The cleaning lady stresses me out

So there’s this cleaning lady where I work who doesn’t speak English very well. I always make a point to smile and be nice to the cleaning ladies because I imagine they don’t have the opportunity to talk to other employees very often or extensively. Anyway, a few months ago, a multilingual coworker who has chatted with the cleaning lady tells me, “Are you aware that the cleaning lady thinks you’re very handsome?” And I guess I suspected this from her prolonged stares and smiles, but I just chalked it up to cultural differences. Anyway, now whenever I see her, I get really stressed. I don’t know how nice to be, etc. Not only does it weird me out because I’m gay, but because she’s old enough to be my mother and thought it necessary to discuss it with a coworker. The other day she touched my face and told me I was beautiful. I sort of laughed and said thanks. She said something about Oscar de la Hoya and then I really laughed.

I don’t know. It stresses me out when girls find me attractive. Especially older girls with whom I work and who don’t speak English. :eek: Why can’t some hot, young, beautiful, intelligent, charismatic boy tell me I’m beautiful? :frowning:

I can understand why you would be uncomfortable. How very flattering, though, that she worked up the courage to tell you that you are beautiful, despite the language barrier. I know, I’m a cheeseball. But I actually found that quite touching.

I don’t find this touching at all. I find it creepy. Were I in your place I would stop smiling at this cleaning woman or doing anything that might possibly be construed as encouraging of this kind of attention. And if she ever touched me again I would go to my boss or HR and complain about it. If this were a case where the feeling was at all mutual I wouldn’t take such a hard line about it (and believe me I’ve had some fantasies about a few of the non-English speaking men on our building’s cleaning crew) but if this is causing you stress, you don’t need that. Work is stressful enough without unwelcome affection/sexual attention.

I smile and say hello to the janitorial staff as well, but if an older man on that staff, different nationality or not, started telling me and other coworkers that he found me attractive…well, I’d do something about it. And it’d be doubly worse if it was a woman (as I am not gay).

I know you probably don’t WANT to do anything about it, because I’m sure she’s quite harmless. But if I were in your situation, I’d ask the boss to have the head of the cleaning staff give a talk to the employees about, uh, the inappropriateness of workplace romance. Or something.

Could it be cultural? When I went to school in Mexico my sister and I were kissed and pinched on the cheek and had people cooing over our different hair color, etc. Nobody meant anything by it, it’s just what people do in Mexico.

Still, let her know you don’t appreciate the behavior. “Por favor, no!” (I’m guessing South Am. because of the De La Hoya reference) is a short, simple phrase that should do the trick next time she tries to pat your cheek.

And don’t you worry about finding a nifty guy-- if you’re half as adorable in person as you are here, it’s only a matter of moments before some sweetie is going to show up to tell you you’re beautiful.

Yeah, I get the same feeling as BadBaby.

I’m latin (female though) and believe me I’ve seen my share of 50+ women who will say stuff like “oh, what a beautiful young man!” and will smile and sometimes wink. Pat your cheek like you’re a little kid or hold your face in their hands and delightedly say “how handsome you are!”

It’s hard to explain the phenomenon, but it is not flirting and nothing sexual is intended. It’s a cross between being the Proud Godmother and a girlish appreciation of the opposite sex.

If you’re the right age, you might end up hearing “so when are you getting married?” If you’re married they want to know “when are babies coming?..” Betcha if you said you’re getting maried (forgetting for a second you’re gay), she’d be over the moon with delight! She’d then tell her friends about the beautiful young man and work – oh, how lucky his wife will be! They will have beautiful babies!

I’ve seen it happen at a family function when a bunch of grannies swarmed my male cousin. “So handsome! So handsome! When are you going to find a nice girl? Here, have something to eat!”

The female equivalent is you visit and they say “Oh, beautiful, beautiful! When are you getting married? Oh, look how thin you are! I wish I was so skinny! Here, have something to eat!”

One of my females cousins gets that. They hold her face in their hands and say “Oh, look how beautiful she is! She looks like Salma Hayek! Here have something to eat!”

When I was in Panama with a male friend (not a boyfriend because I too am in a same-sex relationship), we got the older ladies saying what a beautful couple we were and exchaging “knowing glances” and “knowing winks” with each other. It felt kind of lewd, but it wasn’t leering they were just excited about such a “good looking young couple that must surely be honeymooning.”

I honestly don’t think she intends anything inappropriate. It’s just a joie-de-vivre that is part an parcel of the latin passion for “happy ever after.”

When we lived in Laredo (I was too small to remember it) the older Mexican ladies were always touching my brother and I, whenever they could, and they mean nothing by it. (We were very blonde at that age, and thus eye-catching in a border town.)

It is one of their superstitions that if you see something beautiful and you don’t touch it, you will bring bad luck on both yourself and that person (object, whatever). Loosely called “Ojo,” I believe.

Having grown up in South Texas, I have run into my fair share of these ladies since, and I have always found it very sweet when they reach out and stroke my cheek/hair/whatever. It is not intended to be sexual in any way whatsoever; it is their way of admiring you and warding off the Bad Ojo. (My knowledge of regional Spanish slang is very limited, particularly when it comes to spelling it, so pardon me if that isn’t how the word is spelled. :D)

So please don’t judge her too harshly, Qazzz. She means no harm.

I called my mom to tell her about the OP and she thought it was pretty funny.

Qazzz my mom wants me to let you know that she thinks you’re cute, but isn’t trying to hit on you.

My mom is a latin granny (well, I have no kids, but she’s granny age). She doesn’t do the touchie-feelie “he/she’s so handsome/beautiful” stuff, although she is always trying to feed me. She says it’s like a mother-hen kind of thing. The women will smooth your hair, pat you on the head or pinch your cheeks, and SMILE 'cause you’re just so gosh-darned cute.

If a latin granpa is being appreciative, a young woman may hear something like a polite “I don’t mean to be fresh, but you are a very beautful girl.” Or (depending how far south you are) you may hear an appreciative hiss as they pass you on the street (hey, it’s more discreet than a wolf-whistle). The men, of course can’t touch girls to show their appreciation – the grannies would smack 'em if they did.

Er… I meant that the cleaning lady (rather than my mom), thinks your cute but isn’t trying to hit on you.

My mom might think you’re cute too, but she’s never seen you.

What you need to do is take one for the pink team and hit that sh*t.