Thursday, 4 February 2010
When I first began writing my blog a month or two ago, I wrote a post that introduced (to nobody in particular, because no one was reading it) the whole bucket of riotous fun that is my Naked Boss. If you would like to read that ahem, overview, for want of a better expression, then do feel free to click on the link above. In fact it's probably advisable that you do, considering all the things you are probably thinking (don't try to deny it) as a result of his chosen moniker.
I have since then, begun to stir something of a mutiny amongst his other female employees, of which there are two, both of whom I knew prior to starting the job.
It began with a phone call to one of them - we'll call her M. Naked Boss had been my boss for about three weeks (I work for him just one day a week). I rang her and said, 'Hi M. Um.. I don't know how to put this anything other than bluntly, so I'll just come out with it. Does Naked Boss ever say things to you that make you feel uncomfortable? Does he, um... ever, you know, touch your back or put his arm around you? To which she replied a bit hesitantly, 'Er... yeees'. Now at this point I resisted the urge to shout 'THEN WHY DID'NT YOU WARN ME BEFORE I AGREED TO START WORKING FOR THE CRETINOUS BASTARD?', instead opting for a less screechy, 'And how do you feel about that?'
It turns out that he had been harassing her and another woman who works for him (we'll call her C), for months. Apparently C wasn't massively bothered and managed to shrug it off easily enough with an 'Oh he's just a bit of an old perv' kind of attitude, but M felt immobilized by it and completely unsure of what to do for the best. My frustration with her for neglecting to forewarn me faded as I heard the unhappiness in her voice. She really needed the job she said, she was friends with his wife and just couldn't face creating a scene, or the possible fall-out that might result from it. I could understand how she felt.
However, I love a good scene. The next time I was at work and he saw fit to tell me he 'Could just kiss me because I was getting the hang of everything so quickly', (bless me - might just have an ickle wickle brain floating around in there somewhere after all), I said very calmly that if we were going to have a good working relationship, there was going to be no kissing, no touching, and no making comments about what I was wearing - because it made me feel uncomfortable, o.k.? His response was to put on a 'cute' voice, cock his head to one side, and say, 'O.k. Cool.' To my credit I did not vomit, but studiously continued with my work.
I thought: Great. Well handled that Gappy. You didn't get angry, you didn't threaten to feed his testicles to the sheep, you simply set appropriate boundaries in a composed and assertive manner. Ha! That told him. Your mother would be so proud. Surely you must now deserve a prize of some sort.
That sort of pride tends to come before a fall. A few days later, M came over to my house to drop off some work for me. She looked breathless and elated. 'I spoke to him', she said. 'I told him that from now on there was to be no physical contact whatsoever, and no inappropriate comments either. That if it continued I would leave, I would tell his wife why I was leaving, and that you would back me up'. She clearly felt so much better for having taken control of the situation, and I felt better knowing that I had her support too. It was all starting to feel quite empowering untill she relayed his response back to me.
Do you want to know what he said to her? He said, 'Oh o.k. Well I wasn't expecting that. I know I'm not allowed to comment on Gappys clothes because she spoke to me the other day, and I must say I thought at the time - who is she to be making the rules? But now you've said something aswell, perhaps I can see better where you're both coming from.'
Who am I to be making the rules?
So much for my bloody prize. Perhaps the sheep are looking a bit peckish after all.