Um…excuse me?

I spend time in a lot of male-dominated areas. Engineering can be described as a measuring contest (pull down your pants and grab a ruler). All through college my bestest bud Erica and I got away with murder in our engineering classes and were often graded easier than the guys, because we were girls. At the same time, we couldn’t skip classes (too often) because we stuck out like sore thumbs, and we were constantly aware of an “Aaaaw, look at da cute wittle girls trying to do engineering” mentality. Some professors handled it subtly some..not so subtly. Same things happened at my internship at Boeing; there’s nothing quite like walking into a group meeting full of your coworkers and having the room fall silent because the stories “weren’t appropriate” to share in front of a girl *rolls eyes* We learned to milk the upsides since we were going to be subject to the downsides no matter what.

I’m lucky in that my current job I finally feel like an engineer..rather than a female engineer.

But I still run into guys being dumb, and now that I’m not surrounded by it all the time, it sticks out more. Yesterday I had several examples.

In the morning, I was talking with a supplier. He had called and left a message before I got in, asking me to call him. I did, and he opened with, “Hello, sunshine!” Um…what? I’m pretty sure I did NOT just hear you right. ’cause I can almost guarantee that if any of my male colleagues called, that would not have been the greeting they got. But OK, not going to make a stink (plus I’m in a bit of shock) we’ll go on. Then as we’re closing our short conversation, he says something like, “All right, sweetie, we’ll see how this works.” WHAT??? Sweetie? Really? This was while we were saying goodbye, so I was already kind of mid-closing statement, and then I hung up. And sat there in shock for a moment.

Now, I realize it’s not that big a deal, it’s not like he was making sexual reference or anything, but..still. It gets tiring constantly having your skills be put secondary to your genitals. And it was just so inappropriate!

Then, that evening, I headed out to a hockey game. My hubby officiates many sports, one being football. He and his football buddies were at a local hockey game, selling programs and chuck-a-pucks to fund-raise for youth sports (or something. I didn’t really care. I was just hanging out with the hubby). So, needless to say, football officials + hockey fans = male dominated crowd. As I’m standing at the front entrance, holding programs over my head and trying to sell them (which is difficult since I find programs stupid..then again…I find sports stupid..) a guy stops and buys one from me. Great! I smile, thank him, and tell him to have fun at the game. He starts to step away, and then stops, and with a greatly daring look on his face says, “I just want to tickle you!” and shoots me a grin. Um…excuse me? I wasn’t sure what to say. I kind of smiled, and then processed the words, and then stared at him like..huh??? as he walked away.

Again, I’m pretty sure that had he been buying a program from one of the balding, overweight male program sellers (somehow the other girls snagged the sit-at-a-table jobs) that comment would not have come out of his mouth.

I’m not super sensitive to such things. Really. The comment the head of the volunteers made to me about, “You can sell more! Just smile at the guys and they’ll come right over to you!” didn’t offend at all. I laughed. People blatently teasing me about being female doesn’t bother me. Someone making sexist jokes knowingly doesn’t bother me.

It’s the comments that guys would never make to another man, but find witty when made to a woman, that really get to me.

And any one of those comments by themselves I would probably have rolled my eyes at and shrugged off. But all three in one day? Just left me feeling a bit icky.

I had a really bad night (long time in bed, very little sleep) so I’ve been very lazy today. Currently my steps are at 885. But thanks to Corey’s prompting, I’m not just going to feel bad about it. I’m heading out to take a nice, long walk with the hubby and puppy! I might even have to carry the 10lb puppy much of the way..he’s been sleeping since his visit to the dog park this afternoon.

I shall report on how I do…


After about 40 minutes of aerobic walking in the beautiful, crisp outdoors:


And I feel GREAT!


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7 responses to “Um…excuse me?

  1. Hubby

    That *was* a nice walk! I love those times when it’s crisp outside. Cold and raining or cold and muggy like inversion winters growing up, no fun, but crisp and cold like that is just nice.

    Also, it’s amazing how fast 4,000 steps can go by in good company :)

  2. How old is your 10 pound puppy? Ours is 7 months – almost full grown and 8 pounds.

    Don’t really know what to say about the other stuff – men are . . . men. :)

  3. watchingthewaters

    Yay! Good job on the steps!

    (I love your hubby, btw.. the note he wrote you the other day when you were down & blue was one of the sweetest things E.V.E.R. He’s a keeper.)

    I was in the Army, where you don’t get “sweetie”d, but you do have to work twice as hard to prove that you are as good as the boys. You have my sympathies.


    • Ha, yes, I definitely got that, too. That was more common. It was amusing whenever I got a new prof. in college and they’d treat me all condescending until the first test..when I usually had one of the highest scores in the class…then they took me a bit more seriously :-)

      Thanks! Seriously, the encouragement/accoutability is soooo helpful, even though I know that’s not what you were going for..I’m not knocking it!

  4. My undergrad degree is in agriculture. That was late 80’s and I was one of a very few girls with a bunch of good ol’ boys. So I know what you mean about being in a male dominated field. And now I have 3 sons and a husband! It’s like living in a frat house. But at least the 3 dogs are all girls. (the cat is a boy, but he’s my boy).

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