Things I Hope A Male Coworker Never Says To Or About Me

May 2, 2018  |  
1 of 15 business people, modern architecture

I’ve worked in several predominantly male workspaces and, I have yet to be employed anywhere where 100 percent of my male peers knew how to speak to their female coworkers. Again, I’m not stating that every man I’ve worked with has said something inappropriate to me, but I am saying that everywhere I’ve worked, there’s always been at least one guy who just hadn’t gotten with the program yet on appropriate ways to talk to female peers. Some people might think I’m being too demanding by hoping that none of my male colleagues would say something off to me. To those people, I’ll remind that that most men probably never hear an inappropriate comment from their female colleagues. So if they can expect perfect workplace treatment, maybe I should, too. Here are ways I hope my male peers never speak to or about me.

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“You’re not going to blog about this, are you?”

Maybe I am. Maybe I’m not. Maybe I’ll tweet about it with a particular hot hashtag that’s going around right now. But, men, don’t criticize me for being vocal about your misconduct. If you don’t want it blogged about, then don’t do it.


“You’re one of the cutest women who has worked here”

Um, sir, nobody asked for your opinion on that. I certainly didn’t. And how cute I am compared to the other women here has absolutely nothing to do with the work we do here. Also, that’s not a compliment coming from you because, the second you say it, you make yourself an undesirable creep.

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“There are things I want to say, but won’t, because we’re at work”

Oh, well don’t you get the award for being on your best behavior. Hey, pal, you do realize that what you just said—about all the things you’re not saying—still constitutes as sexual harassment. Nobody is going to praise someone who pats themselves on the back for simply not being sh*tty. Not being sh*tty, and being actively good, are two very different things.


“Feisty today, huh?”

No, I’m not being feisty. I’m just not couching things or dancing around things the way you perhaps hoped a woman would. You’re doing a bad job, you need to change/fix/edit this, and I’m just telling you that in plain words. Sorry I’m not sorry that I’m not adding any sugar coating to it. That’s not called being feisty; it’s called being an efficient communicator.


“Just a warning some men may find your outfit distracting”

Alright well, none of those men have said or done anything to make me uncomfortable today. Only you have, by making this comment. Oh, also, it’s not my job to adjust what I wear so as not to distract men. Men aren’t animals—they’re humans who can control themselves. If they don’t, that’s their fault.

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“I have a rule against dating coworkers, but if I didn’t…”

If you didn’t what? Nothing. Because I don’t want to date you and it is hilarious that you think the only thing standing in the way of us dating is your rule on dating coworkers. How about the fact that I find you repulsive and disrespectful? That would get in the way, too, bro.


“I’m glad we’re getting some sweeter/nicer/maternal energy in here”

Gentlemen, do not assume that a woman is going to bring any particular energy—perhaps an energy you associate with femininity—to the workplace. Every woman has her own personality and not only will she probably not match what you expected from a female coworker, she also doesn’t have to.


“Does your boyfriend like that you work so much?”

  1. A) Not your business and B) How come no one ever worries about how a man’s work ethic and hours affect what kind of romantic partner he is?


“Tighten up; a woman’s entering the room”

I’ve definitely walked into plenty rooms where the conversation fell silent, and there was a lot of throat clearing. Clearly, the guys were talking about something they didn’t deem appropriate for a woman. I’ve got news for those guys: if it isn’t appropriate for a woman (apparently) it probably just isn’t appropriate for the workplace. Don’t blame your need to hush up on my gender. You should hush up because you’re talking about crass stuff.

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“She only got hired because she’s a woman”

Hmmm. Fascinating perspective. Of course, one might retort that every man in the workplace only got hired because he’s a man because men have forever been told they are better and can do whatever they want so they go for jobs women sometimes don’t. Furthermore, we all know women are judged more harshly than men so, if I got the job, I must be even better at it than a man.

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“I don’t mind working with her as much as other women”

Gee. How flattering. I’m so honored that I haven’t disappointed you in the way you expected a woman to, and that I haven’t disrupted the delicate ecosystem of this boys’ club. NEWSFLASH: it doesn’t matter if you mind or don’t mind working with women. They’re coming. And a lot of people will mind working with your sexist attitude, mister.

Image: Shutterstock

“She’s pretty chill for a woman”

I don’t take it as a compliment when someone backhandedly insults my entire gender. And I also do not care if I’m “Chill for a woman,” nor would I have any problem disproving that idea and causing a ruckus if faced with sexist comments like that.


“You go ask; you’re pretty”

How about I should go ask because I’m convincing, intelligent, knowledgeable, and sharp? Oh—just because I’m pretty, huh? Okay. Then you must’ve not gotten the job done because you’re hideous, sir.


“How can I say no to that smile?”

I don’t care what you think about my smile, buddy—you should say yes to my request because I’m a human being, asking for assistance on something, and I work very hard around here.


“Honey, sweetheart, doll, love…”

My real name will do just fine, thank you. Unless, male colleague of mine, you’d like me to start calling you princess and sweetiepie. Hey—we’re either all doing it or none of us.

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