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Has No One Heard Of Just Saying “Please”?

, , , | Learning | February 28, 2022

I am about twenty-two years old, female, and an undergraduate student worker in administration at my university. We have an open-door policy in the office, i.e. the door is always at least ajar.

I’m in the office on the computer, logging class times in the system, when a male lecturer (teacher) walks in with this line.

Lecturer: “Hey! Has anyone told you you look beautiful today?”

I’m stunned and just stare at this man for a good ten seconds before I manage to speak.

Me: “Excuse me?”

Lecturer: “I need help with [issue].”

I sit him down and help him out. All the time, my heart is beating like mad. After all is sorted, I gather my courage and speak out.

Me: “If that’s all, could I just say that when you came in and the first words out of your mouth were that I ‘looked beautiful,’ that really made me very uncomfortable.”

Lecturer: “Oh, I always do that. I always compliment people before I ask them for a favour; I think that softens the blow.” *Laughs*

Me: “Well, helping you is literally my job, so it was completely unnecessary.”

Lecturer: “Oh. I see. I’m sorry.”

Me: “Thank you for your apology.”

He leaves and I go on my lunch break. While I’m still wondering how (and if) I should inform my boss of this incident, she forwards me an email from the lecturer.

Lecturer: *After something unrelated* “I managed to offend your worker, [My Name]. I told her she was beautiful and she didn’t appreciate it.”

Yeah, thanks for that non-apology, you p***k. I clarified the incident to my boss and she took my side. Sexual harassment was, at the time, a club I had not yet been admitted to, and it’s not one I like being in.

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