Unwanted Attention

27 Apr

Letterbalm Gay Question MarkDear LetterBalm: I’m 16 and have a job after school working in a big diner in my city. I do odd jobs, mopping, heavy lifting, unloading bottles and produce, etc. One of our cooks is making it clear that he’s attracted to me. He’s always hanging around, putting his arm around my shoulders and complimenting me on my body. Even the waitresses have commented that he has a crush on me. All this is making me uncomfortable because I’m not gay – I always liked girls. But now I don’t know. I never thought about guys romantically. (He’s an older guy.) What do I do?

–Confused 

This is the kind of behavior that infuriates Ms. L.B., who would give the same advice if an older man were preying on a young girl for sex or an older woman on a younger man. It’s predatory, and it’s reprehensible. In your case, it gives rise to “they want to turn our kids gay” nonsense. Calmly take stock of your situation. Until now, you’ve always been attracted to girls. It’s quite possible and perfectly understandable that on some level you find this man’s attentions flattering. But this fleeting confusion on your part doesn’t mean you’re gay; you have plenty of time in your life to figure out where you fall on the gender/sexual attraction continuum. (It’s a big, accommodating one.) The best thing to do is be the more mature person, continue to do your job well and politely ignore him. If he persists – and if his actions interfere with your ability to work or if you feel threatened – voice your concerns privately to him. Be professional and keep it brief. You want to make it clear that you’ll make your boss aware of the situation if it continues:

Miguel, I really like working here. Everyone is nice and I have a chance to save money for college. I’ve been polite so far, but your attentions have got to stop. I’m not interested, and you’re making me uncomfortable. I hope I don’t have to go to the boss – neither one of us wants that. So, please, stop now.

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