Since beginning my job a year ago, I’ve found that gross old men who frequent the library just can’t get enough of me.  It’s annoying and bizarre and according to my boss, it’s unlike anything she’s seen in 22 years of public librarianship.  I love being unique, but I wish it was for something I was happy about.

Frankly, I just don’t get it.  Yes, I’m friendly and attractive, but so are my co-workers who don’t have to deal with these attentions.  Honestly, I do not feel that I am hot enough to have to put up with this.  I’ve never reaped the benefits of being a hottie i.e. getting free drinks or airline upgrades, so why do I have to put up with the drawbacks?

This also sounds like a whiny thing to complain about, but the fact is, it makes me incredibly uncomfortable.  It makes it hard to do my job, to focus on the task at hand and to not overanalyze all my interactions with male library patrons.  I shouldn’t have to try to do my work knowing that there’s a person using a particular computer just so he can stare at me, and my co-workers shouldn’t have to field and deflect questions about my whereabouts and work schedule.

Since I’ve been having more issues with a new gross old man at work, I finally broke down and bought a stunt ring i.e. a fake wedding/engagement ring to send the clear signal without words, “I’m not interested in you.”  What’s hilarious about all this, is if I was actually engaged/married I probably wouldn’t wear a ring.  I really dislike wearing jewelry, and the few items I own, I never remember to wear.

We’ll see if this actually works and allows me to go about my workday in peace, or if I need to come up with a plan B.  The only plan B I can think of right now is dressing poorly, which sounds like a lot of expense and effort, so I’m hoping this ring is the magic bullet I need.

Day One: Wore the ring to work and discovered that not only is it slightly too big for me, but it is also incredibly heavy. I put some scotch tape on the back to make it fit better, and tried to ignore the heaviness.  Creepy Old Man #2 came in and did his usual use the 15-minute internet computers right next to me for over an hour and stare at me routine.  I make a point to run my fingers through my hair over and over, displaying the ring prominently as I did it.  The ring got caught in my hair a few times, which did not feel good.

By the end of the day, one of the fake diamonds was missing, but at least it’s one on the side.  I’m starting to think I need a different stunt ring, one that’s less cumbersome, but also would rather not spend a whole bunch of money on jewelry I don’t even want. Plus now, can I really sub in a new ring? Damage done, card played, I’ve got to keep up the pretense.  I am not cut out for jewelry wearing.

Day Two: Forgot to wear stunt ring and got asked out by a man named Earle.  Is this some kind of joke?

I decided to replace initial ring with something smaller.  I then spent an hour on overstock.com shopping for engagement ring for myself for less than $15, which was odd to say the least.  I finally found something that was the right price and size, and was moderately attractive if a bit ostentatious.  Let’s hope it doesn’t turn my finger green.

It’s not bad, I don’t hate it.  I hope it doesn’t start some kind of rumor in the workplace.

Fast forward to three weeks later, and I’ve been wearing the stunt ring every day at work, and then taking it off immediately at the end of the day.  I’ve injured myself several times getting it caught in books, clothes and all kinds of hazards I never previously noticed.  I also find it a bit hard to type while wearing it.

Several co-workers have asked if I’m engaged, one scoffed and said “my god that looks fake.”

The newest creepy old man in my life has stopped coming into the library since that first day I wore the previous stunt ring.  He may still be coming in on my days off–but who cares!  Life is good again and it’s all down to a piece of ugly jewelry.

If I wasn’t so happy I’d be totally depressed.

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