Major pet peeve of mine! Major! As a teen, I had a shoulder grab that made me feel wildly uncomfortable. I just jerked my shoulder away. There was a guy at a jazz festival I was at last month who did it to get me to be quiet. I looked at his shoulder like it was infected. He moved it. But I can distinctly recall a member of management standing his entire body way too close to mine in a room full of workers and going, “I’m just all in your space, huh?” I stared at him, disgusted, and he laughed and said, “I like you, Shamontiel. You’re funny.”

I found nothing funny. We had many words about him “messing with me” and thinking that shit was cute. I was more than annoyed that I had to have at least three conversations with this man about playing too much and being out of pocket. His response was to tell me “It’s not that serious” and that I wasn’t a “team player.” Fuggit, I won’t be a “team player” then. Oddly, paying attention to him and talking to him directly (like an adult) never seemed to work. Stone-cold ignoring him did though. He said I “hurt his feelings” because I didn’t want to “play” with him anymore. He would just do weird shit like hide stuff from my desk so I had to go find it. I was at the gym a couple times and he was just lurking, looking at me in there.

I’m relieved I left that job and his weird ass behind. But still, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. So I can only sympathize with you for having someone grope your butt. I had a co-worker tap me on the bottom one time and tell me I had “child-rearing hips.” We were cool though, but I was a bit surprised. If I can’t call you my boyfriend, keep personal space between us and don’t touch me … like AT ALL!

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Check out her five Medium publications: Doggone World, Homegrown, I Do See Color, Tickled and We Need to Talk. Visit Shamontiel.com to read about her.

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