Yesterday in the afternoon the phone rang. I answered, as usual having my phone on the phone stand on speaker, so I can continue typing, working, or playing, while talking to whoever is on the other line at the same time. Multitasking, a task I should have given up years ago.
A gentlemen round around my age -give or take a few years- wanted to know if I could help him, he had an odd request. Don’t they all?
“I need webbing attached to fabric,” he explained and then he tried to tell me what he wanted me to do.
He already lost me with WEBBING ATTACHED TO FABRIC, which I didn’t tell him. I waited until he finished his long explanation, and then I asked him to send me pictures of his project.
Webbing is usually attached to a wood frame, so I couldn’t wait to see what he was up to. He again tried to explain what was so obvious to him.
My customers do that all the time. They SEE the finished project in their minds and then they describe to me their vision and hope the same picture might pop up in front of my eyes -sadly it doesn’t work like that. Perhaps one of the reasons why most of us don’t like to watch the movie of a book we read. It messes with the picture we created in our minds. Only seldom can it a film be better than the creation in our heads.
I asked him again to send me a picture and told him he should stop by my workroom next week, so I could take a look at it?
“It’s like a saddle for my deer stand,” he tried to explain again, “It will work like a hammock,” he added and again my mind went blank.
“Just give me a call next week,” I told him again.
“Ok Babe,” was pretty much the last thing I heard before I saw bright stars in front of my eyes.
“Excuse me what did you just call me?” I managed to say. I knew I sounded cold and distant.
“Just a form of endearment,” he excused himself.
“You mean like asshole,” it came out of my mouth without thinking.
Silence on the other end.
I hung up. There was nothing to talk about anymore.
Goodness, did I just call a potential new customer an asshole? Well, not really, but kinda.
My blood was boiling. I felt upset and offended. I leaned back in my chair and wondered what had just happened. I don’t lose my cool that easily, for sure not with customers. This is my business and I prostitute my service as much as everybody else in my line of work. The customer is always right, even when they are dead wrong. I am always polite, even though I curse inside like an old sailor. So why not this time?
After all, it was just a harmless BABE.
Harmless! Is it? My reaction showed me otherwise.
I am 57 years old -or young- and I am sick and tired of being downgraded by men. I am a grown woman and no man has the right to talk to me like I would be a sex object. Calling me Babe is neither cute nor called for. This is business. I have a name, which I am happy to share.
Ever since I became a teenager I had to deal with men overstepping their boundaries. From sexy thing to hottie, later judged to be attractive or downgraded to be a bitch, when I stood my ground.
I have never called a man or colleague anything else than by their name. Why do men think they have the right to use pet names or FORMS OF ENDEARMENT toward women they don’t know?
How much longer will this go on? How much longer will men treat us like people second class or a sex object. How much longer will we have to endure the endless names they give us?
I have a feeling I went from BABE to BITCH in lightening speed when I hung up.
I doubt he will come by my workroom and if he does, I hope he will apologize. I am nobody’s babe and the only man who is allowed to call me “Babe” agrees with me.