How Not To Be Sexually Harassed

Usually on sexual harassment day everyone harasses me… as a joke. ~from The Office

Everybody has sexual harassment training in the workplace nowadays. Those bland PowerPoint presentations seem to cover the basics: your standard jokes, pinching, gestures of affection, centerfolds in your cubicle. All the good stuff. All definitely taboo. What they really fail to address is how to discourage the bastards in the first place. I mean, is anyone really going to whip out the “I’m sorry, I feel as if I’m being sexually harassed” in the middle of a delicate situation?
And then there’s the sexual harassment from customers. Anyone who works with the public, especially if she happens to be a remotely attractive female with no facial warts, is going to get unwanted sexual attention. This ranges from the casual (the guys who use “sweetie” and “honey” in lieu of the employee’s given name) to the frankly obscene (the guy who calls you over to his public computer in order to show you his awesome porn collection.) As a female employee you may find yourself at a loss for words when it comes to dealing with this unwanted attention.
I’ve given this a fair amount of thought over the years. I am, after all, a single female who works in a customer-driven business. Because I can’t use my skills in Ninjitsu and I’ve not yet mastered the Sith choke-hold, I’ve come up with these deterrents to unwanted sexual harassment. Take them with a grain of salt if you will, but these tips will have your would-be suitors scurrying away faster than cockroaches from a bright light.
#1. Tell them you prefer the company of women.
This one’s a bread-and-butter, go-to for me. It may be a lie but it’s a lie they easily believe. I’ve had perfect strangers ask me why I am not married, and this makes 99 percent of them look embarrassed and walk away. (Plus, they will usually tell their gang of idiots so you don’t have to.)
#2. Wear a fake wedding ring.
I’m not as crazy about this one (my allergy to most metals) but it will usually work. If it doesn’t, inform the guy that your Marine/police officer/firefighter husband is on his way over to see you.
#3. Burst into tears and say your husband/boyfriend just died a horrible death.
I’m not above this and have done it several times. It will not only get you a lot of space, but often some much-needed sympathy. Feel free to embellish as much (or as little) as needed.
#4. Tell them you’re considering joining a religious order.
Many religious traditions, no matter which gender, embrace celibacy as a part of devotion to a higher power. The harasser might try and talk you out of it, of course, but you can always invoke the name of the Almighty.
#5. If all else fails, mention your recent sex change operation.
“They really did such a great job. I feel like a new man/woman.”
Thanks to all who sent me good wishes for my 2nd blog anniversary!
Have you experienced unwanted harassment at work? Any strategies that work/don’t work?
Next week: the semifinals of the Fictional Character Hunger Games!

~ by Howlin' Mad Heather on August 23, 2012.

6 Responses to “How Not To Be Sexually Harassed”

  1. Hysterical! I used to work as a waitress and sexual harassment is just part of the daily grind in a bar. Luckily I get to do most of the harassing these days! (Just kidding… But seriously.)

  2. Hahaha! This is hilarious! I love that you are not above crying over a pretend death of a husband or boyfriend. The best list ever! And I bet it really works!

  3. This post is epic. I want to adopt all of these ideas. But saying your husband, fiance, or boyfriend just died is freakin’ amazing. I have to try this on someone. In high school I worked at a discount store and the one, over 50 manager said the most inappropriate things all of the time. He’d ask me if I wanted to come into his hot tub after work and make comments about my body. I was 16 or 17! But he was too much of an idiot to even get a rise out of me. My indifference ended when I had just taken my SATs and he said, “You’re a girl, so I’d say you probably won’t even break 1,000.” That’s when I lost it. When I told him my real score it was the best feeling ever. I think I even said, “Bam” after to nail the point home. Waitressing, as noneditedtruth said, is also rife with sexual harassers and stalkers.

  4. My first job out of college was at Enterprise Rent-a-Car. Man, that was a breeding ground for sexual harassment. The worst perpetrator was Larry, the manager of the body shop next door who often sent us referrals and hence we were supposed to be nice to him. He was always calling me “Hon” and touching me with his greasy, lecherous paws.

    I do not miss those days — wish I had your tips back then. I was too young to realize that I should stand up for myself.

    Great post!

  5. I have to say… about telling guys that you’re into girls… this might, in some cases, awaken their imagination which could be counterproductive hehehe

    I think the most interesting one would be faking someone’s death. One time, one of my friends faked her dog’s death only to cancel a date with a douche she was dating. It worked… but, a little too well because the guy came to her house with a new dog (I don’t know how he could do this when her dog supposedly died that same day)… that was 2 years ago… she still has both of the dogs and got married to the douche 😛

    Great post!

  6. I used to work at the customer service desk of a major grocery store chain. Older men have no shame. I frequently used the fake wedding ring tactic (thank you grandma for the bling lol) but most guys didn’t even care that I was “engaged” and kept on harassing. Jerks.

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