Getting Hit On At Work

I know this happens to others, I hear complaints that it happens to waitresses. It happens to me too, and I work in a movie theater, wearing a not-very-sexy uniform (although it is red and shows off how small my waist is). I don’t even wear makeup most of the time. Yet I’ve been hit on six different times. Half of those were by the same guy who won’t leave me alone.

I don’t know how to deal with this. I don’t even think I’m allowed to deal with it. I’m pretty sure I can’t bring it up with the management without getting in trouble (I think complaining about the guests is a big no-no), and what would they do? Nothing.

I hate getting hit on at work more than any other circumstance. In a normal setting I can say whatever I feel is necessary, and I can get away. At work I HAVE to be nice and polite and I can’t get away. I tried abandoning the concession stand under the guise of needing to get something in back because one sketchy guy was asking the ticket taker for a pen (never a good sign), and I got in trouble for leaving the stand unattended.I did manage to hide in a closet once, and I could hear the guy pace back and forth outside in the hallway yelling "THAT BITCH!" because I wouldn’t give him my number.

Naturally, there’s the usual blaming (like this article), and my co-workers saying "it’s a compliment" or "aw that’s sweet" or "at least you still got it" (honey I’m 20 years old, of course I do). I’m sorry but "day’um you get better and better every time I see you" (while looking me over and then talking to my ass) is so drenched in slime it’s not going to boost my confidence.

What I also hate is that guys usually tend to take smiling and making eye contact as flirting. When I’m working, I’m not flirting at anyone, I’m just doing my job, we have to show "eyes and smiles" and perform friendly service. I’m sick of guys making comments about my smile. Even strippers are nice to the customers as a job requirement. I’m rarely attracted to the guys who come in, and the few who do are smart enough to know that me smiling isn’t meant to invite anyone to do anything other than order popcorn or report a concern.

All in all, I’m sick of it. Really frickin sick of being hit on at work. It’s one of the more disgusting parts of my job (and I take trash down to the compactor, sweep bathrooms, clean up vomit, and pick up garbage left behind by lazy theater-goers) and I wish there was something I was allowed to do about it. After all, sexual harassment isn’t any better when it’s perpetrated by customers rather than co-workers.

Disclaimer: This post was written by a Feministing Community user and does not necessarily reflect the views of any Feministing columnist, editor, or executive director.

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