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    One day last year for whatever reason, a co-worker, who is higher ranking than I am, announced at the job that she never thinks about what she is going to wear to work, not one thought. That sounded very strange to me. When the word 'never' is used, it usually isn't true. And why would she want to have us think that? Made no sense to me. Her clothes don't clash. Seemed like she had the light on and looked in the mirror.

    I should mention that this person, probably unaware of what she puts out there, has said hello to me on more than one occasion in a tone of voice that said, 'What the fuck are YOU doing here?"

    I’ve known people who gave no thought when getting dressed, and they never announced it. They looked it. One showed up at work with two different shoes on.

    So I figured this announcement meant something else that she was trying to say. One week later, I had to come in on a Saturday for a special event. I was going to be in a skit requiring special make-up, so I didn't wear my regular make-up on my way in. The person the event was for had just been shitty to me the day before and, it seemed because I said I wasn't being treated fairly, wasn't talking to me. I was not worried about looking pretty. I was pissed. Yet the skit was something that was supposed to be fun and would be anyway because I was in it with one of my favorite co-workers and the script was hilarious. On my way in, I ran into the woman who declared she doesn't give one thought to what she wears to work. She stood in front of me and said, "Appearance. Nothing's more important than appearance."

    The other day she complimented a jacket I have worn for roughly ten years as if she'd never seen it before. Her tone is what bothers me. Her compliments sound like cover-ups for something else she's really getting at.

    In my life, I have been compared to the child in the Emperor’s Clothes, so if she needs someone to go along with her bullshit, she's got the wrong person.

    Her own style of dress is rather asexual. I can appreciate the need a woman may have to present herself that way in our society, but it doesn't tend to be my style now. I don't mention anything about how she looks unless I have something positive and sincere to say. I wear earrings, eye make-up, and lipstick most of the time. She doesn't. For special occasions, she wears a bit. We are from different worlds in that way. I often want to give women like that a make-over just so they can see themselves another way and then do as they wish. She's someone I’d want to see looking sexually alive for a moment and take a photo to give her as a reminder of her options.

    Much of the time, due to low finances, I am wearing one of a few pairs of pants and an oversized t-shirt from when my son wore them that way. I inherited his t-shirts when his style changed. Sometimes, I am dressed nicer. But either way, I'm with earrings, eye-makeup, and lipstick. My grandmother would approve. She always said, "You should wear a little lipstick. You never know who you might meet."

    I loved the part of Erin Brockovitch when her boss told her that the other women had a problem with the way she dressed, and she said that she liked the way she dressed just fine. The thing is, no matter how she dressed, she was going to look sexy because she is sexy. And those women would spend their energy better looking at their own estranged sexiness.

    So the day of the compliment on my jacket, I told her I'd been wearing it since my son was a child. She said she knew and that it was a nice jacket but not an all-season jacket. I said that it is when I need it to be. Then I just announced, "This is ___ telling me what to do." Everyone laughed including she. I left.

    I'm a grown person and she is not my mother, yet she annoys me with shit like that. When most others compliment me, it sounds sincere. With her, it sounds like the beginning of a problem. I feel my resentment building, and I don't want that to continue. I was thinking I should put the spotlight back on her somehow. I guess I did that already with the comment I made. We'll see how long that holds. I also sent her this:

    She found it amusing.

    I notice that even when I do my job very well, it is too easy to get into trouble at work. At a larger meeting with a parent organization, we had to make recordings of ourselves explaining something. The program I work with did ours as a team, but it was my voice and thoughts being used. After each group's recordings were played, I was asked how I sounded so genuine. Don't blurt out the obvious. I know you want to, but you need your job. Don't say it, Mindy. Think. Do not speak until you think. So after an awkward silence, I began to speak about having done it as a team and never answered the question. Of course, I wanted to say that I sound genuine because I am genuine. And in that one sentence, I would have offended the entire room.

    I end up in problems with people who ask questions they genuinely think they want answered. I believe it was Plato who advised, "Know thyself."


  2. 5 comments:

    1. She So Funny said...

      I once owned two pairs of identical boots, one in black, one in brown. I wore one brown, one black to work one day. I was the only one who noticed.

      I have to go put more make up on now! xoxo ~Samantha

    2. I would think the students would notice and think you are very cool. :-) Thanks for reading.

    3. Anonymous said...

      You have to trust your gut. Whenever I feel someone's a jerk, eventually they prove it. (I too have worn mismatched shoes - by accident.)

    4. She's a true mixed bag. She has had my back too because she values my work. Our basic approach to people and life is very different. What makes me laugh often silences her. What makes her laugh sometimes horrifies me. Yet at work, she's also been great. A very mixed bag.

    5. A friend of mine from the poetry circles sent me a comment she tried to post here but couldn't. I am posting it below:

      "I loved it. I tried to post my comment and it would not go through so here it is:

      I got fired on one of my first jobs in the business world for not wearing high heels, even though I told the boss that I have flat feet and cannot wear them. Other female bosses have said, your shoes are too casual or your clothes don't match. Finally, the world has caught up to where I always was with the mixing of fabrics, styles, patterns and topping everything off with chukka boots.


      Madeline Artenberg

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