COLORBEARER OF ATHENS, GEORGIA LOCALLY OWNED SINCE 1987
May 23, 2018

My Co-Worker Is a Terrorizer

Hey, Bonita…

Hi Bonita,

I moved to Athens almost a year ago and have shuffled around various service industry jobs. I thought I had found my new weirdo family at a business downtown, until I met someone I will describe as a homophobe with a dated hairstyle. People really love him, and he’s very popular locally. I’ve heard him call women sluts or dumb on numerous occasions, and let’s not forget the awkward homophobic jokes.

Why do my work and peers continue to let him inflict physical and mental terror on gay people and promiscuous women? What is wrong with the bosses and elders in this town to let someone with a little social standing literally terrorize co-workers to the point of writing into an advice column? It shouldn’t even have gotten this far.

Quit that job. There are too many service jobs in Athens for you to stay somewhere like that. If this guy has been working there for ages, then management probably already knows that they are employing a trash human, and they don’t care. Labor laws in Georgia pretty much allow employers to hire and fire for any reason they wish, so he’d be gone by now if the boss really had a problem with him. All you can do is leave and make a better life for yourself—that business will be fine.

You’ve touched on a big problem that’s finally being addressed publicly here in Athens: the two faces of our local hippie community. I removed a bunch of identifying info from this entry, readers, but that’s the scene that the writer is describing. Racism, sexism, homophobia and all of the worst modern -isms are thriving in our (very affluent, very white) locally owned spaces while owners insist publicly that they are #WOKE. It’s telling that while tons of people of color work in downtown restaurants and bars, very few of them work front-of-house positions.

Athens has a long way to go, and while good intentions count for something, it would be really nice to see business owners pursue training and staffing changes that would serve their equity goals, instead of just talking about how much they wanna do it. Go work somewhere else for now. You deserve better.


In re: the recent question about stinky feet [May 2]. Your suggestion will likely only solve things temporarily, and probably offend the stinker. Feet and footwear aren't inherently smelly, but there are some skin conditions that contribute to that problem. Dyshidrotic eczema (DE) may be a cause. It is one that I deal with, and my feet stink to high heaven.

Basically, with DE, skin cells build up over time and don't slough off normally. This can lead to cracks in the skin surface, intense itchiness, small pustules and a very strong odor as skin cells die and are deposited in footwear. Thick calluses often occur.

The medication I've tried incurs unacceptably dry skin on other parts of my body. I use a pumice stone after a hot shower to remove the dead skin and change my socks at least twice daily, but this only mitigates the issue. Febreze helps for a while, but if you wear shoes without socks, they'll likely stink forever.

In short, the person may have a skin (or possibly hormonal) condition that no new shoes will solve. Maybe the other person should try to be more resilient when faced with disgust?

Thanks for sharing your extremely personal experience with this issue. I hope you can understand that I was advising under the assumption that the person in question did not have a medical condition, since their friend was bothered by old, stinky shoes and not this person’s actual feet. These are still important things to keep in mind, though I’m not sure how asking if someone has a chronic condition is less offensive than just giving them new shoes.

Need advice? Email advice@flagpole.com, use our anonymous form, or find Bonita on Twitter: @flagpolebonita.

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