Thursday, August 27, 2009

the last battle

at 8am i started the day off well. it is finally warm. i don't need to wear a jacket outside and the sun was shining very bright. i enjoyed all my morning students. i really enjoy them. saying good-bye was a little hard.

since it was my last day with the morning students i dished a little gossip to one of them. i told the student that i was asked to teach a high exec based on how i look. without surprise i got the 'ojo' (watch out) under-eye pull-down. i said that i was aware. then i learned that the exec has a camera in his office. wha??? nooo!?!? i asked why and who watches it, but the student wasn't sure, but just knew that there is a camera. the student also made a comment about how, since it was one of my last days, the exec may pull out all his weapons and try to win this war.

shit, i didn't think of it like this.

i arrive a little late to the battle grounds. when i entered his office i passed the naked lady statue. she was staring at me today. he motioned to the sofa and sat next to me. the conversation started off well. he told me that his company just received a large contract. i congratulated him. he told me he wanted to celebrate by taking me out to dinner. i felt too awkward to tell him the truth so i lied again by saying there was a happy hour where i would be meeting up with my friends. he told me to ditch them, i told him he should celebrate with his wife. he said that they live together but they haven't been together in a long time.

i kept avoiding the subject and changing the subject asking him more about the new contract. he asked me to dinner friday, then monday then tuesday. i kept saying no. he finally said "if you don't want to go to dinner with me just say so, i prefer this". so I said so. then he starts in on "why? am i too old for you, don't you find me attractive?".

i think of myself as a strong willed person, but when put in this situation i feel like a little weak girl. i really have a hard time saying to some ones face "no, i am not attracted to you, i do not want to have dinner with you and you are being inappropriate." so, i kept changing the subject acting happy about his contract, ignoring his declaration of war.

finally he brought out the big guns. he leaned into me while staring deeply and said "you have the most beautiful lips". i said thank you and continued speaking about his contract. then he said "i'm not listening to anything you're saying, i'm just watching your lips".

looking back i have so many things i would have loved to say or do, but then, at that moment i felt so helpless, so awkward, so nervous, so uncomfortable. where were all my words?

luckily when i looked down, my watch signaled that the battle was coming to an end. no winners just two losers. (i lost too because i should have stood up for myself). i began collecting my things and physically stood up. i quickly passed him and walked to the door to open it. i stood right in front of the open door and then i leaned in for the customary very normal argentine cheek kiss. we said good bye and see you tomorrow for the last class.

going back and forth in my head thinking what to do. on one side i was thinking that i should go back, be strong and stand up for myself. use this as a learning opportunity, he's not my boss and it's my last day; i have nothing to lose. the other side tells me not to go into an obvious bad situation.

i think i made the right decision... i sent my boss an urgent text message. she called and i told her it was obvious that he did not want me for english lessons. i told her what happened. she honestly and sincerely sounded shocked and pissed off at him. she sincerely apologized for his behavior and kept saying sorry. i asked her what she wanted me to do. she said "don't go!!! i will call his secretary tomorrow".

for all the bad experiences i had with my boss, she really came through in the end. she seemed sincere and thought of me before her high level important student.

.....well. it looks like that was the last teaching english story from me.

i didn't go out with a bang, but i didn't wave my white flag either.


krebiz said...

Poor Yilly.

No doubt some chauvinist moron will say, "it's a compliment," or, "you should expect these things as an attractive woman," without realizing that you should fully expect to be treated with respect since, after all, you treat others that way. It's so demeaning to put up with that crap. Asking you to dinner is one thing, but you should be able to say no and leave it at that. That's the point he should have backed down. When I visit you in BA, I'm gonna beat that guy up.

However, I'd like to give you a tool out of my trusty toolkit, which was given to me by a shifty person where we both worked (a different shifty person). He said a message that he got loud and clear when he wasn't taking the hint from a female was, "Leave me the fuck alone, or I'll make a scene."

Totally effective - I've used it on septa :)

yillabean said...

compliment or bad intention. i've been thinking about these two (or 3) words lately.

on the street or in a club, i take it as a compliment. usually i genuinely smile, especially when i'm walking in along the street and i have my glasses on and my hair is a mess and some guy yells at me. i always think, ah how nice, what a pick-me-up.

but when work is involved and the bad intention accompany the compliment that is where i'm with you 100%. chauvinist jerk indeed.

i'm so mad at myself that i felt so weak, i'm mad at myself for not standing up to him or just plane walking out and saying class is over.

i like your suggested line, i just have to practice and find the courage to say it the next time i'm in a situation.

Anonymous said...

Men trying to seduce women does not involve compliments. It is more like a genetic mandate. Forgive them, Lord, for they know not what they do ... or maybe more accurately, they just do what You dictated in the genetic code they will do.

Telling a man no, who spent his teenage years with girls who really did use no to mean let me think about it, or maybe later, or well, let me say no at least three times before I get to acquiesce, does not have the same meaning it has to a mature woman.

Screaming only makes you look like a harpy, and does not give to the man the message you intend.

More productive is to say, rationally: I really am not interested. If that doesn't end it, then: You really are wasting your time, what you want is not going to happen. Finally, the last outpost: I am not comfortable with this .. goodbye. And you leave.

The end.

If not, call the police and send the fucker to jail.

Nancy said...

Holy crap! I am glad that is over and that your boss came through for you.

krebiz said...

For the record, I was not advocating screaming (like a harpy or not).

When "no" isn't enough (and in a better world it would be, for teens as well), simply stating you'll make a scene if someone doesn't fuck off is pretty sufficient.

"I really am not interested" is about as effective as "no," in my experience. That's just my mileage though.

yillabean said...

in my experience "i'm not interested" draws more questions like "why, am i too old am i not attractive, why?".

in all honesty, i need to work on not smiling so much when i'm nervous and not just changing the subject and making it seem like a game of catch.

i need to work on a harsh sounding, i'm not playing around "no" and have the accompanying look of death on my face. i know my emotions, body movements need to be saying the same as my words.

i'm not opposed to screaming, i would just need to find the courage to do it.

Anquises said...

¿Por qué él no la invitó a cenar a Vd. en otras circunstancias (por ejemplo, fuera de las oficinas)? Lo que es inaceptable es que haya utilizado la ventaja que le daba la relación contractual entre ambos. Vd. no actuó débilmente, Yillabean, objetivamente estaba en una posición de debilidad. Hubiese sido muy efectivo recordarle a ese señor la figura de acoso sexual de la ley penal argentina.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it's just me and that's why I don't get it, but I would think that anyone wanting more information to explain, I'm not interested in you, is something of a masochist. He wants a follow up? Well, you see, I am not interested in you because, well, you are first an idiot, and second older than my grandpa, and third ugly as mangy dog, and fourth more dense than a concrete block, and fifth, quite a masochist. Want more reasons?

See you soon. You will be pleased to find out that what Naty made for supper does not contain any bife.

krebiz said...

"I am not interested" is tantamount to opening the floor to debate. Any female that doesn't possess a truly repulsive appearance figures that out well before puberty is over and has already had to figure out a more effective strategy for dealing with all the so called masochists of the world.

Diego said...

"Telling a man no, who spent his teenage years with girls who really did use no to mean let me think about it, or maybe later, or well, let me say no at least three times before I get to acquiesce, does not have the same meaning it has to a mature woman"

You hit the nail on the head, except for the fact that in Argentina ALL women act that way, not just the teenage girls. Argentine women are known for playing 'hard to get' regardless of their age. A lot of times when they say no they actually mean yes, so Argentine men know that if they want to get something from them they have to be perseverant. That means that if you say no to an Argentine man, he'll probably think that maybe you're just messing with his mind, so he will keep insisting in hopes that you eventually might give in.
American women are much more direct and don't play all those mind games, so when they say no the man knows immediately that she isn't interested. It's all in the cultural differences... That guy was just doing what is expected of him in the society he lives in. He should have been more careful though, considering that you are a foreign woman and therefore might not be familiar with the local customs.