#1) Since it’s all over the news, I’ll start right out of the box by saying I’ve been sexually harassed. No, this isn’t a male fantasy (well, it is, but this isn’t) and it never went beyond mild contact with a female worker. The contact with the co-worker can be described as “her hands on my ass and my stomach”. Oops, let me rephrase that: The claimant states that said defendant touched him inappropriately on and around the lower waist and lower back areas on repeated occasions.
Before you start rolling your eyes and assuming I’m full of shit, not the case. I was a professional shirt and tie guy with enough of a sense of humor to make most people comfortable around me. I was working in the medical field at the time, managing a department of predominantly women. The harasser (or should it be hisasser?) worked in another department and liked to “squeeze by me” in the tight hallway at the back of the main office as well as get “touchy” without any encouragement.
Being a “shades of gray” person, I was aware of what was going on at the time. I understood the work place politics and didn’t feel like it would be to anyone’s benefit to report it to my superiors. I figured out how to stay away from her and manage my crew without added mental stress.
Women get harassed in the workplace everyday all over the world. I’m not crying about my experience. I’m just relaying an experience that helped me understand what unwanted physical advances feel like.
2) I’d read the phrase “he undressed her with his eyes” but had never been the recipient of a visual undressing—until I was in a bank in Hollywood. This was early in the 90’s (that would be the 1990’s Kids!) and I was severely Fashion Impaired. I was working one of a hundred jobs to keep the kids knee deep in Eggos, and was attempting Rock Stardom by night. My hair can only be described as Trojan Helmet— a glorified mix of mullet, modified Mowhawk and static electricity Rooster Cut. I was no doubt wearing some sort of torn teeshirt at the time (torn teeshirts were all the rage you know) and—are you ready?—relatively tight vertical striped pants with—hold on—clogs. I think I was going for some kind of Bjorn Borg Netherlands Aha! Look, though I may have come off like the creepy Uncle Sam on stilts at the Fourth of July parade. Whatever, I have pictures but you will have to pry them from my cold dead fingers. I was a 6’3” Badass in those clogs, unless I was required to run backwards.
While standing in line to make a deposit, I felt a tickle on the back of my neck. It was a sixth sense, before Sixth Sense meant you saw Dead People. As I turned to look behind me, I saw a bald man of fifty, decked out in a tight powder blue short-sleeved shirt, an oversized gold watch and a chain the size of a boa lying across his shaved chest. His nails were well manicured and he held a black leather purse.
The man’s eyes went up and down my body, lingering at the most private places my tight striped pants failed to hide. He stopped at my eyes, his smile suggesting he had already gone further than undressing me and had already coated me with Crisco.
I had just been visually molested. It felt fu*king weird.
There is nothing more eye-opening or mind-expanding than experiencing first-hand violation of one sort or another. If it hasn’t happened to you, I hope it doesn’t.
But if it does, you’ll be a whole lot wiser.