“What is going on with the XY’s today?!”
Our adventures in male/female interactions continued yesterday when I had to attend a workshop in Preventing Sexual Harassment that the university insists its new hires take (note: I’ve been working here for 8 months, first I ever heard of it). I didn’t mind, it was a paid hour out of the office I thought…unfortunately by the end of it I was irritated enough to breathe fire. The problem wasn’t the topic, the problem was This Guy.
Picture if you will a short, rotund man with heavy jowls, greasy hair (where he had any left), small eyes hidden behind thick glasses, and huge pores gaping in his cheeks. Got that? Now add on the annoying personality of that kid you once had in some class or another who had to comment on anything the teacher says, and when he isn’t called on offers up a muttered running commentary anyway under his breath. And finally, top it all off with a nasally voice that was used mostly to talk about himself a lot. Charming, eh?
Not five minutes into her powerpoint presentation the teacher started a new slide with a cheery, “Now, there are several categories of personal aspects that are protected under the law–”
Up shot this guy’s hand. “Why aren’t men protected? When I was the vice president of XYZ Corporation, we had a situation–”
“Actually,” the teacher said quickly, “men are protected. Sexual harassment can pass between genders in any number of ways.”
“But say I was being hit on by a homosexual,” he demanded (the word homosexual was whispered darkly).
I personally couldn’t imagine anyone in their right mind, regardless of sexual orientation, hitting on this guy, but I digress. It took a while but the teacher managed to get us back on topic, but then when she brought up the protected categories again: gender, religion, disability, race–
Up shot the hand again! “Well, in my last area of work at Such-And-Such University, I had nothing against the negroes, but…”
My jaw dropped, I couldn’t help it. Out of date, grossly derogatory racial epithet in the middle of an anti-harassment seminar? Seriously?
It sort of went downhill from there, culminating in an argument between this man and a female biochemistry teacher who talked (at length) about her personal dating history and how she’s been subjected to prejudice because of her unmarried status, but how could she marry when all the men she meets are intimidated by her intelligence, has anyone else had this problem, isn’t is unbearable, what is wrong with the men…
But, injects our enlightened friend the greaseball, you made the decision when you decided to pick school over dating, this is your fault, women can’t have it all and it’s ridiculous to try…
“Um, can we please try and stay focused?” asks the teacher in a small voice which no one hears because they’re too busy watching the train wreck.
In the end, the lecturer had to cut out the last third of her presentation and lamely hand us pamphlets saying, “Most of the material we didn’t get to is in here, and feel free to give me a call.”
“I have another question,” our hero demanded, but I didn’t wait to hear it. I bounded up, snatched the pamphlets with a breathless thank you and scampered back to the relative safety of my officer where stupid people, when we deal with them, are usually undergoing some kind of legal recourse.