When I was in high school, I remember some of my fellow female classmates carried around a reputation of being a naughty girl. Why? Some of them have dated and slept with most of our male classmates, and they gained rapidly their reputation for being easy. Once, I went to a party with one of them, and after two hours, she begged me to come back to her house. When we arrived there, she burst into tears, and told me she got badly insulted and harassed by a guy she didn’t know. Apparently, he was a friend of one of her multiple ex’s, and he thought that since she had so many ex’s, he had a chance with her, and he insisted. Luckily for my friend, she could manage to escape from him. That night, we couldn’t sleep, and we talked all night long about our experiences. This is when she asked me if I was lesbian, because “I didn’t have many boyfriends unlike the other girls“. When I replied her that I did once kiss a girl, and that I decided on that day I prefer the opposite sex, she seemed really surprised. “But you seem so shy, so wedge, and so blank, how come you could have tested that without everyone noticing it?” she said. I told her that I always hated publicity and gossips about me. I do like evolving in the shadow. And I said to her that, contrary to what people said, I enjoy frolicking with the opposite sex too. It’s just that I didn’t want to have the reputation of a slut, so I carefully chose all my boyfriends far from school, far from town, far from everyone I knew.
More than ten years later, I observe the same situation at work, where some of my colleagues or fellow journalists have won a bad reputation. Journalism is a small world, and everyone knows everyone, so you’d better be at your best behavior, otherwise it will come back to you. Our office whore, for example, is well known in every other newsroom. In an other newsroom where one of my friends works, one of her colleagues has earned such a reputation too, and I’ve seen her getting indecent proposals all the time when we’re invited to seminars (because this spills over among our contacts). She slept with many of the journalists of her medias, and they often talk about how they screwed her and that she’s really a good shot. I don’t envy her at all, and my friends either.
A bad reputation is easy to get, but difficult to get rid of. One of my friends experienced it recently. She got closer to one of her contacts, and she insists they’re just friends. Yet, in her office, everyone is joking about them because my friend has talked too much about their business. And now, she tries to calm down the gossips, but she has the impression she’s fighting for a lost cause. Besides, she shouldn’t listen too much to what people say.
So, do you think it’s difficult to get rid of a bad reputation? And have you ever been affected by a bad reputation?