After I published my last post, I received an email response from my (obviously awesome) aunt. I found her thoughts interesting, so I figured I would share them with all of you (I asked her permission first, of course!):
“I enjoyed this post — it brought me right back to the early 70s, when I first went into sales and was a ‘pioneer’ during the early days of the women’s liberation movement. [My encounters actually began in 1967, when I started working full time. They escalated when I went into sales in 1973.] Many of the guys that I worked with alternated between resenting me (thinking I would betray their behavior with other women to their wives) and hitting on me…. Sometimes it is easiest to ignore it, but if it is repeated it must be dealt with (such as your ‘I have a boyfriend’; or ‘I’m in a relationship’).
Regarding inappropriate physical advances, take a lesson from an ol’ ‘women’s libber’: I would go with a handshake every time you greet/ungreet — even in an elevator. Just square your shoulders and put your hand out there quickly and that should cut down on the unwanted physical advances. The other stuff (confessions of a difficult marriage, etc.) has to be managed on a case-by-case basis, and I get that it’s trickier if the ‘sharing’ is coming from someone you may ‘need’ in the future to help one of your clients. Perhaps you could say that you need to stay focused on your clients (and their issues)? As long as you’re smiling when you say it, you can get away with a lot.”