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.