Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Sweater girl

The place: Boston, 1999.
The scene: The marketing department at one of my former jobs.

El Estúpido inappropriate male colleague: "Hey, Ginger, nice sweater."

Me: "Uh, thanks?" Unsure as to whether or not he was being suggestive, I initially gave him the benefit of the doubt, even though he had tried to massage my shoulders on more than one occasion. Maybe he just has good fashion sense? I thought weakly. After all, I was a vision that day in an absolutely adorable cap-sleeved, scoop-necked, plum colored angora pullover. I was itchy, but damn did I look cute.

El Estúpido: "Yeah, um, you fill it out... real niiice." I kid you not, he actually made a "wax on, wax off" motion with his hands as he said this. Eyes directly on my tits the whole time. Oh, hell no.

Me: "Eyes up here, tard."

El Estúpido: {eyes continue to linger}

Me: {snapping fingers} "HEY!" His head snapped up. "Believe it or not, I am aware that I have breasts. All women have them. We live with them every day. We don't need them pointed out to us. If you do that again, I will personally drag your ass to Human Resources, where you can relive the joy that is sexual harassment education."

El Estúpido: {shocked, flustered and defensive} "Well, god! It's just a compliment! Don't be so sensitive!"

Me: "It's not a compliment. Do I make note of how you fill out your pants? Cut the crap."

El Estúpido: {storms off angrily}

It gets better, dear readers. I did not, (as I certainly had the right to do) run to the department director to complain about this incident. I wasn't freaked out, I wasn't ashamed, I wasn't afraid that I wouldn't be believed. I just have a policy of handling such things on my own at first, then taking it further if the behavior doesn't change, or escalates.

Believe it or not, El Más Estúpido immediately ran to our whine that Yours Truly was being mean.

El Estúpido: "Waaaaaah! Ginger's a bitch! She won't put up with me commenting on her boobies! Make her! Make her!"

El Jéfe Gay Male Boss: {incredulous} "DUDE. Are you kidding me? You do not speak to anyone that way. It is a flagrant violation of company policy. What is wrong with you? Do it again and you're out of here."

El Estúpido: "But...but...bros before hos, right? Right??"

El Jéfe: "Consider this a warning."

El Estúpido: {whines}

El Jéfe: {scowls}

El Estúpido: {sulks}

Ginger: {yawns}

There you have it. I can't make this stuff up, poppets. I'll tell you what, a supervisor who "gets it" is worth his or her weight in gold. This kind of thing goes on all the damn time, and I have worse stories. Yes, things have improved in the last few decades, but anybody who proclaims that women have achieved equality in corporate America must be working in the darkest corner of the boiler room in an underground bunker, with his head up his ass.

Equality means Thou Shalt Not Reduce Thy Coworker To A Collection Of Body Parts. Here endeth the lesson.

Labels: ,


Blogger Linnaeus said...

Maybe I shouldn't be shocked, but I am. I've had my moments of, "You know, Linnaeus, you really shouldn't have said/done that", but I never would have said anything like that and I don't know anyone who would, in any setting. Even the less-than-feminist acquaintances of mine know better.

I have to say, Ging, that one thing I get out of your blog is a reminder that sometimes I have to check myself in my own personal interactions. That's been a healthy thing for me.

9:18 AM  
Blogger Ginger said...

Linnaeus, I think that most men would be shocked if they asked the women in their lives how they've been treated by other men. It's good to know that I'm doing a public service!

What can I say? When scientists discover a cure for stupidity, we'll have all babies vaccinated at birth, and the world will be an entirely different place.

9:29 AM  
Blogger Jennifer R said...

Bwahahahah. Had to go plug this on my site.

Yeah, I really should make comments about some dude's crotch and how he DOESN'T fill out his pants. Hell, I should have said that the time a dude told me my boobs were bigger than his head.

11:39 AM  
Blogger Ginger said...

Thanks for the plug Jennifer! I love Chaos Theory.

Yeah, I think it's high time that women got more vocal about the ogling thing. Turnabout is fair play, after all.

12:10 PM  
Blogger Circe said...

Hear hear girl! (or is it here, here?) Good for you! For one thing, if at all possible, taking care of something oneself without bringing in the big guns is the best way to bring resolution if at all possible. And how funny he had the 'balls' (sorry) to whine about you for not basking in his compliment!

Oh, and I love when you call me poppet...

11:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Ginger.

That doesn't sound too fun to me. I'd be pissed off. Associates where I'm employed have been told they would be immediately fired and escorted out - on the spot - if they made any such remarks. This also goes for making fun of someone's religion or race. I've seen someone go through that process too. So here, the policy is enforced. My native language (French) and religion used to be a source of many jokes in the office. It came to the point that I had no standing on any subject. It's not like that anymore...I didn't complain either. Someone else in the office noticed the problem and raised a stink. Sorry for the thesis.


12:14 PM  
Blogger Ginger said...

Hey Circe (aka Poppet), I always think it's hilarious when somebody complains about being called out on what is obviously bad behavior. It really shows what an insecure place those kinds of actions come from.

Hi Marc, don't apologize! I'm glad to hear that other people are handling these kinds of situations too - and having success. It's amazing that these things happen at all, though.

6:06 PM  
Blogger Dona said...

Good rant Ginger, reminds me of an idiot at my workplace who likes to lean on my desk and simply stare while I type away, or better yet, stand on my dress or skirt while I'm seated unawares, so that when I go to stand up, it just about rips off. He got his when he made suggestive tit movements to another collegue one day, who promptly hauled his ass to HR.

10:15 PM  
Blogger Kat said...

In my current job I work at a very small non-profit and unfortunately there is no HR dept. My 72-year old boss says things like... "there would be no sexual harrassment if girls would just learn to say no" and guesses at the race of grant applicants by their name. Some people just don't get it. I am stunned that anyone still thinks that way, but its out there. Did I mention I'm looking for a new job? One with good HR policies? :)

12:47 PM  
Anonymous Medicine Man said...

It always creeps me out how oggling tends to resemble the selection of KFC parts: legs, thighs, breasts, drumsticks, wings... errr... nevermind.

5:21 PM  
Anonymous ginmar said...

Jeez, I had something similar happen a while back except my el jefe said to me, "ARe you sure you aren't saying or doing anything that would make them think you like that kind of thing?" Oh, yeah, and they fired me.

8:13 AM  
Blogger Mike D said...

If someone told me I fill out my pants well I would take it as a compliment. I wouldnt call her a bitch or even get mad. Poor feminists women get offended by everything sexually suggestive. So insecure.

8:39 AM  
Blogger Ginger said...

Way to miss the point, Mike. Sexually suggestive comments have no place whatsoever in a professional environment. Of course, your profile has your occupation listed as "slacker", so I can understand why you don't get that. Thanks for playing.

1:53 PM  
Anonymous Gianni said...

Really, Ginger? How long do you work on being "cute" in the morning? When you dress to get attention from guys, you can't pick and choose the guy. Was he a little inappropriate? It sounds as though he was. If it were a guy you were really attracted to, though, would your reaction be the same? I doubt it very much.

8:02 AM  
Blogger Ginger said...

Really, Gianni? Everybody likes to look nice and have that be appreciated. There's a professional way to compliment someone's appearance without being a complete tool. If that's beyond you, I can't clarify any further.

By the way, a very attractive man who acts with disrespect renders himself less attractive in my book. Sit on that for a bit.

2:22 PM  
Anonymous Sarah said...

I love wearing angora, though it is a little itchy when I get real hot, but the feel of the soft material makes it all worth while.
My fav. of all time is my black 80% angora halter dress and matching bolero/cardi. I don't know about everyone else, but the feel of it against my naked skin drives me wild and I love the attention I get from everyone around me, touching, stroking and esp when I get the extended cuddles as they stroke my back. Am I alone here? I only know one other girlfried that also gets super turned on by the feel of angora!

4:05 PM  
Blogger Ginger said...

Well Sarah, I think that's your personal fetish, but hey, have at it!

I find angora annoyingly hot, and the shedding annoys me. I just liked the plummy color of that particular sweater. It looked good with my hair.

5:53 PM  
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