How A Strong Woman Deals With Offensive Behavior From Men

by Rainy

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It amazes me how often both men and women ask me what it is like being a female OTR driver. My favorite question is, “What are men like over the road?” I always respond with, “Well, they are short, bald, have large eyes and green skin. You know, a typical Martian. What do you mean what are they like? They are the same guys back home, just doing a different job. They aren't some foreign species.”

Yes, there are some very blunt and inappropriate comments made, but there are a lot more professional, respectful guys who take pride in helping a woman driver.

Most men respect a woman who can handle a rig and many are willing to take advice from me, despite the “gender issues”. Dozens of men over the years have helped guide me while I'm backing up, opened my doors, pulled my tandem pin, and even changed my light bulbs. I abhor this "men versus women" competition I often see on social media. I don't see it that way.

When it comes to inappropriate comments, I have the choice to either be insulted and allow it to upset me, or give them a taste of their own medicine and walk away. I have never been the meek and mild type, even as a child, so I retaliate, sometimes in a cute and sweet way and sometimes in a blunt aggressive way.

A Big Mistake

The first time I did laundry on the road, a man stopped me while I carried my basket of folded clothes. He asked if he knew me and I denied it, then I continued walking. At that point, he grabbed my elbow and said, “I know I know you.”

Mistake, big mistake. I replied sternly, “If you knew me, you would know it is detrimental to your health to grab me. Since you don't, I'll give you a warning. Let go of my arm immediately, or you will find your hand under my tractor tires.”

He released me and said, “Oh, you're a driver?”

I shook my head, “No, I just come to truck stops to do my laundry because I prefer the washers here.” I continued walking. But this guy still didn't leave me alone and invited me back to his truck to see his brand new automatic. I finally said, “Great, you drive an automatic and I drive a stick. That makes me more of a man than you, so no, I'm not interested in spending time with you in your truck.”

Who Is The Instigator?

Sometimes I am the instigator, I admit it. Once I was sitting at a truck stop listening to the CB, and this guy kept going on and on about his sexual conquests all over the country. “I have 100 women out here and my wife doesn't know.” I just couldn't let that go. I responded, “Your wife knows, she just doesn't care because she is screwing the mailman in the bed and house you are paying for.” He got upset and replied, “No way, once you have the best, you forget the rest. She's not doing that.”

This guy was so arrogant.

I continued, “I have had the best, and he doesn't need to advertise himself to a bunch of guy truckers. As a matter of fact, his lovers pass out his phone number to their friends so they can have fun.” Of course he then offered to come prove it to me, to which I stated, “Most men cannot satisfy one woman, and you just admitted to having 100 women. So why would I bother spending time with a man who is 100 times less satisfying than the average man?” That reply got a ton of laughs from the other men on the radio, and then I left the parking lot.

Ok So I Like To Instigate A Little!

On another occasion I was at at the shipping clerk's desk getting checked in at a customer. Me and another driver were told it would be 20 minutes until we were able to get doors. The driver asked me where I was from and if I was married. He then asked me if I wanted to visit his truck for some fun. I asked if he was married and he said no. I couldn't help myself so I said, “Do you wanna know why you aren't married? Cause you think 20 minutes will satisfy a woman. Thanks for the invite, but I decline.”

My craziest response was to a man who was inspecting my breasts more closely than he was inspecting his truck. As I got out of my truck and headed for food and a shower, he asked if I was a driver. He saw me get out of the driver seat alone, so that was just a conversation starter.

I told him to hurry up and follow me. Once we got into the Flying J, I looked toward our trucks from the glass door, ignoring the man who followed me. He asked what I was looking at, and I explained, “No, I don't really work for Prime. I am part of an international theft ring and we are timing the carrier's response time. The cops should be here in about five minutes.” I then turned to him and asked, “Are you looking for a better job? It's tax free, great pay, and all the home time you want.”

The man kept looking from me to the truck as I still looked at the trucks. Then my phone beeped and I said, “Oh, that's my ride, I have to go. I have your truck number and my people will be in touch about the job offer. But you may want to move your truck, the authorities may think you are involved, being that you parked next to the stolen truck.” I went to eat at Denny's and he ran out the door and moved his truck.

I've Never Truly Felt Threatened

At no time have I felt uncomfortable or threatened by the strange men who approached me, not even by a security guard at a customer who I think was the most blunt. This man was much older, probably in his late 60's or early 70's. He kept commenting on my breasts and making humming sounds, “Eeeewwee. If I was about 25 years younger, I could really do some things to you.” He went into some details I won't repeat.

I told him 25 years wouldn't help. “That would still make you about 40, right? I gave a 20 year old a heart attack last week, so you still wouldn't have a chance at survival.” He assured me he didn't have a heart problem, to which I stated, “Neither did the 20 year old until last week. I refuse to be responsible for the death of an old man.”

The guy laughed and repeated several times that he would be available to me at any time. He even told me it would be worth dying over to be with me. What a charmer!

Some comments are innocent, although personal. While stuck in Wyoming in a winter storm, I met a driver in training. He asked me a ton of questions about trucking life and best ways to get things done.

After a couple hours of us hanging in the lounge area, he asked me, “There is something I need to know, but no one talks about. How do you get laid on the road? Sex and the road is never discussed on forums or YouTube videos.” I am sure if I asked him back to my truck he would have gone, but I honestly believe he was asking out of general curiosity.

“That is a tricky question. How do I get laid, or how do you get laid? Being a woman I can take my shirt off in the parking lot and a line would form. It doesn't matter if I am short, tall, fat, thin, pretty, ugly. A line will form. For a guy, it would be much more difficult.

My suggestion to you is to get breast implants and a sex change. You will get all the sex you want then.” His face turned white, because I am sure that was the last thing he was expecting. Sometimes I look back and think I should have gotten his phone number. He was a really nice respectful guy who felt comfortable asking me about our lifestyle. I then gave him a sarcastic, non-informative answer.

So who was worse in this situation?

One security guard who looked very young said to me, “Wow, I am so glad I came to work today. I never expected to see such a beautiful trucker.” I thanked him and told him I was too old for him. He looked at my license and was shocked at my age then said to his female co-worker, “Look at her license, does she look 42 to you? She's older than you, can you believe that?” She grimaced and groaned. He asked me to come back and see him. He was cute, though.

Should I have been offended?

How Will You Handle Things?

Everything in life, especially trucking is about attitude and how you decide to handle things. I could have been offended by these men and huffed away, upsetting myself. That distraction could have caused me to have an accident and hurt someone. I could have called the companies and complained about the drivers, but let's face it, what would be the outcome? Probably a “don't do it again”, because why would they believe a total stranger over their own driver?

The only person who gets hurt in many situations is the person who is offended. If a driver or a customer has a personality issue, it is their problem, not yours. Why would you allow them to cause you any sort of mental anguish? If another driver on the road cuts you off, why would you get angry and blow your horn yelling? It isn't like they can hear you, and in five minutes they will leave your life forever.

I have never seen any of those men again, so why would I allow them to chase me out of trucking? Maybe that dispatcher who snapped at you today is normally a great guy just having a bad day. Maybe the nasty customer clerk has a sick child at home or is going through a divorce or something.

You can allow the negatives of a company, person, or industry to skew your perceptions. Or you can look for the positives and use them to motivate yourself. I could take the comments from the men mentioned above and bash men in general and especially those in trucking, or I could use them to laugh and entertain myself.

Trucking has relieved me from stress, built up my savings accounts and 401k, and paid off my debts. It has given me the chance to buy anything I want, so why would I allow a few stupid men to prevent me from continuing in this industry? Why would I allow those few men to shadow the awesome insights and assistance I have gotten from dozens of men? That would be stupid, and I am no fool.

There is also a huge difference from a one time interaction with a stranger and someone you see regularly, or worse, someone with whom you share a truck. In those instances, be direct and assert the inappropriateness of the behavior or comments. If it persists, tell your dispatcher or security personnel and allow them to sort out the issues. Once you notify management, it is their responsibility to take action.

Stay positive, stay safe, and keep on trucking!

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Over The Road:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
by Brett Aquila

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