On how to deal with blatant sexism

On how to deal with blatant sexism

I’ve worked in a male dominated business for the better part of 2 decades; 17 years and 356 days to be more exact. I’ve dealt with a whole lot of “I’ll just wait to talk to one of the guys sweetheart. They’ll know what I need.” I’m more than happy to let these people wait for one of the guys to tell them exactly what I would have told them 20 minutes sooner. I figure their wasted time is just a little bit of karma.

The other day, I was talking to a friend who gets to deal with this kind of crap on a daily basis in her job. She’s more qualified, more educated, and simply better at her job than any of her male counterparts, but she STILL gets second guessed or outright ignored by men she has to work with outside of her office to get her job done. She was venting to me about this, and wondering what to do, so of course I had to share my foolproof way of shutting down sexism. I mean, it’ll probably get you a nice forced visit with HR, but it’s worth every second of it.

One day, several years ago, when dealing with a particularly ridiculous case of “I’ll just wait to talk to one of the boys” followed by this person getting more and more upset because “the boys who know what they’re talking about” were not there, but still refusing to let me take care of their issue, I looked at the “gentleman” and said something that shut him down completely.

“I’m sorry that you don’t feel like I can possibly know what I’m talking about. Would it help if I had a penis? Because I can go get one and bring it back. Maybe then you’ll consider the fact that I might just know what I’m doing. Fair warning though, it’s probably going to be bigger than yours, and I hear that is a problem too.”

After spitting and sputtering for a second before he eventually gained his composure, I helped him with what he needed, and sent him on his merry way. Several times I’ve been tempted to use that line again, three more times I have. It works like a charm every single time, in every single situation. Every. Single. Time.

That’s not a real job

That’s not a real job

Guys, I almost bit a hole in my lip trying not to laugh just now. Why? I’ll get to that in a minute.

A few weeks ago, an incredibly intelligent person that I know told me I was generally brilliant. I don’t know if he said it because he read on my blog that I think this is the biggest compliment in the world, or if he genuinely thinks that, although I’m inclined to believe the latter, because the dude still talks to me, so it stands to reason that he hasn’t done much digging in to my ramblings. He’s also called me smart on more than one occasion, so there’s that. Smart people who I can have intelligent conversations with calling me smart…I like that.

There’s smart people like my friend, and then there’s smart people like I spend way to much freaking time at work with: the smart people who lord it over everyone. The smart people who think they’re soooooo much better than everyone because they know so much. I’m not discounting how much these people know, but it’s THE most annoying thing in the world to CONSTANTLY be subjected to how much better these people are than everyone else, and how nobody else could possibly know anything, or at least not as much as they do. They’re always right, even when they’re not.

Speaking of even when they’re not, this is where I almost pierced my lip with my teeth. You know the doctor that you might go to if your back or neck were bothering you? Say the name of that doctor in your head…or out loud, I don’t care, but how do YOU say the name of the doctor that adjusts and manipulates your spine?

Today, upon returning to work from lunch, this person who almost caused my impromptu lip piercing, stood at my desk for 20 minutes telling me how this particular medical profession is just weird. That they’re the very lowest of the medical field. That every one he’s ever known is just strange. That he knows some that do this part-time, and have other business part time too, so they can’t possibly be any good at either one of these professions, because why would a doctor need a house painting business, or any other business for that matter, as well as their medical practice if they were any good. It went on, and on, and on, and on, and on.

Through the entirety of this conversation, he referred to this medical profession as a choir-practor. When he was done talking at me, he said “I’ve never even gone to a choir-practor. I think they’re stupid. Do you go to the choir-practor?”

To which I responded, after releasing the interior of my bottom lip from the vice grips of my teeth and taking a deep breath, “I’ve seen a CHIROpractor several times, but I’ve not once been to a CHOIRpractor, because that’s not a real word and those don’t exist.” Of course, because I’m smart enough to realize that these grown up bills of mine aren’t going to pay themselves, and there’s not exactly anyone throwing their hat in the ring to pay them for me, that smart ass retort was simply in my head, and as I exhaled slowly to avoid laughing at the ridiculousness of the word choir-practor, the way I responded out loud was simply, “No, I don’t.”

I don’t know how you do it

I don’t know how you do it

This morning, I received a text from a friend that read “Good morning beautiful friend.  THANK GOD IT’S FRIDAY! I don’t know if I have ever been so thankful. Holy crap… I almost could not get out of bed this morning. I cannot wait to sleep in tomorrow. I don’t know how you do it…”

The “it” she is referring to would be the working 6 days a week, with at least 3 of those being days when I leave for work at 5:30am and get home from work at 9pm, only to wake up and do it all over again. The “short days” are still rarely less than 10 hours, and she doesn’t even know about the fun new trick my body likes to play on me where it wakes up at 3am and then finally lets the anxiety ease around 4, just so I can wake up again at 5 to do it all again. Sounds fun doesn’t it?

There once was a time when I could sleep in on the weekends, but now I wake up at old person o’clock, so that’s pretty much shot too. In all honesty, I’m beginning to understand why my paternal grandparents used to wake up at 5am, have coffee on the porch, and then switch to vodka and water by 10am, with the vodka content consistently getting higher until they went to bed at 6:30pm or so, only to repeat the process the next day. Some days this sounds all too appealing, minus the cigarettes they chain smoked of course. Some days, I wonder why they didn’t just start with whiskey in their coffee before they moved on to the vodka. It would have saved them the horrid taste of Las Vegas water.

Anyway, I digress. We’ve had this conversation several times, my friend and I, and she usually ends it with “You are a total bad ass.” Then I say it’s not true, and she points out how I manage to juggle 2 jobs, the kid (not so much anymore, since he’s couch surfing with friends, but for the 19 years leading up to that…yeah), several different organizations that I volunteer with, and how I somehow still end up finding time to help people out when they need it.

Still, I don’t feel like a bad ass in the least, so I’m glad from the outside looking in, it appears that way, but the truth is, I’m just doing whatever it takes to survive. Someone once told me “You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.” Welcome to my life.

In the same conversation, she told me I should make a move on 2 of the guys she thinks are interested in me. I’m sure they’re NOT, but it’s flattering that she thinks I’m even on the same level as either one of these guys. Actually the exact words of the text were “Marry the hot doctor or lawyer who are checking you out.” And why was this completely unpractical, never going to happen but God bless her for thinking it’s a possibility, fairy tale advice sent? Because in response to her telling me I was a true bad ass, I said “I’m just surviving is all. I’ve spent 2 straight decades in fight or flight mode. I’m tired of it, but I don’t know how to get out of it either.”

The one with the guest blogger

The one with the guest blogger

I have some of the most adorable friends ever. Some of them are avid readers of the blog (sorry for letting you down with the lack of posting lately BTW), and snap me after reading some of the posts with “OMG girl! Same!!” They get it. The apparent offensiveness of being over 20 and single in a small town is just too much for some people to remain silent about. I love it when people share their stories of what people say to them about being single; it’s ever so nice to know that I’m not alone in some of the completely off the wall comments. I love it even more when they email them and say “Put this on your blog, because I want to remain anonymous.” So without further adeiu….the one with the guest blogger:

Are you single? Are you dating anyone?

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked why I’m single. Seriously. Its NUMEROUS times a day, week, month, and year. I can honestly say that in the last 4 months, not one day has gone by without at least one person making some type of comment. (136 days to be exact. I’ve kept track) I know people want the best for me, are concerned for me, want me to be happy, blah, blah, blah. But let’s be honest, every time someone starts the conversation with, “Are you dating anyone?”, it feels as though they are reaching in my chest pulling my heart out, throwing it on the dirty ground, and stomping it. Instead of asking me how I’m doing or what exciting things are going on in my life. Instant shut down. I don’t want to talk to you any longer. I will find any possible way to get out of the conversation in the next 30 seconds. I’ve even been known to start up a conversation with a perfect stranger to get out of the awkwardness…

Sometimes along with the questions dripping with concern come the awkward questions… “Are you sure you’re not a lesbian?” I know what vaginas do, I’ll pass. “Have you tried a dating app?” Yep. Sure have. Still occasionally dabble in a few. Dick pics daily. Do want me send them to you? “What if you moved out of this small town?” Did that. Still didn’t get married “I know this friend’s brother’s roommate’s cousin who JUST got out jail and “has cleaned up his life” He’d be perfect for you!” No thanks. Skip card. Next player. “Are you sure you don’t want to switch sides?” I’m moody, hormonal, and no one wants 2 of me in a relationship. The world would burn. “Are you dating at all?” I am dating occasionally. I just don’t tell everyone about every. single. first. date. “Is there anyone on the horizon?” Yeah… I’m sure there’s a guy out there standing on the horizon just waiting patiently for me to come and ride off into the sunset with him. Just don’t know who he is.

My favorite is the way most conversations end. “You’re so awesome! I can’t figure out why you haven’t been snatched up yet!” is like you’re trying to shove this broken shell of what once was my heart back into my chest. Exaggeration? Nah… I can’t figure it out either. And you saying that makes me wonder what really is wrong with me. Am I ugly, fat, too much gray hair, too much acne, too many wrinkles, a heartless hag, a disgusting trash person? No clue, but thanks for bringing it up & making me concentrate on all my insecurities…

Why is my being single THE WORST thing to happen? I’ve seen too many of my friends end up in loveless marriages, get divorced, cheat, the list goes on and on. I’d rather be single than deal with that whole mess. But really, let’s think about it. If being single is the worst thing about me, I’m doing pretty damn good!

So, thank you for your concern. I’m doing just fine being single. Next time you start a conversation with your single friend by saying, “Are you dating anyone?” don’t be surprised when the reply is a sassy “Hell hasn’t frozen over yet.”