Somebody’s Watching You?

The publication of my sex advice in a recent Nerve column as touched a–well, you know what. One of the advisors self-identified as a “lipstick librarian”, which is now requisite shorthand for I’m-not-your-stereotypical-librarian-and-staring-suggestively-while-wearing-glasses-and-a-bun-proves-it. I shouldn’t be too surprised, though when I first created my site, I was more entranced with spoofing our collective fashion cluelessness than the Sex Thing. I’m fine with it, though sometimes I wish someone out there could come up with something other than a riff on the dowdy spinster/sexually-repressed-babe motif. But I’m wonder if the librarians out there touting themselves as lip-plumping LLs have thought of the consequences…

…such as stalking.

I bring this up since in the past year I have been a victim of at best, unwanted attention and at worst, disturbing notes left on my door and (in my worst-case scenario) a posting on Craigslist, which included my name, my profession and where I worked. The unwanted attention I’ve been able to handle, but the messages? In each instance, I’ve never been able to identify who left/posted these creepy little missives, which leaves me to wonder if the guy sitting at the study table in front of my office or asking for the location of the latest edition of Nature at the reference desk could be The One. Thank the bibliographic deities my administration was quick to address each issue and support me throughout each incident.

This is not to say the LL image is the direct cause of these incidents. I have no idea if these men/boys/perverts even know of my web site. But I do believe those of us who think tying our profession to books and bustiers makes us Different really need to consider the implications, good and bad. As we all know, sexuality to you may mean something entirely different than to the guy sitting in the corner of the library who has an outstanding warrant for assaulting a police officer. And I don’t think my library is unusual in this situation–in fact, I suspect this may be the norm.

And please–don’t take this as a plea for sexual self-censorship. I firmly support anyone’s desire to wear a thong and a summer reading program t-shirt at the reference desk just as long as your co-workers are copacetic with the idea and you have undergone a strict cellulite cream regimen.

‘Nuff said.

4 Responses

  1. vonjobi
    vonjobi June 29, 2007 at 5:02 pm | | Reply


    i agree with your sentiments regarding the harassment you’ve endured, but i will have to cry “discrimination” regarding the gender of your unidentified stalkers. why is it that if someone is stalking the lipstick librarian, the assumption is that the person involved is male? i’ve met you and i know that lots of lesbians would find the lipstick librarian worth stalking =P

  2. LInda
    LInda June 30, 2007 at 7:59 pm | | Reply

    Awww…not stereotyping per se, but if a lesbian was stalking me, the worst it would be are intense conversations about feelings. I

    ‘d take that over semi-pornographic messages any day.


  3. Stephen
    Stephen July 8, 2007 at 6:56 am | | Reply

    In any service position when you deal with the public, especially when you’re upfront and personal with them, you’re a lightning rod for *ahem* admirers. The fact that libraries tend to be more public than your garden variety shop may make for a longer lightning rod (sorry for the phallic symbolism). You could liken a library to a bar I suppose but I think that goes too far.

    …I don’t think librarians should question their public personae though. This attention goes with the turf. What’s happened to you seems very particular and may be because you’re more public than most librarians (or maybe you didn’t help that guy find that copy of Nature) but again, goes with the turf.

  4. K.G. Schneider
    K.G. Schneider July 11, 2007 at 7:00 pm | | Reply

    Hey, Linda, it was great seeing and reading you on 🙂

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