was hitting on me in an inappropriate way at work and I should feel uneasy. Yay for validation!
Because the only way I could think about dealing with the situation with the soon-to-be-father/scumbag/creep was kicking him in the chest (utilizing my “nice” thighs, no less), I was encouraged to talk to my supervisor about it, which was an interesting conversation. I went in with my story, but as I looked at my supervisor and delved deeper, I got less and less resolved that this was something really worth his time. I am crazy, I thought. “I mean, I know you aren’t in charge of him or anything, but I thought you should know…” I added at the end so it didn’t sound so serious.
To my relief, my supervisor was understanding and devised a plan to never leave me alone with the guy this whole post is about. He also promised to talk to him and tell him to let up. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out that way.
Me: Yeah, I don’t know. I came in today, not mad or unhappy, but really not feeling good or happy….
Dude: I can fix that.
He got called away before anything weirder could be said. I believe it to be divine intervention. When I got the chance, I talked to Alex, another woman with the same work title as me, about what had happened. Apparently, he told her the same Snapchat story and confided in her, “I think Leslie took that story the wrong way.” WHAT?! So he is trying to make me seem like the crazy person who thought she was being sexually harassed in the work place but wasn’t really because I took one thing the wrong way, not a heap of weird comments, tones, and looks! I said basically that to Alex, who already knew the whole story, but with a little more eloquence. At this point, I really wanted to kick him in the chest. Again, this would not be work appropriate.
Fortunately for me, I was able to dodge, duck, dip, dive, and dodge away from him for the rest of the day. I am still floored that he lacked the social skills to realize that I wanted nothing to do with him outside of work. Even after saying no. I actually said the word no! I guess he never had to take a workshop or class about sexual misconduct at work.
And even more fortunately for me, my company’s contract with his ends this week, so I never have to see him again! What good luck! I reiterate: I think divine intervention has something to do with it. Thanks, God. You’re the best!
1) One time, he freaked out because he had just seen a “REDBIRD! I HAVEN’T SEEN ONE OF THOSE SINCE I WAS LIKE 12!” When I looked at the tree where he was pointing, there was a cardinal.
2) His words, not mine.
3) Note that this was the second time in the conversation that I had flat out said no.
Leslie Michaels is currently a Level 4 improv student at the DCH Training Center. She spends her spare time riding her bicycle, playing Ultimate Frisbee, or hanging out with her boyfriend, Netflix. She still questions whether she’s a dog person or a cat person.