I’m very particular about titles and keeping things professional in the work place. Sure, I kid around with my bosses, clients and carry-on with my colleagues but I always know my place and I expect the people I deal with to do the same.
Ha! Maybe I should have begun by stating why I do so. It’s simple; I’m a big believer in being courteous and respectful to others-regardless of rank. And, that one must always realize that work relationships are delicate things.
Also, I always have it in me to fight being put into certain ‘boxes’, you know the ‘did she or didn’t she get here by merit and hard work?’ Sure, one should not listen to the whispers out there but if you start from the very beginning being capable and having a good track record it will certainly speak for you.
Ok , enough with the digressing, the reason I am going on and on about ‘work relations’ and ‘respect’ is because a male colleague who repeatedly calls me ‘sweetie’ and ‘sweetheart’ went too far yesterday when I reminded him to stop. The first time he’d said it was over the phone as he tried to convince me to help him out with some work.
I told him, ‘dude, if you want me to help you, you don’t have to call me sweetheart, simply ask.’ But when he said it a second time on another phone call of the same nature, I took it upon myself to remind him when we met the next day.
That as when he said, ‘Kwani you are gay? Only gay people don’t like to be called sweetie.’
*hold up, wait a minute!*
Fighting the urge to punch his face, I very calmly told him that no, I was not gay only that I have boundaries and do not like to have colleagues call me ‘sweetie’. He seemed unmoved.
See, here’s the thing I am a glutton for compliments and love cute terms of endearment. Hell, I have a cold right now and feel like an ogre crashing about the office dressed in pajamas! Do I want to hear the world shower me with flowery words and get all buddy-buddy with every Tom, Dick and Harry? Sure, why not? But please, please, please NOT work colleagues and certainly not those who automatically assume that turning down a ‘cutesy’ title makes you gay.
I expect that some may think, girl lighten up, its harmless. Well, it isn’t to me. Call me paranoid, prudish or whatever but in my ears that ‘sweetie’ was loaded with* for lack of more accurate terms other than ‘ninis’ and the inability to describe gut-feeling* presumptions, sexism and it was a little condescending.
In any case, there are SO many ways to spin this stupid thing this one man said, but I will leave it at that because I don’t want to stereotype. Mind you, this is my second experience with such a Neanderthal and I have just cause to rant but thankfully I have met far more gentlemen in my time to believe that all men are such duds.
However, *a word of caution to this tale* I’d like to kindly request men (and women) to listen to the words that come out of an individual’s lips. If he/she has reservations about something will you bloody pay attention? Also, if perhaps calling a person ‘sweetie’ is supposed to be A. a precursor to wanting to take things further, perhaps out of the work place, make sure that the attention is welcome B. you are just chummy and are like that, darling *wink, wink* it’s about time you realize that not everybody is!