I am a late-20s single woman living in a major city who hates housekeeping. I use a popular app to book monthly cleaning appointments. (You request availability on a particular date and whoever has time in their schedule picks up the booking. Think Uber for Hoovers.) It's generally a different person each booking. Recently, I had a male housekeeper for the first time. I saw no reviews in the app, but I didn't care, I just wanted my shower scrubbed. I was at work all day while he let himself in, cleaned, and left. Late that night, he messaged by text message (instead of using the app) to give me his personal info in case I wanted to contact him again. I thought this was odd, but I assumed he was fishing for bookings outside the app (they take a cut).
Like many folks, I have a box of goodies under my bed. Condoms, lube, a few toys—stuff like that. To into get to it, you'd have to lie on your stomach, fish around under my bed, drag it out, remove a heavy folded blanket from on top of it, and take off the lid. (Several friends visit with their kids, so I try to keep it discreetly away from prying hands.) The day after the cleaning appointment, I pulled it out and discovered the housekeeper had taken everything out, re-organized it in a "tidy" fashion, and left me a suggestive note inside. I felt SUPER freaked out and violated—someone who had no sense of boundaries knew where I lived, what hours I kept, where I stashed my spare house key, what my phone number was, what I did with my personal time... ick.
I called the customer service department, reported the incident, and deleted the app. (They suggested I file a police report, but in today's rape culture, how in the hell would THAT help?) I suddenly felt too creeped out at never knowing who would be there. But when I recounted this story to a friend, he told me I was being incredibly sex negative. Why react poorly if I wasn't secretly ashamed of my rabbits and butt plugs? He also said that my sex negativity had contributed to the moral panic over female sexuality and probably gotten someone fired. He pointed out that "independent contractors" who work for those kinds of services tend to be disadvantaged economically, too, so a "harmless prank" led to my failure to embrace my sexuality was contributing to the wealth gap in our country.
I still feel gross and violated that someone I way paying to clean my house thought I was paying him to have opinions about my sex life.
Dan, can I claim to be GGG/sex-positive and still take this seriously? Who's right, me or my friend?
No Outside Titillators Encouraged
Your friend is full of shit. There's nothing sex-negative about not wanting a stranger handling your sex toys—but that's not the real issue. This man violated your space and your toys and your phone and your sense of personal safety. There was nothing harmless about what he did: you were made to feel unsafe in your own home.
Delete your full-of-shit friend along with that app.
The police wouldn't be able to do anything about this—it doesn't sound like any laws were broken (it's not against the law to be a fucking creep)—but I wouldn't blame rape culture for that. You paid someone to clean your house and he wound up cleaning the inside of a box he had no business fishing out from under your bed. He was creepy, he was inappropriate, he was unprofessional, and he made you feel duped and unsafe. For those reasons should be fired. But he didn't commit a crime and unless he's continued to contact you—or resumes contacting you—he can't be charged with sexually harassing or stalking you. But if he should contact you again—via text or email or by showing up at your apartment—go to the police, report him for stalking, and file a restraining order against him.
Finally, NOTE, you should take this story to a reporter in the city where you live. The people behind this "Uber for Hoovers" app need better vetting protocols—if they have any at all—for the cleaners they're sending into people's homes. A call to costumer service is unlikely to result in an internal review, heads rolling, and effective screening protocols being put in place. That's a job for bad publicity.