A while ago, I received a call from one of the managers, requesting for employee data. We were on the line for a few minutes, as he was asking very specific information that I had to look up.
Me: Okay sir, that’s the last I have on Mr. ________.
Mgr: I’m sorry could you say his name again?
Me: Mr. _________.
Mgr: Hmmm… Could you say his name again, please.
Me: (Eyebrows knitted) Mr. _________. Did you have another employee in mind?
Mgr: Oh, ah… no, no. I just wanted to hear you say that name again with your accent.
Me: (Right eyebrow raised) Huh.
Until now I still can’t quite figure out if this was a compliment or an insult.
I almost died today. Almost, but not quite. This job is an all day occupational hazard.
Our No. 2 boss, a stately old gentleman, came into the office at around 1500 hours as was his custom, to sign documents. We discussed the paperwork, he asked a few questions, signed all the papers with a flourish. Done with the day’s approvals, he stood up and walked out the door, to go back to his office, I thought.
Apparently not. What he actually did was walk down the hallway, double back quietly and then come back to stand by my door. He made sure I was busy at my desk. I must have been staring intently at the monitor, because I didn’t see him standing there.
All of a sudden, he dashes into the doorway, eyes wide, arms flailing, shouting what sounded like, “Wha-daaah!
I felt my heart stop for a full three seconds. He was red in the face from laughing so hard.
The blonde IT girl at the scanner table chastised him, “Hey, don’t scare the poor girl to death!”
“Sir, I had three mugs of coffee today, please don’t do that to me!” I manage to say as I will my heartbeat to return to normal.
“Just keeping you on your toes, young lady.” He grins at me and walks back, chuckling, to his office. For real this time, I made sure of that.
Another day, another zinger. This little tale may be potentially offensive, but also totally true-to-life.
Upon finding himself sitting unceremoniously on a computer chair set very low, my boss says, “Hey, who’s the midget?”
Me: (both eyebrows raised in surprise) “Um…”
Valiant attempts to crank up the seat ensue, to no avail. Chair remains stuck at lowest level.
Boss: “God d***! OK, moving on… (suave segue to the day’s business).”
He didn’t even miss a beat. I swear, sometimes, I really love how un-PC (politically correct) my job is.
Just as I closed the taxi door and settled in for the ride, the taxi driver asked me, “Weren’t you afraid, being the only girl waiting there in the long line of men?” I was taken aback, a little, by the question. I did notice that I was the only XX chromosome in the rather dark waiting area, but I didn’t think much about it, and didn’t feel even just a little bit scared.
I mumbled something about, “Oh, they were mostly construction crew from my building…” and the driver nodded, but felt impelled to add, “You can never be too careful, these days.”
Come to think of it, was I ever careless? I pondered that for a while. Despite all that’s happened to me in the past few years, the dire circumstances that have shaped life as I know it now, I still do not fear men. I had to Google that—androphobia—the fear of men. In my former job all my bosses were male, I worked with mostly male counterparts, would walk into a meeting with a roomful of men as the only female, and I liked it when they all scrambled to give me a chair. Men are often intimidated by me, as I am not a fragile looking woman, nor am I in any way, reticent. I have a marked tendency to say what’s on my mind, gender be damned. I’ve had relationships where men resented me because I was “bossy.” Or, my personal favorite, “too strong.”
I have male friends that I’ve known for years who treat me not as one of the guys, but as a girl, who is a friend. There are men I admire and would like to emulate, men who amuse me, men who I can be frank with, flirt openly with, or just quietly sit and have a beer with. They’re males of all kinds—old and young, single, married, or in some sort of relationship, old friends and newer ones—who treat me with respect, and I dare say, some measure of fondness. So, no, I am not afraid of men in general.
But hey wait, should I be?