Respect Her "No"
As a 19 year old girl, I was shy and meek and very bad at standing up for myself. I worked at a Denny’s with a lot of creepy and rude customers, and one day a regular customer came in and he asked to borrow my pen. I was the only hostess on duty at the time, and the host stand only had one pen, which I very much needed almost constantly. We usually had more pens but servers would often lose theirs and come raid the host station for replacements. This particular pen was very excellent and I guarded the thing with my life… you all know the kind of pen I’m talking about, super ergonomic design and never runs out of ink and writes on any surface. This pen wasn’t going anywhere, not if I could help it.
Well anyway I told the customer, “oh I’m sorry, I’ve only got the one pen right now and I need it”. He said “don’t worry I’ll give it back when I’m done” and just took it. Well I sucked at standing up for myself and they drilled all that ‘customer is always right’ nonsense into our brains pretty well so I just resigned myself to having to track down another pen. (Not an easy task in that restaurant, there was some kind of black hole for pens there.)
Well another customer, a woman in her 40’s, saw the whole thing go down. After the guy had seated himself, the woman pulled a pen out of her purse, I thought she was just going to give it to me but she actually walked over to the guy, snagged my pen out of his hand, and smacked her pen down on the table and said very audibly “Respect her no.” And then she brought me my pen back. I was so touched by this simple gesture of coming to my defense that I paid for her lunch myself. The whole thing took less than 3 minutes but it honestly taught me so much, it taught me the importance of standing your ground, defending other women, and not letting men get away with ignoring your No. If a man can’t even respect a no on something as simple as borrowing a pen, how could he be trusted to respect you on even bigger issues? Anyway I just think about that incident a lot, the importance of standing your ground and not letting men feel entitled to take whatever they want. Bless that woman, I hope she is having a really excellent life.