I was born with my large foot in my mouth. It should have stayed in my mouth because then I might have been prevented from saying the things that I sometimes say aloud. This verbal incontinence happens for a variety of reasons really – mainly excitement . Got a secret? Don’t ever tell me. I have come to realise that I would rather not possess the knowledge of the secret in the first place. If knowledge is power then just hand me a box of crayons, a colouring book and helmet. I don’t want the knowledge. I will settle for ignorance. Once you tell me a secret, it will come out like a jack-in-the-box at the worst possible moment. Aside from excitement forcing things to pop out of my mouth, I find that my tendency to act without thinking can be a problem. Brain to mouth engagement doesn’t happen. My father once gave me the following advice – open your ears and close your mouth. Arguably good advice. Of course, like the rest of the women in my family, I am more of a close my ears and open my mouth kind of girl.
I sat in a meeting one morning for one and a half hours with a colleague whilst he stared quite freely at my chest. At the end of the meeting I was angry enough to say to him that next time we had a meeting, if he could keep the focus more in the north direction, that would be better. ‘I don’t know what happens over here in the Netherlands,’ I said, ‘but not with me, mister.’ He mumbled something about being embarrassed (so he should) and scuttled away.
Feeling triumphant and miffed, I flounced out of the meeting room to tell my friend about my ordeal. As I was telling her my story, I could see she was trying to interject with something and also she seemed slightly preoccupied with my chest area. Well, if you’ve got it, you’ve got it, I thought. I didn’t let her speak until I was done. I rambled on and on and on about how violated I felt, what a cheek he had….blah, blah, blah. Finally, I finished. My friend, looking weary, held me by the shoulders and marched me into the ladies’ toilet and confronted me with my reflection in the mirror. Oh gawd. Looking down, I could see that the buttons on my blouse were completely open and revealing slightly more than is probably deemed appropriate in the workplace. Any workplace. Street or office.
I have not seen or spoken to the colleague in question since the incident. I fully expect that he and the radiographer are working together and building some sort of sexual harassment case against me with the police.