Friday, December 6, 2013

Grab Bags, and the Circular Logic Encouraged by the Ego

Grab bags are tough.  The reason you do one is because you don't know the people you're exchanging with that well and so it's silly to get a big gift for everyone involved, and then you're given this very narrow price range your gift must fall in between, and then the person tells their wife to tell you they could use some new shirts and sweaters and stuff but then that seems too impersonal, but so is a gift card, and so is anything else you could get them that you would guarantee they'd use.

I am easy.  Buy me nail polish and a cute iPhone case and I am happy as a clam.  I have my boyfriend's brother and I am just at a loss.  We are spending between $50 and $75 which is not that that's a hard range but it's really not quite enough to get two nice things but just getting one shirt in that price range seems silly and wasteful.  My boyfriend bought a really nice shirt from eBay recently that I was hoping would be a leeeeettle too small on him so I could pass it off to his bro but alas, it fit him perfectly.

The work party last night was interesting.  I ran into one of the major drawbacks of being one of the only women in your office, and that is that people seem to think you're always flirting with them.  I guess I can see how it can be seen that way - being a woman in a big group of men means you need to be able to interact with them the way they do, which is usually by teasing and joking around and it's something I'm generally pretty good at.  However, in other situations like at a bar or on a date, that same teasing would be seen as the kind of ribbing that often goes along with the beginning of dating someone new.

I used to enjoy spending time on the subreddit for pick up artists, /r/seduction or Seddit.  It was endlessly entertaining because the tips they offered were so ridiculously simplistic and absurd, and the "field reports" offered by men having their first experience picking up women in a bar were so uncomfortable and obviously exaggerate, akin to that scene in The 40 Year Old Virgin where Steve Carrell likens the feel of a woman's breast to a bag of sand.  Frankly it wasn't only offensive to women for assuming they are idiots but also to men for assuming that they are essentially cavemen incapable of thought independent from their all-consuming horniness.

They laid out lots of tips for flirting, but one of the major ones was engaging in "kino".  This is escalating those little touches from a graze on the arm to a hand on the small of a back and then whatever else comes after that.  According to the sexperts on Seddit, this is an integral part of the flirting process in taking things from "friendly people chatting" to the next level, whatever that is.

I hate being touched.  I don't know why, I've just never liked it.  I am very jumpy and I always remember when someone would touch me unexpectedly (innocently of course!) I would absolutely jump out of my skin and have to deal with my heart pounding out of my chest for what felt like hours.  I also close my eyes whenever the music starts building up in scary movies, believe it or not.  I also like to be respectful of other people's personal space in case they're as weird and awkward as me, so I don't really touch people either if it isn't an absolute necessity.

Keeping in mind that this is not something I engage in, I was surprised when a drunk coworker told me I act flirtatiously towards men in the office.  Most of them are married and many have kids my age or older, so I've never really thought about it too much because it just doesn't seem like it would be an issue, but I was taken aback by this.  I watched another girl interact as she touched people's backs and shoulders as she spoke to them and wondered if she would be accused of the same thing.  I dress very conservatively, I almost never bring up any sort of sexual topic in conversation and make no allusions to it, and I don't touch anyone - how could I be the flirtatious one here?  An older secretary plants kisses on the cheeks of unsuspecting coworkers and most of the other HR/secretary/accounts women dress very provocatively (low cut shirts, very high open heels, skinny jeans), and are they similarly accused?  The most provocative I get is a sheath dress but on my body there's hardly anything risque to see.

I was slightly upset but mostly confused.  How could I have done this without my knowing?  I hope this was just his drunkenness talking, or maybe even a drunk and misguided attempt at flirting on his part, because I certainly don't want to be seen as the flirty girl because that means I'm not being seen as the intelligent, indispensable female employee.

In some ways, I think that this is indicative of the arrogance and ever-enlarging egos of men that they assume that any woman talking to them is flirting with them or trying to engage them in some kind of non-platonic relationship.  We've all heard about the woman who was fired from a bank for being too attractive and "tempting", and it's insane to me because a woman's attractiveness cannot and should not be conflated with temptation.  Temptation implies two parties interested in the same thing and considering it; a woman being attractive is not tempting you unless she is openly and actively showing interest.  Telling women that they are being flirtatious seems to me like just another way of marginalizing our value in the workplace - I can do my work during the day but any socializing done outside of the workplace or looking up from my computer just sums up to me trying to tempt the men around me.  This guy's reasoning doesn't make sense; he thinks I am acting flirtatious because he is working on a previous assumption that I have the desire to be flirtatious or engage in some sort of non-platonic relationship here, begging the question.

Today, my non-flirtatious self is fully covered.  As was my non-flirtatious self on Wednesday, when I took a picture of my clothes but, naturally forgot to post here.

Shirt: Magaschoni Leopard Pin Dot Shell // Sweater: Theory // Pants: J. Crew Cafe Capri

Shirt: Rag and Bone // Sweater: Vince Stella Sweater (but don't buy it there, that is not a good deal at all) // Pants: Hilton Hollis

As a tall girl, it is so hard to find full length pants that aren't ankle length on me so you might notice me wearing ankle pants all winter, and believe me I am not any happier about it than you are.  J. Crew sells "tall" lengths which are usually fine but can only be bought online and pants are tough to buy without trying on if you are unfamiliar with the cut.  Does anyone know of any good place to buy pants for tall girls that aren't supposed to be ankle length or don't end up being ankle length?  The search continues...

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