TW: This post contains threats of violence & abusive language.
In 2014 I was working in a call centre job. It wasn’t very fun, but you know, it paid the bills & such. Also I met some cool folks there.
One of the people I liked was Ryan, though I had a reaction to him that seemed to confuse some people. He & I had some really great conversations. We laughed & joked around all the time. But from the beginning I made it clear that I found Ryan about as sexually appealing as a potato. He was fun, no doubt, but fucking EW. I wanted to be friends with him. I think we would have made fantastic friends. Too bad I’ll never know.
Very occasionally, Ryan & I would text. Maybe one or two sentences every two weeks or maybe once a month. No long conversations, no phone calls, not much of anything. Just the occasional, “Hey, how’s it going?”. Our conversations all happened at work. We never spent any time together outside of the office. We never even ran into each other outside of work.
So. One day I checked my phone to find a text from Ryan. I hadn’t said hi in weeks. I guess he had a new girlfriend & she’d got hold of his mobile. Here’s how that went:
Yeah, so that’s a thing.
She wanted to cause me serious injury because I had acknowledged her boyfriend’s existence & maybe even been friendly. Jesus fuck, what is wrong with these people?
Immediately after I tried to contact him on Facebook to ask WTH, but she had already blocked me through his account. At least I’m assuming she did. I can’t imagine why he would & since she clearly had his phone I’m assuming that she checked his Facebook page & found me there.
I thought this shit only happened in movies.
Do I need to tell you why I find it so disturbing?
First of all, there is never an excuse to talk to anyone that way, no matter what. Under no circumstances is it okay to do that ever.
Second, even if she was all freaked out, can a grown woman not tell when someone clearly has no interest in their partner? I didn’t spend time with him, I didn’t ask him any personal questions, I didn’t ask to hang out, I didn’t try to party with him, I didn’t text or message him on Facebook regularly. Hell, I wasn’t even subtle about the fact that I found him sexually repugnant. I said it to his face on more than one occasion while he was letting me use his lighter on our break.
Third, the idea that someone would go through their partner’s phone & send threatening messages is horrific. Who do you think you are? It isn’t any of your business who your partner is friends with, it isn’t your business to go through their phone, & it most certainly isn’t your business to send threats & bile to random people, especially when you clearly have no clue what’s going on.
I told one of my coworkers about it & he actually asked what I had done to make her so upset. Is this so normal that it’s expected? I’m pretty sure that falls under the category of victim blaming. I must have asked to be verbally abused by someone I don’t know & have never even met. Like anyone who behaves that way needs any prompting from me.
That’s how many people reacted. That really scared & confused me. Are we so obsessed with allowing bad behavior that we don’t even recognize it anymore? Is it my fault for making myself a target? Quick! Get me a list of everyone who has a violent, jealous person for a lover so I can avoid them & not put myself in a position where I’m asking to be harassed, or possibly worse. It couldn’t possibly be the violent person’s fault for being horrible?
Anyway, I found out shortly after the fact that Ryan’s girlfriend worked in our office and sat maybe thirty feet away from me. I immediately took the text messages to our manager & explained the situation. She said I’d brought it on myself for flirting with Ryan (She’d previously witnessed us chatting & laughing) & if I wanted to avoid further issues I should start behaving in a more professional manner. That was one of the deciding factors in my not working there anymore. Talk about a hostile work environment.
**As a side note, I’d like to add that I later found out the two had broken up & she got together with another man from our office. The two of them eventually went on to have a baby together. Imagine her reaction if she found out that her baby’s father not only was interested in me, but also that we’d been sleeping together shortly before they hooked up?