One day, back at my grad school, I was subbing for another teacher’s calculus class. At the end of the lesson, one girl approached me after class to ask me a question. I didn’t hear her question the first time, because I was too busy staring at her chest.
She was wearing a tight shirt across which was written – right on the breasts – “DON’T LOOK…TOUCH!”
Swear to God.
“Do you want me to touch your breasts?” I asked her.
She stared at me, stunned.
“Your shirt,” I explained. “It’s instructing me to stop looking – which is odd, given that when one sees text, one is inclined to look at it to read it, and how else am I supposed to see what it’s saying? – and touch your chest.”
“No,” said the girl. She backed away slowly.
“Then perhaps you should wear a different shirt,” I suggested, “because the one you’re wearing explicitly instructs everyone who reads it to touch your breasts.”
At this point she was getting visibly uncomfortable, and explained that she hadn’t said that she wanted me to touch her, and that if I did, then that would be sexual harrassment. “No means no,” she explained.
“But your shirt says YES,” I responded.
She seemed seriously confused about this.
Eventually I gave up and she asked me her original question pertaining to the concavity of some function, but I was having trouble concentrating. And I’m not the type that often gets distracted by breasts.
Anyway, I guess this is one reason it’s good to have more women in math: if I were a man, she’d have interpreted my comments as sexual harrassment. I’d still have been in the right to make them, but it’d’ve been a pain in the ass to go through the rigamarole to prove that.