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.

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Chivalry is clearly not dead

Chivalry is clearly not dead

I had a Ladies Night fundraising event to attend last weekend, and I had been looking forward to a chance to wear Halston and Louboutin in the suffocatingly small town I live in ever since we started planning it. Yes, Halston and Louboutin would have been WAY too overdressed for this shindig, but opportunities like this are few and far between, so I was going to do it anyway.

As the date of the event drew closer, the realization set in that I had COMPLETELY overbooked myself with 2 events that I couldn’t skip, located 3 hours away from each other. With a little schedule switching, and a little skipping out on the event set up, I was able to work it so I could make it to both, but only if Mother Nature cooperated. Well, Mother Nature can’t wear Halston and Louboutin, so she made damn sure I couldn’t either, by deciding last weekend would be PERFECT for heavy wet snowfall.  Whatever Mother Nature, whatever. Thanks to the drive home taking longer than usual, I wouldn’t have had time for the hair and makeup required for that wardrobe selection anyway.

Option 2 for clothing came straight from the trunk of my car in the form of distressed denim skinny jeans and a shirt from a shopping trip that hadn’t quite made it in the house yet. It’s an odd little place, this town I live in, where you can go to an event that appropriate wardrobe choices can be black tie optional couture or off the rack ripped jeans and a high collar sleeveless dress shirt. It’s definitely not the designer get up I wanted to be in, but it had pockets, and that’s even better.

I was helping finish final set up before the doors opened when it was apparent that several of us needed a little caffeinated help to make it through the evening, and since I was the designated runner, that also meant a stop for more supplies for mimosas. I had ZERO time (or desire) to go find my coat, so I just took off without it. Realizing how stupid that was, but also not wanting to throw on the blazer in my car, because that made the shirt I had on look FAR too matronly for my taste, I ran in to the store amidst looks from people who made it apparent they thought I was COMPLETELY insane. In all actuality, it didn’t feel that cold, and I was outside for a grand total of 30 seconds, so it wasn’t that big of a deal anyway.

On my way back out to my car, the snow REALLY started coming down, so arms full of junk, I ran to my car and dropped it in the trunk. This happened right at the same time a very kind man was backing in to the space next to me. I have absolutely no idea who it was, and I’m sure he just wondered who this idiot in the parking lot with no sleeves or coat was. He rolled down his window and asked “Hey, do you want to borrow a coat?”

I laughed, as I tried unsuccessfully to figure out who it was, because the snow was falling so hard I could barely see, and said “I’m good. Thank you though!”

His response: “Can I get a selfie then?”

I hope he was fast with his camera, because as he was saying that, I was literally climbing in to my car, and I definitely wasn’t waiting in the snow for him to get out and take a picture with me. I was already dangerously close to my hair turning in to the texture of a Chia Pet, and it’s green already so it would have looked just like one.

I still have no idea who this dude was. I don’t have a clue how he would have even got the coat back that he was so willing to let me borrow. I wasn’t cold anyway, so I wouldn’t have taken it even if I wasn’t in immediate danger of becoming a Chia Pet or needing to get back to the fundraiser. Still, his parents should be very proud of him for keeping chivalry alive and well. As for me, I’m just thrilled that even running on no sleep, with no makeup, and hair on the verge of a green Bob Ross, I’m still apparently just barely attractive enough to be the recipient of such chivalry.

Where did you receive your law degree?

Where did you receive your law degree?

A couple of years ago, someone (probably a bunch of someones) with more time on their hands than common sense in their heads decided to pay a visit to the State Attorney General’s office because they were positive that ALL of the gas stations in the area were raking in money hand over fist, and they just had to be working together to keep the price of gas artificially inflated. This resulted in every gas station in the area receiving a nice little official “request” for information from the Office of the Attorney General early last year. It was stupid, easily handled in-house, and we never heard another word about it. I ran in to someone from one of the other stations the other day and the following conversation happened.

Them: Hey, did you ever hear back from the Attorney General’s Office about that stuff they sent?
Me: Not a thing, but I’m not surprised about that. Did you?
Them: We’ve been called 2 more times since then. How did you luck out?
Me: I sent in a 7 page answer to their 4 pages of interrogatories, along with 500 pages of supporting documents for 1 quarter of their 2 year look back period with a note asking how they would like me to proceed with the other 3500 pages of supporting documents. It worked like a charm, and we never heard anything back.
Them: I can’t believe you did that.
Me: Well, it worked, obviously. It was a frivolous request for information anyway. There is absolutely no way for us to do what they think we were allegedly doing.
Them: (sarcastically) Where did you get your law degree?
Me: Well, I had just binge watched a couple seasons of Suits, so the USA Network; thanks Harvey Specter.
Them: (still sarcastic as hell) *eye roll* So you didn’t get any advice from an attorney or anything? Like, this was all requested by the Attorney General’s office, and you really just handled it yourself and didn’t have any problems.
Me: Sorry, I guess someone forgot to tell me that I was supposed to be intimidated by them.

Sometimes you just have to jump off the wagon.

Sometimes you just have to jump off the wagon.

I have seriously been kicking some serious butt in the “no sugary sweets or soda” department. It happened completely by accident. I started using these products during the week before Halloween. They completely killed my sugar cravings, and since I wasn’t craving it, I wasn’t eating it. It was truly a miracle, not even the myriad of Reese’s peanut butter goodies were tempting.

I didn’t realize how overly sweet so many of the things we eat are until I went a while without it. A few weeks ago, when the kid was home, I figured I’d be nice and take some food like substance from McDonald’s home for him to eat. I grabbed his cheeseburgers and sweet tea and headed home with it. When I absent-mindedly took a sip of his sweet tea, I almost spit it out. The crap was pure liquid sugar with ZERO tea taste whatsoever.

Perfect. Tastebuds reset. Sugary crap is sweet again. Life was good. And then came Christmas treat season.

Some family members dropped off chocolate covered pretzles, which the kid ate all of without asking. No problem; I don’t need them anyway. The plate of cookies he devoured, still no problem. But when my friend sent home a box of goodies that included Oreo truffles, which TBH, are probably the best treat ever, too sweet or not, the kid wasn’t getting the chance to eat them all. I told myself “just one,” and I was convinced I could stop at that. It was sickeningly sweet, but so good. I really could have stopped at just one too, but then I remembered what a little butthead the kid had been earlier that day, so I ate the other 3 too, just so he couldn’t have them. All of the sugar gave me a massive headache, but not as big as the one that he’s been (from time to time) for 18 years and running.

It was worth it. I’d do it again, but next time, I’d probably wait until he sees the last one, and then I’d take it so he couldn’t have it.  It would be much more satisfying, in the Jimmy Kimmel “I told my kids I ate all of their Halloween candy” way if he knew what kind of goodies he missed out on because I actually don’t HAVE to share when he’s being a giant a-hole. Sometimes you fall off the wagon; sometimes you jump off on purpose for the greater good…

Is that a hair in your food?

Is that a hair in your food?

Business lunches are my favorite. It’s working, but you don’t have to be at work for it. They also result in either the rep you’re having lunch with paying, or a nice tax deduction for yourself. I think they’re the best way to break up the monotony of a work day, all while continuing to be paid for working. The other reason I prefer lunch meetings with potential business partners (or first dates on the rare occasion that those happen), is the opportunity to see how people react when they’re on a time constraint, and things have the potential of not going their way. If you treat the restaurant staff like crap because something goes wrong, or they’re slower than you think they should be, the chances that we are going to have any sort of relationship, business or otherwise, are slim to none. There’s also the “well, I need to get back to work” excuse if things are going poorly.

A while ago, I was at just such a lunch. I don’t even remember what the person was trying to sell me, but it was free lunch and good company, so I didn’t mind being there. We were talking shop when I looked at my salad, pulled out a hair, examined it for a second, then put it on a napkin and kept eating. This HORRIFIED the person I was with. They immediately started ranting about how disgusting and unhygienic that was. How they would never eat at this restaurant again, and how they were going to tell the waitress that they demanded that meal be free.

About half way through the ongoing tirade, I wished I would have ordered the moscato, because it pairs so nicely with adult temper tantrums. Near the end of the seemingly unending spew of complaints, they looked at me and said “I can’t believe you would even think about eating your lunch after finding a hair in it.” To which I responded, “Well, it was about a foot long and green, so I’m almost 100% positive it was mine. Thanks for lunch, but I’ve got to get back to work.”

The lazy girl’s guide to buying time between eyebrow waxing

The lazy girl’s guide to buying time between eyebrow waxing

Ok…to call it the lazy girl’s guide is a bit of an overreaction. I’m not lazy, it’s just that ripping hair out of my body doesn’t rank too high on my list of priorities sometimes. That shit hurts, and if my choice is 5 hours of sleep tonight, or use hot wax to rip stray eyebrow hairs off, I’m going to bed. I’m also not waking up any earlier to remove those stray hairs that just showed up out of nowhere either. Seriously though. WHERE did they come from? It’s like one second they weren’t there and the very next *bam* eyebrows look like you haven’t touched them in months.

Here’s the trick though, because seriously, it takes more time with makeup to hide the strays by drawing those perfectly coiffed brows than it would to just remove the offending outcasts, so that’s not an option for the “wake up 15 minutes before you have to leave” kind of mornings I have. Besides, can we just agree that this is one trend that needs to die right tf now anyway? Seriously, we’re going to look back on it like we did the ultra thin brows of the 90s and wonder what the actual hell we were thinking.

I could wear giant sunglasses that cover your face from mid forehead to the corners of your mouth. I mean they’re all the rage right now too, but they’re not going to cut it working inside all day. Also, they look ridiculous. Clarification: oversized sunglasses don’t look ridiculous. I actually own a couple of pairs of them. It’s when you take oversized to the place where your face looks like it’s being consumed by flesh-eating plastic eyewear that you cross the line in to irrational.

Fortunately though, there’s option 3, the ever popular CC Beanie. Thank God for the CC beanie, cool enough weather to wear one, and a job that doesn’t care if I don’t take it off at all through the day. See, I was already planning on wearing one, because the guardian angel in charge of my hair must have been drinking heavily last night. This crap on my head was not cooperating at all, and not even the best of flat irons was going to fix it in the time I had available anyway. I smoothed the ends as much as humanly possibly, threw on the beanie, put a shirt on and headed for the door.

Once I got in my car, I realized that the act of putting a shirt on after the beanie (it was a rough morning) pulled it WAY farther down on my forehead than I usually wear it, and was just about to push it back when it hit me. If the CC beanie is covering my eyebrows, NOBODY can tell that they are in desperate need of a conversation with some wax. Also, it doens’t look ridiculous, so I’m leaving it there. BONUS!!

So…there you have it. If you just can’t be bothered to find the time for eyebrow maintenance, and you don’t feel like just sprouting the seemingly increasingly popular Sesame Street eyebrow, just rock that beanie and be thankful you don’t have anyone to impress (maybe that last part is just me). You know…because eventually the beanie does have to come off…

Can’t we all just get along?

Can’t we all just get along?

Can’t we all just get along?! 

Well, if that’s not a loaded question these days, I don’t know what is. At this point, I’m honestly having a hard time remembering what it was like to be able to log in to ANY form of social media without being flooded with the latest divisive topic. Remember when we were little and our parents told us “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all,” and for a brief amount of time it meant stomping off to sulk about it before moving on with your day? Wouldn’t it be great if we could just go back to that? I mean, I realize we can’t. I realize nothing is ever changed by people remaining quiet, but on that same line, nothing is ever changed by intolerance either.

When did we, as an entire population of the planet, become SO intolerant of other people, while at the same time demanding they be tolerant of us? Case in point: love it, or hate it, the NFL players, and now celebrities in general, taking a knee during the National Anthem at games has got to be, aside from our president, THE most divisive topic around right now. Everyone believes they’re on the right side of the argument, and NOBODY will consider anything else….at least that’s what you see. Yesterday, I was lucky to come across what was quite possibly THE single greatest post about the whole take a knee debacle ever. I was lucky, because I downloaded the image before the friend that shared it deleted it after being bullied by grown ass adults for posting something that differed from their opinion. I wish I knew who originally posted it, because it’s beautiful. It’s not the popular opinion, and I’m bound to catch the same hell my friend did for sharing it, but it’s such a poignant thought, and deserves to be shared.

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“I guess they think our country is hurt and they are hoping that it will get better.” Out of the mouths of babes. With that, Molly, with her 8-year-old innocence, became the person with the opinion we should all consider. There was no profanity laced “we stand for the National Anthem out of respect and even my 2-year-old knows how to do it,” or “Look at these kids. They are true Americans. Those overpaid NFL snowflakes should pay attention to this.”  There was no “F*** the police” or “Not my president” from the other side. There was simply “I guess they think our country is hurt and they are hoping that it will get better.”

So back to my friend who posted, and then subsequently deleted this picture. Do you know, there was not one single voice of complaint from the people who support the silent kneeling protest? Nope, the multiple “That’s bullshit, and you know it” complaints were all from the incredibly red, VERY right leaning people who DEMAND everyone show respect for our flag and National Anthem.

Do I think it’s wrong to feel so strongly for your country? Hell no. I admire it. I love this county. I get a little choked up (damn “allergies”) when I hear someone sing the National Anthem (especially if they sing ALL of the verses, not just the first one we all know by heart), or when I see veterans carrying the flag in a parade, or when I’m in a room with 700 people on 9/11 and the speaker stops everything and calls for a moment of silence at the precise time the planes hit the World Trade Center and it’s suddenly so quiet you could hear a pin drop. It’s not wrong to feel patriotic!

Here’s what I wonder though. As you’re demanding tolerance for this 1 belief of yours, are you in return tolerant of other people’s beliefs? Is it truly a 2 way street, or are you disgusted by, or unjustly afraid of someone wearing a burqa or a hijab? Do you demand religious freedom, but look down on someone who faces East and prays during prayer hours? Do you call police horrible names and act as if they’re all corrupt, but call 911 looking for them in an emergency? Do you believe everyone in this country should speak English because they’re in America, yet believe when you travel to foreign countries that they should also speak English so you can understand?

Tolerance is a two-way street. You don’t get to ignore the rights of everyone else while demanding your own rights. That’s simply not the way it works.

Take your knee in solidarity with those who are already doing it if you want. Cancel your DirecTV NFL Sunday Ticket if you want. Stand at attention with your hand over your heart if you want. Boycott the games if you want. You have the freedom to do those things. You have the freedom to think our President is the greatest thing since sliced bread, or an incompetent Cheeto who should be impeached. That’s the great thing about living in THIS country. You have the FREEDOM to think what you want about whatever you want, but it doesn’t mean you need to be an asshole to people who think differently than you. You can be passionate without being a prick. And whether 8-year-old Molly actually said it or if someone made it up and attributed it to a fake made up 8-year-old, our country….our world actually…is hurt, and maybe we all need to take a knee and hope it gets better.