He and I were joking about one of our old coworkers who would hit on me constantly with the line, “I’d make a great stepdad to your kids, whenever you’re interested.”
He was quoting that line and we were laughing when one of our coworkers came up to us. He stared at me intensely before saying, “No, I’m next in line for that.”
I was shocked. He and I had been friendly, but I was friendly with all of the staff. Before I could say anything, the one I was joking with said, “Whoa. You know she’s taken, right?”
The one who came up to us, A, said, “So? I’ve been waiting. She’s mine next.”
H, the one defending me, stepped in front of me. He’s normally a laid back guy, but he grew stern and said, “She’s a person. She’s not a piece of meat. Don’t talk about her like that.”
Seeing one of my coworkers stand up to another one, seeing one guy stand up to another, made me feel seen. I’m nearly thirty and have dealt with sexual harassment at every job I’ve had. It’s hard to put into words what it meant to see someone else stand up for me.