When I came back to work for the ad agency as an account manager one of the reasons my boss thought about me for the job was because "I wasn't so uptight."
He had a list of other reasons. One of them being I built and maintained the tracking systems when I was keeping the books so I understood the nuts and bolts of the account. Another being I was good at working with a variety of people. I had spent years translating between him and our media director after all. See, they were incapable of understanding each other. They could be in a meeting saying the exact same thing, just using different words, and they would fight. I would have to do the whole, "What I'm hearing is..." to get us out of there with no blood shed. He also thought I was smart and capable and could handle the account so he could run for the hills after my first week on the job. Which I didn't know until my first week back on the job.
But one of the reasons he gave me was "I wasn't so uptight." Meaning I wasn't going to freak out when the guys in the co-op called me sweetie. Or asked me to get them a cup of coffee. Or when before my first meeting (I had only been back at the agency for 3 days at that point) he told me that if I thought I was going to be lost to just wear a shorter skirt than normal and no one would notice. I wasn't going to take it personally, I wasn't going to give him or them grief. I wasn't going to get mad like "those young girls." And he was right, I wasn't. I had been in worse. I used to work at a car dealership and they were the worst. The salesmen, the shop guys, much worse.
And I didn't care that one of our co-op members called me young lady for 4 years, in fact I thought it was sort of sweet that he thought I was young. When one of the guys said, "Be a good girl and get me a cup of coffee," I responded (with a smile), "I will, if you promise to be a good boy and not get your snack crumbs all over the place." I knew that part of my job was smiling and being nice. Listening to men judge women by if they were "professional" or not. "She's always been so professional. Not flirtatious at all." But never hearing that about the men. "He's always been so professional. Not flirtatious at all." Being a "dame" almost a "dude" so cool, so laid back, not uptight.
And honestly it didn't bug me. I was too used to it as the norm for it to bug me at the time. It's just the way it was.
What did bug me was listening to my ideas get ignored until a deeper voice presented them. What did bug me was a creative director who took credit for my words in copy. What does bug me is seeing men still pretend that these sorts of things never happen. Never happened at all. That women in the work force today have never seen it, lived it, experienced it.
But this week I've seen the best. I've seen men get freaked out about a march. I've seen men try their best to diminish what the women (and men) who gathered did. I've seen a lot of fuss over something they keep saying they don't care about. And it's adorable. Their little lower lips all pouted out. Their precious snowflake feelings all wounded because someone did something that wasn't about them. And the worry that maybe this might actually mean something.
It's so cute.
Women, don't take it personally, they are sometimes a little uptight.