Once a month I attend a networking event through the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) for work. To meet, to greet, to exchange cards, chat, catch up, and get the word out about Forte and everything else in between. I actually really enjoy these events usually and attend EuroCham along with a few others depending on time, date, etc.
Last night at AmCham I ran into some lovely people I hadn’t seen in a while, made new connections, and did the whole networking thing with white wine in one hand and my Kate Spade business card holder in the other. As the night began to die down and my Forte colleague departed, I was left with the stragglers- generally when I jet home and make a real dinner because let’s face it, those canapés really aren’t going to do the trick against the wine and business chat, especially when it’s freeflow.
I started chatting with a fellow who seemed nice enough at the start of our conversation but was severely confused when he kept referring to my husband. I laughed it off thinking it was a joke since he seemed so intent, but when he kept bringing him up I had to say “umm dude, I’m not married”. Maybe because I had hugged someone earlier we must have had to be joined in holy matrimony? Who knows. Maybe I should have just carried on that I was betrothed because once this dude figured I was on the market- even though I mentioned Ritchie numerous, numerous times- he would. not. stop.
It began with a casual wannabe casanova comment of “you’re a breath of fresh air” or “we should definitely get some drinks sometime outside of work stuff” and each time I would respond with “yes- it’ll be great to see you at the next networking event” or “if there’s a group thing that comes up for business I’ll let you know”. Dafty, he was. At that point I should have shuffled all my business cards together and hopped into a tuk tuk but the promise of one more business connection or some good chat with someone new kept me there and that’s when things got even more annoying.
Film came up, and of course everyone had their opinion on what amazing movies were out recently. I mentioned Kill Your Darlings to no one’s knowledge and then the dafty piped in exclaiming how totally awesome Transformers 4 was and that we have to go to see it. When I expressed that I have absolutely zero interest in seeing the movie in all it’s non-glory he smirked and with the most charming response he could come up with said, “well you wouldn’t understand because it’s a man’s movie.” From that, I threw back that I actually thoroughly enjoyed the first film of the franchise and as weak as the storyline goes, it was still good and that I enjoy a “man’s” movie just as much as any human on the planet can if I think it’s done well. Talk to me about Star Wars, Indiana Jones, The Bourne series, Martin Scorcese- I’m sure he considers them all “men’s” films but I could definitely pipe in. Luckily there were some people in the vicinity who spoke up and told him how shitty Transformers 4 was and he quickly changed the subject. The subject then being that he and I should go grab a beer then. After stifling a guffaw and downing the last of my wine I said “no, I’m not into misogyny” and skipped out the door to get myself home.
In the past few weeks I’ve written about well known creeps, learned of more, dealt with more, and seen more encounters than I can count. It’s gross, in a word. From the guy at the networking event who literally has no idea in how to address a woman or her opinions and wants to the rapist at the highschool in America who raped, strangled, and lacerated his teacher to the pedophiles that roam the internet, the restaurants you dine at, the clinics you go to, and the law firms you trust- there is no end to the spew-inducing behavior and actions that seem to be never ending.
In no way am I a misandrist or have a general hatred towards the male species. I have been surrounded by good, solid, intelligent, respectful, honorable men my entire life and for that I am grateful. The majority of my boyfriends have been date-worthy and many even more than that, who shaped and changed my viewpoints of how to be treated as a young woman by a young man. I had a father who showed me what a true man is in all aspects and have amazing guy friends who support me and are fun, smart, and like brothers to me. I have father figures in my life who guide, mentor, and listen without judgment and lend advice that actually makes sense and they don’t look at me like some dumb broad who can’t figure anything out on her own.
My story isn’t event a blip on the radar compared to other’s. I dare even complain about a weirdo in Phnom Penh talking some harmless creep talk considering the atrocities that happen literally every second around the world- but I know that being aware of it all is important. I just seem to keep running into these situations of constant messages from guys on Facebook who don’t know what boundaries are and I wonder if they’ve ever even really spoken to a woman face to face before, moments where I’m viewed as a thing rather than a person, discussions where my body becomes something that I don’t have the right to control or change, and see the same things happening to the girls and women around me.
The only thing I can really say to help you guys out is this: just because we’ve got a set of breasts, softer voices, wear skirts and makeup, or have curves doesn’t mean we don’t deserve the same type of treatment and respect that you would give to your bud on the football team, your male colleague at the office, or one of the guys at the bar. You’re not going to get far with your neanderthal-esque tactics.
See ya, brah.