When I was a teen I worked in a small “gift” type store. The owner was in his 30’s. I was around 16 and I worked for him for two years. His family had two businesses in town and were well known. My parents knew him and thought he was a good guy.
I hadn’t been there that long before he started flirting with me. I was a shy, nervous kid. My face would turn red….especially my ears. UGH, I hated that! He enjoyed teasing me over little things. I admit I thought it was fun. One example…we had adult magazines in the store and men would come in and “look” at them before buying them. He always made jokes about the magazines and what was in them. I might laugh and blush. He kept a stack of those magazines in the bathroom so I’d have to see them when I had to use it. Now I wonder if he just liked to embarrass me. Maybe that turned him on. Once he quickly hugged me, dipped me and kissed me in a joking way. I was clearly embarrassed.
One night I was working and received a prank phone call. After I said the spiel with the name of the shop I heard heavy breathing. He asked me what color panties I was wearing. I nervously laughed into the phone saying I knew it was him. He never admitted to it.
On more than one occasion I had asked him if he could buy me and my friend some alcohol. He did and of course he instructed us to not drink and drive and to be very careful.
My friend began working at the other store in town and we became friends with the family. When we were in HS his brother rented us a ski chalet up north for us to have an overnight party. They joined us…his brother with gf and my boss who also brought his wife along. They also invited a few of their friends. We had a lot of friends. Lots of booze. It surely wasn’t normal for a group of 30 year olds to be hanging with a bunch of high school kids. I looked at it as though they were watching out for me/us. I thought it was ok when I was sixteen, I was old enough. I never told him to stop. Maybe it was my fault even.
A few years ago I learned that his daughter died in a car accident about the same age as I worked for him. I found his email somewhere and I told him there were those people who you just don’t forget and he was one of them. I expressed how sorry I was for his loss. He was so cold and brief in his reply. He clearly didn’t feel the same. I wonder if he regretted his behavior while we worked together.
Today as a parent I see this in a whole different, inappropriate light and I’d be livid if one of my children were in this same situation.
This was not ok.