I am a networking machine. Hitting a bare minimum of 4-5 events a week, it’s a big part of my job. Since networking really means making friends on purpose, I am often shocked by the extremely inappropriate things that get said to me. As a woman, you’re subject to men occasionally crossing the line, but some of the things that get said to me are so . . . .creative, that it’s not possible for these men to see where the line is from where they’re standing. I choose not to get upset when these offenses happen because if I did, I would be upset multiple times a day. So how am I dealing with it? By publishing a sample. Let’s dive right in.
1) “I like you in white, it makes you look virginal.”
2) “You have such big brown eyes.” To get full effect, imagine a much older gentleman that I didn’t know at the time brush the hair out of my face while he says that.
3) “So, is porn an accurate portrayal of Asians?”
4) “Your boobs are little, but that dress makes them look yummy.”
5) “You have a face that men would love to corrupt.” Leave my face alone.
6) I’m walking next to someone, cue their hand on my very low back. This happens ALL THE TIME. I thought it was common knowledge not to touch people you don’t know?
7) “All the dresses you wear should be a lot shorter” You don’t hear me commenting on your wardrobe choices!
8) “What was your name again, I was still looking at you when you said it.” I’m pretty sure sight and hearing operate simultaneously.
9) Stop grabbing my ass!
10) I’m in the middle of answering a question that he asked me, I could tell he checked out of the conversation but still maintained eye contact. Then, he interrupts me. “I bet you’re a lot of fun.” And to keep it classy, proceeds to try to look down my shirt.
The sad part? That’s just stuff from the last week. Look, I’m not a crazy feminist. I choose the battles that I want to fight. I DON’T think that men are terrible. I think some of them definitely think they can get away with saying the things that they have said. That won’t change. I choose to walk away because my reaction is the only thing that I can control. I can be a little sassy and I like to joke and have fun. I’m not telling you not to be playful, but the line that runs between fun and creepy is not that fine. I firmly believe that the men that I am friends with have enough respect for me not to talk to me this way, and if I am STILL friends with you, then you haven’t crossed that extreme line. But I’m not talking about my friends. I’m talking about very professional settings. If networking means making business friends on purpose, talking to me like the above will NOT make me like you.
And in case you were wondering, hell no, I’m not referring people to you. Oh, you want to leverage MY network because YOU’RE out of work? My deaf dog will hear before I help you find a job.
Play nice, use good judgment, and happy networking.