Friday, January 25, 2008

Unwanted Attention

Where do you draw the line to conclude when someone is just trying to be nice or just being creepy?

Either way, many times it's unwanted attention from unwanted sources - I'm in my 20s and it's ALWAYS men who are least 50 years old - and what if you can't escape those sources?

I've been publically harrassed several times by older men - even had one run into me and touch my chest "by accident" on the subway platform. My favorite though is when a bunch of Latino guys packed into Hondas with broken mufflers will slow down to call out to me or whistle and follow me slowly as I'm walking down the sidewalk, even if it means they're back-up traffic.

But there are few men that I can't escape because they see me on a regular basis. One is a janitor at ABC who is at least 65 and has some sort of mental problem that resembles Down Syndrome (I'm not being mean, I recognize the signs). When he sees me in the hallway, he will continuously tell me, "good morning, you look so nice, it's nice to see you," and then he'll follow me back to my desk or even to the women's bathroom door. Once, he tried to stop my elevator as I was leaving to tell me goodbye. Recently, he's gotten into the habit of poking his head into the studio where I work constantly throughout the day and then leaves quickly. When that happens I just stare at my computer and pretend to be busy. He seems harmless but it definitely make me feel uneasy.

Another is this guy at my parking garage. He's definitely the parking attendant in charge - because he's always barking orders at the others - and he's always nice to me, telling me to stay warm, to have a nice day, to buy a monthly pass, but he will yell at his other attendants if they go to get my car and not let him do it. He always insists on getting my car.

This morning, I had to come into work early so I parked in a different garage, a 24-hour one, instead of his which wasn't open yet. While I was leaving the garage, he came around the corner to talk to one of the guys at the 24-hour garage, saw me, and continued to shout down the block, "hey! hey! hello! hey!" I turned around, thinking they were yelling about something wrong with my car, saw it was him, waved, and ran away to work. I certainly don't want to piss off the man who parks my car...might cut the break line or something...but I still got a little uncomfortable.

Even at lunch I get no peace. There's a small area with lunch tables at ABC and I usually take lunch there to eat and make phone calls. If I'm not on the phone - which I wasn't today - it never fails that some member of the older male ABC staff will come up to my table and say, "is that lunch good? Got yourself a sandwich there huh? Whatcha reading there?" Gross. Can I just have 20 minutes where I can eat my boring turkey sandwich and not be bothered?

I would eat at my desk, but then my boss would make me do work. I would even suffer out in the cold at the park a few blocks away, but I tried that once and got cat-called by every single guy sitting on a bench - AND I WAS ON THE PHONE!

Some would say I ask for it and only encourage them because I don't tell them off. I typically respond with "fine thanks" or ignore them completely and I stop making eye-contact. If I'm being cat-called though, I just flat out pretend they're not there.

But seriously, enough is enough. How do I make it stop?


Erin said...

Maybe we should just take it as a compliment that we're so super-hot, men just can't resist! ;)

Brandon said...

Oh boo hoo.... wah wah.... I get too much attention from the opposite sex. It's just not fair!

Lauren, Lauren, how horrible it must be for you. I feel so sorry for you.

Now, in reality, I can somewhat relate to your plight. I too attract the older demographic, the single moms looking for someone young, yet punctual-looking, to take them away from the monotony of their day-to-day lives.

Here is the real question (the one that I ponder nightly). Is it an age gap determined by years, or is it a question of ratios? For example, we both attract the 40+ year olds. Thats a gap of 20 years. So by the year theory, when we are 45, we could attract people that are 65. That is acceptable for me. I have given up on girls my age, but by the time I am sailing along in my career, a recent retiree wouldn't be a bad catch at all.

But if it is a ratio thing, when we are 30, they will be 60; when we are 40 they will be 80. That is not quite as good. I don't know if I can deal with that.

Only time will tell how this whole situation will play out. We are truly sailing upon the sea of the unknown, looking for a port of call, of whose name only God knows.