I am 22
I am in my first job out of college. I have traveled to the Albuquerque office to give a training session about a new product. I am 22 and a woman. The people in the office are almost all men and range in age from early 20s to early 60s.
I am sitting at a desk making a phone call.
I feel hands on my neck.
Let me say that again.
I am AT WORK in an office where I do not know anyone. And I feel hands on my neck.
I feel hands on my neck and I freeze. The hands stroke my neck and shoulders. The hands gently squeeze my neck and shoulders.
I remove the phone from my ear and my arm freezes. I stop speaking. I stop speaking from shock. I stop speaking because I don't even know the words to say.
I am 22
I am still at the Albuquerque office. A group of us are at lunch, including the neck massager.
He asks, "Would you like to have dinner tonight?"
I don't know what to say. No, of course I don't want to have dinner with you, you creepy old man! I don't want to have dinner with a stranger. I don't want to spend my after-work hours with someone from work. And I especially don't want to have dinner with an old man like you!
But - I don't know what to say.
And - I have to protect a man's ego, don't I? I can't shame him! Because men's feelings are more important than women's feelings.
I think desperately. What do I say? How do I get out of this?
Can I say he's too old for me?
No! That would be rude.
So I say, "I think I might be too young for you."
His friends laugh and his face turns red.
The then-me was horrified and concerned.
The now-me thinks, "That's what you get, asshole, for preying on a young woman at work."