I have thought a lot about posting #MeToo over the weekend. I thought about sharing any number of stories of harassment I have faced (since I was a teenager) but, luckily for me, none stand out as especially heinous. Just another day in the life of a woman who with the audacity to leave her bed in the morning.
Then male friends (and people I follow on Twitter who identify as men) started expressing their shock and asking how they can help. So, instead of talking about all the times I was harassed, I am going to tell you about a time I was almost harassed (though, I suppose I was harassed but then saved from further harassment).
A long time ago in an office not very far from where I sit today, lived a man we will call Creepy Ass Mother Fucker. Like most creeps, everyone knew Creepy Ass Mother Fucker was a creep. I used to keep a photo on my desk of my family taken after we spent the day surfing (My sister and I were in bikinis). One day I came into the office and a coworker said she came by and Creepy Ass Mother Fucker was standing behind my desk, holding the photo. I took the photo home with me that night.
Another time, there was a temp in the office. The temp had a very large chest and a very tight shirt. Creepy Ass Mother Fucker literally (and I am using literally correctly here) walked into an open file cabinet as he walked by her desk staring at her. And then, I think, he yelled at the person standing nearby who had possibly left the file cabinet open.
I told you, Creepy Ass Mother Fucker was a creep.
One holiday party (I know holiday parties can be fun and wonderful, but mostly I wonder why more companies haven't done away with them and just give all employees a $25 Amazon gift card) Creepy Ass Mother Fucker approached me from behind, put his arm around my shoulder and asked me about the tattoo on my lower back because he was thinking about getting one. I was wearing a dress so who knows when he saw it and filed it away in his spank bank. I executed my patented laugh-and-turn-and-shrug-off-his-unwanted-hand-on-my-shoulder-while-extricating-myself-from-that-awkward-conversation trick and went to get another drink. I then found a spot against the wall with a high top table between me and CAMF and began counting down the minutes until my friend Gigi showed up so we could leave.
CAMF was standing across from me picturing me naked.
I silently cursed that I didn’t have a cell phone to call Gigi and tell her to meet me somewhere else when a co-worker whispered to me, “So that is what leering looks like.”
A male co-worker.
A male co-worker with a cell phone.
After calling Gigi and leaving her a voicemail, my coworker and I had a frank discussion about what it was like to be a young woman in that office, and then we talked about movies and our families and our other coworkers, and he didn’t leave my side until Gigi showed up. I am not sure what my coworker endured after that — if Creepy Ass Mother Fucker accused him of cock-blocking, if CAMF retaliated against him in other ways, or if others in the bar made assumptions that he, a married man, was making the moves on me and therefore was also a creep.
I know that I owe my coworker for that night and he has never come to collect.
So, guys, you want to know what you can do. Be my coworker. Not Creepy Ass Mother Fucker.