I honestly thought some women just couldn't take a joke. That's what I thought. Men are men and sometimes they say things that are inappropriate, but I'd never actually felt uncomfortable. And then my boss became obsessed with me. On my first business trip for this job-of which there were many-I went to dinner with him when he invited me. I chatted and smiled. I am a friendly person and I was excited to have the new job after spending four years teaching high school. I guess he read more into it. He decided I was his soul mate.
He would call me all the time and get angry if I didn't answer. He would send me texts. He said inappropriate things about what I should wear for training. He made jealous comments when someone complimented me. He grew irritated when I wouldn't go to lunch with him every single day. He wanted me to meet him for coffee at midnight. He got pissed off when I cut my hair because he "liked my hair long."
I didn't say anything. I did everything I could to keep my distance from him without upsetting him too much. I couldn't afford to lose my job, and he'd taken a chance hiring me when I didn't have any experience. I felt trapped. And my boyfriend at the time said things like, "Well, what did you say or do to make him think you welcomed his attention?"
I remember feeling crazy hurt that he would imply it was somehow my fault. And then I wondered, was it my fault? Did I smile too much? Should I have refused to go to dinner with him? That's the crazy shit this world makes you believe--that someone else acting like they own you is your fault. Because you smiled. Because you were happy. Because you were yourself.