Festering Rage and Pervy McCreepypants

Hello my darlings!

You know how you have those moments in your past that no matter how hard you try to make peace with, they still burn your britches years later?

Gird your loins, baby. A serious, but GIF-containing-to-lighten-my-tense-rage blog lies ahead.

After college, the hubs (then boyfriend) and I moved in together. We had a cute little apartment, he got his first grown up job, and I took a year off college to work and try to embrace what I was going to be when I grew up.

In the spirit of desperately needing a job, I ended up getting hired as a car salesperson.

Yup. I totally sold cars.

I started the job on my 21st birthday. They hired about a dozen new salespeople at once and we all went through this hardcore training together for a week. We test drove all the cars, we learned all the jargon, mechanics, etc.

It’s worth noting that the entire staff at this car place was male. Of the dozen new recruits, only myself and one other were women.

Training went well, everyone was super nice in the back rooms. We didn’t get to play with the other, seasoned salesmen yet.

On the last day before we were unleashed on the floor to actually start selling, the other woman and I were pulled aside by our trainer. Away from the male trainees, we were taken into a little office room.

We were told that over the years, a few women had come into sell cars and none of them lasted long at all. There was a huge issue with the women being sexually harassed on test drives, and some customers flat out refused to buy from a woman. We were instructed on how to handle those situations, how to defend ourselves, and how to report these issues.

That’s a bit scary, right? 21, five feet tall, and about to be unleashed into cars with strangers trying to sell said cars.

But then we were told something that makes me ill to this day.

In hushed voices, we were told that what would make us the best salespeople was to work our lady bits in all the ways. Dress to seduce. Cleavage and short skirts. Let the customers touch our legs while test-driving.

“Do everything but actually sleep with them,” we were instructed.

I totally should have quit right then, right?

Last year, I posted a blog about something had that happened to me in college. That even happened about a year before I started working at this car place. I was not in my top form.

Plus I really, REALLY needed a job. We had rent to pay.

I figured I could totally handle it. I am smart, I am good with people. I figured I would be fine.

And I was, actually. I did great with the customers. I was good at the job. I liked chatting with people all day, learning about the cars, it worked.

AND THEN.

One day, maybe three weeks into the job, one of the veteran sales guys said he wanted to mentor me a bit and took me to lunch.

Sure! Of course! It’s competitive as hell! I’ll take all the help I can get!

Let’s set this up right: He took me to Hooters. Seriously. Like, in real life.

The whole time my brain was screaming to run, scream, set the joint on fire, and flounce out.

But no. Rent. Grown up. Responsibilities.

Cutting to the chase, before our food had even been delivered, I had been asked if I’d ever had sex with girls, had I ever had a threesome, and the real cherry on the conversation, his declaration: “I want to fuck you so bad.”

Aaaaaaaand I was out of there.

I walked back to the dealership, not daring to get into a car with Pervy McCreepypants. I stormed right into the manager’s office and said shit had just gone down and I WAS NOT AMUSED.

The manager handled it really well at first. He took notes, spoke in a serious tone, and I was sent to another office to wait while they questioned McCreepypants as soon as he came back from lunch all covered in buffalo wing sauce and ickiness.

I sat there nervously bouncing my legs, trying to maintain breathing, refusing to lose my nerve.

A short time later I was pulled back into the head manager’s office.

Turned out, McCreepypants had fully admitted to the conversation. Backed me up word for word.

And then I was given a handwritten piece of paper that said a complaint had been filed against me. According to the complaint, there was a day where I had worn a button up dress shirt with my suit and when I reached up to get folders off high shelves, I’d exposed some belly skin.

And this was too much for McCreepypants to handle. I’d enticed him with my stretching and sexy exposed half-inch of 21 year-old-skin.

As in, this coming from the same men who had a few weeks before told me to slut it up to sell cars. Advice I’d never taken and instead wore suits every day, but still was instructed to dress sexy. Now I was being punished for luring a man into wanting to have sex with me because he felt I was dressed too sexy.

If your brain is not fuming over that, go back and read it again.

I was asked to sign the paper acknowledging my crime and agree that my error canceled out his declaration of wanting to “fuck”.

Oh, also that I couldn’t sue and stuff.

There I sat in that office, jaw directly on floor, feeling like an absolute whore. My mind flashed back to the horrible cop the night I’d gone to the police in college who asked me what I’d been wearing when the guys attacked me.

I wish I could tell you I ripped the paper up, stormed out indignantly, or at the very least threw a drink in someone’s face.

But I totally didn’t.

I signed the paper.

I slunk out of the office feeling ashamed.

I sat at my desk for another few days feeling like a disgusting piece of nothing while McCreepypants carried on like normal, making sales, laughing with his friends on the job, etc.

I wore suits to work every day from the day I started in hopes of being seen like a professional. I added long sleeved blazers and long sleeved shirts buttoned up to my neck after that. It was 100 damn degrees out and the middle of July. But hey, I didn’t want to entice anyone with my sluttiness, right?

I was certain there was nothing else I could do. Even hubs thought I was screwed. He’d been there in college, in the room when the cop said what he said. He was wounded in the same way of thinking there was nowhere to go for help. That we’d just have to suffer through it all in silence while I looked for a new job.

The odd final straw came on the day I heard the other woman talking with McCreepypants and some of the other sales guys. They were all making crude jokes on break, and I was sitting behind a car trying to quietly eat lunch.

One of the guys started asking her the same disgusting questions I was asked. I *think* it was the same McCreepypants, but I couldn’t see them.

I sat there praying for outrage, begging her to be tougher than I was. If both of us had issues with this guy within days of each other, surely they would have to take it seriously.

Yeah. No. She answered all the questions, and added that she’d stopped wearing underwear to work because she thought it helped her sales.

And I quit.

I big, fat stomped in, grabbed my pitiful little candy bowl off my desk, and motherfucking QUIT. I didn’t even explain. I just peace’d out and was gone.

Looking back, 11 years later, I can see one hundred plus ways I could have handled all of it differently. All the things I should have done to stand up for myself. Hindsight is a neat trick.

But I was a kid. I was 21, naive as all hell, desperate to take care of myself as an adult, and recently scarred by a horrible situation with horrible men at college.

And I hate that. I HATE THAT.

I hate that anyone is ever put in a position to be too scared to stand up for themselves. To protect themselves. To ask for help and get it.

Male, female, kid, adult, we all have the right to be safe. And if we find ourselves in an unsafe situation, we damn sure have the right to ask for and ACTUALLY FUCKING GET HELP.

I can’t go back and change things for 21 year-old me. I can’t change it for college me. But I can do whatever I can now as an adult to protect myself, my family, and anyone else who needs it.

If your voice isn’t strong enough to demand action, find someone who will shout in your honor. We are out there. People who will help. It sucks that you might have to search, and that’s a part of humanity that pisses me off, but they are OUT THERE.

No matter how hard the McCreepypants of the world like to make us think we are vulnerable and all alone, we aren’t. In the age of technology that we have now, more than any other time, we are so not alone.

I wish I had a better outcome. Better advice. Better anything.

All I know is I don’t want to see anyone else sitting over a decade later fuming and feeling gross over something like I do. I can’t fix it all, but whatever I can do to help, I’m here.

A lot of us are.

If you need help, advice, anything. Find it. Use the numbers. Ask someone. If we can’t help, we will find people who will.

Here is a list of harassment hotlines if you ever find yourself in a similarly shitty boat: HOTLINES

And for good measure, the National Sexual Assault Hotline: R.A.I.N.N.

Also, because I absolutely hate leaving you all on such a serious, bad feelings kind of note, please accept this GIF of an adorable owl getting pets.

I hope you all are well and wonderful!

Until next time,

Peace, Love, and Seriously, Hooters!? *headdesk*

5 Comments

  1. Oh. My. God.

    You and I have led parallel lives.

    I was the same age when the same thing happened to me. I worked for a commercial bakery at the time whose products are sold in grocery stores.

    I was a secretary supporting three managers. Two of them were cool but the third was a dirty old man. At this time, we didn’t have casual Fridays. Dress was corporate. I wore suits and blouses with floppy ties at the neck. I have never worn exceptionally high heels because I never learned to walk in them so my pumps were low and my legs were covered by hose.

    Boss number 3 used to say icky things like “You look sensual today.” I’d say nothing because, honestly — how do you respond to that? “Thank you?” I don’t think it’s a compliment.

    He once told me women work to find a man. If the woman’s married, she works because she’s unhappy. He was the man for me.

    I complained to the HR department and they told me to lighten up; he treats all the women this way. I complained to my other bosses and they said, “He’s harmless. Tease him back and he’ll stop.” On another occasion, they told me to stop dressing like a nun because it’s too tempting. (?)

    So, I started dressing more professionally instead of sweet. Tailored skirts and tops, more dresses. One dress had a zipper he tried to open. A top had two large gold buttons holding it closed and he brandished scissors at me.

    On the day I wore a top with a breast pocket, he kept throwing pennies at it, then wanted to go in to retrieve them. Another day, he snuck up behind me and actually tied me to my chair with masking tape, then made ‘grabby hands’ toward me. The only reason he didn’t actually touch me is because I shouted loudly enough to have others running.

    One night, I was working late and he sat on the corner of my desk and said, “Patty — you should come home with me tonight. One night fucking me and you’ll never go back to your husband.”

    I gagged and pointed out he was older than my dad and that was disgusting. He was disgusting.

    So HE went to HR to complain about me. I was put on probation when I arrived at work 2 minutes after 9.
    I put up with this beast for 5 years and finally, the other bosses banded together to support me. He got his own secretary and left me alone.

    Some years later, long after I’d left this job, I ran into a former coworker who asked me about Boss #1. When I said I hadn’t kept in touch with anybody, she looked surprised and said she’d heard I was having an affair with him. “Where on earth did you hear that from?” I demanded. She named Boss #3!

    That beast told everybody I wouldn’t sleep with him because I was already sleeping with somebody else.

    I’m now a far cry from 21 and can’t believe I didn’t do more to stop this guy. That I allowed myself to think I had to take his disgusting suggestions, had to endure his leers, and creepy behavior because I had no choice was WRONG. Oh, how I WISH we’d had the internet back then because I would have blasted his name and picture up there for the world to see the slime he really is.

    But I was alone. Even my husband had no way to help me.

    I love your post because even though this behavior is taken a lot more seriously by HR departments today, it still goes on.

    *fist bump*

  2. I once told a boss (who was paying me under the table) that if he ever grabbed my ass again, I’d slap him. He laughed and grabbed my ass again. I slapped him. Then I quit.

    As usual, Summer, YES. EXACTLY.

  3. I have stories, too. I’ve put up with things that, looking back, I should not. When you’re young and you’re scared, you don’t always know how to take a stand.

    I just want to say thank you — for sharing this and for being who you are. I adore you, Darling. This is a very powerful, well-said post

  4. Summer,
    Do you think they actually were punishing your for dressing too sexy? It sounds more like they were playing you. I mean, that comment about you dressing tempting or whatever, I hate that you felt down when it was in all likelihood something they concocted so they could keep the seasoned salesman. They’d have no choice but to fire him over something like that, so instead they came up with a lame complaint/excuse to even the score.

    But then the smart 21 year old leaves the Dealership of Perverts and rides off into the sunset to a lucrative writing career.

    At least, that’s how I would have wrote it.

  5. Its such as you read my mind! You seem to grasp so much about this, like you
    wrote the e-book in it or something. I feel that you can do with a few % to power the message house a bit, however other than
    that, that is great blog. An excellent read. I’ll definitely be back.

    Feel free to visit my homepage :: kris and jason dehnert blow each other

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. I Can't Hair You - Fizzygrrl - […] the process of buying a new car and came across the most cartoonishly bad car salesmen this side of…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.