Weeks pass, and Randy continues to be randy. Stopping by my office no less than three times a day. Gawking at the summer associates as they get their lunches downstairs. I kind of just check out.
I decide to ignore him, figuring that eventually he’ll go away. I do, however, find myself staring at his chest each time he comes in and interrupts me. I’m looking for milk. Or the emergence of breasts. But I don’t recall seeing anything. I think the pills must have gotten that problem under control — but not the other thing. He’s so antsy and manic — sometimes I thought he might start touching himself in my office. Anyway, here it comes, and I’m not lying.
Several weeks later, as February approached — the month that I have always contended is the cruelest month (not April, as T.S. Eliot alleges) — Valentine’s season begins. I tend to ignore all this heart/love crap because I think it’s stupid. I was never one to send out Valentine’s Day cards, even in elementary school. I rejected it. I mean, I can barely say I love you to my parents or my boyfriend; I’m certainly not going to say it to some random person. And I doubt my meatball (non-lawyer, a big plus) boyfriend will do anything anyway.
So I walk into my office at 9:00 a.m., maybe 9:30 actually, on February 14th. There is a large, blood orange, inter-office envelope on top of my desk. I figure it’s my expense report or the report of my billable hours, which I haven’t met for two months. As I open it, however, a pink something falls out. I turn it over. It is a homemade Valentine, constructed out of pale pink construction paper, topped with an old-school white doily, and on it, there is a poem written by a dark purple crayon. My first thought is, how cute; it must be from my partner’s daughter, Rose.
Find out what the poem is about, after the jump.
As I read the poem, I realize the making of a child, this is not. The poem is about me. It describes my hair, my eyes, even my figure. He did make a nice compliment about my mind, too. Signed, Randy.
Is he that freaking stupid? I mean, who would do this? Surely he must know the good old Title VII, and we did all have to watch that lame sexual harassment video.
I must say, however, that it was quite creative, and clearly took a lot of work. He was also a pretty good writer; everything rhymed, almost a perfect haiku. And it really was a much better gift than the boring dozen red roses my boyfriend sent to the office later that day. (And I wasn’t even in love with him; he should have sent yellow. As If I want red.)
Phone rings. It’s an intra-firm call. I panic.
“This is Hope.”
“Well?” It’s Randy.
“Did you get it?” We both know what “it” is.
“Ah, yeah, I did.”
“Well…. What do you think?”
“Um, well, it’s very creative. You’re a good writer.” What in the hell am I supposed to say? You are a creepy perverted weirdo, and now I’m going to nail you and go to the management committee?
“Thanks. I’m glad you like it.”
I didn’t say I “liked” it. I rush downstairs to show Jessica, the only person I can trust.
“Oh my god. Is he insane? Unbelievable. I knew he wanted in your knickers, but …”
“Kyle” — she puts her phone on speaker — “you got to come in here. You are never going to believe what Randy did this time.” She calls in Kyle, a very hip junior partner.
He takes the Valentine out of my hand. “What the hell? Did he really write this?”
“Yes! He called me to see if I got it.”
“You got to take this to Bertolucci. You’ll get a settlement, Hope. Or be made partner — today! You have a sexual harassment case on your hands. Smoking gun.”
“Oh please. I’m not going to Joe Pesci. He’s a creep too. Anyway, they’re like best friends, and Randy has so many clients.”
“Go. Go to Bertolucci. He is a jerk, but he’ll have to do something about this.”
But I don’t go to Pesci. I do take the Valentine home and put it under my bed — just in case I have to whip it out one day to save my job or something.
Years later, after I leave the firm and move far away because of a boyfriend who broke my heart, came to my firm, and kind of ruined my life, I find out that Randy, in fact, engaged in similar behavior with a very attractive, thirtysomething blonde.
But the thirties bring wisdom. Unlike me, she went to Pesce. Got a big settlement to shut up. They kept Randy (shocker), but he did have to go to mandatory counseling every week. And get off the pills.
But Randys, even really randy Randys, always get to stay. It’s all about the rain. And I knew that from the get go.
In retrospect, I wish I had gotten some money out of it. Plus, I must admit, I kind of liked all the attention. I mean, it was clearly sexual harassment — but at least I knew I was still attractive, admired in the workplace. I guess my former colleague’s counsel proved true: I went somewhere that people really liked me.