When I work, I get unwelcome attention from middle-aged weirdos

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a female company employee in my 50s. I’ve been single for almost 20 years. Every time I change jobs, I get hounded by men.

When I make myself agreeable and try to fit in at a new workplace, these men begin to take my jokes seriously and get clingy to the point where I reach my limit and have to quit. I was once fired after being accused of wrapping a male employee around my finger. I would understand if I were incompetent, but that wasn’t the case. Was it a company where a single woman was not supposed to work? Now I work at a place where relationships are no hassle, but I’m worried that a clingy man might show up at any moment.

I’m sick and tired of men who are clueless even though they’re older. I’m not that pretty; rather I’m quite plain-looking. So I can’t see any reason why I should be pestered by these middle-aged weirdos who are so stupid that they could almost stalk me to death if they wished. There is a person I secretly fancy, so I want annoying men to leave me alone.

— W, Tochigi Prefecture

Dear Ms. W:

This is a very serious problem. It’s even more difficult because others don’t seem to think so.

You’re saying that every time you change jobs, clingy men approach you, but I must say you probably bear half the responsibility. Of course, you don’t do it deliberately but rather unintentionally, and that’s why it gets more complicated.

Such women are not necessarily beautiful. Rather, they have a friendly appearance and create an atmosphere of being easy to approach. People feel at ease around them, thinking it’s OK to joke around as they let people get away with laughing and making fun. In other words, these women give men the impression that there is a chance with them.

It’s not necessarily a bad thing to be like that. Such a characteristic can also attract people in a positive way.

However, the problem is that some men misunderstand this. They may not be successful with women, but with a woman like you, they believe they have a chance. Because you make yourself agreeable to them, it makes the whole situation more complicated. Your torment can never be understood by them. As you said in your letter, it’s because these men have no ability to read the situation even at their age and are not very smart.

If you never want to be in the same situation again, you should avoid setting such a tone. No more sharing jokes either. It’s better for you to be shunned by them.

I know a single woman just like you. Just for your information, she wears a fake wedding band on her left ring finger as an amulet.

— Hazuki Saisho, writer