DEAR HARRIETTE: I wanted to comment about the woman who wrote to you concerning the male members of her fitness center who were leering at or making offensive remarks to the ladies.
I have four words for her: Stand up for yourself.
If a politician, supervisor, business owner or complete stranger gropes you or makes some other kind of offensive remark, do something about it right then and there. Yell, scream, make a scene or, better yet, slap the offender.
You should not be embarrassed or fear reprisal simply because you are an attractive female. That is what these juveniles are hoping for. When this happened to my wife at the bowling alley, she told the offender in a very loud voice, “Keep your hands to yourself.”
Why do you want to get someone else involved? And why did you suggest she do so? Why wait months or even years to relay the incident to the news media or the courts in hope of getting someone to believe you and discredit the offending jerk? If women are unwilling to stop this kind of behavior, it will continue.
I am betting that these same ladies would not allow their husbands or boyfriends to perpetrate these types of actions in public, yet they keep letting others get away with such things without doing anything about it. Be strong, be confident and stand up for yourself.
DEAR STAND UP: You make a strong point, and I thank you for sharing it. I want to add, though, that for many women, the jeering or groping can be startling and intimidating. For those who do not feel comfortable or safe enough to speak up in the moment, there are other options, including speaking to a manager, calling the police or otherwise filing a complaint.
I agree that it is best to address things when they happen. But it is not necessarily a sign of weakness when a woman does not stand up to an aggressor. Safety is key in these situations.
For all who find themselves compromised in such ways, consider all of your options. If you can address it immediately, do so. If not, don’t give up. Find another way. Your safety is of the utmost importance.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a colleague who wears a very pungent perfume. It’s been increasingly difficult to focus with this smell filling the office, and I don’t know how to address it without making things uncomfortable.
She might not be aware of how strong it is, but it’s starting to be a real distraction for everyone in the office. It would be really awkward to ask her to tone it down or change her perfume, but I’m afraid this situation isn’t going away unless I do something about it.
Do I take the risk of speaking up and potentially damaging our working relationship, or should I ignore the issue altogether?
Too Much Perfume
DEAR TOO MUCH PERFUME: Since you have a relationship with this woman, you may want to pull her aside and tell her your truth: Her perfume is so strong that it is a distraction in the office.
She may not realize how strong the scent is. If it gives you a headache or some other physical reaction, tell her, and ask her to spray less or consider wearing something different. If she takes offense or doesn’t change, tell your HR specialist or your boss and ask that person to address it with her.
Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.