There is a huge hoopla in Albania nowadays about a Minister who’s solicited sex from a job applicant. And it was all caught on tape. But I am not going to talk about it. I am not even going to mention the fact that the people who yell the loudest are also notorious philanderers and are now might glad it wasn’t them on the tape. or the fact that now all job applicants will be patted from head to toe, and it has nothing to do with sexual harassment but with checks for wire.
I do know a thing or two about discouraging unwanted advances. Usually when we talk about unwanted advances, we think of an old sleazy employer, and a young ingenue in a short skirt looking like Charlize Theron. somebody with thighs made for harassment. The reality is different. Look at Linda Tripp, pre-surgery, and our fantasy is shattered. We understand that it is not about sex and uncontrollable impulses that cannot be kept in check. We realize it is about power, about saying: I was there first, I had her (or him), s/he may be somebody now, but s/he started on his/her knees so long ago. It is about breaking the new entry, the new risk, just like chimpanzees do to each-other. And it is the ugly duck who has the hardest time convincing people that s/he’s been a victim too.
We women become aware that we are prey from a very early age. Our families protect us, our friends warn us, others prey on us. If we do not learn how to protect ourselves, (and I am not talking about Karate) we are screwed in more ways than one. Personally, self-defense was drilled into me from a very early age, since I was the oldest child. My dad taught me how to box, my grandma taught me to stay away from all men, except the “approved” one a long, long way into the future, and my mom tried to erase any kind of sexiness in my wardrobe and posture, as well as all mothers should. In short, like every girl of my generation, I developed a very well honed sense of danger that has helped me in more ways than one. Intelligent prey so to speak. And it has served me well.
So that is why I am giving you some tools to work with. in no particular order:
1. Try not to put oneself in a strange or particular situation. i.e. never bring your resume in the evening at the home of your potential employer who is a notorious womanizer. If you do, at least shave your legs.
2. If you find yourself in such a home, alone, with somebody yo do not want to sleep with, but still do not want to alienate, list reasons why that is so. Invent a stomach virus, start sneezing, pretend you have your period or mention how God has chosen you for his wife and that you are mandated to commit suicide after having sex with any other man.
3. If said person whips out his “weapon” and is ready to charge, mention you have syphilis, are HIV positive or laugh at the size (although the last one might backfire). Usually these are sure-fire ways to sag the flag.
4. If you can’t take any more innuendos from your boss, befriend his wife. Usually the wife knows but she has it so nice, she will not face anything unless it is staring straight to her face. And wear a short skirt with hairy legs when he calls you to his office. Once is enough. He’ll move on. Unless he has a fetish for hairy legs. (you probabbly are pissed off about having to dull yourself down in order to survive, but you can’t win them all and should not try.)
5. One “casual” touch or brush just shows what a horny jerk he is. Ignore it, and keep long pins handy. If it happens again, make sure his brushing body part comes away bloody. and your innocence is still intact.
6. Remember to yell. It is much easier to be labeled lunatic than to be raped or used. Men like this count on their victims keeping their mouths shut, but most of the time they have more to lose than you do, if you yell and call them out. Humans, cynical beings that they are, will never believe that the other party was innocent or did not do it on purpose. And again, usually men like this have more to lose than their victims if it all blows back in their face.
7. if you can, reason with them or show them how stupid is what they are doing. Point out how they’d do much better having you as a friend and that you are not that good a lay anyway. Tell them they will be destroying themselves if they mess with you because you will not keep your mouth shut if you are harmed. But if you are given the job, and treated with respect instead, they’ve got themselves an ally.
8. If they ask to see you in your bathing suit as a job requirement, fart. You must learn how to fart on command because it comes in handy. You can even carry a piece of that horrible smelling mineral with you and spit on it when things start to get rough. You can also grab that sneaking hand and pretend to read the palm: “Oh would you look at that! I can’t I simply can’t look at that lifeline one more time. Have you seen your doctor recently? Yeah the hand, look how red those blotches are. I was going to yell but you’ll be dying in 6 months unless you do not take care of yourself now. First your hair will fall out, then your teeth, and your butt will be full of sores, oh my I can’t look at it any more!” and cue in the waterworks.
It usually works like a charm. Trust me I am a master of alienation.