Friday, July 8, 2011

I'm working, do you mind?


I'm not going through and editing this, and I'm very sorry for the lack of expression. It's a rant/vent that I needed to get off my chest, and I don't really want to revisit it anymore. It's just going to make me angry, and that's never good.
Hopefully you understand, and vaguely enjoy it. I don't speak for every single woman out there, but I speak for the ones I know and, obviously, for myself.

I've mentioned before that I work in a deli.
Previous 'careers' - or, ways to scab money - have included bookstores (currently employed, and previously employed, in this glorious world) and cafes.
I tend to argue the fact that of all the places where you're most likely to find cynical women - though correct me if I'm wrong - are in the retail and hospitality sectors, and, more often than not, in bookstores and in cafes. Retail in general just makes you mistrustful of people. Apparently, retail and hospitality is the perfect place for men to access the mating grounds, as it were, and select their most likely mate.
Unfortunately, they really don't consider how it appears to the woman.

For some reason, I've encountered many a man approaching me and waggling their eyebrows suggestively. They'll 'subtly compliment' my body. They'll make a reference to the two of us, as though we are ultimately paired. Then, when the obnoxious loud voice that dominates my head finally attaches itself to my mouth, I object with a mixture of horror and disgust.
Curiously, the man persists until someone intervenes.
In my head, I call this the Collins Syndrome. Man finds woman, man propositions said woman, and when she refuses, thinks this must be a joke.
As I must therefore conclude that you are not serious in your rejection of me, I shall chuse to attribute it to your wish of increasing my love by suspense, according to the usual practice of elegant females.
These guys are completely unaware that they are irritating the women they come across. Of course the woman has to find their attention flattering. After all, they are taking time out of their day to compliment the woman. What else does the woman live for, if not to be complimented by -
Okay, my sarcasm hand reaching into the air is making it increasingly difficult for me to type.

Men who come up to women in their place of work and repeatedly hit on them:
Why do you do this?
Is it not enough that we have to be at work, and in generally crummy retail environments? Picture my deli. I have to come in at a horrific hour of the morning, slice cold and generally oddly-scented meats, handle sixteen raw chickens, and also serve a variety of customers. These customers are usually accompanied by screaming children.
I don't want you sauntering up to me - yes, you, a man I don't know beyond serving you the occasional meat pie - and making some sort of pass at me.
The fifty-year-old obese bus driver who tried it first repulsed me. It's never okay to come up to a woman you don't know, a woman young enough to be your daughter, and inform her that she's so sexy you're distracted from your shopping. How well did you think she was going to take it? Really, you thought she wasn't going to tell her supervisor and refuse to serve you? It's disgusting.
And now there's another guy who thinks it's his right to come up to me and make comments. "You've got such pretty eyes. Oh, are you blushing now?" Not blushing because I'm flattered, mate, I'm blushing because I'm freaking embarrassed and a whole lot of incensed. Today, whistling at me suggestively and referring to me as "gorgeous", as though that's my name. "Hey gorgeous. Can I have a pie? Excellent, thanks, gorgeous." The scowl on my face and my completely flat tone is not saying come hither. In fact, it's telling you that if you keep up with this, I'm going to get pretty peeved at you.
I'm being paid to be nice to you. I'm not doing it because I like you; in fact, my feelings for all you men who look at me like this and treat me like I'm there to be ogled border on the edge of loathing. If I'm not polite to you, and if I don't offer a smile, I will most likely be fired. I am not flirting with you. Look at the eyes you find so darn appealing - they have jack-all warmth in them.

When I was 16 and working in the bookstore, a man approached me after buying twenty books in individual transactions. It was approaching Christmas, so it wasn't as though it was quiet, yet this man (who was married; my mother was good friends with his wife) leaned on the counter with his final purchase and leered at me.
"Is there anything else I can help you with?" I asked, aware that my boss was lurking.
"I'm going on a cruise," he said.
"That's nice."
"Yup. You know, you're really pretty."
"I have other customers to serve."
"I'd like it if you came with me on that cruise." He grinned at me in a disgusting way, eyeing me.
The man's wife had been my teacher when I was in year 2.
"So, how's Yolanda going? Mrs Chesworth?"
My boss was wiping tears of mirth from her eyes as the man slunk away, scowling at me, after muttering about the different names I clearly was.

Fifty-year-old man now doesn't come near me, after my supervisor exchanged harsh words with him.

This new guy? If he tries again, I'll tell him off and see how it goes.

Seriously, guys. We're here to work. We're not here to simper and feel grateful that you bothered to bestow attention on us. No matter how stunning you are, I'm not going to fall over at your pathetic attempts to lure me into your clutches while I'm at work.
Also, why are you all so old? It's so tacky.
Call me whatever you want, guys. But it's frankly disrespectful. It's like you're just lusting after anyone, no matter what. I'm another conquest. You're not bothering to get to know me - rather than commenting on my looks all the time, surely you could just pluck up conversation to begin with? But none of you ever do, and none of you ever realise that hey, I treat every customer with that smile and with a conversation. It's not special for you. In fact, for most men I'll turn it down.
It's just sad that since I was 15 and first went to work, I've been told by every woman - "if a man asks you if you've got a boyfriend, always say you do. They won't leave you alone otherwise".
Come on, men. Be better. You're giving the decent ones amongst you a bad rep, because the more of you that come up to women while they work and make suggestive comments, the more cynical we're going to be when we come across you outside of work. Men, I adore you all, you've got fantastic qualities and quirks. I just don't appreciate the creepy work-approaching shenanigans.

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