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To feel awkward and offended, or do i need to get a grip?

(43 Posts)
notsuchaspringchicken Thu 03-Jan-13 09:57:48

I was at work the other day, posh store.
I jumped onto the tills to help them out, its not usually my job, but they were busy.
Anyway, someone from another team came over, a man, with a female colleague.
He was doing stuff with all the tills. when he got to mine he was all innundo, ' do you mind if i put my hands in your drawers', ' im going to be pushing your buttons',' is this doing it for you', ' im going in deep'.
Ive never spoken to him before, dont know his name. Female he was with found it funny and was laughing.
I was totally thrown if im honest and felt very awkward. I can do banter, but i dont know him, have never spoken to him, and it was in a professional enviroment. I ended up laughing it off, but it felt really uncomftable.

So, AIBU, or do i need to just get a life?

KRITIQ Thu 03-Jan-13 12:17:37

Would you have found it appropriate if he'd made jokes and innuendo laden comments related to a person's ethnicity, or disability, or sexual orientation, or their age? If not, it wasn't appropriate for him to do so about your gender.

Many people laugh when they feel uncomfortable - an often subconscious way of relieving the tension of a stressful, difficult or threatening situation. If you are on the receiving end of harassment (for these comments meet that legal definition,) from someone senior to you, you'll probably end up creating elaborate coping strategies to deal with it, that is if you don't feel you can do something about it through appropriate channels. Sometimes people genuinely feel this is the best way to deal with abuse - laughing it off, because they fear it will get worse if they do anything else. To be fair, that often is the case, sadly. sad Women and girls in particular are conditioned to just "put up with it," or even that they should regard it as flattery. What hogwash.

Because you aren't in this department and aren't managed by this man, you're probably in quite a good position to report his behaviour. There are unlikely to be any direct consequences for you and your job. Chances are high if he's been this way with you, he is also doing it with other women - making their lives hellish. If you speak out, you could be making a huge, positive impact on their well-being. Please do something.

If I had been a customer stood in front of that I would have felt very uncomfortable indeed.
I would have a discreet ask about, does he behave this way as a matter of course? Or was it a daft one off? if the former, I would honestly have a quiet word with management, you don't know who's life he's making utterly miserable with his sexist,patronising, insulting shit.

Icelollycraving Thu 03-Jan-13 12:04:21

I'm a retail manager & I would want to know ASAP that this happened. Very inappropriate & needs to be dealt with immediately. The customer may complain too.

Spuddybean Thu 03-Jan-13 11:49:52

oh i hate this too op. recently a bloke at a party kept pantomimely/cartoonishly staring at my tits while i was talking, then would interrupt me by saying 'oh i must book my skiing holiday' and 'i do love mountains' etc. i did the ignore and he carried on. he then presumed i was thick and made jokes about me not 'getting' his jokes. when i explained it wasn't funny he continued to believe i hadn't understood as was a vaccuous woman, then explained again. he wouldn't accept i could 'get' it and still not laugh.

myfirstkitchen Thu 03-Jan-13 11:32:32

I'm no prude and certainly not humourless but can't stand this sort of unfunny (unless you are an 11 year old boy) assertion of power. Which is what he was doing if he realises it or not

If anyone in a work etc environment says something to you when you're not in a position to say 'fuck off' - which I'm sure you would of done had it been a stranger on the bus when you're with your friends dc dp etc he's being a pathetic little worm saying these things knowing you will just laugh or ignore it

What a loser. Report him. I would. And I wouldn't give a shit if people thought I was stuck up

Or just lean over and say in his ear next time he does it with noone around 'fuck off and die'.

A guy I worked with once complained about me after loads of 'banter' about my tits when I told him he had bigger tits than me because he was a fat shit. I hate these sort of men who think they can say whatever they like.

And 'banter' is usually sexiest one sided bullying.

jamdonut Thu 03-Jan-13 11:16:21

Its certainly not very respectful, and definitely innappropriate if it is within customer's hearing. But I don't believe that this type of banter is always inappropriate ,if you are workmates (by that I mean on friendly terms with each other).
And it is not always men that say these things - women can be just as bad (we often talk to each other ,at my place of work, using innuendo. We know when it is appropriate or innappropriate and when to stop,though).

TheCountessOlenska Thu 03-Jan-13 11:06:08

This would have made me feel uncomfortable, and like I was being taken the piss out of. I am the same age as you, and also work in a "nice" shop (wonder if it's the same one!?), and I can totally visualise this happening - young man being a twat to show off imo. I wouldn't have laughed - but then I am known to be a grumpy cow and often get "cheer up love" type comments (from men, never from female colleagues hmm )

HollaAtMeSanta Thu 03-Jan-13 11:02:43

YANBU. I find a steely stare and absolutely no smile usually shuts down this sort of thing. You can also throw in "would you want someone to talk to your mother like that?"

Yakshemash Thu 03-Jan-13 11:01:00

This sort of thing boils my piss. I don't care who thinks I'm a humourless baggage - if I even overhear this type of shit I complain. It's not acceptable in the workplace or anywhere else - it's just another way for fucking inadequate men to assert their dominance (can you imagine a woman at work humiliating two male colleagues - one older than her - by talking about their 'tools' or their 'members'?). It's not funny, it's not on and it's time everyone stood up to it.

And if I'd been the customer listening in I'd have complained too, and had his balls for earrings.


PureQuintessence Thu 03-Jan-13 10:55:43

If it happens again, I would calmly, and quietly point out to him that he should not be so silly and immature in-front of customers.

Or just apologize to the customers for your colleagues behavior saying something like "I am sorry about my colleagues behaviour, he is very young and has a lot to learn still, please forgive his inappropriate banter" Or something.

It should make his ears burn and face crumble, I should think.

PureQuintessence Thu 03-Jan-13 10:53:25

If he was speaking like that in earshot of other customers, I would alert management without hesitation. It lowers the tone, and reflects very badly on your store.

That is the angle I would speak from, to be honest, as I fear management would not care whether you felt affronted, but would care a lot if he was behaving detrimentally to the stores reputation by affronting you with inappropriate comments in front of customers.

ErikNorseman Thu 03-Jan-13 10:52:28

That is sexual harassment.

slartybartfast Thu 03-Jan-13 10:50:14

he was with the woman who was laughing.
i dont think it was at you OP, it was all for her benefit. next time, you can be prepared, to just give him a look

ChaoticintheNewYear Thu 03-Jan-13 10:48:56

What British comedy is founded on is irrelevant. This is the OP's workplace and she shouldn't be expected to put up with unacceptable behaviour which is what this was.

slartybartfast Thu 03-Jan-13 10:47:44

hwo about Are you 14?

HecatePropolos Thu 03-Jan-13 10:47:19

So what, Holly? That doesn't make it appropriate to make sexual comments to women in the workplace or mean that they don't have the right to not want to be sexualised by some random bloke, in front of customers, when they're just trying to do their job.

Arithmeticulous Thu 03-Jan-13 10:45:47

My neighbour does this, manages to get in some innuendo about the bushes in my garden or the height of his fence. Raised eyebrows and channelling a "oh you are sooooo pathetic" look seems to shut him up.

Apparently he also does it with DH, so it's nothing personal hmm

Don't assume your female colleague was laughing at you, she might have been deflecting the attention from herself - relieved today that it wasn't her turn.

Can you mention HR next time ... lean in and say something like "imagine what would happen if someone from HR heard you being so foul" or "imagine what would happen if a customer complained about you being so rude?"

mollymole Thu 03-Jan-13 10:43:59

It was totally inappropriate and not acceptable. The fact that it was in front
of members of the public, whether you were offended or not, would be reason enough for it to be a disciplinary matter.

HollyBerryBush Thu 03-Jan-13 10:43:44

British comedy is foudned on the double entendre.

Nanny0gg Thu 03-Jan-13 10:42:25

If he's quite young, would it be possible to have a 'kind' word with him, and point out that talking like that could get him in serious trouble?
Or would talking to his immediate boss definitely get him into serious trouble?

TheMonster Thu 03-Jan-13 10:41:58

I would not have been happy about it.

notsuchaspringchicken Thu 03-Jan-13 10:39:42

It does make you feel horrible though, and small and awkward.
And its so misplaced you dont quite know how to react.
Sorry that happened, doesnt sound silly at all, sounds vile.

Fairenuff Thu 03-Jan-13 10:39:37

The female colleague may have been doing the same as you, OP, laughing it off out of embarrassment.

I have perfected the response to this sort of knobishness. Well I think I have. I do this.

I look at the person in a sort of okaaaaay kind of way and I say 'hmmmm' and do that slow nodding of the head, slightly tilted to one side. It's patronising and makes the other person feel foolish (quite rightly, imo)

< passive aggressive much >

slartybartfast Thu 03-Jan-13 10:39:09

and not only you being offended, completely unprofessional in a shop, let alone a posh shop shock within customer's earshot.

catgirl1976geesealaying Thu 03-Jan-13 10:39:05

Totally inappropriate

The fact he did in front of a customer makes it worse for a management POV IMO

I would have him on a disciplinary if he did that to anyone at my workplace.

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