I start working at one of my jobs over a year ago now. I met a lot of people and they were all older than me, some of them even over a decade older than me. While I had always grown up the youngest considering I had skipped a year, it had never been more than a year or two. Being in this kind of a work environment was weird, people called it incestuous and what not, I kind of just went along with it.
The first year I worked there I was in a relationship. As a hostess, people just see you as a dumb pretty girl who gets paid to smile and charm. While some servers saw you as just another sex object in yet another type of industry, there were a few of them who actually got to know you and saw you as a human being. I managed to ignore most of the advances over the months, I was in a relationship and they weren’t my type anyways. But this year, things changed a bit when people found out I was single.
I worked with this man at the restaurant. While initially I thought he saw me as a friend, things quickly began to change. Whenever we spoke, it was always a passing whisper. He would drop off candy and menus at my stand or tell me it was nice to see me, but he would never look me in the eye. There was this one night we all went out after. I avoided him. I could feel his eyes on me whenever I got up, or whenever I laughed. As soon as I left, I heard my phone buzz- he had sent me a message. “It was good to see you.” We hadn’t even spoken that evening or at all in the past week, but he had taken the time to send me that message. At first I was flattered, someone more than a decade my senior was interested in me, but then I began to feel uncomfortable. I wasn’t even 20 years old.
I began to feel like Dolores, or Lolita as most of you may know her by. The 1950s novel started to feel extremely familiar, and in more than just one way. While I did feel like a child at times, I still feel like I played a role in enticing the man. Although it was exciting at first, I couldn’t help but begin to feel uncomfortable.
Still now, years later, I still think about what happened, or I guess what almost happened. I still don’t know if what stopped me was age or simply respect for myself and my job. What also bothered me was that I found out he had a girlfriend. Did this man really not have any respect for himself or for his girlfriend? It made me brace myself for the years to come and the “younger woman” phenomenon. There was no excuse or particular reason for his actions or intentions, I even asked him myself. I guess what worries me now is what’ll happen to me or the other girls out there. What happens when something better, younger, and newer comes along? What happens if you don’t ever find out?