trinsy: (bovvered)
[personal profile] trinsy
Dear Men,

Like many women, I work a job in which customer service is integral. Specifically, I’m a barista at a coffee shop, but the details aren’t important for the purposes of this letter. I could work in a restaurant or in a grocery store or on an airplane, and everything I’m about to say would still be relevant, so take note:

Don’t tell me I look nice. Don’t tell me I have a great smile. I’m not at work looking for compliments. I’m not at work looking for your attention. I’m interacting with you because you’re a customer. I don’t need you to tell me I have a nice smile. I’ve seen pictures of myself. I know I have a nice smile. I’m smiling at you because you’re a customer. Smiling at you is my job. I don’t need you to say anything about it. I just need you to tell me what you want to buy from me. That’s also my job.

If I were guy, you wouldn’t say anything about it. If I were a guy, it wouldn’t even occur to you to say anything about it. But if I were a guy, I would still be smiling at you, because smiling at you and pretending you’re not creepy as hell would still be my job.

On a related note, I’m not your “darling” or your “sweetheart”. I’m the person handing you your overpriced latte. No, it isn’t cute or endearing or nice when you call me that. It’s patronizing. If I were a guy, you’d call me “sir” or nothing. I’m not asking you to call me “ma’am”. I’m fine with nothing. I’m not fine with terms of endearment you haven’t earned the right to call me.

I don’t need you to validate me with unnecessary compliments on my personal appearance and inappropriate pet names just because you’re a man and I’m a woman. I actually know exactly where I fall on the scale of attractiveness. I know which of my features are working for me and which aren’t. I don’t want your stamp of approval, and I certainly don’t need it. I didn’t have braces for eighteen months for you. I had braces because crooked teeth bother me. I didn’t do my hair this morning for you. I did my hair this morning because I felt like it. I don’t know you. I don’t care what you think.

So please, stop with the creepy compliments to female cashiers. Stop with the “darling”s and the “sweetheart”s to your waitresses. We don’t want it. We’re just doing our jobs. We’re just hoping that if we grin and bear your patronizing creeper act, you’ll remember to tip. Stop being arrogant enough to assume it’s because you’re validating us. You’re not. Not even a little.

Thank you. Have a nice day. Now take your patronizing, arrogant, creepy bullshit, and shove it up your ass. Who knows, those smiles you apparently like so much might even become genuine once you do.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-05-22 08:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Women have also been known to say "sweetheart" or "darling" and compliment other women at their place of employment. I work at a pharmacy and get it all the time. It's not necessarily creepy, nor is it a come-on. Sometimes it's just a compliment. If someone in one of your classes or one of your friends told you that you had a great smile, would you roll your eyes?

(no subject)

Date: 2011-05-22 09:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
No, but the point is I know my friends and coworkers. I don't know the random men coming into my store. You can tell people's intent when you're interacting with them. It is patronizing when these men do it. It's about privilege. They think they have the right to be casually intimate with me. They think that because I'm a women, I want them to be. I don't.

And for the record, I don't like it when women do the patronizing thing to me either, and I don't think women should be doing the "sweetheart"/"darling" thing to men. But I didn't address that here because that issue isn't as prevalent. Again, it's about privilege. Our society tells men that women want them to be casually intimate with them, and women end up being the ones having to put up with the creepers. You have to draw the line somewhere, and I'd rather stop anything sketchy before it even starts. I want the world to be a safe place for my daughters. I want it to be a safe place for me.

I know a lot of people think I'm overreacting, but the point is that it's a symptom of a much larger problem, and it really isn't okay.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-05-23 04:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I get what you're saying, but I just think that "sweetheart" and "darling" are akin to "dude" and "bro" - guys don't necessarily consider others their brothers or incredibly close to them, it's just a 21st Century term of association.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-05-22 09:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Also, I have been complimented by guys at school I knew by sight but had never really interacted with before. Again, I could tell the intent. It was creepy and off-putting and I didn't like it. But I had to pretend that I did because that's the only socially acceptable response. I'm not okay with that, and I shouldn't have to be.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-05-22 09:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Have I ever mentioned that you are my heroine?

Also, I wish I could print this up on pamphlets and hand it out to people (+5 extra ones for the people who hand out those creepy Jesus pamphlets).

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