‘Hitting On' and ‘Harassing’: #MadelaineExplains
How to know what counts as a pass, or a creepy invasion of space and privacy
So today I thought we’d talk about the rad issue of harassment. Some people have got their knickers in a twist about what counts as a flirtatious comment, or as an uber-creepy weird thing that should never be said to a colleague.
So glory in the knowledge that I, Madelaine Hanson, will enlighten you all on what is harassment (X) and what is hitting on someone (√).
A Cafe, New York, 10am
A super hot lady comes into your Starbucks and orders a latte. Omg! You also like lattes! You make a light comment as you wait about Latte Socialism. She smiles at you and laughs. You chat for a bit. You ask her if she would mind if you gave her your number.
Verdict: Hitting On
Yep! It is okay to ask a woman to take your number in a social situation where she seems relaxed and okay with your interaction.
Your Office, London, 1pm
The girl from HR is really pretty and is about to go out for lunch. You ask if you can come with her. She agrees. Over lunch, you get on really well. She tells you she is single. You ask her to go on a date.
Verdict: Hitting on
Hanging out with a colleague in a social environment and asking her on a date when she doesn’t seem disinterested with you is fine.
A busy street, Birmingham, 4pm
A woman walks past you looking really hot. You run after her calling out that she is looking good. She ignores you, so you block her path and ask for her number.
Never force a woman to stop for you unless she’s about to walk into a pit of crocodiles.
Work meeting, London, 11am
A woman is working on her laptop next to you, and you think she’s hot. You put your hand on her thigh under the table and wink at her.
Never touch a woman’s legs, especially in a work situation.
Your CEO’s office
Your CEO has apparently got divorced and you have a crush on her. When she invites you in to discuss your project portfolio, you ask her if she thinks you are hot.
If you only know a woman in a professional context, irrespective of her relationship status, you should not make an attempt at a sexual escalation before establishing a non-work based connection.
A Bar, Cape Town, 2am
A woman has already told you she is not interested, but you think she might be playing hard to get, so you dance next to her and her friends and follow her around.
She’s not interested and you keep bothering her. Just stop.
Got it? Any questions? Well, learn to PER.
P: Place. What area are you in? Professional? Public? Private? How does that impact how appropriate your approach is?
E: Empathy. How does she feel with you doing this? Would it be distressing for her? Would she feel forced to interact with you?
R: React appropriately. If she says no, keep calm and leave. NEVER lash out, however angry she is at you having asked.