Monthly Archives: January 2015

Office relationship fail

OK … I admit my title is a little bit clickbaitish. I am not going to talk about office romances.

I describe myself to others as either a gregarious misanthrope or a socially adept introvert – it depends on my estimation of their vocabulary. This is a description I have become more comfortable with over the years. I am OK with preferring my own company most of the time.

Which brings me to office relationships, and at this point I will briefly graze the tips of the topic of office romance. Another thing I am is a flirt. It is how I cope with the world. I am a flirt, I am witty, and  I tend to be flippant and chatty , all only when I have to be and until I can scurry away.

This leads people (and yes, some men) on. The truth is I am not all that interested in socializing at the office. I am not here to make friends.

Which lends itself to another brief aside. My friend Lisa likes to point out at every gathering I host that almost everyone in the room started their relationship with me in a work setting. Damn … even my husband was only once removed from my direct office setting. I am not a hermit. I do form bonds with other humans.

Still, I really am not a fan of office relationships.

I like to spend my lunches reading or walking (or shopping). I take that coffee break walk to Starbucks to clear my head. I prefer not to sit in the lunchroom while I eat.

I will chat with you if you stop by my desk. I will make an appearance at the monthly birthday cake event. I will say good morning to you as we pass. If you are my co-worker I will hold the elevator for you. I will make small talk while the presenter sets up at the meeting. I will remember the names of your kids and spouse if you tell me. I will complement your fashion sense if your fashion sense warrants complimenting.

If I agree to the occasional coffee with you, you should know that I genuinely like you.

I know none of that sounds misanthropic or introverted. That’s the gregarious, socially adept side of me showing.

If you ask me to lunch more than three times and I make excuses as to why we cannot that’s your sign that I am simply not interested in socializing. Maybe we chat just fine, but that doesn’t always indicate a deeper connection. I could just be politely tolerating you and your hill-billy political views.

I don’t need four well-meaning people to stop by my office to remind me that the chili pot-luck is on now.  One of the other significant eccentricities I deal with on a daily basis is that I have food aversions. Statistically significant issues with food.  Specifically, with eating other people’s cooking. Particularly if I have never seen their kitchen. I am not going to eat your chili. I know you think I will because I politely took your wife’s cookie when you trapped me in the lunch room and I wasn’t quick enough on my feet to come up with an excuse not to. Don’t make me come up with some elaborate ruse to get out of eating the meal you are most famous for. We can be casual acquaintances without sharing food and without making extended small talk.

Office relationships are fragile, and I don’t want to fail at them completely. I just want to hide from them most of the time. Is that so bad?


The Pedanthood Monologues

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Eve Ensler wrote a fabulous piece of theatre called the Vagina Monologues twenty years ago. I saw it with a friend at the Meyer Horowitz theatre on the University of Alberta campus. It made me cry, it made me smile, and it made me think.

This recent article indicates that she, and the work, have been accused of not being ‘inclusive’.

This touches on a distinction that bothers me. It is appropriately a pedant issue too, because it involves the precise interpretation of two related words. High five for living up to my blog’s name once in a while. YAY!

It can also be directly tied back to my previous posts via one common rebuttal of feminism – “What about men’s rights” Low five for sticking to a theme? …

Here’s my issue: Just because something is not included does not mean it was excluded. Inclusion involves choosing what is IN a set. Exclusion involves deciding something should not be in a set. For reasons of pragmatism or availability of information or timing of message, IN choices can leave things un-included. But that does not mean they were deemed un-includable for broad purposes. They can be brought into discussion and can benefit from awareness generated about an issue even if they were not originally in the set.

Eve Ensler herself says “The Vagina Monologues never intended to be a play about what it means to be a woman. It is and always has been a play about what it means to have a vagina. In the play, I never defined a woman as a person with a vagina.”

I am a woman. I also have a vagina. Specifically, I am a cis gender woman.

The Vagina Monologues addressed a specific issue, and for pragmatic reasons cis gender women were the IN set. The Vagina Monologues speak to me as a subset of humanity without denying the humanity of anyone not addressed by the specific words spoken on stage. This wonderful work is not called the ‘Woman Monologues’ and it doesn’t claim that the underlying themes are unique to women. Sadly violence, bigotry and intolerance are issues faced by many ‘sets’ within our species.

The issues faced by women and by LGBT people are similar, but not identical. All gender identifications face challenges when it comes to living their sexual identities. The set was chosen to give voice to one facet of broader human challenges. That it is applicable to a larger set of people and the challenges they face means that The Vagina Monologues can be used as the foundation upon which more discussion, change and progress can be built.

I am an ardent feminist, and logically by extension have also been an active advocate for LGBT rights. In my head one extends to the other; there is overlap and fluidity between the two groups and the challenges they face.

Bear in mind that when I talk about harassment of women or violence and sexual crimes against women I am speaking for myself from my own personal experience, but I would never dream of silencing your voice or minimizing your struggle. We are humanity, and we are in this together.


Women against feminism part four – the man update

(Maybe) this is the last time I will address women against feminism. I cannot say for sure because both women and men keep undermining the (human rights) cause(s) that are in their best interest.

For example, this sad example of women blaming women for our unwillingness to accept the status quo, where the status quo is not acceptable. Or this offensive example of trying to erase women from a global discussion.

Anyway…myth busting…

A woman who hates men is not a real feminist, she is a person with problems. I love you guys … when you treat me well, and when you don’t I don’t. A real feminist’s affection for men is a reciprocal affection.

Feminism is not about targeting any segment of the population for contempt. That would be misandry. Misandry is the b-side of a really bad record (the a-side be misogyny). True feminists do not march to that tune.

Feminists promote extending human rights to all human beings, not taking them from men. Human rights are not a zero sum game, rights shared are not rights diminished. Extending human rights to one more human does not in any way mean there are fewer human rights for those who already enjoy them.

Human rights are an infinite resource and hoarding them or restricting their possession to and elite group of humans can in no way ever be justified.

In fact, the one thing that restricting access to human rights CAN and WILL do is make those rights less certain for every last one of us regardless of gender.

Men can and should be self-identifying as feminists. Not for our sake; although I appreciate that sentiment; but for their own sake. What is universally available is very hard to take away.

Feminism is not a power grab, it is a method of solidifying prosperity and freedom for all of us whether we like each other on an individual basis or not.

Men have absolutely nothing to lose by feminism and a great deal to gain by  actively working in unison towards feminist goals. When women win we all win, and denying that men need to be involved or asserting that feminism is not fair to men is just not productive. We are stronger when we stand together.