Slate’s Amanda Marcotte writes about a tech startup’s CEO’s experience with sexual harassment.
(Yunha Kim) shares an email she got from a developer she tried to hire, which reads: “I’m pretty happy with current job, but if you’re single I’d like to date you. Perhaps there are some unconventional ways to lure me away from my company (besides stock options) if you know what I mean :)”
Yes, he ended an email with a smiley face, but let’s move on to the other, just as egregious, offenses.
His opening sentence is bizarre, even if you don’t read it aloud, as I do, to the tune of Carly Rae Jepsom’s Call Me Maybe.
Kim already has to work with the obnoxious hipsters in the attached photo but now she has to deal with tired pickup lines from someone she’s clearly interacting with in a solely professional setting. (The guy’s first hint would be that he had no idea if she was single or not. I’m not an expert on women but usually if one is interested in you, she lets you know that she is available and won’t respond to your advances by showering in turpentine.)
Also, and forgive the digression, I dislike the “are you single?” question. There are many reasons a woman might not go out with you. Her being involved with someone else is but one of them. But there’s this presumption that if a woman is single, it’s open season, as if it’s out of the question for her to be single by choice or even wish to remain that way.
Isn’t it possible for two people to meet professionally, hit it off, and then choose to pursue a personal relationship. Sure, but out of basic respect, he should conclude their business relationship in a strictly professional relationship, thank her for her time, and then perhaps later reach out to her in a separate email. And instead of cutting to the tackiest chase possible, he could suggest getting together to discuss some non-business related topic that had come up in the previous meeting. It’s likely no such topic came up because the only non-business related topic raised at the meeting was this guy’s penis.
Frankly, I don’t advise attempting the business associate/romantic interest switch. It’s as fraught with peril as the “roommate switch” discussed on Seinfeld.
Oh, and lest we forget the creepy part.
Perhaps there are some unconventional ways to lure me away from my company (besides stock options) if you know what I mean 🙂
Why do some men think it’s at all flattering to a woman to suggest that she might barter her body for goods, services, or one of the many developers available in today’s economy?
This guy’s come on is not just personally insulting. It is arguably a quid pro quo request, which is classic sexual harassment. The comments, predominately from men, to the Slate piece invariably claim that sexual harassment can only occur if they both work at the same company or if the harasser is in a supervisor position or if it’s flat-out rape, like in the Michael Douglas film Disclosure. I won’t go into the many reasons why these assertions are untrue of why you shouldn’t see Disclosure even for its laughably dated depiction of the Internet.
Even in our “Lean-In” culture, professional women have to deal with not being taken seriously in a business environment or being seen as just a sexual object. There’s also the heterosexual privilege of injecting sexuality into business so freely, while gay men and women, even today, debate whether to display on their desks a photo of themselves and their partners. If a man sent an email like this hitting on a male CEO, it could be a potentially career-ending mistake.
But as the comments to the Slate article reveal, Kim could attempt to blackball this developer but it’s likely that his email wouldn’t keep him from getting another job. Too many men in too many important positions see nothing wrong with what he did.