On Life and Love

But I don’t want to make your day

All I needed was a stopper for a file cabinet. Some slider shelfy thing that would hold up my measly 10 file folder. What I got was a Great Moment of Objectification.

I strolled up to a group of potential helpers, and as I asked the one I’ve seen most around the office, “Hey, do you know where I can find–” his buddy gave me a once-over and muttered, “Mmm, mmm. You just made my day.”

I was so angry and shocked that I couldn’t think of anything to say. I ignored him and got the other guy to help me — except that he didn’t know where the damn things were, either. Captain Harassment then, of course, upped his creep-factor considerably by leaning against a corner and watching as I walk away with the other guy.

I wanted to throw something at him, but all I had on me were my fists.

For all my assertiveness and rudeness and general willingness to call people out, I’m usually struck dumb in a situation like that. Should I have reported it? Should I have tried to say something snappy like, “That is inappropriate!” Or should I punk out and just ignore it, hoping some woman with a backbone will put him in his place?

My files looked good enough lying down flat in my cabinet.


  • Mark

    I totally would have reported him to his supervisor or to the HR manager or something.

    That kind of behavior doesn’t belong in the workplace. In a bar? Maybe, but not in an corporate environment.

  • Michael

    since evil twin above already suggested what half of me wants to say, I only have to say the other half now. Would people think it possible to play to a person’s guilt? That is, is it just woefully ignant/naive to think that saying something like, “Wow, I haven’t really felt this patronized/belittled/objectified in a long time/ever, would you consider not talking to any other people in the workplace that way? it doesn’t make us feel too good.” might get the person to be a little more sensitive?

    I don’t know that I want someo(i feel like you’ve posted about this part before)ne to just not say things around me or behave differently around me, but if that’s a first step toward not behaving that way in the workplace, i’m not sure that it being a special case for me is a bad step…

    • Melissa

      I’ve grown so sadly cynical (I’m tryna fix that) that part of me doesn’t think the guilt trip/passive aggressive way would work. Then again, if it doesn’t work on him directly, maybe it’ll work on his buddies (who seemed mroe decent), and peer pressure will save the day.