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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On watching your kid’s heart break

On watching your kid’s heart break

It’s a fact, you don’t make it through life unscathed. It chews you up and spits you out every chance it gets, but no matter what you’ve been through, it’s a special kind of hell watching your child be disappointed, let down, and hurt over and over and over again by people who are supposed to care.

I get heartbreak. It’s been one hell of a quarter century. Your parents don’t get divorced and force you to move away from your home in the middle of your Junior year without some heartbreak. You don’t find out you’re pregnant and give up on your dreams of being a litigator or doctor (I had some HUGE ambitions) without some heartbreak. You don’t consider an abortion, then change your mind, almost die in childbirth, wake up from a surgery that saved your life and left you unable to have children ever again, give up on dating because nobody wants to raise someone else’s kid in their early 20’s to God only knows at what age that’s not  a problem anymore, without ever having the option of having their own children and you just can’t take that rejection again, raise a kid completely on your own, and do everything you can to make sure that kid is never at a loss for life’s necessities without some freaking heartbreak.

My kid has an amazing extended family on my side. They included him in everything and always made every effort to make him feel important. The situation on the other side of the DNA couldn’t have been a more stark contrast though, and I couldn’t stand the thought of him thinking they didn’t care, so every Christmas, and every birthday, there was always something from Grandma Voldemort. (Obviously that’s not her name, and I’d call her Grandma Satan, but there were like 10 times in 19 years that she was actually kind to him.) “Grandma V” always sent gifts for Christmas. “Grandma V” always sent money in a card for his birthday. I carried on that charade for WAY longer than I ever should have had to. Back up….I never should have had to carry on that charade, because Grandma V should have ACTUALLY done those things. Still, it worked, because my kid thought Grandma V was a saint. He was under my carefully constructed illusion that she cared.

Grandma V was right up there on that pedestal that his dad was on, and every time he slips in to asshole mode and tells me that he had a horrible childhood, that he didn’t get to do ANYTHING fun growing up, that he “practically raised himself” because I was at work all the time, that it’s my fault he didn’t have a dad at home growing up, or anyone that wanted to be around me enough to act like a dad to him because I’m a bitch, I fight back the tears, and the urge to completely shatter his image of both of them. I’ve spent almost 2 decades wishing they would fall off that damn pedestal. For nearly 2 decades, I’ve wanted to be able to say to them “That first step off your high horse is going to be a bitch honey. Tuck and roll.”

I think they’ve finally stumbled. I don’t think the ground that pedestal is on is as firm as it once was, and the worst part about it is that instead of finally feeling vindicated, my mom heart is breaking in to a million pieces again. It kills me to have him call and ask “Did I get a card from Nana today,” or “Did I get any mail,” knowing full well that I didn’t send it this year, and she probably didn’t either. All I want to do is tell him the truth when he says “maybe it got lost in the mail,” but the truth is, his birthday was over a week ago, and even though someone (probably the other half of his DNA) has him under the impression that he’s getting one, that card just isn’t coming.

“Yeah bud, it’s probably lost in the mail,” I repeat back to him, because I get heartbreak, and I’m not going to be the one who breaks his.

You can’t say that on the air: the stripper edition

You can’t say that on the air: the stripper edition

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Richard Cranial time! Think about that one for a second. It’s one of the few ways we can use THAT phrase on the air, and it ALWAYS makes me laugh when the light switches on and someone gets what we’ve been saying all this time.

The story read: Manhattan chef David Kupferstein was enjoying some adult fun at Manhattan’s Hustler Club where he struck up a conversation with one of the dancers. At one point, the dancer told him about how her children were getting in to trouble with the police, to which Kupferstein responded: “It sounds like you are a  bad mother.” Kupferstein is now suing the club for $1 million, claiming that the dancer’s ensuing punch to his face knocked out one of his teeth. Kupferstein now says, “I guess it is sort of insulting to tell a woman she is a bad mother.”

My reaction: Thank you Captain Obvious! You probably deserved more than one punch to the face, and I hope you lose your stupid lawsuit.

The not fit for air responses that showed up shortly after:

  • “Most strippers are trying to put themselves through school. How old was that woman with kids old enough to get in trouble with the cops? She is stripping to put her kids through collage? (Well…you mean is she, and college, so that’s a good place to start with this argument. Also, perhaps she started young. I mean, kids can get in trouble with the police at a pretty young age. It’s not a stretch to think she could be well under 30 and have kids that were little heathens.)
  • I’d have to agree being a single mom myself that if you’re showing off your tits to pay your bills that you’re a bad mom. Leave that occupation to 21yr olds with no kids. (Ok sweetheart, you get bonus points for being able to use your and you’re in their correct forms, but you can just zip it with the mom shaming. As a single mom yourself, you should be able to appreciate the fact that this woman is clearly doing what the hell ever it takes to make sure her kids are provided for. I’m sure she didn’t grow up wanting to be a stripper. Shit happens; you adapt.)

Moral of the story: Maybe being a stripper is likely the very best way this woman could provide for her kids. That doesn’t make her a bad mom. These people would probably think she was a bad mom if she was home with them all day every day because she was living on the welfare system. She’d be a bad mom if she worked a respectable job and the kids were in trouble with the law anyway. Bottom line, the mom shaming has to stop, but in her case, more power to her for having the guts to do whatever she has to do to provide for her kids.

I’ve often thought it’d be far less stressful to just quit my job and be a stripper, but I’m always left with the reality that I’m fat, and I can’t dance, so that’s a career path I won’t ever be taking.

 

Nice perfume. Must you marinate in it?

Nice perfume. Must you marinate in it?

I’ve never smoked, and I’ve never bought cigarettes. I’m not some holier than thou prude, I just like breathing, and cigarette smoke makes my lungs revolt against that, so I don’t do it. I have a question though. Is there some sort of asshole code that you have to sign when you buy cigarettes or bum that first one off of someone, that states you will not only smell like an ash tray, but will also “cover up” the hideous smell with copious amounts of perfume or cologne?

Newsflash! You’re not fooling anybody. We can still smell the cigarettes, but now on top of THAT making our eyes water, throat burn, and lungs want to give up, NOW, it’s even worse because you’ve also added to the mix enough artificial scent for every single member of the National Cheerleading Association since the beginning of time.

Look, I get that you like your perfume. I get that you enjoy slowly killing yourself with cigarettes. But for the love of all things holy, stop trying to cover up the smell of cigarettes with anything, no matter how expensive it might be. You’re wasting money on both levels, and making people hate you. Nobody should be able to smell you from 50 yards away, and just know that if I’m stuck in a confined space with you, I’m silently plotting your death as I’m fighting for every breath I take.

Trigger warning #metoo

Trigger warning #metoo

If you’re uncomfortable with the f word, I highly suggest you do NOT read this post. If you proceed and find yourself incredibly offended, it’s your own fault.

It takes an awful lot to offend, embarrass, or absolutely disgust me. A friend of mine actually said it best when he said I have dude humor. It’s true. I can hold my own with the guys, and in fact I prefer hanging with the guys to dealing with the high maintenance, drama filled girl shit most of the time.

  • I can’t believe I can talk to you like I talk to my guy friends.
  • You really don’t have much of a filter between your brain and your mouth do you?
  • I can’t believe you said that. (I get this one a LOT!)
  • You are like the least girly girl I know.

I get variations of things like this said to me ALL the time. I actually like it. Being “one of the guys” is generally the easiest way to go about things. Honestly, I’d rather be able to talk about things that are “taboo” than bury my head in the sand and pretend they don’t exist. Like, I can hang out with my girl friends, but I can also carry my own when I’m around their husbands and boyfriends too, and in a situation where everyone is around, you’re more likely to find me shooting the shit with the guys than you are to find me gossiping with the girls.

Getting to my point, I owe one giant damn apology to EVERYONE who took any time at all during that week or so last month to post any variation of #metoo that was trending on social media. You see, privately of course because I would NEVER say something like this publicly, my opinion was that these women should have said something sooner. As I watched more and more women in Hollywood come out and tell their stories, all I could think was “WHY didn’t you say something sooner? Look how many other women you could have saved from this fate if you had just said something before you made yourself rich and famous first.” I know, I know…it’s victim shaming in the worst form, and I hate myself too, but I seriously thought “How selfish could you possibly be? You KNOW that this creep is this way, but you accepted it so you could make your millions, and now that you’ve done that, NOW you’ll speak out against them. How do you feel knowing you could have started this ball rolling YEARS ago? You could have stopped it from happening to all of these other people!”

I watched as #metoo took over social media and thought “There is no fucking way this is happening this often. There’s just no way.” How absolutely fucking naive of me.

I have ALWAYS prided myself on being able to take care of my own shit. I am independent as hell, and nobody is going to put me in a position where I am not in control of my own shit. Could I have possibly been more wrong?!

For better or worse, I seem to be someone who people feel comfortable talking to about anything. I’d blame it on being a Pisces, but I know some Pisceans who are complete uncaring assholes, so whatever. My point is people tell me shit. They tell me things that they wouldn’t say to other people because somehow they know I’m not going to tell anyone else, or judge them, and somehow they know I’m going to do everything I possibly can to help them get their shit together or feel better about their situation. Whether it needs to be done with actual advice, conversations that other people would deem “inappropriate”, a conversation that is nothing but memes sent back and forth, or just someone to listen and not say a thing, I’m generally your person.

A while back, someone I know reached out. They needed someone, and as it often goes, I was the someone. I listened, memed, made them feel better, and by the time the conversation was over, I was completely drained, but they were doing better so whatev…my job was done. I actually thought nothing more of it.

A few months ago this person sent me a text that was CLEARLY meant for someone else. I ignored it, deleted it, laughed it off, and went about my business. I’ve sent texts to the wrong person before; everyone has.

Cut to a time really not all that long ago. I got a message from this person who I haven’t heard from in months. No biggie. I often go great lengths of time between talking to some people. I figured they needed to talk, and by talk, I mean text/meme/anything that didn’t ACTUALLY involve speaking on the phone. What actually happened was the most vile string of messages I have EVER been sent from anyone ever.

Oh it started out innocently enough, telling me I was beautiful, telling me that they just don’t understand why I don’t have someone who cares for me. That’s not anything out of the ordinary. Lots of people say things like that to me. Actually, back up. Most people say a variation of “You’re fucking awesome and I just don’t understand how you’re not dating/married.”  Most people don’t use the word beautiful. Most people lie and say hot or gorgeous. (I say they lie, because I just simply don’t see it. Maybe they just need their eyes examined.) Beautiful isn’t something that is used very often, and beautiful shakes me to my fucking core, so beautiful REALLY threw me off, but not for long. I responded with some variation of my usual “Between drama with my kid, 2 jobs and 2 different volunteer organizations, I simply don’t have time for the bullshit. When I find someone who WANTS to be part of my life, instead of someone who I have to beg to be part of my life, maybe then I’ll have someone who ‘cares’ about me.” Actually, I think my exact words this time were “I don’t have any patience for the bullshit.” Then I fell asleep thinking the conversation was over.

I woke up the next morning to the usual myriad of missed notifications on my phone. I checked them as I was walking to the bathroom, running late as usual. That’s when I opened the unread messages and saw that the innocent conversation that had started the night before had turned unacceptably sinister as I was sleeping. Messages hinting at things this person would like to do with me, followed by them questioning the appropriateness of the things they were sending, followed by additional messages that were even worse than the ones just barely sent.

These are messages that leave me with the realization that I will NEVER fucking be in a room anywhere with this person again, alone or otherwise. They are messages that will have me avoiding any function where I might run in to this person again like the damn plague, and that REALLY pisses me off, because this is a group of people I like to be around. They are messages that make me question my status as that bad ass who can take care of herself in any situation. They shake my already nearly non-existent trust in other people, and they make me despise the word beautiful. They make me insanely relieved that I can block numbers from calling or messaging my phone. They make me dread any time I am asked to come out of my office at work, because I never know who will be waiting to talk to me when I leave it.

Mostly though, these messages make me realize just what an asshole I was to even think that if these #metoo women had said something sooner, they could have prevented so many other #metoo stories, because calling these fucking predators out on their bullshit is not an easy task. Whether they waited 20 seconds or 20 years to say something, to do something about it, they deserve nothing less than our encouragement and full support.

I’m fortunate that my #metoo story didn’t involve anything physical. The old me would say this person is actually fortunate that it didn’t escalate to anything physical, because I would have caused some serious damage to them. Truthfully, I’m the lucky one though, because I probably would have frozen and shut down mentally in a physical confrontation just like I did reading about it. I thought I was strong. I thought I was a total bad ass. I thought I could handle anything life threw at me, but I was wrong. I was wrong because those stupid words on my phone fucked me up more than anything else life has ever thrown at me, and that’s a lot, because life has been a giant dick to me, and right this very second, I’m questioning whether or not I’ll ever recover from that.

Spoiler Alerts

Spoiler Alerts

I took a friend’s daughter to see Only The Brave this weekend. It worked nicely for both of us, because she “never gets to do anything” and I didn’t have to go to the movie by myself. After the movie, I posted something to my Facebook page about it, because if you don’t put it on social media, does it even count? (jk…I swear I’m not one of those “I MUST post EVERYTHING” people.) Anyway, a friend of mine commented “Um….thanks for telling me he dies!” and I’m 99% sure she’s being sarcastic about it, which is cool. Sarcastic people are my favorite.

The message I got from a complete stranger though….that has me questioning society as a whole. It read in part “You have a responsibility to NOT share the ending of movies before people have a chance to see them.”  Um….what in the hell?! First of all, the movie had been out for 10 days when I posted something about Josh Brolin dying, and secondly, it’s based on a true freaking story! Call me crazy, but I’m pretty sure “spoiler alerts” aren’t possible in movies that are based on actual events. BUT….in case you missed basic history or current events, and because I’m feeling like quite the sarcastic jerk today, here’s some more “spoiler alerts” for you.

  • World Trade Center: Airplanes hit the World Trade Center and Pentagon killing nearly 3000 people
  • American Sniper: Chris Kyle gets shot
  • JFK: Y’all, the president gets assassinated during a parade
  • Lincoln: You’ll never guess, but he gets shot in a theater
  • Pompeii: Mount Vesuvius erupts, that’s not good
  • Zero Dark Thirty: Seal Team 6 kills Osama bin Laden
  • Titanic: The entire movie leads up to the boat sinking. Who knew?!
  • First Man: Now this one is in pre-production, and due to release next year, but it’s about Neil Armstrong, and you’ll never believe it, but he walks on the moon!
  • Pearl Harbor: Japan attacks the US at Pearl Harbor bringing the US in to WW2
  • Marie Antoinette: executed by guillotine
  • Apollo 13: after the infamous “Houston, we have a problem,” and some makeshift repairs, the astronauts make it back safely.
  • Milk: A gay activist becomes California’s first openly gay elected official
  • Only The Brave: …the one that got me in “trouble”…it’s the true story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots who were killed in 2013 when the fire they were fighting blocked their escape route and trapped them.

Finally, because some day, someone is going to make a movie about this one, you know they will, but *ADVANCE SPOILER ALERT*, just so you’re not upset when the movie is released, in November 2016, Donald Trump was elected president of the United States of America, and the country lost its collective shit.

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.”