Like many happily engaged women, Mackenzi Guptill posted a photo on Facebook of her hand clad with a sparkling ring. However, Mackenzi’s post is completely different than the typical “I said yes!” announcements because she isn’t getting married, and the reason for her post has nothing to do with her relationship status.
“This post is actually way more important and will help shed some light on the subject for those still struggling with the fact that women really do this kind of sh*t because we have to,” Mackenzi captioned the ring selfie on Facebook.
Mackenzi recently started a new job as the receptionist at a hotel, and she was perfectly content with her role when she first started. “However, in the past month or so, the love for the job has shrunk,” she wrote.
After an older man checked into the hotel sometime around the beginning of June, the pair struck up a professional conversation and he brought her a book she might like (since Mackenzi is an English major) the next time he stopped by the front desk. “He seemed very friendly and kind. I was polite and chatted with him for a little while for two reasons,” she wrote. “1. Being polite is just what you do. 2. Customer service is a big part of front desk.”
Over the next few weeks, he would stop by the hotel just to say hi to his new “friend” and when her coworkers asked about the old man she explained that he was chatty but harmless. “I feel it’s important to say I never once felt threatened or in danger,” she wrote. “I just thought this kind man was bringing the youth some good, unheard-of literature.”
However, his next visit took a personal turn when he asked if she had a boyfriend and wasn’t pleased when he learned that she’s happily in a three-year relationship:
He then said, “Well I didn’t see a ring so I just assumed,” which, OK I get. But it was the fact that for the next 20-30 minutes he still stood there and sort of tried to plead his case: telling me I was so smart, intelligent, how I could edit his book because of my major, and “Well no ring?”
Then it was a constant, “You should call me if things go bad” and just this lingering “won’t leave you alone” vibe. It was all sorts of wrong and I wanted so badly to tell him to f*ck off and never come back. HOWEVER, I was at work. I need this job. And the fear of getting fired for yelling at some guy was definitely present in my mind.
The man eventually left but a few days later, three other guys in their 20s checked into the hotel and tried to get her to come out to a local bar with them after her shift. After they wouldn’t let it go, she sternly said, “I appreciate the offer, but I am respectfully declining.”
After she returned to work the next morning, her coworker informed her that the men were kicked out during the overnight shift because they came back drunk and offered her $1,500 to “just come sit with them” in their room. They wouldn’t leave when she said no.
After hearing about these different “creeps,” Mackenzi’s boyfriend came up with the idea that she wear a fake ring while working to hopefully keep guys and their unwanted comments away. After slipping the fake ring on her finger, she quickly learned that she isn’t the only woman who feels the need to do this while working:
I got to work the other day and my co-worker that was harassed by the same guys WEARS A FAKE RING TOO. FOR THE SAME REASON.
Is this clicking? My co-worker and I wear fake engagement/wedding rings as a tool to get guys to leave us alone. And not the casual guy that doesn’t know you’re in a relationship, but for the guy that won’t leave you the f*ck alone.
I just hope whoever reads [this post] further grasps that women are living their lives AROUND the dangers of a man. I should not worry that when I go to work “the creepy guy might come back.” I should not worry when I walk out to my car at night that he might be there waiting for me. I should not worry about doing my rounds at the hotel and that some young, drunk guys might pull me into their room. This is bullsh*t, you guys. Pure, 100 percent, bullsh*t. And I’m sick of it.
Just in case Mackenzi’s point isn’t clear, she wants everyone to know that she isn’t “preaching” the fake ring tactic and instead hopes people start to realize the extreme lengths women go to just to feel protected. “I am trying to raise awareness that women have to go out of their way in their day to day life to ensure safety,” she wrote. “I should not have to carry a gun, knife, mace, learn hand-to-hand combat to go to work and check people in and out of a hotel. I should not have to do any of those things. Period.”