<———–Sooo this is what I wore to work today and THIS is the response (I use “response” lightly as I was not asking for one!) I received from a male co-worker – as he walked into the break room and looked me up and down – “What happened? You looked so good on Friday and now you look all frumpy?” With disappointment in his tone and on his face. “WOW…no way that just happened?” Was my inner response as I looked at the other two men I was having a SEPARATE conversation with as one proceeded to walk out to avoid the awkward moment and the other just laughed (maybe also, to avoid the awkwardness) As I called the laughing by-stander out for laughing at the situation I quickly turned to the “accuser” and said “Wow, I didn’t know I was here for your viewing pleasure!” he then, quickly apologized and re-iterated his confusion as to how I can “look so good on Friday” and look “frumpy” today. I walked out as I could not stand to be standing in front of him any longer, realizing I am just an object to him. As I walked back to my cubicle I said loud enough for the men around me (him included) to hear me say “I am not an ornament! I am here to work just as you are!”
YUP, that REALLY happened and I spent the rest of the day thinking about the incident. Soon after I got back to my desk, the accuser (I choose not to name names, as I channel my inner Taylor Swift) tries to apologize over and over. He offered me up “knuckles” as he said, “I’m sorry, I feel like an idiot now, knuckles?” I wish you could see the look on my face as I just stared at his fist….”UM, NOT A CHANCE IN HELL” I replied. He just left them there and so did I. Eventually he went back to his desk with his tail between his legs.
Throughout the rest of the day, he tried to make peace with me by striking up friendly conversation about my work load and each time I just murmured something to him as if to not care, BECAUSE I DIDN’T, and he would walk away. At one point a mutual friend, I use the word “friend” because he is a co-worker but I consider him my best work friend, was at my cubicle striking up some “water-cooler talk” minus the cooler because my cubicle is closer to his and let’s face it…we’re never really thirsty, we just want to chat. As he approached me for some light conversation, so did the culprit – trying to ease his way back into my good graces. My friend made a comment about my snappy attitude – which I will allow because only he can call me out on that kind of truth as I do the same to him and my quick response was, “Well at least you didn’t call me FRUMPY” along with an eye roll in his direction. The culprit quickly responds with a puppy dog face “I’m sorrrrrrry” and my “friend” looks at him and says “You’re an idiot, you should never say that to a woman – you say it behind her back!” Then he giggles and walks away. Now, although his response might not have been 100% appropriate, I let it roll off my back a little easier than the “frumpy” sitch because 1: I know him well enough to know, he was making light of a situation that he did not want to get involved in, and 2: He NEVER and I mean never approaches a controversial conversation without exiting the convo with his own controversial yet humorous spin. So anyway…he himself has a tolerable level of respect for women so I’ll write a song about him later….for now my HIT SINGLE (still channeling my inner T-Swift) will be called “I’m not here for your viewing pleasure” and the culprit WILL NOT get ANY royalties.
Now that I’ve got that off my chest, I’d like to open up the floor for your thoughts. Would you have forgiven him? Because I did think about it. I thought about walking up to his desk and offering my forgiveness with a little lesson on objectification and sexual harassment in the workplace. Adding that although I forgive him for his ignorance, I feel sorry for his WIFE and all of the other women in his life, INCLUDING every woman he had EVER encountered as they have only ever been viewed as sexual objects with no other value but to look good. BUT, I have to remind myself that may not be the case, although it sure seems that way. I think I will just continue ignoring him, as I feel that might be a learning lesson in itself. Maybe, just maybe, he will have enough self awareness to reflect on the situation and take something from it OR maybe I am the only one still thinking about it. BUT either way, I needed to get this out there. People need to know that this stuff does happen and you have every right to stand up for yourself.
I dress however I damn well please on a daily basis and yes, some days I might look what is to be considered more socially acceptable for women in the workplace to dress. BUT this is NOT Mad Men…I’m not here to pour your bourbon and make copies for you. I am a liberated working class WOMAN and I WILL dress however my hard working, college educated, hustling, self respecting, narrow ASS pleases!!!
Thank you for listening and feel free to chime in!
Peace, Love & Frump it up!
Elisabeth Hope Adkins