A Letter To The Client Who Called Me A “Bitch”.

The mature and well-thought out response….

Dear Client,

Your behavior towards me was unacceptable. It was rude, unprofessional, and uncalled for. But, aside from all of the obvious reasons you shouldn’t have called me a “bitch”, a word, for the record, that I don’t use, there are deeper and more profound reasons why throwing that word at me was completely unacceptable.

You put me in the postion of being “The woman who cried “bitch””, which is to say, I had to report the incident to my boss and suffer through endless questions that all seemed to be geared towards “Are you sure you aren’t being too sensitive?” “Is it possible he called you a “witch” and you misheard?”.  Despite the fact that I was the one who was insulted, I was the one being doubted. Yes, that blame falls on my boss, but you put me there. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, once you admitted to my boss that you had, in fact, called me a “bitch”, you put me in the position of being a “damel in distress” to which both my boss and your boss rushed to my aid, they were indignant on my behalf, they yelled at you to protect my honor, they forced an apology out of you, and then they patted themselves on the back from “saving me”.  This is all absurd. I handled the situation myself, did the right thing by reporting it to my superior, and then I’m still treated like a weak woman. No. No. No.

By calling me a “bitch” you put me in a losing positon. No matter what I did, I was the victim. There was no vindication. No acknowledgement that I did the right thing, the logical thing, the “by the book” thing. No. No. No.

I accept your (probably insincere) apology for calling me a “bitch” but you owe me apologies for so much more than that. The worst part is, you have no idea, no concept, of how far reaching the consequences of that word are for me and women like me. For all that, I don’t accept your apology.

Mae.

 

My first response….

Dear Client,

This is some bullshit. SOME MAJOR BULLSHIT. Grade-A highest level of BULLSHIT. This is some sexist BULLSHIT.

You’re an asshole.

Mae.

 

How would you respond to being called a “bitch” at work?

Competition With Friends

I, personally, believe that a little competition never hurt anyone, except for the people it has. More than likely, you are one of the people that in one case or another competition has hurt. I’m one of those people too. We’re all one of those people. (Let’s join hands and sing y’all!)

We human-sapiens are competitive by nature. It’s because of the birds on the Galapagos. So, competition amongst ourselves is inevitable. Because of Dodo birds. Or something. But nothing is as heated and potentially ego-trouncing as competition amongst friends. Wether you’re playing Scrabble online or actively working towards the same career goal, that shit get competitive and uber-personal. Because it is personal. Because you are a person and you are doing it and they are person and they are doing it too vis-a-vis personal.

And that isn’t to say you can’t feel supportive of friends you’re competing with as well. People are capable of all kinds of layered and seemingly contradictory emotions. For instance, you can feel both excited and disappointed if a friends gets a job you both applied for. Both of those are valid feelings and it’s possible to feel them at the same time. Confusing? Yes. But totally a thing that happens all the time. Especially amongst your friends you might have a lot in common with. If you’re both working towards the same goal, you’re in competition with each other, maybe not directly, but in competition nonetheless. And that can be a really difficult thing to sort through, because of all the conflicting emotions. It’s complicated, and in one of the worst ways possible, because you feel like a real shit-head for being bummed for yourself and not completely excited for them, while also feeling like a real dumb-ass for not succeeding at your goal. OR- you could be the one who snagged the win and then you feel like a real shit-head for being excited while your friend is sad, while also feeling like a dumb-ass for not totally celebrating your awesome accomplishment in everyone’s faces. So that even when you win, you don’t really win because you know your achievement has caused someone you care about pain, and when you lose you are totally losing because you know your friends achievement is just a little bit dampened by your sadness.

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Basically, competition with friends is an emotional clusterfuck either way. But it’s going to happen, if it isn’t happening already, and you’re going to need a plan of action to deal with it either way. My plan of action? Be as supportive as possible to the other person no matter what the outcome is. And either celebrate or commiserate with food, because those french fries understand my complicated feelings and don’t judge me for them.

What about y’all? How do you handle competition with friends?

– Mae

It’s a Wedding, Not a Ritual Sacrifice.

angry-brideStop me, if you’ve heard this one, kittens. Marriage is an unnatural abomination! It makes mice out of men and shrews out of women. We were meant to be polyamorous sex tigers, roaming the wild plain in our convertible mini-vans, untethered by the myth of love and free to shag anything with legs. That’s science!

Oh, you have heard that? Yeah, me too, especially since Professor McGregor and I decided to hitch our life wagons together. Lots of people are stoked for us, but there are also a lot of people who think it their mission to warn us off marriage. They shake their heads, disgusted by our naïveté, insisting that marriage is really hard and most of them don’t even work out and wouldn’t we be happier with a nice puppy, instead? Puppies are pretty tempting, but so is marrying my dear bearded one.

It’s not like we haven’t heard the statistics. You can’t throw a stone at an American sitcom, without being reminded that “50% of all marriages end in divorce!” Which is true, but also not. Divorce rates are substantially higher for those who marry under the age of 25 and for those on their 3rd/4th/8th marriage, which skews the results. Also, sometimes shit happens. People grow apart, change life priorities, or turn into Yetis. There’s no rhyme or reason to the future. It’s unpredictable, by nature, unless someone learned something from Dr. Trelawney’s class that I missed. We’re not morons. We don’t believe it’s all going to be candy lanes and gumdrop clouds for eternity, but we’re also not going to chuck it all, because bad things might happen. I’m the world’s most paranoid person and even I think that’s no way to live!

It’s the oft-repeated assertion that marriage is unnatural that really makes my toe jam boil, however. The line of thinking goes like this: Humans aren’t meant to be monogamous, just look at science! You see, cavemen puttered around killing things and ravishing women, so that’s our natural state. Men want to spread their seed! Women want to raise the babies! Monogamy doesn’t work, because it strangles our biological impulses. Except…no, it doesn’t. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but humans have progressed a bit. We found fire, built some cities, and really settled into not being animals. If marriage is an unnatural state, then so are shoes. If you’re going to preach that we shouldn’t do anything cavemen didn’t, then you better put that hamburger down and give me your iPad. Cooked food is unnatural and the only technology you need is a spear, right?

Look, marriage isn’t for everyone. I totally agree! Some people are much happier having lots of anonymous sex, instead, or dedicating their lives to building robot sloths. Some people have had so much tragedy in their lives that they can’t depend on someone else and be happy. Some people just don’t want to get married. There is no universal right choice, because—say it with me now, longtime readers!— people are people and people are different. I’ve known gloriously happy long-married people, as well as joyfully single ones.

So, save your looks of sympathy for the naïve engaged couple. Maybe your first marriage didn’t work out, or your husband drives you batty, but that has no bearing on us. We are not marching to our fated doom.

Marriage is neither a ritual sacrifice into a pit of despair nor a crime against nature. It’s just this ceremony that means we’ve decided to be together always and want the legal rights that go along with that. Your advice comes from a good place, but it’s misplaced. We only get this one life, so we should all make our own choices. Mine is getting married, while yours may be riding in that mini-van of sex. Cheers to us both, darling!

– Grace

I Cannot Care About All The Things

WWII Posters-P099World, I cannot care about all the things.

But the puppies are sad, you tell me. Well, that sucks. I definitely don’t want the puppies to be sad. Moping malamutes are the worst! So, I care about the puppies. That means I care about them getting adopted to nice homes, shutting down puppy mills, and whether or not their food is filled with processed evil.

But people food is also laden with evil, you insist. Really? What kind of evil, precisely? Trans fats, and insect parts, and wood pulp! Oh my. Wood pulp seems so unnecessary to my Oreo enjoyment. Well, then I definitely care about keeping our food natural. Maybe I’ll start eating organic and free-range products only. I am feeling super helpful and conscientious already!

But the food industry is still mean to animals, you persist. I suppose that’s true. What we do to obtain veal is pretty terrible, even if it’s delicious, and I already don’t eat foie gras on principle.  If I really cared, I wouldn’t consume animal products at all. Let no coffee ice cream besmirch the household of the righteous! Sigh. I’m really going to miss chili burgers, but at least I still have pretty dresses. (Made from cotton, not silk, because: worm death.)

Yeah, dresses that are made from malice, you scoff. Shit. Don’t ruin the dresses for me too! Oh, look, here’s a nice sunny email…full of deadly working conditions, and the truth about clothes donation, and intellectual property theft. Damn it, World. This is why we can’t have nice things! So, I should just make all my clothes from now on, is what you’re saying. FINE. I can do that, because I totally have a sewing machine and loads of fabric.

Fabric that came from evil factories, you cackle. Just look at this

No. No, no, no! Just stop it. World, I cannot care about all the things! The moment I do, I fall down a rabbit hole of causes and come out wearing a burlap sack, eating raw kale flakes, surrounded by an unreasonable number of puppies. According to you, I’m never doing enough. It’s great to have a cause and be socially-informed, but it seems inefficient to care about them all. While I’m worrying about whether or not my wheat germ is locally sourced, there are glitches hitting the Mars rover, prime ministers being charged with treason, and naked bicycle protests happening. There are also books to be read, friends to support, and a professor to adore.

I literally cannot care about all the things. There are too many worries, too many world woes, to keep up with. The best any of us can do is support the causes that resonate with us and tune out the noise that insists we’re not doing enough. Be a vegan, or just eat free range meat. Keep eating McDonald’s, but dedicate yourself to fostering abandoned ferrets. Filter out the pressure and just care, whatever that means to you.

For me, that means keeping up with the feminist and equality movements, consuming less in general, and evangelizing health education. You could sew all your own clothes or ride your bike everywhere or save constipated groundhogs. Do what you can and what you must, because no one can care about all the things.

– Grace

Ok, I Believe Now. A Bad Haircut Can Ruin Your Life.

Ok, maybe not your life, but it can ruin your many days/weeks/months until your hair grows out.

I used to think that ladies who got a bad haircut and freaked out about it and cried and lamented their choice to cut were kind of silly. I mean, it’s hair. It grows out. Surely there is a satisfactory way to style that bad haircut until it grows out. I thought those ladies were ridiculous and vain. How very very wrong I was.

You see, a couple weeks ago, I decided I needed a change. A hair change. I was bored to tears with my straight shoulder length hair. And bangs! I needed bangs! Bangs and choppy layers would make me look like Alexa Chung no doubt, so I went to my favorite stylist plopped down in her chair unafraid of the massive cutting that was headed my hair’s way and waiting to transform into Alexa Chung.  AND IT LOOKED LIKE SHIT. Shitty shitty shit shit. And I hated it. And I felt ugly. And I felt miserable.

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It felt a LOT like this. Except she had better hair.

And then I felt really sorry for thinking all those other girls had been silly, because silly or not, that shit stings the ego. I went from feeling cute to ugly in about 30 minutes. Just like that. And yes, it upset me. And that’s ok. It’s ok to feel really shitty about a bad haircut, it’s not silly or vain, it’s a legitimate feeling and I am very much in favor of FEELING YOUR FEELINGS. So, ladies who I previously silently judged, I apologize. Sincerely. Because that shit came back to me all karma-like.

It took me all of one day to go back and get a new haircut. And I don’t love this one either but it’s a lot better than the first and after all, it will grow out, so there is a light at the end of the bad haircut tunnel.

– Mae