Hello, my name is Bethany and I appear to be a creeper magnet.

Okay, not really. But seriously.

One of my best first impressions of my new job is that, although the overall mood of the customer base is much more dour than I’m used to, there weren’t any regulars who were particularly annoying like 20 oz mocha guy.

For the most part, I was right. However, it has come to my attention that I have a new 20 oz mocha guy in my life. Sort of.

Let’s call him WM guy. (WM being short for White Mocha, which he orders a 20 oz of [no whip] every morning around 10:30.)

Well, WM guy was the first regular I recognized at my new job. I didn’t connect that he was the same guy who my co-worker had warned me about. The co-worker in question was given a cupcake from the bakery down the block by WM guy on two separate occasions.

Awkward, right?

That’s what I thought, especially as my co-worker informed me that the first regular who I introduced myself to was the creepy flirty one.

Okay people, there are two kinds of flirty– cute, harmless friendly, like when the 75-year-old regular named John told me I have a pretty smile. That was a day-maker for sure. Then there’s the creepy overly-friendly brand, like maintaining eye contact for too long, talking in a voice that’s too soft and intimate for the setting, and a habit of eye-scouring t-shirts with graphics to the point of almost setting them on fire.

The most uncomfortable part about WM guy is he is literally old enough to be my father (and the father of all of my similarly-aged co-workers.)

The other day the forecast for the area was saying snow in the afternoon, and WM guy expressed concern that I couldn’t make it home on my scooter. I brushed it off, saying I’d be fine, but he still insisted upon telling me where he lived (“right around the corner”) in case I couldn’t make it home. Right, sir, like  I’m going to come to your house in the evening when  I get off work because I can’t make it home.

Today, while I was attempting to make businesslike yet vaguely friendly conversation (you should try it sometime) WM guy mentioned  that he’d seen me the other day riding my scooter. “You looked cute,” he said. I felt slightly sick. “Thanks, ” I replied, tamping espresso, “That’s what my dad says, too.”

I did put a little unnecessary emphasis on the word dad. I thought that mentioning that I had a father who is involved with me might help make the situation better, and I was partially right, because WM guy’s next statement was that he was trying to talk his son into getting a scooter like mine to take to college next year.


Anyway, do you have any particular tactics that work to disengage creepers without being totally rude? This IS my work environment, after all, and with all his faults, WM guy is a very loyal customer who tips well (especially if you’re wearing a graphic T, which I don’t anymore because I thought my chest was going to combust under his gaze.)

Also, what is with the strange romantic fascination a lot of males seem to have with baristas just because we smile and serve you delicious coffee? It’s like they think we go out with anyone who’s willing to sling their number at us. We’re not.

Sound off in the comments!

    • Katherine Brooke
    • March 7th, 2012

    Ug. I SO know how you feel…it’s like nothing you say or do gets the message across that you are there to serve coffee and nothing else. The only advice i have is to keep your own eye contact to the very barest legal minimum, and keep your tone as cool and professional as possible. You can give them great service and be pleasant without being friendly. I know it sound dumb, but it’s true! Be cordial, not friendly. Friendly means “I want to get to know you better”..while cordial means “We have to coexist, so I will treat you with respect.”

    • With this caliber of creepers, they take professional as coy, cordial as friendly, and friendly as an invitation. It’s sad.

  1. Aaaaaaaghhh guys like this make it tough for decent father-aged guys everywhere. I agree with the above comment, but I think it’s fair for you to have boundaries that go beyond that. I mean, if someone says something that makes you uncomfortable, would your boss stand behind you if you said “I’m sorry, that makes me uncomfortable?” Or does this dude buy so many mochas that the business would crash without him?

    This sucks because it’s so emblematic of the huge power differential you have to subject yourself to when you’re a woman in a “service” business. Sorry you have to deal with it.

    • You’re right– it annoys me because I know so many decent guys (of all ages) who come into the coffee shop. If he did expressly say something inappropriate or uncomfortable, I think that I would be okay with asking him to go away in a less-than-polite fashion, and I’m sure my boss would have my back. It’s the most difficult when it’s subtle things that you can’t really point out.
      Hopefully I’ll figure something out.
      Thanks so much for stopping by– I read some of your stuff on the TriMet diaries and it was wonderful. I’m a new TriMet rider, and I love all the stories. It’s what makes public transit worth it.

    • Aaron White
    • March 7th, 2012

    First of all it’s not just girl baristas that get creepers I’ve had them too. It’s just mostly girls who get creepers because guys are retards when it comes to women… actually they are retards most of the time but when a girl comes into the picture guys loose whatever brains they had. Testosterone rocks! what attracts them, aside from you being a attractive young woman, is the fact that you are FORCED to talk to them. I’m pretty sure if they walked up to you in a store (Lets say the underwear section for added creepiness) and started talking to you/commenting on how your “chest logos” are perfectly symmetrical, You would walk away… in a quick manner. Thus they don’t get any social attention because anyone and everyone they try to talk to gets creeped out and runs away. So if you were a lonely man with with few social skills and had a mentality of someone who never left high school. Where would you go to find someone to talk to who wouldn’t run away? Well coffee shops always have cute girls working there. Plus they have to talk to people if they want tips. AND they are trapped behind a counter so there’s no escaping, HALLELUJAH! I believe that goes for 75% of creepers. there are a few exceptions. in short it just socially awkward people trying to make a connection with someone.

    • Katherine Brooke
    • March 7th, 2012

    If it’s ultra subtle…can you just ignore it? That is quite just takes a while to TAKE effect. :P
    And ignoring isn’t accepting. It’s just deciding that their problem isn’t your problem and if they want to be a jerk, they can…and you refuse to take notice.
    How’s that for lame advice…

    • Aubrey
    • March 8th, 2012

    I think we should do a study of the mate attracting habits of males in the coffee house setting.
    Seriously though, I wonder if it has something to do with the being a woman/making delicious drinks/serving them up while looking cute that makes some men picture the horrifically happy image of the 50s housewife, which then causes them to not be able to behave like anything other than the guys from Mad Men. I’m with you that harmless compliments (especially from seniors) are well within the bounds of acceptable, but I have no tolerance for the fumbling around of younger men. Or old men. Nothing like feeling like a target.

    • You’re right, it’s the targeting thing. When John told me I have a pretty smile, it was sweet because it was obvious that he wasn’t expecting anything in return. However, when WM guy leaned in today and offered to buy me a cupcake, it was threatening because of the distinct vibe that you don’t get something for nothing, you know? (It was awkward.)

    • Dad
    • March 8th, 2012

    Really Boo, you need to alter your diet. then you could turn slightly and let a massive fart,turn back and belch so that fart and belch assault his nostrils simultaneously. If that doesn’t work, ask him for his address so that you can give it to your father.

    • Hah, cute, daddy. I think I’ll opt to keep mentioning you at key places it the conversation, and if necessary I will give him your number… With eager anticipation.

    • Dad
    • March 8th, 2012

    Or you could just give me his cell number.

    • Rachel
    • March 8th, 2012

    My gosh, who knew that offering someone a cupcake could be so creepy. :-o

  1. March 28th, 2012

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