I Can't Believe You Said That
One of my favorite running trails runs along the Rogue River through a state park. The other day while I was out on the trail there was a disk golf tournament going on while I was running.
(Disk golf is a thing in Oregon, y'all).
You could see the teams, almost all men, spread out all across the park. At one point there was a team of about 7 guys lined up on either side of the trail. I don't know what they were doing—waiting for their turn? plotting their disk golf strategy?—but as I approached, all 7 of them turned to watch me. When I got within speaking distance one of the guys said, "I told them you'd be a '10'."
What?! Is this 1979?
I honestly didn't know how to react. I hadn't expected this comment. And I wasn't going to slow down my run to address it. So I said nothing and just gave the guy a perplexed look that I hope translated to, "I can't believe you just said that".
Being stared at and appraised by 7 guys was super uncomfortable. Maybe talking-guy thought it was okay since he was being so generous in his assessment, but that kind of behavior isn't okay.
It's not flattering.
What's really odd though is how much I'm hearing about similar situations from clients right now. It's like we just took a HUGE step back and rating/assessing, catcalls, and aggressive come-ons are the norm once again.
I keep hearing the phrase "I find you attractive" as an explanation for these behaviors.
Well friends, just because you find someone attractive doesn't give you the right to make someone feel uncomfortable.
The person at the receiving end of this kind of communication (in the situations I'm referring to, all of them women addressed by men) felt nothing short of ICKY. They went over the encounter in their minds wondering if they had somehow brought this on themselves or wondering if they could have responded differently.
No one felt flattered. No one thought "oh gee, I'd really like to get to know this guy better".
I'm wondering, have you personally observed an upswing in these types of behaviors? How did it make you feel? What do you think is the best way to handle it?