Received Sunday, March 11, 2007
I worked for a family as a live-in nanny for four and a half years. They are absolutely fabulous people who very quickly grew to be like my second family. Now that I am not working for them I still try and visit once a week, usually for dinner. When I left them (two months ago) they decided to get an au pair instead of another nanny because their kids are now 8 and 12 and having a "professional nanny" isn't as much of a priority as it was when I first began caring for them. They are fabulous candidates for an au pair, in my opinion, because they are incredibly welcoming and really make their caregiver a part of their family in every way they can.
The only dark spot of my time with this family revolved around their close neighbor and best friend, who I'll call Mr. X. The X family lived 2 houses away and have two kids about the same age as the ones I cared for. I really enjoyed talking to Mrs. X, and although her children were rather spoiled and a bit out of control, I always enjoyed having them over for playdates (as long as their babysitter or mom was close by if we ran into problems). Mr. X, on the other hand, was not a person I enjoyed dealing with. From the first time I met him he made me very uncomfortable. I think he's the type of person who enjoys making people, especially young girls, uncomfortable. He would do little subtle things, such as complimenting me on clothes I was wearing, but in a very suggestive way, like saying, "God you look good in that bathing suit, if I wasn't married . . . " And he'd always go out of his way to touch me, never in an overtly sexual way, but definitely in ways I found inappropriate, like standing behind me and massaging my shoulders.
So, basically the guy is just a slimy kind of creep, but I'm not a babe in the woods, and although I found his advances unpleasant, I am able to stand up for myself. I'd move away from him when he was touching me, ask pointed questions about his wife and kids when I thought his comments were crossing the line. But, despite how close I felt to the parents who I worked for, I never once told them how I felt or what Mr. X did & said because the X's are their absolute best friends. They think he walks on water, and since I wasn't worried that he was going to do anything beyond some mild verbal harassment, I never told them anything and just dealt with it on my own.
However, I'm worried a bit for the girl who is now in my place. She's 18 years old, Scandinavian, beautiful and very sweet. I worry that she's not going to be able to deal with Mr. X as easily as I did. I think she's great for the family, and it makes me feel less guilty for having left them, since the kids are getting along with her so well and the transition has gone so smoothly. I'd hate to have Mr. X ruin things by upsetting her and making her working environment so very uncomfortable (and he's completely capable of doing that!). It would be even worse if she actually found him attractive (he's not an unattractive man, unfortunately for this situation) and gave in to his advances.
What should I do? Should I come clean to my employers and tell them who their best friend really is?