Pajiba Answers: How Can I Stop Sexually Harassing My Coworkers?
Hello, friends. Are you suffering because of the recent rash of
men being exposed for the disgusting predators they truly are PC Liberalism gone too far? Do you feel like your workplace isn’t your own? Are you an elderly paranoid creepster who has to worry that every little action will be misconstrued by your female coworkers when you were just trying to creepily come on to them?
Well, fear not! Pajiba is here to help. Specifically, we can help navigate the increasingly choppy waters (women boat captains, amirite?) of maintaining your “fun” work presence without letting the (wo)man hold you back and turn you into a cuck or whatever. Based on the surprisingly common behaviors exhibited in the workplace from this recent New York Times survey, I’ve developed a foolproof plan for keeping your sense of humor at work while keeping your job. Allow me, a registered woman, to walk you through the pitfalls of each behavior, and tell you the secrets for pulling them off. And just to save a little time at the end, let’s start with the most difficult behavior first:
1) Told Sexual Stories Or Jokes That Some Might Consider Offensive
The most common behavior on the list is also the most difficult to regulate. On the one hand, humor is inherently edgy and usually pushes boundaries. So it’s hard to define what is offensive and what’s not. That’s where you’re in luck: you don’t have to define it! Your HR department already has! And if they tell you you have to knock it off, you just do it!
Sure, that might seem stifling, but also, yes, it is. Work is very often about stifling a lot of urges. The urge to fart, the urge to swear at a coworker, the urge to just take off this goddamn bra already because it’s digging into my side. But we resist these urges, to make everyone more comfortable, and, most importantly, because your boss said they’d fire you if you didn’t.
And to acknowledge the elephant in the room, some people are better at pushing boundaries than others. I know a woman who told a sex joke involving the word “fuck” to my grandmother at a baby shower. My grandmother was charmed. Because the joke teller is gifted and personable in ways others of us can only dream of. Context matters. The intended butt of the joke matters. Timing matters. If you aren’t able to read a room, don’t tell edgy jokes. You’ll live, and you’ll still have a job.
2) Made Remarks That Some Might Consider Sexist Or Offensive
This one is slightly different from the first entry because in this case, after making the statement, the person speaking will interject, “I was joking!” That’s how you can tell the difference. People who practice this form of defense are under the mistaken presumption that if something is a joke, it can’t possibly be racist or sexist, and the recipient of the joke is out of line for taking offense. (See Maher, Bill - Entire Career.)
The issue is ouroboros logic behind the humor involved. The joke you’re telling isn’t sexist , it’s “edgy.” And it’s “edgy” because it’s breaking a taboo and pushing boundaries. A taboo that says it’s impolite and unethical at worst to say things that are insulting or degrading based on someone’s race or gender. So yes, you are saying something sexist, but not being sexist because pretend sexism is a side splitter.
Luckily for you, I’ve got some great inside knowledge: sexist jokes aren’t funny! I mean, both in the nature and actual material of the joke! They’re just tired, old trash that’s been repeated for generations that makes you look like tired, old trash. If your goal is to make people think you’re risque and funny, you’re doing a bad job! So you can just stop! Really, just stop.
3) Displayed, Used, Or Distributed Materials (Like Videos Or Cartoons) That Some Might Consider Sexist Or Suggestive
That’s what Facebook is for! Do that shit in semi-public privacy!
4) Made Gestures Or Used Body Language Of A Sexual Nature That Embarrassed Or Offended Someone
But why though? What was the goal in mind? Did you think if you did the air hump motion, Janice from Accounting might find you more attractive? (Janice in Accounting doesn’t give a fuck.) Were you trying to land a date, or were you trying to make someone uncomfortable? Because a lot of apologists keep saying that men just aren’t aware of how their actions are being perceived, and my counter argument is: I’ve met men, and they aren’t that stupid. And if your argument is that men are just too stupid to know that miming masturbation in the office isn’t cool, then they don’t get to be in charge anymore. You can’t be the boss and be that dumb. We’re just not doing that anymore.
5 and 6) Continued To Ask Someone For Dates, Drinks, Or Dinner Even Though He Or She Said No, Or Made Attempts To Establish A Romantic Sexual Relationship With Someone Despite That Person’s Efforts To Discourage It
Whew! Back in safe, easy to advise territory! Unlike the “jokey” comments above, I can give some real, effective advice: you need a redo. You go to the time-out-circle now. And you stay there until you figure out why you knowingly continued to harass people who are knowingly not interested in you. This one also doesn’t just apply to coworkers. You can’t do that to anyone. You ask them out, they say no, you move on. And even if you can’t move on, the important part is, you never, ever ask them out again. You already did it once, so if they change their minds, they’ll let you know. What’s the benefit of pestering someone into a date? Is that the story you want to tell your grandkids? “Well, kiddies, I wore her down, you see.” And don’t give me any of the “persistence pays off” bullshit. That applies to video games, and that’s about it. If there’s something entirely under your control, you can persist at it. Other human beings are, surprisingly, not under your control (if that part is news to you, double your time-out-circle time).
7 and 8) Touched Someone In A Way That Made Him Or Her Feel Uncomfortable Or Made Uninvited Attempts To Stroke, Fondle, Or Kiss Someone
Congratulations! You’re a sexual assaulter now!
Which maybe, actually isn’t that great of news, but even worse news, yes, you’re still definitely a sexual assaulter. Which again leads me to the question of “But why though?” Why would you fondle a coworker? Were you looking for a date? Because then you can just ask for the date (bearing in mind that if they say no, you take no as an answer). Did you imagine that this was the beginning of a sexual encounter? Because then I’ve got to get all Liz Lemon with a “You start with that?!” Cupping a breast is the first move?
And also, this is where all that bullshit about how this is just a “puritanical” movement falls apart like … well, bullshit. if we want to pretend that this is actually about women forcing the sexually repressed and repressive natures onto the rest of the country, they why the hell are these men so goddamn freaked out by saying, “I’d like to take you on a date?” You don’t feel comfortable acknowledging that you’re attracted to someone you work with, so you decide the best move is to stick your hand on her ass? Does that adequately convey the proposed romantic relationship you hope to engage in? If this really is an issue of “puritanism,” than it’s the puritanism of assaulters who feel like the only way to avoid the awkwardness of admitting their romantic or sexual feelings is by forcing themselves on someone else. Let’s deal with that shit first, and then we can talk about if women just aren’t putting out enough.
9) Offered Or Implied Rewards If Someone Engaged In Sexual Behavior Or Treated Someone Badly If He Or She Didn’t
Oh, you meant to hire a sex worker, and accidentally hired a PA instead. This is an easy enough mistake to make, but has grave consequences. Make sure you always keep the jobs you’re hiring for separate. You don’t hire a secretary to paint your house, you don’t hire a baker to unclog your toilet, and you don’t hire a copy-editor to have sex with you. Hire a sex worker to have sex with you, make sure you’re freshly showered, be respectful, and tip well. Done.