Hi, had a horrible experience of a middle age male customer being really sleazy with me at work today. I'm 23. I always seem to draw creepy middle aged men, ever since I was 16/17, when I was working in a shop would get so many creepy older men acting like this. Don't get me wrong, its not that I think I'm anything spectacluar, I'm average looking, thats all, neither very ugly nor drop dead gorgeous! So I cant understand it. And the really strange thing is lads my own age don't ever seem to look at me! I find it so annoying and uncomfortable that these men think you have to put up with this because you're a young female working in a service job i.e. a shop etc. they almost try to force you to flirt with them and then try in invade your personal space and be tactile, i.e. touch your arm, put their hand on your back, it makes me feel really uncomfortable. its had to know what to say, cos their the 'customer' and could make it look like your over reacting to your manager. I don't do anything to give them the impression I'm interested. I do be very firm, cold and I don't be all smiley in my dealings with them. I dress modestly. My question is, why on earth do I always draw much older pervy men?! I'm at my wits end here!
You are right you shouldn't have to put up with it. If a customer was making me feel uncomfortable I would call over another member of staff for support and ask them an inane question like 'this gentleman is looking for blah do we have it....'. As soon as there is someone else on the scene they will stop their behaviour.
I think its because they know you have been reared to be polite and respect your elders. And taking further advantage of the fact that its your job to be polite. Waitresses have to put up with this crap all the time.
You dont have to be a nice girl for creeps.
I used to attract perves because I looked like a child for a very long time.
Its not you. A lot of women get this. To deter it, you really need to always be aware of the danger and put them off before they start by making them realise they have no chance. You're doing well by not smiling at them but some of them might mistake it for shyness. I find shuddering if one of them touches me is a nice touch, or a slight grimmace. If that doesn't work, look at them with a slightly disgusted/fed up/cynical expression. Or try looking at them as if they're a piece of dirt underneath your feet. If all that doesn't work and they still persist, be rude and tell them how revolting it is for a young woman to have to put up with pervy middle aged men in a shop. If they complain to your bosses, tell them its sex discrimination. But a lot of it is probably because you might look a bit young and vulnerable and because you work in a shop. Men your own age don't behave like that because they don't need to perve over a "captive" female audience.
Hmmmm, 3 things:
1, you could be actually more attractive than what you think. Then they think "i'll chance this on"
2, Middle-aged men are usually better talking to women than guys in their 20s. A skill that seems to come with experience. Also middle aged men have the attitude of thinking you can pull a girl anywhere (which is true ) (im 25 by the way. Not middled aged )
3, So as to why you think you dont get alot of guys your own age doing the same is because maybe you just dont pick up on the guys your own age doing the same. You'd be suprised how many guys dont know how to chat a woman up.
All I know is if you are getting middle aged men chatting you up in a shop. There has to be guys around your own age doing the same. My two cents would be its just not as obvious
Also op, what type of shop you work in? ... if you have the type of retail job where you will spend a minute of two talking to the customer you're BOUND to be hit on by guys.
It's not just you, I've had this problem too.
do not engage them whatsoever and do not even give them a chance to do so.
treat them as a customer and only that - you are not obligated to be any more polite than what your work role involves.
If they go beyond being a customer and try to personally engage you, do not make eye contact or reply to flirtation in any way, basically do not respond to them at all. If they ask you personal questions, you do not have to answer them (and you can tell them so) and just ignore them and can tell them matter of factly that you have no interest in discussing that with them. They have no business asking you personal questions.
In addition, if they are attempting to touch you or be inappropriate with you, make it very clear and very audible (not roaring down the shop but audible for your boss and customers to hear) that that sort of behaviour is not acceptable, specifically mentioning what they are doing.
Stand your ground, be confident, be firm and take no BS from them. If you find you're getting hassle from a particular customer, make sure that your boss is aware of this as you do not have to put up with certain behaviours from this person. Keep yourself safe by having another member of staff present as this lessens the chances of rude behaviour. If this person has a car, make sure you take a note of the make, model and licence just in case for your own safety.
Have to agree with Lighterguy
You know, just because a guy gets older, it doesn't mean that he becomes immune to attractive women.
I've become more chatty in my late 30s (I look a fair bit younger). So I engage with people in shops - I never would have done that in my 20s.
and if you are dealing with the public, you will get talked to more.
It could also be a case of some guys perving and others just being friendly.
As for the touching, well, no, that would not be on
Unfortunately I don't think it's that uncommon and I think you'd struggle to find a female who hasn't experienced the classic pervy bloke at work at some stage, especially when 16-25...
thefeatheredcat gives great advice & I concur, it's not you - I think it just comes down to opportunity and being in one of the few situation where these people get a chance to interact with young women who would ordinarily sprint in the opposite direction.
Assertion avoiding aggression works best in my experience.
Best of luck