I am very cautious when I interact with a man. On a personal level, I’ve always been careful and made sure I had boundaries and the appropriate level of disclosure/etiquette when it came to dealing with a man.
Unfortunately for me, I’m pretty comfortable chit chatting and talking to dudes. And while I am not out there with the tits out and handing out my number, inevitably, I manage to get what I like to call the “malintentioned man” in my midst.
I recently had an episode that had me texting my BFF in the car asking her if she thought I gave off sexual energy. Her reply? “Do I have dreadlocks?” If you don’t know her, the answer to that question is: not only does she have dreads, but they are down past her butt.
The episode started off fine. Lunch with a person who happened to be a man who worked as an executive for an organization. I thought, this might be a cool mentor to have. Having had previous contact with him on a business level, nothing other than a possibility of a networking opportunity and/or a mentorship came to mind. So when we planned for lunch, I thought nothing of it.
I dressed in jeans and a blouse. Something I’d worn to my previous work where I was surrounded by 90% males. The conversation was cool, tell me a little about you, etc. A little more outside of what we already knew. Business chat about how things were going in both of our lives. He asked after my daughter which got us into a conversation about hair. He mentioned his daughter having an aversion to the hair combing experience and how HIS WIFE had a hard time with that. I offer a little advice.
About halfway through, I remember him bringing up “my husband” (in case you didn’t know, if you are over 30 you cannot possibly have a baby without being married. More on this later). I dismissed it. Normally when that comes up I don’t bother to correct it because then people want an explanation and, I hate to end a convo with a good ol’ fashion bilingual cussin’. But my spidey senses went off then.
Towards the end, he mentioned how much he’d enjoyed the lunch and the conversation. I concurred. “You should have me over for coffee.” is the line that brought the whole damn experience to a screeching halt in my head.
I ignored it the first time, brushed it off about how I liked to go to Starbucks since I worked from home. I brushed off the second as well. I left the lunch with a clear understanding that somehow, this wasn’t going to work out.
First of all: YOU IS MARRIED. That should be reason enough for you to not approach me.
Second of all: this was supposed to be a business lunch. I had no interest in this man before during or after our interaction. What had I done to cause him to think this shit was okay?
It’s frustrating. I’m used to having male friends. VERY used to having well-defined boundaries both personally and professionally. And yet…is this something that’s happening often and that women are okaying?
I guess ignoring and deflecting his comments wasn’t enough and finally, later on that evening a text came with the same offer for coffee. While there were many different ways that I could’ve (and probably should have) replied, I chose to say something diplomatic and leave it at that.
Left with a feeling of guilt as I don’t know what I did to cause that approach and feeling as if somehow, I need to bottle up the sexy in order for that to not happen again. I don’t cross the line, I don’t flirt, I don’t speak inappropriately with men (especially those that I do not know).
My BFF tells me that even if I wear a potato sack, this can’t be helped. But, I feel like bottling that shit up anyway. Because nothing pisses me off more than being seen as just some chick that you think you can approach in that way as opposed to a legitimate business person with a damn brain.
Maybe next time I’ll just wear a sign that says “I’m not gonna fuck you” so that we don’t have to get anywhere near the subject.
Okay, </rant>. Tell me your thoughts.