Someone came to the library to inquire about a job ad we put up. That’s generally not how things work nowadays. We put out the ad, take in resumes, and then pick some for an interview. But okay, that’s fine.
But: he reeked of cigarette smoke. I’ve got asthma and cigarette smoke-even the scent of it on other people’s clothes-is a huge asthmatic trigger for me.
Each time I took a step back from this man, hoping to avoid triggering my asthma, he took a step forward. I ended up dancing us around until there was a bit of counter between us.
I think men see that body language, when they’re even aware of it, as “assertive” in a good way. But for women, especially when it persists after it’s become beyond obvious when your uncomfortable, it is intimidating or aggressive. Said guy also didn’t take the cue when I tried to politely end the conversation several times.
Don’t get me wrong, he smiled. He was polite in his language. He may very well have not clue he did anything wrong or off. I even suspect he thinks he made a good impression. But given the way he interacted with me, well, I wouldn’t want any of my staff that interacted with students that way.