Tag Archives: Comments

Lisa

I am a server and was working one night when two middle-aged men (I specify age here because I am 21, the age gap making the encounter even more infuriating/disgusting) came in and sat in my section. Within 5 minutes of serving them, I realized they were completely drunk, told my manager, and we agreed to cut them off if they ordered anymore alcohol. The whole situation was unusual because I work at a mid-to-high range sit-down restaurant, and had almost never had to cut anyone off in the 3 years I’d been there– it was not the kind of place you got drunk. The comments started small- saying their night was better “because you’re here” (serving them) and making comments like “you’re beautiful, you know that?” Every now and then (very rarely, thank God) I have to serve a middle-aged man who makes these sorts of comments and proceeds to eye me up all night, and it makes me very uncomfortable. The comments started to escalate; “beautiful” turned into “sexy,” confirming that they had been sexualizing me from the moment I started serving them. I was asked multiple times if I was married, if I had a boyfriend (yes), which did not deter them. Thankfully, they were leaving shortly and wanted their bills. I was frankly terrified to bill them because I would be forced to stand at the table for several minutes with no escape. In hindsight, I should have gotten someone else to take payment– I should never have to feel uncomfortable at work. I brought the bills and waited while one of the men whipped out some cash. He placed some money on the table and asked, “Would you like another $20?” I responded, “That is completely up to you, sir.” He then said, “How about we go outside and talk about it?” The implication that he would pay me for–presumably–sexual favours was fairly obvious, especially considering the escalating comments and lecherous stares. I simply said/yelled “NOOOOOOO I don’t think so” and walked away as he said “Jeez, I was just kidding” in an offended tone. I waited until he had left to clear his table, and saw that his glass was broken- according to the table next to him, he had smashed it. As I was cleaning up the glass I looked around and saw he was coming back, which was terrifying. He shouted “Hey YOU! COME HERE” at me from about 20 feet away. I froze, and he came up quick- he threw a $20 at me, which I snatched, glaring at him, and quickly walked away (I thought about throwing it back out of principle, but the thought of having been through all that bullshit AND having to tip out of pocket on the bill convinced me to keep it). I got a bit of smug satisfaction when one of my friends hosting said that guy loudly complained, “‘I tipped her $20 and she didn’t even thank me!’” as he walked out the door. While this was an extreme case of sexism, I have received a ton of harassment and sexism working in the service industry especially. Men take advantage of the power position in which it is your job to facilitate a good experience for them to make inappropriate comments that would otherwise end that interaction. Normally, if a man said something about my appearance on the street, I would ignore him. In this situation, my choices are fairly limited by the fact that I must serve them for the next two hours. Although I warned my manager about the situation and kept her updated on the sexism, she agreed (when it was just comments about my appearance, i.e. ‘beautiful’) that it was something we (female servers) had to put up with every now and then. Of course after telling her about the final encounter when paying the bill, she assured me that if we recognized him again he’d be thrown out. This isn’t the first or the last time I’ll encounter sexism in the workplace– thankfully, besides this incident, it usually involves comments that are not blatantly offensive/degrading/disgusting. I would still prefer it if men my father’s age would stop saying the following: -“You should come join us for a drink when you’re done” (usually said jokingly-but not jokingly by groups of 2-3 middle-aged men) -“You have really pretty eyes. Come closer so I can see them.” -“Do you work out? You look like you work out.” No, sir, I do not want to join you. I would like to know how you like your steak, and that is all.

Melanie

The other morning I was walking to work at 7:45am. I was tired. I didn’t have any make up on. I was wearing a baggy black t shirt, flared trousers and runners. I almost want to stop myself here because obviously, it doesn’t matter what I was wearing. what I’m trying to convey is that it was a day where i didn’t care what I wore or what I looked like. I wanted to be comfortable. A man made a sexual comment about me. Obviously this isn’t the first time it’s happened. Because I’m a woman. But I’ve noticed a trend. These men, (and every instance it is a man) say these comments just as there are past you. By the time you have registered what just happened they are metres away. Leaving you petty unequipped to confront them. They are taking so much power from women this way in one foul swoop. I turned to confront him but he was very far away. He had turned back to look at me, waiting for a response. I gave him the finger. Sometimes I’m not sure how to approach these situations. I feel like barking back an insult somehow only spurs on the idea to these bastards that the whole thing is just a fun game of wits and who can quickly think of a better put down. I almost cry with anger at the thought of how entitled these people seem to think they are to make comments about women who are simply being in public spaces. To me, it exposes a complete lack of respect and disdain some men have for the opposite sex. It’s infuriating, upsetting and wrong. A few weeks ago my friend and I were walking down the street and a bus driver in uniform made sexual comments about us. A bus driver. In uniform. Does this mean that if ever I’m on a bus alone late at night, I should be scared because a bus driver might rape me? Some might accuse me of over reacting here. But if this bus driver who obviously had no regard for my consent about being commented on, surely logically, he has no problem in disregarding my sexual consent. The rage.