“Oh, well, I’m just waiting for my opportunity to spritz Gina with this hose!” he quipped.
I raised an eyebrow, looked straight at him, and then continued what I was doing.
“Gina? You’re really dour.”
“Dour…” I said. My eyebrow had not descended from its skeptical position.
“I’m not 85, if that’s what you’re saying. Also, get the hell out of my lab, thanks.”
“You don’t have to be old to be dour.”
I walked away, smirking to myself because I, like, read blogs and live life as a woman in America, and of course my inability to find this dude funny labels me as a dour woman.
I suppose this guy has been building the Dour Case for a while now. He’s been working here for a few months and has consistently given me a reason to not want to talk to him or find him funny.
Things this dude has said to me:
– Oh, you’ve only be married for 2 years? Have you got him trained yet?
– 2 years, huh? He’s probably still crawling at your feet, heh heh. That’ll change.
– “I think that the world has only gotten better for women. Not men. What do you think, Gina?” “It’s about damn time?” “What??? What would your husband say to that?” “He’d agree.” “Oh man, you DO have him trained.”
– You can cook? Oh, your husband is a lucky man.
This doesn’t even include the time he saw my shelf of knick knacks in my cubical and, upon seeing the geisha doll that was given to me by a supplier, asked me, “What, are you some kind of closet Chinese person?” I don’t really know what that means and decided against saying something like, “No, but I’m totes a communist.” That would have riled him up, for sure!
But yeah, I’m pretty dour. I’m so fucking serious all the time! Why can’t I just accept that this jackass is trying to build a rapport with me based on sexist assumptions and mindless joshing?!?
Several years ago, we all had to go to a sensitivity seminar. The HR person talked a bit about not hitting on coworkers and such, but the video we had to watch was pretty much all about not making fun or making assumptions about Asians. It was the weirdest thing ever. Apparently everyone in the video office kept asking this Asian man what he thought of the new kung fu moving that came out and he was PISSED. Given what I learned at the seminar, I totally could have reported the dude for getting on my case for being a closet Chinese person. MISSED OPPORTUNITY.
Anyway, a day before this guy made the “the world is getting better only for women comment”, I had a ridiculous phone call with a different coworker that left me so revolted and feeling oddly violated that I wrote him a direct email about how we don’t have a familiar relationship and that if he can’t speak to me professionally, then he shouldn’t speak to me. It was one of the best emails I’ve ever written and it cited everything he said. I copied HR.
I got called into HR the next day to go over the events that I very clearly and concisely outlined in my email. Before getting into the nitty gritty, I was reprimanded for writing to him directly because it was too aggressive and confrontational. I said that I understood what she was saying, but that I meant to be assertive and confrontational because I’ve been putting up with this garbage for almost 10 years here. “Yeah, but you shouldn’t.” Um…sure. I will never do it again?
After the meeting I came back wanting to hurt people and was informed about how the world is getting better for women and not men. I nearly turned to violence but cursed instead.
A week later I had a follow up meeting with the HR person about the other employee’s side of the story. He claimed he hadn’t said any of the things that I said he did (even though I wrote the email 5 minutes after our conversation). Why would I make up statements like this:
– Man, you have a nice, pretty voice. Nothing like the mean, mean person you were to me before.
– Ah, you must have your husband trained…or chained up in the basement. Har har har.
And some other stuff.
What is it with dudes thinking that women have their men trained? Why is this an ever present trope? In explaining to the HR person why I find this nauseating, I cited that Wes and I have a pretty egalitarian relationship.
“What? I’m sorry…what does egalitarian mean?”
“Oh, well good for you. I don’t believe that relationships can be equal, but great.
So, um, yeah, that’s just a smattering of why I haven’t been writing much lately. There’s a lot going on. But I thought I would dip my toe back in with a semi-coherent piece about being a woman with a boy career.
And today I get called dour for finding some dude unimpressive in his choice of humor. Sure. The thing is that now that I have reported something, I know that it is worth it to report things? So…watch the fuck out. 33 year old Gina is a little more bad ass than 23 year old Gina.
Like, a lot more.