When your Crust is Stuffed (Part 3)
As it turns out, I’m really bad at getting sexually harassed. By that, I mean I don’t react in the powerful feminine way I should. When my friends tell cat callers to “fuck off,” at least by the end of the debacle, they leave with some dignity still in tact. I never do. Unfortunately, I grew up in the small town of Faribault, Minnesota. I like to think my passivity stems from there; living in a space where old drunk men told me, at seven years old, that I was pretty.
“Thank you.” I would say as I walked carefully from the sidewalk back into my house thinking maybe if I’m nice to them they won’t try to lure me away with candy.
Growing up in a mostly white ghetto with two major drug houses on each corner was...a special experience. Not recommended. My parents’ load was light as they didn’t have to watch us too carefully. My sister and I knew what awaited us if we wandered away from home. My mom once chased away a man who was peering through the fog of our basement window while my sister was taking a bath. To this day, we don’t know how long that was his nightly ritual -- lying on his stomach to catch a glimpse through one scratched out part of the window.
My mom always told us not to change our clothes too close to our bedroom window because the men across the street could see us. I was only allowed to bike back and forth four blocks of our neighborhood, although I was always told that was for safety measures. My limbs were too long and I wasn’t coordinated.
I didn’t like the dads on my block, likely alcoholics just trying to survive. I remember walking up the stairs from my friends’ basement and their dad touched me a little too low on my back. It was supposed to be a tickle thing, but I didn’t like it. Kids get tickled too much in my opinion.
I’m not trying to make you feel bad for me by the way. No one broke into our house. There was no abuse. No one crossed the line too far. Yet here I am making excuses for men and the way they spoke to me as a child, and still speak to me as a full grown human.
This is what irritates me. When a man says I'm pretty, I'm immediately supposed to take it as a compliment no matter what. My “ish” what that is the context in which the compliment is given. When a man I’m interested in with whom I’ve spent intimate time says I’m pretty, I’m going to feel really gooey about it. When I’m sitting outside of Pizza Palace on a break, reading a book, minding my own business, and a man walking down the street says, “Girl, you thick as hell.”
I shudder. My organs deflate and curl up into a ball. When I’m on the phone giving the customer their total and they respond with, “You have a real pretty voice what’s your name?” I want to barf. How do they think they’d actually get to bang the nice lady who answers phones at Pizza Palace? That’s not how this world works.
But we have to be so polite don’t we? When a guy on the street comments on the thickness of my thighs, I smile and and go back to reading my book. When a man on the phone says I have a pretty voice and asks for my name, I tell him it’s Lindsey, and that his order will be ready in fifteen minutes.
I was once a Mello Yello girl, which meant I handed out samples of Mello Yello to hicks at a drag race track. RuPaul was not present. I had to look attractive while doing it. I didn’t mind. I was with my friend Kaitlyn and a few other girls she knew. Each morning we put on layers of make up, and burnt our hair to make it curl in a certain direction. We were fed once a day and survived off caffeine. We were hired for the weekend and stayed in a huge cabin on a lake with a sound system and a flat screen. The guys who ran it were our age, mildly sexy, and gave us all the alcohol we could ever ask for. I was okay with selling my sex appeal for this type of luxury.
Peacocking is my favorite activity so I wore green or purple lipstick the entire weekend. That surely got a lot of attention.
“I like your lips, did the Mello Yello do that?” said a nice hillbilly with whiskey in his hand.
“Your lips sure are purrrrrrty.” He said with a southern accent even though he’s from Minnesota and not southern at all.
I smiled and handed him another sample because that was my job.
The best “compliment” was that Saturday when a drunk security guard told me he would like to bend me over the cooler of Mello Yello and have his way with me. He had a beard only on his chin that was stringy and brittle. I meant to tell him to stay away from me, but instead it came out like this:
“You’re so silly,” and then I continued to hand out cans of Mello Yello.
I always deliver pizza to this dude, we’ll call him Matt Lauer, on Elm Avenue. Matt Lauer, without fail, answers the door without a shirt even though he very well should wear a shirt at all times. His hair has frosted tips that were poorly bleached and have now grown out due to months of neglect. He smells terrible like straight-up poo, the dumpster outside a Chinese buffet, and cheese that would grow between the spaces of your toes. I think the smell develops from the cave under the fold of his drooping beer belly.
On the third delivery, when he realized there’s a girl driver at Pizza Palace, he asked me a rather earnest question.
“Do you mind when people answer the door without a shirt?”
I exhaled, as I’d been holding my breath for the whole interaction up until then. I answered with neither yes nor no.
“Well,” I said, “They do it all the time whether I like it or not.”
He gabbed on and on about some Reddit article (of course he’s on Reddit every day of his life) and how there’s horror stories told through the eyes of a pizza delivery driver.
“So does it bother you?”
This was my time to say, “Yes, yes it does, also you should take a bath whenever it fits into your busy schedule of reading Reddit articles and eating pizza.”
Then I thought of the tip he might be writing on the ticket and instead I said:
“It’s whatever dude.”
I walked out into the fresh oxygen a liar with a zero dollar tip.
It can be lonely during the holiday season, but that doesn’t mean the girl who is delivering pizza will sleep with you. Not even for a hundred dollar tip. Maybe two hundred, but that only means I’d have a beer with you and let you talk about your mommy issues. In that case, I may have wasted an entire evening, but at least my student loans are paid this month.
On the day before Thanksgiving I delivered to a young man, likely in his late twenties. He lived in a duplex, in the apartment above the main floor. I hate duplexes. They reveal too much about the customer, as there’s often belongings in the stairwells. The driver has to call the customer for them to let you in, and then after that they have your number, and can do whatever they want with it.
When I brought this man (we’ll call him Brock) his food, he took forever to find his cash. He gave me a one hundred dollar bill for a thirty dollar order, which took extra time to give him his change. He started with the basic questions:
“What’s your name?” Translation — “I think you’re cute.”
“How old are you?” Translation — “Is it illegal to think you’re cute?”
“Where you from?” Translation — “You look like a hot girl I went to high school with.”
I hate the question, “Where are you from?” It’s never interesting when you live in Minnesota. Everyone’s from some small town, maybe Wisconsin for some added flair, or if you’re lucky they might be from somewhere big like Chicago. When you’re far away from home, you ask where people are from because their answer is a completely different country, or you might find an American who will talk shit about Trump with you.
As I left the Brock’s apartment, he asked me how late I worked. He told me if I wanted, I could come over when I’m done. I was mostly confused that Brock legitimately thought I would hook up with him after work. Later that night, I felt a buzzing in my pocket. It was him.
The message said something along the lines of “Hey, hope this isn’t too forward, I think you’re cute. Do you have a boyfriend?”
It was too forward. Any personal inquiry is too forward. If a man has to apologize for talking to you and asks who you might be dating, they are being too forward. If he abuses the pizza delivery service to get your number, he is being too forward.
This is the problem with the server-customer relationship. The customer, particularly male, mistakes my customer service for romantic interest. If I smile while I hand the customer change, it doesn’t mean I want to start a family. We are paid to be nice. The worst part is when I find the courage to make it clear I’m uncomfortable I hear this:
“Geeze, it was just a compliment.”
I don’t want a compliment at my workplace when I smell like a deep fryer, have a hair net on, and am wearing black non-slip Crocs. I already feel bad for myself as it is. I live with my parents. I have loads of student debt. I work at Pizza fucking Palace. I don’t want to add, “A man with no teeth thinks I have a tight ass,” to this list.
I say nothing. I keep going. I don’t fight back because I’m afraid of confrontation. I don’t like when my voice shakes. I don’t like when my face gets red. I let it go and get back to prepping dough. I want to be nasty. I want to be aggressive. I want to be impatient. I want to be impolite. Most of all, I want to get through a work day where this doesn't exist.