Quarantine Quips

CW: male entitlement, sexuality, r*pe

As I continue to navigate my own sexuality, comphet, and being nb, I’ve been able to remove myself from the desire for men or their attention/approval. There’s a reason analysis of the patriarchy written by Lesbians/Aces/Aeros is so far ahead of their straight colleagues (as well as why reading texts about racism written by white people is void).

In my life, I’ve gathered that almost EVERY time men engage about topic of discussion they don’t want to be educated, they want you to be wrong. And they will die on the smallest of hills for that. On the off chance they’re genuinely willing to entertain new information that doesn’t center them, they are hardly ever willing to compensate the knowledge-deliverer (women). I did not come to learn the things I have through divine intervention. The knowledge I have, continue to gain, learn and unlearn, comes from countless hours of work: reading, reflecting, researching, etc. Men asking women to explain something to them is another facet of patriarchy. Rarely do they listen, but even if they do- they still cannot comprehend the labor that goes into it and how that deserves compensation if they want to jump the line and leech off your work.

To explore the entitlement of men; their entitlement to a woman’s attention, time, labor, knowledge, and body; I decided it would provide some quarantine fun for myself and I added a clause into my tinder bio that says, “if you’re a man and want a reply, my CA is__I don’t talk to men for free.” (and let’s just say I don’t cosplay identities, there’s a reason my CA exists irl).

Almost all men still message, so here’s some categorical breakdowns I’ve come across, along with my crusty-eyed coffee reactions. These are all from one single morning.

 

The Inquisitive Mind

“Real talk, how many men actually pay you?”

-Love these ones because you can smell their fear

“What do I get in return”

-Clearly my bio says a reply, but men want that for free. So if you demand payment they become entitled to more.

“you’re really pretty but did you just match with me to make money?”

-Literally yes

“HAHAHHHHHAHHHAHHAHAHHAHAHAHHAAH CA for a reply, how often does that work?”

-I pay my bills with men’s money

“What if we don’t talk I just taste you”

-Good morning to me!!

 

The PUA Techniques

“lol what makes you think you so special to say you don’t talk to men for free?? Lol you are not anything special honey haha”

-That’s your self-esteem sir, not mine

“lol you’re funny, you’re not even that hot”

-This one is a delight because it came after I changed my profile and he has previously stated, “I’ve never seen someone so stunning”

“don’t talk for free huh? That’s sad”

-False, doing free labor is sad.

“Guess I’m not gonna get a reply based on your profile cause I’m definitely not paying, but you are beautiful”

-These always pique my interest because somehow telling me I’m attractive will override the boundaries I’ve laid out? Common tactic in date-rape

 

The Accidental Sexism Reveal-ers

“all men end up paying for it one way or another, but your approach is not what I’m into. I actually want to have a loving family one day!”

-Cool story bruh

“I’m looking for something serious, not into stupid girls. Any fun weekend plans?”

 

The Men Can’t Read

“hey beautiful, how are you?”

“hey how are you” x50

“love your style”

“bet you have double lips”

“heyy”

-Love when they change it up with a misspelling of my name

 

The Exception

“lol, I can understand your hesitation, hoping you’ll make an exception”

“So u wont talk to me huh lol”

“You don’t talk to men for free eh? Is that a joke or are you just taking advantage of capitalism? Either way hi lol”

 

The Boundary Pusher

“Too bad you don’t talk to men, I’m actually a good one.”

-There are no good men. As an eloquent tweet once said (I can’t remember the person but if it comes to me I’ll add it, I also apply the sentiment to my whiteness) “Men are trash, it’s up to us whether we want to be Styrofoam or compost”

“lol so how do I get you to reply??”

“Haha, I don’t blame you for putting that in there. How have you been?”

“Hmm do I really have to pay you to get you to respond? Lol” grouped with “Can you explain your profile statement?”

-These ones are very specific, I want to note that many men get off on the power dynamic, if I were to even reply with a simple yes, they would think they’re winning. This pushing and progression of entitlement is crucial when exploring IPV and date-rape

“I’m not sending you any money but your eyes are dope as hell”

-Similar vain as expecting something because despite them ignoring my boundary, they think a compliment will suffice

 

This one needs a category of it’s own

“I love your CA handle seems like the sort of username I would use. Good tastes on that; this is coming from someone who always hated those “life is good’s shirts as a kid (you know the stupid ones with a stick figure wearing sunglasses). I am quite a hopeless romantic my self. As an idealist a succinct handle like that resonates well with me, and gives me the feeling that you may share a similar perspective on the world…i may be reading allot into your user name, but I do love extrapolation…sorry about that loquacious soliloquy style rant…I do that sometimes lol.”

-My username is directly related to my SW, so this did give me a good chuckle

 

To summarize, every single one of these men could have simply not swiped, or not sent a message. When we discuss the patriarchy, it runs as deep as physical violence, all the way through dismissing clear boundaries laid out in a simple bio. A colleague of mine in Sweden explores sexism, incels, and white supremacy. When I suggested to her adding entitlement as a moderator in her analysis her data became even more frightening than it already was. The entitlement of men is ingrained, and until it’s addressed at every level it manifests, we will never be free.

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The Monster in My Bed

If I keep this in a word document any longer I’ll drive myself wild.

TW:NPD, narcissistic abuse, codependency, rape

His calm and charming demeanor coupled with my aggressive conviction made the perfect ingredients for his next meal. It was such a natural role to have poor, sweet, innocent, and charming Pat being berated by the aggressive, loud, convicted bitch- but hey, at least she was hot. Little was known about what happened behind those swinging kitchen doors; my apologies wrong blog. Little was known about what happened behind closed apartment doors, the drugs, constant gas-lighting, and threats of violence.

 

I’ve learned a humbling lesson “what you permit is what you promote”. When we met you were friends with literally self-proclaimed rapists, yet you convinced me that they were gross and you didn’t really like them; only after I expressed my discomfort with their words and actions. I believed you because I needed to. I needed to believe that someone saw me as valuable outside of my killer tits and “strong” persona. I convinced myself that was you, but it never was. For it wasn’t until very recently I even knew you (25y/o) had somewhat of a bet going with the other (31y/o) manager to see who could fuck me (21y/o) first. You’ve been a predator since they day we met, and ended as one when you worked to convince me in order to rekindle our sex life in our marriage we needed to just “force it” and it’d come back, so you fucked me silly only to afterwards tell me you were picturing her- that you don’t see my body as sexual anymore because you weren’t “overcome with desire” every time I stepped out of the shower.

 

Let’s call a spade a spade. You enjoyed violating me. That’s why you would be all over me after your “city trips” when you’d see her. It wasn’t out of “guilt” as you so claimed, but because you genuinely enjoyed knowing had I been made aware I wouldn’t have consented. You claimed you lost interest in me, but in reality you didn’t have your rapist friends to describe our sex life to (or maybe you still do; there’s a reason you’re friends with the men you are). You did the same thing with your last girlfriend. Triangulating me into believing you weren’t attracted to her anymore and that wasn’t the case with me. You get hard when you deceive, removing any consent established. That’s a rapist. But you already knew that about yourself too, you just don’t care.

 

You attempted to make me blame myself for the fact that I wasn’t comfortable with you sexualizing me when I wasn’t consenting. You even reminisced about how when we met my sex drive was higher; we used to “wake up having sex.” Turns out that’s not a fucking thing, and you were raping me while I slept but I woke up and thought this is strange. You ended being the predator you’ve always been, as apparent in one of the last things you ever said to me, “I’m sick of always being the student with you, with her she’s the student and I’m the teacher.” You were friends with literal rapists because you are one, you’re just a little more calculating. At least I got you to admit it on tape before we parted ways.

 

I knew your substance use was a problem, especially when I had an issue and asked for your help. When we met I had never explored drugs, and told you they made me uneasy. 7.5 years and tens of thousands of dollars later I now see that you saw that as an innocence you could exploit. I suggested perhaps we could get sober together, to which you said just because I feel that way doesn’t mean you should stop getting to have fun. You’d try to blame my anger and that you didn’t want to deal with telling me no, which I always found odd because it’s not like you ever tried so how would you know? Truthfully, I don’t think you wanted me to be sober, because I would have caught on to your shit earlier. I should have known on the nights you were so drunk you’d bang on the second bedroom door until the jewelry knocked off trying to get into the room to yell at me. I should have known when you threatened me multiple times with the phrase “What you want me to hit you?! Is that what you want?!” while I begged and pleaded for you to just go to bed. You don’t utter a phrase like that unless you want to hit a woman, but hey the friends you had when we met bragged about doing that too. I honestly think one of the only reasons you never followed through isn’t because that would have been my hard line or that you really didn’t want to, but because all it would take would be for you to land one hit for me to snap and I would have absolutely ended you. I can hear your stupid giggle reading that last line passing it off because I’m not as strong as I pretend to be. Yet you still never tried it, so I was apparently strong enough to have you scared; be it physically or in my power to not just tell my story; shattering the brilliant narrative you’ve spent your whole life concocting, but my power in making sure my story is heard.

 

You also took to the tactic of using my words against me. As I became trained in crisis intervention for victims of sexual violence I would tell you about my training, only for you to later weaponized those words to tell me how I’m an abuser. I may have cussed you out when I found out you weren’t paying our health insurance, or called you out when you defended something/someone indefensible (a quality in the beginning you told me you loved about me) but my anger and venomous words were only ever in response to your inexcusable actions. That part has taken me far too long to see for you skillfully weaponized my “anger” to turn me into the big bad monster.

 

You did that with most everything, turned it around on me to make it my fault. If it wasn’t my “anger” it was the lies that I made you tell. I wanted to know when you left work so I could expect you home safely and plan on when I could get myself to sleep for the night since you walking in would wake up the dog. You told me that reasoning made you lie to me about how you actually went out almost every single night after work, even if it was for “just one”. Or when you would come home after “two beers” how it took an hour to get you to admit maybe they were 12% beers and you also had two shots. That asking for simple common curtesy for you to not go out on nights I needed to be up was a reason to lie to me instead of say, be considerate and not go out that night. Everything you did you’ve managed to find a way to blame me, but my generally confident and convicted demeanor made me the perfect target for that too.

 

“I just can’t stop hurting you, I don’t deserve you, you deserve someone better.” I spent so much time trying to console your “self-esteem” and tell you how smart, cute, and appealing you were. I was sincere when I said those things, except now I realize I was trying to convince myself. You made me compromise so many of my “standards” because you told me I was full of myself for wanting to be with someone that had any semblance of a direction in life, or even a license for that matter. Then when you took it upon yourself to con me into liking someone that didn’t exist, didn’t have a license, wasn’t enrolled in school, etc. you worked to make me feel guilty, that I was trying to change you. Let’s be clear; “The only time you ever liked yourself was when you were trying to be someone I would have liked.”

 

And yet the biggest gift I’ve ever received is the power I now yield within myself. To know where I need to dive into my internalized misogyny; that our relationship began when you were the older manager and I was the young new server. That it began with her (your previous relationship) still texting you while you were in my bed convincing me you never liked her, that it was fizzling out ages before I came along. Here we are full circle and that’s where it ended. With her as an even younger hostess and you as an even older server. With me texting you while you’re in her bed, convincing her that you didn’t feel the same towards me and she’s the one that makes you truly happy. You primed those around you to know that you were unhappy, that I was controlling. I remember when we first got together those around us talked about how great it was to see you happy again, that you weren’t happy with the previous girl. No matter how smart, driven, or contentious I was, I still pretended I was the exception and you’d never do that with me. Looks like internalized misogyny is one hell of a drug, someone should study it.

 

I never was the exception, until now.

 

Perhaps one day you’ll even get clean, but my doubt with that is in knowing you don’t want to. Because if you are the company you keep then the fact that not even three months ago I had to stop you from giving your childhood best friend the bumps he asked for since he had a “long drive home” doesn’t quite put you on the path for success. Or how you didn’t know the name of our vet after 2.5 years, or the price of our current rent. It’s because you don’t care or want to change. You love to play innocent and weak, telling women it’s sexy when they call you out, and that you love that about them when they put you in your place (bigger men pay for that privilege of a humiliation kink- but you knew that and resented those men). Except time passes and that desire to be called on your shit becomes something you resent, as you slowly realize you even fail at living up to your own lies. You love that others will pick up your pieces because you know just which role to play. For that I almost have to give you credit.

 

They say narcissists chose their victims based on who they’re most jealous of, or at least that’s one of the breakdowns in the packets they gave me at the hospital, “Victims of Narcissistic Abuse” in which I read the last 7.5 years of my life poured in those pages (even down to the rapid weight gain and loss). And honestly, I can’t fault you for that, even I’m jealous of myself sometimes. I just needed to get to the level of admitting how hard this road ahead would be; not the road of living without you, but the road to live with just me. Confronting my demons now that I’m not drowning them out with booze and blow. Since the day I kicked you out I haven’t need to take a single antacid despite usually having to eat them like candies. I haven’t had one nose bleed either despite them having had become a weekly occurrence. My body has been literally dying because of the stress I was taking on, yet I kept justifying everything because you financially supported me through school that the least I could do was take on all of the other weight it takes for a household. Even typing that out now I worked so hard to not let myself see our relationship for what it truly was; financial, emotional, and psychological abuse. But now, finally I can breathe again, and you have become nothing more than another hurdle I’ll jump in therapy; we both knew that was always your fate. I used to take solace in how there was one person in this world that knew me better than anyone, and that there was a person I knew better than anyone. I never knew you through the web of lies and manipulation. However, after all of this I can confidently say I finally know the true you better than anyone in this world has the misfortune of knowing.

 

I remember reading a while back that anything they’d do with you they’d do to you. I recall reconsidering the circumstances in which we had met, and how I believed these women and that would likely be my fate; despite your constant reassurance that “this was different, I was different”.

 

It may have been many years until the day finally came, but whether it’s in 10 months or 10 years, when you realize you were no exception either- you have my number Katie.

 

P.S. I’m glad I landed that punch, even if you tried to tell me it wasn’t a good one.

 

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Tales from The Diner

This post is in response that is meant to build on my friend and former coworker’s post, found here

I apologize for whatever spelling/grammar errors there are. I’m by no stretch as eloquent with words as my former co-worker :p

For approximately nine months, from August 2012 to May 2013, I worked at a well-known and well-praised establishment in Hadley, Massachusetts. When engaging in small talk with new acquaintances, the conversations tended to take the same route. They would casually ask,

“So where did you go to school?”

“Oh, that’s nice, and what did you study?”

“And where do you work?”

I would reluctantly utter: “The Route 9 Diner”

“Oh my gosh I love that place!”

This is where the lump in my throat and the sinking feeling would begin.

“It’s not all it’s cracked up to be, haha” I passively hinted.

“What do you mean?”

Then the decision. I could easily and willingly go off on a rant about this establishment, but I would brush it off because let’s face it, people don’t always want the black curtain pulled back on something they enjoy. They don’t want to hear about what happens behind those swinging kitchen doors. About the unrelenting, disheartening, and perpetual sexual harassment.

It was my first waitressing job ever. I was grateful to have a chance to explore this new area of employment because up until this point, I had only ever worked in retail. I was blissfully unaware of the misogynistic environment that laid ahead.

I began working overnights, 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. This is standard procedure for most all new hires. I continued finishing my last semester at UMass, while working 10-6 Fridays and/or Saturdays with a few dinner shifts sprinkled in throughout the week. I noticed almost immediately the differences and similarities between the environments of retail and restaurants, the most notable being the air of ambivalence.

I cannot recall the first instance of harassment I experienced, nor the last. There have honestly been so many they have become lumped together, some forgotten, but here I’ll attempt to highlight chronologically the ones that stick out.

It began almost as instantly as I opened those kitchen doors. I would walk in to be greeted by fellow waitresses, waiters, and kitchen staff. As immediately as the door closed, the coos and comments started, going something like this:

“Hola mami. You look so good today.”

“Thanks.”

“You have a boyfriend sweetie?”

“No.”

“Ohhh yessssss. I can be your boyfriend princess. Treat you real nice.”

“I’m good thanks.”

I would disgruntledly reply as I smugly smiled and continued on with my side-work.

Sometimes it would end there. Sometimes another waitress would walk in and become the target, taking the focus off of me. Sometimes an order would be rung in. Sometimes it continued.

I would avert my eyes, as to not “encourage them” and instead dart my gaze trying desperately to lock in with another waitress as if to say, “is this a joke?” only to be met with, “Yeah they’re gross, you get used to it.”

And I did.

I continued to learn the dynamics of this place, and to some extend restaurants in general. I could go on and on about the issues I may have personally had with the establishment itself, about the owners, the managers, the staff, but alas, this is not a story of opinions. This is a tale of facts.

One instance, very recently after I started, stands out. I was in the kitchen by the salad bar. I then needed something over through the narrow pathway between the cooks’ station and the dishwashing area. As I began to make my way over to the walk-in cooler, I was met by the head cook Coco. I was unable to continue to make my way to retrieve whatever it was.

“Come here mami, I wanna talk to you.”

I stood at an arm’s length away, uncomfortably shuffling my feet.

“I want to take you to a movie. Lemme take you to a movie, mami.” I was told as the distance between us grew smaller.

“I’m all set,” I answered.

He then aggressively inched closer and proceeded to put his arm around my neck and say,

“Well just give me a hug, beautiful. You’re breaking my heart.”

This is where I’m ashamed. It pains me to write this, to acknowledge my weakness in this moment. However, with the environment I was around, the other girls I talked to, the jokes exchanged between managers, owners, and cooks, made me question my right to feel uncomfortable. I was repeatedly being told, “They’re annoying but just get over it.”

“It’s worse if you fight it.”

“It’s not that bad, it’s not like they can ever really rape you.”

Or, my personal favorite: “It’s a compliment.”

So I did it. I hugged him. And in doing so apparently gave an invitation to lay a wet, warm, disgusting kiss on my neck. I immediately pushed him away, appalled. In that moment, right then and there, should have been the end of my story. I should have ripped off my apron, thrown it on the ground, and walked out, never to be seen again. I should have screamed. I should have yelled. I should have punched him right in the face. If I was asked before I started what I would have done in that instance, I would have said just that. But there it was, the moment, and I froze.

He then acted as if I had done something wrong “Oh sorr-ree, what you don’t like me?” He insincerely mocked. I continued my walk to the cooler, where I retrieved whatever that things was, and I wept.

Typing the words “I wept,” acknowledging that I cried out of disgust, frustration, anger, defeat, and violation, immediately discredits me to the superiors of that restaurant. The owners knew fully well what was going on, and the only semblance of caring they did was in attempt to subdue any potential lawsuits. It consisted of half-assed, disgruntled, temporary form of actions. They constantly made fun of the girls that expressed discomfort for being emotional and weak. I told a fellow waitress what had happened, hoping she would be as appalled and together we would throw down our aprons. Instead I was told, “Yeah he’s disgusting, just ignore it”

I felt so alone. This moment was discarded and I was expected to forget about it. Well, I haven’t.

I grew increasingly frustrated. I can confidently and honestly say that my moment in the walk-in after my FIRST hard experience was the only time I cried. I grew resentful and angry. At the time of my employment, there were two owners, and three managers. All men. There was a head waitress, however she worked only morning shifts and was never seen by any of the dinner or overnight staff. So essentially, all the new people.

There was only one manager that seemed to be in the same position I was: the position of hypocrisy. Everyone can say he was the only one who genuinely cared how uncomfortable the kitchen staff was making the girls. By far he was the crowd favorite. He was the only higher authority who would listen, show emotion, and profusely apologize. But he has his own issues.

Does he bring up these stories he’s heard, only to be brushed off and mocked by his superiors?

Does he make it known how upset these girls get, and face the wrath of the cooks himself?

They outnumbered him by far. As did the perpetuating other two managers and two owners. Needless to say, we bonded over these feelings of being stuck, being disappointed in ourselves, wrestling with the choice between a decent paycheck and a future reference, and doing what is right. And from these conversations, a romance grew.

With my budding romance, I was curious to see the turn the harassment would take towards me. It started consisting of more passive comments directed towards my relationship status.

“Oh you look gorgeous today, he so lucky.”

“I wish I was him, damn mami.”

With my newfound confidence that comes with the validation of bonding so deeply with someone, I began to become less and less tolerant of these remarks. The comments about my juicy ass, my apple-esque cheekbones, or my tasty ta-tas were all then followed with “Oh sorry, sorry, you have boy now.” My time there evolved.

The ultimate instance of my personal harassment came with time. The cooks proceeded to make comments and remarks about my body and my relationship status. If there’s one thing the owners made clear, it was that all waitresses were expendable. And to an extent they’re completely right. It’s much easier in Amherst to find a naive 19 year old willing to work under disgusting circumstances than it is to find a replacement for a cook who knows the ins and outs of the menu and is willing to work in a gruelingly hot environment for $6-10/hour, for 10-18 hours a day, six days a week. With this taste of expendability in my mouth, I continued about my time there. I began rolling my eyes at their comments. I began sticking out my tongue while making gagging expressions to emphasize how repulsive I found their passes. And with that, I opened up a new door:

“Lemme see ya tongue mami”

It began the way it all did: comments here and there, off-handedly uttering, “I love ya tongue.” Then it escalated. They began holding my tables’ food from me. They would keep the plates just out of my reach until I “showed them my tongue.” When I refused, they would eventually tire, but I myself must admit, when I was obscenely busy or defeated, hearing the roar of drunken college kids entering through the doors, I would show them my tongue so I could receive my food, deliver it to my table, and take the next drink order. This is where I began to break.

I grew so tired of this environment and of being faced with my own hypocrisy.

I tried to “be strong” and not let them get to me. I tried to brush it off so as to not be labeled as another dramatic waitress. I was being told that I’m not in any real danger, they’d never have the opportunity to really do anything.

I began looking for another job. In the time during that process I had, what many, many other waitresses have had: an experience in the walk-in.

The times Coco and others followed me into the walk-in, blocking the door until I showed them my tongue, were so numerous that I doubt I could have kept track if I tried. Needless to say, I didn’t try to keep track because that would be giving it attention, when in all honesty I just wanted it to go away. And besides, I knew I wouldn’t be heard.

But then it happened. One overnight, I was cornered yet again, in the walk-in by a cook. Not Coco, but Chava. He also went with the classic “block the door” technique until I showed him my tongue. I refused, trying to push my way passed him. That’s when he laid his hands on me. I felt two small, cold hands place themselves on each one of my shoulders. I felt myself being pushed back into the far corner of the walk-in. And again, I experienced that moment of Coco kissing my neck. I froze. His hands on my shoulders, him walking towards me, pushing deeper and deeper into the corner, all while uttering those god forsaken words,

“Lemme see ya tongue mami.”

I whisked away, pushing myself aggressively past him, and hurried out of the walk-in, back to the refuge of the cameras. I told the manager on duty, my boyfriend, what had happened. He came into the kitchen to scold the cook, aware that his actions could damage any further working relationship. He firmly told them to leave me alone, which they then did for the rest of my shift, despite muttering things under their breath. I finished my shift in silence.

I retold the story to my then-roommate, another manager, over dinner. He and I used to exchange joking comments about those words “lemme see ya tongue.” I figured if I joked with him about it, I was taking back the power in my mind, making light of the phrase that caused me unrest. When I told him about the walk-in he expressed concern and empathy, then proceeded to say that it was my boyfriend’s job to do something. He said that if it were him, and I were his girlfriend, he would have punched the cook. However, this statement contradicted his continued comradery with the cooks.

Later that week I found out my story had made its way to the owners. My boyfriend was questioned about the event, my roommate was questioned, and the cooks were questioned. I was never once spoken to.

The only action taken was that the cooks had a “talking-to about touching the girls” and for a week or so, they remained silent behind the line. Now that sounds blissful in comparison to the daily harassment, but it went farther than that. They took the “don’t talk to the girls” to the level that a toddler would. They refused to acknowledge my existence. When I attempted to get their attention regarding an order for my tables, they would tell me, “No I don’t wanna talk to you and get in trouble.”

They would purposefully fuck up my food, so that my tables would become disgruntled with their wait-time and my tips would suffer. They then began documenting my mistakes as a waitress in order to attempt to get me fired. When the owners found out about this bag containing a collection of my table tickets they simply told the cooks to throw it away. They knew fully well the cooks were being childish and making my life difficult because I told on them. They did nothing. I was then reminded why I endured what I did. Your job is much easier when they like you. To get them to like you there are certain things you let slide. When you let things slide, you get cornered in the walk-in.

This could be twisted and turned to say that I was being paranoid about them trying to get me fired, but I’m not the only one. Others noticed these consequences, and endured similar ones. Especially my boyfriend. They ignored him, uttered comments under their breath, and rolled their eyes at his requests. I would do my work in the kitchen in silence while they made animal noises passive-aggressively at me and called me a rat and a pussy. Some would even hum or whistle the theme of The Pink Panther while I was in the kitchen, to emphasize that I was a pussy. I was the only one that got to hear that lovely tune, but by far not the only one that had to deal with the consequences of trying to stand up for what was right.

The extent the owners went to when confronted with these tales was to eventually put a guard over the light switch to the walk-in so that the cooks at least couldn’t turn the lights off on the girls when they cornered them. The cooks were never fired. The cook who personally cornered me apparently, after my departure, was “fired” because it was rumored he was drinking on the job, perhaps leading to those hands on my shoulders. He was hired back only a short time later.

Again, I was never once spoken to by the owners. They asked my boyfriend for my side of the story, not me. They told him it was a “he said/she said” scenario and I could be lying and exaggerating. There may be two sides to every story, but that doesn’t always mean both sides are equally right.

Towards the end of my employment there, another waitress was promoted to the position of Head Waitress. One of her first acts was documenting the stories the girls had about their experiences with harassment. She was more than familiar with my plight and the consequences of taking action, because she has worked there for approximately seven years, toggling with either being harassed or debarred. She asked me if I would be comfortable telling my story. I was thrilled. I was so proud of her and the initiative she was taking. I was a bit disgusted it seemed only those who endured these ordeals took them seriously, but I was happy nonetheless. I had hopes of sitting in that office with the owners, and painting the picture of the environment that they have created, perpetuated, and dismissed. Nothing came of her request.

I then quit the diner a defeated human. I went on to work at another restaurant right down the road, and experience similar harassment, not as much from the staff, as the customers. I have since moved out of town, and have attempted to put this chapter behind me.

I have continually wrestled with my decision of silence, validating it with, “they’re still stuck there and I’m not,” as well as the thought that has been ringing in my ears as I write this; “there are still some coworkers there that I really like and truly miss. I wouldn’t want to say something to jeopardize their jobs.” But then I think of the next staff member. I think of the 21 year old similar to myself that may start there next month, next week, or tomorrow. I think of how s/he may be confronted with the hypocrisy I and so many other faced. About how s/he may have the same events play out, eventually leading to a corner in that very same walk-in. So I write.

Follow-up!!

My amazing former coworkers (some of which I didn’t work with or even know until this all started) that have decided to share their stories:

http://idunnoaboutthat.wordpress.com/2014/10/30/tales-from-the-diner/

http://thesearetheproblems.wordpress.com/2014/10/30/so-you-want-to-work-at-the-diner-read-this-first/

http://ecadams.wordpress.com/2014/10/31/tales-from-the-diner/

http://disaffectedwaitress.wordpress.com/2014/10/31/tales-from-the-diner/

http://businessofdismissal.wordpress.com/

http://beasti.tumblr.com/post/101497602140/weighing-in-on-the-rt-9-diner

http://foundvoice.wordpress.com/2014/11/03/finding-a-voice/

https://morerestaurantfuntimes.wordpress.com/

http://verifiableveracity.wordpress.com/2014/11/05/tales-from-the-diner/

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