Sometimes, I can be a really ruthless cow. Not in the conniving I`ll-sell-my-body-to-get-a-sale kind of way (ala The Apprentice), but definitely in the Did you just try to patronise me? I will show you kind of way.
*sigh* Let me explainâ€¦
Women cannot be happy for each other. They cannot motivate each other and they resent each other for being successful. If there is one thing that really irks me about my own gender it`s our reluctance to be a positive and motivating influence in each other`s careers. Which is why I love working with guysâ€¦no drama, no tantrums, I`m the only one who`s ever moody for no apparent reason. However, not all the men I have to work with are good guys. Chauvinism is still a BIG trend in the big house. Which is where my do not patronise me streak fits inâ€¦
I work with a bunch of good old boys who slap each other`s backs, make filthy jokes when the ladies aren`t around and imbibe HUGE amounts of alcohol on one sitting when they`re away on business. They do also fancy themselves quite the ladies men after a few rounds of Johnny Walker. So, you can imagine that being one of two or three women traveling with them, I walk a fine line. Generally the guys quietly resent having the ladies aroundâ€¦it means they have to behave, watch the P`s and Q`s and not cuss too much.
Except, I`m not fazed. In fact, I let them beâ€¦my rules are simple though. I`ll fight with you in the boardroom, and have fun with you out on the town afterwards. You`re grown men and I can`t stop you from cussing like bloody sailors in my presence or having a pint or two. But you will NOT proposition meâ€¦I don`t care if you`re married, divorced, single, handicapped, can do amazing thing with your â€¦.feet and think its` hot when I argue my point in a meeting. You will NOT.
The reason is quite simple in the corporate jungle you get a certain type of man. I call them the Boredroom Whores. Not for one second do they consider the fact that their excessive sowing of wild oats is just about as common knowledge as the share price or that their reputation is as widely known as Zuma`s hygiene habits. No, they think that it`s still 1982 and they still refer to women as poppies, skattebol and dametjie. I could not possible have finished a post-grad degree in Communications, I must have gotten to my place in this company by sleeping with other Boredroom Whores. Which meansâ€¦I`m amenable and accessible to them.
So, when they DO proposition me and I tell them to bugger offâ€¦I get labeled as a stroppy little poppie who`s great at playing hard to get, but should really know better than to turn down such a fantastic career move.
Look at me, asswipe. Do I look like I need your help to feed my ambition? I`m not doing too badly without your offer of assistance, am I?
Okâ€¦So, I sound a bit miffed. For the umpteenth time this afternoon I had to resist slugging a gentleman colleague who insisted that I meekly sit by while he alternately made a very heavy pass at me and told me that I might think I know what I`m doing, but I don`t.
I didn`t resort to physical violence; I kept my professional composure, told him to oil it up, sit on it and rotate and left his office. I then walked back to my office, wrote an interesting little narrative addressed to him, mentioned my discontent with his behavior and my intention to make life extremely difficult for him should he happen to appear in my range of vision soon. I had the pleasure of describing the different ways in which I will make things decidedly unpleasant for him.
Having said thatâ€¦it made me think about the fine line we walk everyday. Many of us love some harmless flirtation with our friends and colleagues. I think that there is, in fact, nothing wrong with flirtation. I love flirtingâ€¦intelligent flirting. However, when does it cross the line?
Well, personally I believe that there`s no such thing like harmless flirtation in the workplace. I just don`t do it. It invites more trouble than it`s worth. Flirtation between friends and acquaintances is a different thing thoughâ€¦If you flirt and get propositioned, it`s to be expected. But own up to it and very nicely decline (or accept 🙂 ). We`re all adultsâ€¦and can conduct ourselves like adults in our interactions.
Butâ€¦when you`re a Boredroom Whore there are no fine lines and no adult interactions. You`re never just flirting, but you`re almost always teasingâ€¦and you definitely don`t know what you`re doing.