The Pedant works as a security guard. For the past year or two he was posted at a fancy apartment building, but he didn’t work for them, he works for a security company – who recently transferred him to a different posting. Now he does “stand-and-glare” duty at any one of a couple of “sister stores” downtown.
This morning I had a modelling gig and I realized I was within walking distance of at least one of The Pedant’s stores. I’ve been curious to see him in uniform. Obviously his job is to watch over the store so I couldn’t distract him in any way, but I thought it would be neat to swing by, maybe do a little shopping (I happen to like that chain of stores anyway, and go there often-ish) and catch a glimpse. So I texted him:
Me: Where are you posted today? I can come ogle you at noon when I’m done work. 😀
Pedant: I can’t have visitors where I’m posted.
Me: I didn’t say I’d talk to you. I said I’d ogle. It’s obvious to me that you can’t have people talking to you on the job.
Pedant: Yeah, I’m pretty sure that extends to standing and staring as well.
Me: Okay, I can take the hint that you don’t want me there. But your excuse is absurd. Try harder next time. Or better yet say “I would not be comfortable with that” – BOOM – problem solved.
Pedant: What makes you think that it was an excuse?
Me: …So you genuinely think I’m such a slobbering idiot that I couldn’t help but stand and gawk, then? Or is it that you get in trouble every time any random shopper glances over at you for longer than a second?
Pedant: The people most likely to strike up a conversation with uniformed security personnel are the mentally ill. The people watching the cameras will respond if they think an emotionally-disturbed person is taking up the time of the uniformed guard on duty. When those guards find out that it’s just a friend of mine, they’ll end up having to tell their bosses while they’re explaining what they were responding to. Then it turns into a whole thing. So, while I don’t necessarily get in trouble every time, it does waste people’s time and look unprofessional.
Me: And again you assume that I would be talking to you or otherwise drawing attention to myself. Doesn’t speak very highly of your opinion of me.
Pedant: You were going to come all the way to a retail store to not actually speak to me? That I would actually be uncomfortable with.
Me: I was working at [intersection]. If you were posted at [store location], I would have walked a WHOLE BLOCK to look at their nail polish selection and briefly get a sense of you in a different context than usual, yes. You said you can’t be talking on the job – which I assumed anyway, and I told you as much. Then you were like “well you can’t be standing and staring, either.” Tell me how that DOESN’T mean that you see me as an idiot with no sense of couth at all.
Pedant: I’ve seen people escorted out of buildings who weren’t acting “uncouth” per se, so your level of couthiness wouldn’t necessarily matter. And now I’ve told you that it actually would make me uncomfortable for you to be there and not speak to me. So just drop it.
Him telling me to “drop it” is one of the harshest things he’s ever said to me, so I have opted not to reply. But I kind of wanted to, because:
- Okay, so he’s uncomfortable with the idea of me going to his workplace and ignoring him. Probably he would be uncomfortable with me trying to chat with him, too, because he might get in trouble. Ergo, HE IS UNCOMFORTABLE WITH ME COMING TO HIS WORKPLACE. He could have goddamned said so instead of making it all about me and how I’ll clearly be powerless not to come up to him and wank like a zoo monkey while staring at him, or whatever the fuck he thinks I’d do, and get him or myself in trouble.
- Why the fuck did he even add the bit about how he’s seen people get escorted from buildings who weren’t “acting uncouth per se”? Why the implication that I would somehow get myself kicked out of a fucking retail store? I’ve been shopping on my own for like thirty years and managed – somehow – never to get escorted out of anywhere. Shocking, I know.
- This is actually the second time he’s indicated that I’m somehow too inappropriate of a person to even be in public. The first time, I texted him something about being on my way to a pro domme gig and he said something about how I’d need to be careful not to get kicked out of somewhere – I can’t remember exactly – and I was like “dude what the fuck do you think I’m wearing right now, exactly?” Did he think I was in a tube top and thigh high lucite heels or what? He ought to know that I don’t own anything like that, nor would I want to wear anything like that. My sex work persona looks like I work in Accounts Receivable at a bottled water company or some shit. But anyway it bothers me that The Pedant has defaulted to the whole “you’ll do something inappropriate and be kicked out” theme more than once now.
- Seriously, I’ve been doing various kinds of customer service work for my entire adult life, with over a decade of that being in very conservative corporate environments. I KNOW HOW TO BEHAVE AROUND OTHER HUMANS. I may be socially awkward in the sense of being bad at small talk, but I know how to go to a store, browse, and leave without looking like some big suspicious security risk. I promise. It’s really not that hard. I even know how to come off as a nice, polite, harmless, middle-class lady if someone in authority does decide he needs to speak to me for some reason. Even with my crazy punk hairdo and what has become almost a uniform of disgusting cat-haired sweatpants, my Harmless Middle Class Lady act plus my white privilege pretty much defuse weirdness with authority figures immediately.
- I told The Pedant right off the bat that I understood he couldn’t have visitors due to the nature of his job. I told him I would not be talking to him if I came by. That is literally the second thing I said to him. Is it just me or did he conduct the rest of that conversation with some imaginary version of me that does not correspond with anything I was saying? I feel like he does that a lot – jumps to conclusions about what I’m saying and doesn’t actually listen.
- I somewhat regret telling him how hot he is all the time because it seems like he now believes I’m so attracted to him that if I’m in the same room I’ll stare at him with enough tenacity that I make myself look like a weirdo and get kicked out by security.
- This conversation has made me realize that I consider my iron self-control one of my biggest strengths. Therefore, if someone questions my self-control or jokes that I have none, it will immediately piss me off more than almost anything else. Especially coming from The Pedant, who has put me through some shit that required me to have self-restraint enough for both of us (and ultimately he was the one who caved to temptation).
And here’s what bugs me, now: I do actually go to those stores sometimes to shop, and The Pedant was so weirdly vehement that he can’t have me at his workplace – and kind of acting like he assumes I really really really wanted to come see him and that I wouldn’t be able to keep from talking to him/staring at him to a point where someone would remove me from the store – that now I’m almost afraid to go into any of those stores in case he happens to be working there that day. He’ll probably be convinced I’m there just to antagonize him. And if I go up and talk to him he’ll be annoyed by it but if I don’t talk to him he’ll think I’m doing some big weird power play or I dunno. Ugh.