Tag: Men

The Annual Anti-Harassment Seminar, As Told by C.

“Sometimes I wonder if men and women really suit each other.  Perhaps they should live next door and just visit now and then.”
~ Katharine Hepburn

Yesterday, under orders from the University, the entire department attended an anti-harassment seminar.  It didn’t go as well as could have been desired.

The officers, muttering something about cooties, grudgingly trotted off and about an hour later office personnel followed.  When the secretaries entered, a collective groan went up as the men were forced to put away their Vargas posters and NSFW magazines.

The presenter stood up, closing her ears when an unnamed person muttered something about “having to listen to this broad for an hour,” and put on a cheerful face.
“I’m here to talk to you all today about unacceptable behaviors at work.  Luckily there are no [censored slur] here, so this should be easy.”

Things rapidly devolved from there.

“The protected categories of personal traits are sex, gender, religious affinity, color, genetic information, age, and -”
“What’s the difference between sex and gender?” yelled out someone.  “I mean, besides who you’re allowed to hit on?”

Musical Theatre, as seen by some seminar attendees.

“One is your actual sex, male or female.  The other refers to expectations or traits of your sex.  For example, ridiculing a woman for trying to tackle something obviously beyond her scope, like chemistry.  Or a man for studying something that we can use to determine his sexual orientation, like musical theatre.”

“I’m a musical theatre major,” injected one student from the back of the conference room.
“Oooh, look at him,” cooed some of his compatriots flapping their wrists at him and beginning to make obscene personal remarks.
“Then why don’t you put on a skirt and wash something,” yelled a sergeant, diminutive in size anxious to fit in the Boys Club.

You're a girl!

C., enraged at the slur on A) skirts and B) laundry duties, leaped to her feet, climbed up over the seats and delivered a long and inventoried tirade abusing the sergeant’s personal hygiene and evolutionary history.  Hennessy, attempting to restrain her friend, tried to mitigate matters until a student officer told her to “shut up, quit working, and stay at home like she was supposed to.”  Whereupon both Hennessy and C. launched themselves at the student and his companions and frightful blows were exchanged.

“Women can work,” Chief hurried to scream into the fray, trying to calm everyone down, “unless they become pregnant!”
Excuse me?” bellowed Wise planting her hands on her growing stomach to brace for impact before she barreled him over.  Rounding on the company she roared, “Who’s next, you bunch of communists?!”
Susie demanded, “Who’s the commie pig?” whipped off her heels and began stabbing anyone in her way with stilettos

I'll save you, helpless maiden! (or) I'll kill you, helpless maiden!

While this was going on, both a male and female officer had taken refuge under the stage.  “Good thing we’re staying out of it,” said the male officer to a female, nudging her arm conspiratorially.
“Molester!” she screamed and dragged her surprised, hapless victim out where he was quickly devoured by a herd of bloodthirsty traffic clerks.

From the podium, the presenter tried to beat off a student officer with a propensity to stalking with a chair, yelling “Fire!” to make someone pay attention to her plight.
“I thought,” shouted Chief from where he was wrestling with a young female worker who was trying to get him in a compromising position in order to sue the university, “you had to tell someone who – ow! – was annoying or offending you – let go of my leg! – to stop before you could take legal action.”
“Oh no!” responding the presenter, getting her assailant into a headlock, “A behavior doesn’t have to be acknowledged to be unwelcome.”
“Yeah!”  shouted Lt. Colossus, emerging from the brawl bloody but unbowed.  “Watch!”
He reached out to where Lauper was punching an officer and ridiculing him for impotence, slapped her on the bum and collapsed on the ground when she promptly kneed him in the groin.  She was then set upon by a small horde of police officers who beat her senseless, calling her (alternatively) Hindu, Sheik, Protestant, and a variation of African spiritualism  that the editors are not sure how to correctly spell.

Pictured: the seminar room, post seminar.

The brawl was not broken up until both dogs and firehoses were turned on the rampaging attendees.  At which time it was ascertained that four were dead, seven concussed, one was bleeding out, three had lost the ability to walk, and two the ability to reproduce.  Other casualties include a missing eye, several knocked out teeth and, to date, one marriage.  After mopping up the entrails, the mob was deposited at the university’s Equal Opportunity office where the presenter, ashamed that she let the meeting get so out of hand, apologized but was fired anyway because in the future, “keeping track of these [censored slur] would clearly be a man’s job.”

After a strict talking to, the rest of us were sent home with copies of “Men are from Neptune, Women are from Saturn’s Sixth Moon, Titan.”

Insult, Injury, and Comeuppance

“Sweet is revenge – especially to women.”
– Lord Byron

Good morning, minions.  Where can I get the best real-looking plastic snakes money can buy?

Oh, I'm sorry. I thought work ended at 5.

Last week, after doing the laundry run, I returned the key to Lt. Colossus as per usual.  Then J. and I headed up to the City for the evening.  I’d left my phone at home because it needed to charge, and when we came back I had about half a dozen messages on it that proceeded thus:

“C. this is —- from work, Lt. Colossus asked me to call you and find out where you left the key to the van.  Could you call me back?  Thanks.”

“C. this is —- again, we really need that key.”

“This is Officer —-, I’m not happy.  You know that you’re supposed to turn that key into Colossus when you’re done, it’s not your car.  We need to use it.”

“C., Colossus.  Where the hell is that key?  You know better than to keep it, damn it!  We need it!”

“C.!  Where is it?!”

“C.  Hi…sorry…this is Colossus…I found the key…see you tomorrow.”

The blasted man, after having told all the officers on duty who needed the van that I had absconded with their blessed key,  had accidentally taken it home with him in his pants pocket.  Jupiter Ammon, what is it with men and pants in this office?!

But to add insult to injury, this morning he found Lt. Citrus pressing a uniform in the supply room and cracked, “Shouldn’t you have to wear a skirt to do that?”
Wise heard him and let him have it with both barrels.
“But you girls weren’t supposed to hear that,” he protested.
“It’s sexist whether we hear it or not,” I retorted.
“You just have not sense of humor,” he tried to tease.

See, my my bite far, far worse than my bark.

Foolish, foolish man. I’ve officially lost patience with your mild but all-pervading sexism and your tendency to blame things on me.  And unlike most women you seem to know, I am not of the ignore-it-and-it-will-go-away persuasion.   Also I know three very important things about you.  1 – that you scream like a girl,  2 – that you are terrified of snakes,  3 – your locker combination.

There are many ways to cure sexism and undesirable behavior.  I choose psychological warfare.

Spunky Chap With His Hat at a Jaunty Angle

“Strange to see what delight we married people have to see these poor fools decoyed into our condition.”
– Samuel Pepys

The Marriage Mart, of Regency fame, is alive and well on this campus.  We’re getting close to the time of a semester (directly after finals, usually) that people rush to get married before the summer term starts up.  In fact I have a small horde of friends tying the knot in the next two months.  In a year or two, I’ll be attending baby showers.

This vid gets a Tip O’ My Hat to Sav for finding it, and check out her site for another dose  (that one in honor of the mutual lambasting by colleagues, acquaintances, and Fox News we endured for our less than hateful attitude towards current events in the capital).

Chivalry is Dead

 “Always be nice to secretaries.  They are the real gatekeepers in the world.”
– Anthony J. D’Angelo

Not an hour into work and with stacks of paperwork already piled high on our desks, both the copier and shredder broke causing a swell of panic on the secretaries’ part.  Wise, Susie, and I dove into action.  After the right combination of kicking, bashing, praying, and human sacrifice was accomplished the copier shuddered, whirred, and started working again and we moved our attention to the shredder.  Then my phone rang and there was a grouchy state attorney on the line, and Amanda was dragged off to do a record expungement leaving Susie to wrestle with the machinery. 

In sauntered Lt. Figaro (late as usual) and he meandered up to Susie and started talking. 

I imagine that if the officers ever did take the initiative to fix their own problems, the secretaries' reaction to the resulting chaos would look something like this.

While I looked up records for the attorney I watched her stick her arm and fingers into the mechanisms to fix a blockage while he told the story of an African student he knew (which is really inspirational, don’t get me wrong).  As she dragged the whole thing away from the wall to poke around the electrical hookups he led into the differences of education in multiple countries, which turned naturally to American politics.  When she dragged the bag of shredded paper out of its compartment (which was nearly as big as she is and threatened to spill out everywhere) he reached his crescendo:
“And that is just what the terrorists want!  They want to make us feel inferior and inadequate!  We can’t let the terrorists win!” 

At which point the attorney let me go and I was able to scurry back in time to keep the mess from tipping over and shove the whole contraption back into place. 

“Good job, girls,” Figaro said and went back to his office to take a nap or something.

Negotiating. Marriage.

The sexiest thing I've ever seen.

“I need to take a picture!  I need to post it!”
“Why not?”
“Because I said no.”
“But I need too.  I can see the caption now, ‘Cleaning dishes.  The sexiest thing I’ve ever seen.'”
“Why not?!”
“Because I’m tired and cranky.”
“Please please please please please?”
“What do I get out of it?”
“What do you want?”
– C. and J.

A Slice of J.

“I love being married.  It’s so great to find that one person you want to annoy for the rest of your life.”
– Rita Rudner

The other day, J. came to my office earlier than usual and so he went to the break room to study for a while before my lunch break.  A bunch of the student officers congregate there between shifts or to eat so there was a group of them there at the time.

Helper, a notoriously unobservant young man, was among them. 

Helper is an interesting kid.  He spent several months trying to flirt with me, mostly by slinking up to my desk, lurking behind me for a while, and then informing me of what I was doing quite suddenly.
“You’re reading CNN.”
“Where’d you come from?!  Um…yes.  I am.”
The weirdest thing he did was hover silently one day while I went online to my bank account to pay my credit card bill.
“You use [name of bank]?” he drawled.
I jumped, as I’d had no idea he was there, and demanded why the hell he was looking!
“No reason.  Is that your email too?”
I shut my windows and pointedly asked him if he was on duty.
“Heh, yeah,” he gave me a ‘I-get-it-we’ll-talk-later’ look and meandered off.

This was two months after I’d gotten engaged and had this nice rock sitting pretty on my left hand that was supposed to protect me from the over-amorous attentions of clueless men. 

It never registered.  It wasn’t until a couple months after that he must have figured out I was getting married in the near future because he came to me while I was reconciling a report, lurked behind me for a couple minutes, and finally muttered, “So, you’re engaged.”
“For about five months, yes.”
“I see.”  He sat looking at me for a few more seconds before sighing and murmuring, “I won’t bother you anymore.”

He wandered off while I sat with my jaw slack, wondering where he had pulled this supposed relationship out of.  I don’t think he’s spoken to me since, though I have caught him glaring furtively before he whisks himself around a corner.   And once I overheard him once complaining to a co-worker that I had flirted with him, and the ensuing guffaws.
“Are you kidding?  She’s married, and she was dating the guy before she ever worked here.  Besides, she thinks you’re creepy.”

The reason for this back story?  Well, there J. was sitting in the break room for quite a while before Helper realized he had no idea who J. was and enquired.
“I’m J., C.’s husband.”
“C.?” Helper asked nonchalantly, “Who’s that?”
“You know,” Lexie said, “she works at the front desk.  Dark hair, green eyes, pretty?”
“Short?” offered J.

I still much prefer him to Helper.

Making Contact

“Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hal-LE-LU-jah!”

ipod_silhouette_300x300After moving into our place way back in March, I finally got internet and cable set up at the flat today!  J. was a trooper and woke up early to drive down and hang out while the Comcast guy got us set up because I couldn’t skip work, and thank heaven because I’ve had the same music on my iPod for months now without iTunes and am terribly close to well and truly losing it! 

And then, as HE suggested, we got his tux situation sorted on my lunch break.  This guy is a keeper.

Battle of the Sexes, Part II

“What is going on with the XY’s today?!”

Would have been useful yesterday!
Would have been useful yesterday!

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…”

Smalldog is...speechless
Smalldog is...speechless

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.

Battle of the Sexes, Part I

Sometimes I wonder if men and women really suit each other.  Perhaps they should live next door and just visit now and then.”
-Katherine Hepburn

frustrated20womanIt has been one of those weeks that makes a girl grind her teeth in sheer, agonizing irritation.  Even though most of it has been completely uneventful, wednesdayand thursday were well and truly mind blowing, at least philosophically.  First of all we had a guy come in to report that he was being sexually harassed: about a month ago he had written a letter to the editor of the paper of the university (which is a religiously funded one with a rather conservative mindset.  Which is the understatment of the century…) about people’s various choices in fashion choice, most particularly women, and how immodestly dressed women deserved to be subjected to catcalls, name calling, and other behavior until they “put some clothes on.”  For reasons this knight errant, obsessed with protecting the virtue and chastity of women (what century is this guy living in?), could not fathom some women found this suggested behavior offensive.  Go figure.  And in the spirit of the modern age, these ladies (grand total: 2) created a Facebook group against him, which was the basis for his harassment claim. 

It took about three times longer than it should have to explain to him that while this group could be classified as libel (it was removed from the site, by the way) it did not actually constitute sexual harassment.  While the actions he was advocating, on the other hand, most definitely would fall under that category.
“I didn’t mean it seriously,” this guy huffed.
“Well, sir, the truth is that sarcasm doesn’t translate.  You aren’t responsible for the tone you intended, you are responsible for the words you wrote as they appear.”
“You agree with those girls, huh?” he asked belligerently.
Yes, thought C. nastily.  “Not necessarily,” she said politely, “I’m just pointing out that the only actions that could be construed as sexual harassment in the case are technically coming from you.”
He slouched off muttering under his breath about ten minutes later.  Clearly this guy is one of those poisonous types who think that all women should be dressing like his mother.

To be continued…