Tag: Women

Stuck In The Closet

“Naked people have little or no influence in society.”
-Mark Twain

Women of the world, raise your voices in the age old cry with me, “I HAVE NOTHING TO WEAR!”

HarpersNothingWearAnd, melodramatic as it may sound, I genuinely mean it!  From the moment I got engaged, my so-called frivolous spending (Frivolous: as if looking good isn’t important.  Did none of you endure high school?  I spent mine more or less a tragic mess) was sharply curtailed.  Money was put towards a new apartment with a significant raise in rent, utilities had to be set up (which generally involved some sort of fee in varying degrees of heftiness), and I had to start putting down payments on everything.  My parents paid for the reception which was gorgeous (pictures may or may not be forthcoming, the photographer we used for it did a terrible job.  And I’m not saying that facetiously, ask Venice.  Bad), but I paid for my gown myself, plus shoes, veil, jewelry, hair, salon time for my bridesmaids and mom, bridesmaids presents, plus extra invitations when we discovered we didn’t have enough.  All that means much less money to spend on food, frolic, and fashion than a single girl might be used to.

Which leads me to my current predicament: this has been the first summer I’ve worked a legitimate post-university job.  I spent my first two university summers working in Belgium (significantly cooler than the western U.S. desert I’m currently sweltering in) and the next two either taking classes (and therefore in jean and tee shirts) or travelling/visiting my family in England.  My student jobs on campus all required me to dress up for work so my wardrobe had a couple pairs of nice trousers, pencil skirts, and nice shirts…all appropriate to an autumn and winter climate.  I also have a fair amount of jeans and teeshirts, which I can only wear on weekends now.  I have a new reason to long for my student days!

And so, now the many lovely cashmere sweaters I’ve amassed are no good.  The carefully-tended-to-make-them-last classic wool trousers are worthless in 90-100 degree weather.  Even long sleeves shirts are a heat-exhaustion risk for me because I like my weather much cooler, with more clouds in the sky, and a decent wind blowing, and not even 4+ years in this part of the world has cured me of that.  My boots, scarves, hats, dark tights, and coats, fabulous as they are, are simply useless to me until September!

349331010_6151669d3cWomen seem to be slightly more at the whim of the vicissitudes of fashion than men.  It may just be me, but I’ve observed that our clothing seems to be made of flimsier stuff, which means that we either need to A) replace it often as it wears out, which costs us more, or B) have a large enough wardrobe to begin with so that we can rotate clothing so no one player gets too much time in the field.  This also requires not only money, but time, and planning!  And, even though I’m getting better, putting outfits together is not a skill that comes effortlessly to me.  My fabulous and talented friend Janssen over at Everyday Reading has an equally fabulous and talented sister who spent a couple of months showing her daily outfits on her blog, sadly she’s not doing it anymore because I got some really good ideas from it (along with bouts of mind mangling jealousy).  And this girl occasionally makes lots of her own amazing clothing!  Oh mother, how do I now regret those basic sewing lessons I scorned in my youth!

Of course it’s currently mid-July, so summer won’t be lasting much longer, so I should probably suck it up and just continue to rotate my two pairs of lightweight trousers for another month and a half.  We’re now starving newlyweds, trying to save enough to get to England to see my family for Christmas.  But…but…

Battle of the Sexes, Part II

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

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…