I’m Sorry My Name Change Inconvenienced You. Oh Wait, Nope.

Changing my last name to my husband’s was a decision of convenience. My maiden name is almost impossible for anyone who does not speak Welsh to pronounce and after a lifetime of correcting people’s pronunciation of it, I was relieved/exicted to change my last name to something that was easy for everyone to say because it’s so recognizable (Holla is you share a last name with a notable historical figure everyone learns about in school).

But then actually doing it, changing my name, became one of the most frustrating and painful processes of my life. The entire thing is impossible and ridiculous and probably qualifies as cruel and unusual punishment. Like, if someone keeps committing crimes, you should punish them by having to change their name every 6 months because then they will never commit a crime again. Basically, I just solved habitual crime in America.

This process has been excruciating. Between filling out all of the forms (so so many of them), and mailing things, and showing up for pictures, and providing proof that I am who I say I am and that I did in fact get married, and then waiting the exact number of days you have to wait, and then getting a letter that the powers that be got my letter and are sending me a letter in acknowledgement of that letter and that in 2-8 weeks I will be the proud owner of all kinds of new cards, and oh yeah, once you get them here are a bunch of other forms you have to fill out to notify everyone of your new name, and WHEN WILL THE MADNESS STOP?

I could have bought a gun every 4 hours for the months it took me to do all this and I would have had all of the guns in the world and no one would have so much as asked what my maiden name was. I’m just sayin.

But finally, finally, I got through it. At least, most of it. I’m at the part now where I have to notify insurance, banks, etc. of my name change. So, I email HR at my job and let them know about my new legal name.

And then I got an email that went a little something like this:
“Do we really have to do this? Can’t we just leave your name as is? This is a huge hassle for us.”

Oh. I’m sorry. I didn’t realize changing my name was a hassle. Is it a hassle? It’s been as pleasant as eating peach pie for me. I’m so sorry this inconveniences you. Oh wait, nope, I’m not. MOTHERFUCKER.

– Mae

My Sexy Toes: A Discovery

shoes

Y’all, I’m a shoe-judger.  Yes, when you walk by on the street, I’m looking at your shoes and making all sorts of assumptions about you.  Or maybe not so much assumptions, but I’m creating an imaginary life for you.  It’s a fun game.  Your Puma ballet sneakers indicate you have two kids (Pete and Sally), a goldendoodle (Lionel), and wear drug store brand makeup to your job as a technical analyst for a software engineering firm.  Your Dansko clogs mean you were on the fast track to becoming the prima ballerina of a dance company until an ankle injury cruelly stole your dreams from beneath you. (And yes, just because Dansko sounds like dance you became a ballet dancer… I never said I was scientific about this.)  Your Kate Spade heels with the glitter and the bow? Damn you.  You must be partaking in those romantic picnics in the park with your Hugh Jackman look-alike boyfriend.  He probably feeds you grapes before you jet off to the latest Broadway performance. Damn you.  Can I be your friend?  And the men!  Your frayed sandals tell me you’re trying to relive your glory days at the frat house pool, but you’re probably just heading to the soccer field to watch your daughter run around with the cluster of other 5 yr. olds.

There’s a clear reason for this.  My wee self was restricted in my shoe selection for quite some time and when I was free of those high-topped shackles, I embraced the heeled and flip-flopped and booted freedom of which I’d so long been denied!  It meant something to get to choose the shoes of which I would wear to face the challenges of the day.  Those L.A. Gear Lights with their light-up heels were all fine and dandy, but the day I got to wear my black heels with the silver buckle?  I’ll never forget it.

There’s a point to all this, I swear.  To this day, my shoes are chosen carefully.  They might not always be the most stylish things, but they mean something to me that day.  The power suit for work is only the power suit if it’s paired with my power heels.  Those ruby pumps transform the way I march into work, ready to battle over contract language.

Or at least they did.  Still do, really.

But just this last week, I had to bring in a whole new factor into my work shoe selection:  toe cleavage.  Someone commented on said fabulous ruby heels, and noted they were lovely, but they would be wary of those particular heels because they didn’t like to be overly provocative with their toe cleavage.  Um.  What?  Have I been living under a rock?  How the hell have we sexified this?  Maybe this shouldn’t surprise me.  There is the fact that we call it cleavage.  But it’s of the toes.  WTF?  And y’all, I know there are foot fetishists out there, and to each their own, but when did that start precluding women from wearing a low vamp?  Since when have my toe apices been lumped into the same category as high hemlines and plunging blouses?

Furthermore.  If cleavage of the toes is analagous to breast cleavage, what message are we sending when we wear flip flops.  Is it the equivalent of walking topless down the street?  Are painted toes the counterpart to, you know… grooming?  Does a natural toe mean other things?!  Dear God, what message have I been sending to my online dates when we first meet?

I’d go on, but it’s time I put on those daring and risqué pumps and be out the door.  Do let me know… have you been aware of your sexy toe cleavage?

-Kate

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?

The Girl Who Cried Bitch.

Dont call me a bitch

Do you remember the story of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”? In it, a bored shepherd boy decided to amuse himself by frightening the townspeople by crying wolf. He succeeds the first two times in scaring the townspeople but when he actually does see a wolf and cries for help the towns people don’t come and the boy loses his flock of sheep.  As children, we are told that story so that we may learn the lesson to never lie.

I’ve always taken this story very seriously and I dislike lying very much. I strive to be extraordinarily honest in all situations and admittedly sacrifice politeness for honesty sometimes. If you ask me a question, expect an honest, if not always cordial, response. In fact, I’ve developed a bit of a reputation in my industry for always “telling it like it is”.  And yet……

And yet, when I was called a “Bitch” in front of several people at my last agency and responded by filing an official complaint, the honesty of my story was immediately questioned.  I was baffled. I was insulted. I was mad as hell y’all. Why was it that without ever having made such a claim before I was instantly labeled “The girl who cried bitch.”? I spent 4 hours in the boss’s office attesting to the honesty of my story. I was questioned again and again. I had to repeat the situation several dozen times. The very boss who once called me “too honest” now questioned the honesty of my story. When I finally told him to ask the people who had witnessed the altercation if he didn’t believe me, they made the entire situation worse by qualifying it and saying that perhaps “I had taken it the wrong way.” that the man “didn’t mean it that way.” I was probably being too sensitive. Someone even had the audacity to suggest that I might be “hormonal”.  Um, excuse me, what other way did he mean it? And for the record, I wasn’t “hormonal” but even if I had been, that in no way means I deserved to be called a “bitch” or that someone shouldn’t be reprimanded for calling me one.  Why does a comment like that deserve to be qualified and defended? Why was everyone so uncomfortable with a woman standing up for her right not to be called a “bitch” in the workplace? I was upset, but I was also leaving the agency so I chalked it up to everyone there being an asshole.  It was easier than me diving into the reason behind people being unwilling to acknowledge that the situation was unprofessional and demeaning. I took the path of least insanity.

But now, I’m wondering, what’s up with that? Why is it that a woman automatically gets labeled “The girl who cried bitch” even if she is telling the truth? Seriously, what’s up with that?