Wednesday, December 02, 2015

How My Job Might Ruin My Dating Life

When I moved to the south from Oregon, I expected that things would be different. There were some things I hoped would be different. Like the way people dress up for weddings. Also sweet tea and pimiento cheese being readily available.

Mostly I hoped for the men to be different. I'm going to generalize and say that men in the Pacific NW (and probably the entire west coast) are very self-involved. They're more concerned with their image and care far more about themselves to spend a modicum of effort on the women around them. The loves of their lives are inanimate - mountain bikes, snowboards, and craft beer. There is very little room left over for women or for doing things that women like. Such as being taken to dinner. Or even being paid a small compliment.

So yes, things are different in the south and I feel particularly so at my present job. I'm in a room with at least a dozen men and only two other women. A lot of the time I'm the only woman. And they treat me like one. They tell dirty jokes but then they apologize (because they don't know me very well). If I voice that I would like something, say an extra monitor on my desk, it's on my desk and hooked up before I finish my sentence. When I got my new docking station, three of them swarmed over to help me set it up. Nobody says anything when I take the last cookie.

The other men in the building are just as accommodating. They go out of their way to hold doors open, hold the elevator, let me off the elevator or through the door first. The guys I think who are too busy to really pay attention to me remember the single conversation we had and refer to the thing I told them. Guys I don't even know notice when I get my hair cut and compliment me. Even the security guys, who I think have the most boring job in the building, cheer me up on cloudy days.

I went to Pittsburgh for training three months after I started here. I mistakenly asked someone at the help desk if he had a power cord I could borrow for the week and he started at me blankly and then told me to go downstairs and find one. What?? You mean you're not going to stop what you're doing and clamber to get one for me???

Do you see the problem? I now can't date a guy who doesn't treat me at least as well as my co-workers. At my age, I've already learned to have higher standards. I am further being spoiled and (mis)led to believe I am some sort of actual lady.

Thus, my wish list has changed a bit. Future boyfriends must use ma'am on occasion. But only in a cute, charming way, not like in an I'm-an-old-lady way. They must open doors and let me through first. They must give up their seat and not just to me, but to pregnant women and the elderly, even when I'm not present. They must anticipate my needs and provide them before I've finished my sentence. As in, "I'd like some hot chocolate right about..... Oh, thank you!" They should probably assume I know nothing about electronics and insist on assembling things. Even if I can figure it out, I don't want to.

And they should always, always give me the last cookie.


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