Last night I went to class early to work on a project with a friend/classmate. I was running late because I spent the entire day doing research so I threw on a day dress, a pair of earrings, my shoes and then I grabbed my school bag and printed documents and ran out the door.
I got to school on time to meet my friend and we worked together on our project. We were bonding over a conversation about a social justice topic when our classmate walked by. He walked over so we paused our conversation to say hello. Before even saying hi to me he said, are you OK? You look sick. Ugh, here we go.. I’m not sick I just didn’t wear make up today. I really wanted to end that sentence with YOU ASS but I refrained. He continued, no that’s not it, you look stressed or something. Really? Does this conversation really need to continue? No. I’m fine, you have never seen me without make up, this is what my face looks like. He said, if you say so and walked off to meet with some classmates.
I let this annoyance roll off my back and went back to the conversation I was enjoying with my friend.
An hour or so later class started and 2 hours after that class ended. When leaving class my friend and I were walking down the hall with the classmate that had such deep concern for my well being to the point that he just could not let it go. Again he asked, are you sure you are OK? You look tired. WOW. Apparently my face caused a real disturbance for him. How many different ways do I have to put this for him to get it? I told him again I was fine and tried to drop it.
The problem was my obvious frustration with him apparently validated his hunch that something was wrong with me because he latched on to my annoyance and continued with, see you are stressed. Yeah with you! Stop commenting on my f-ing appearance!
Luckily we turned the corner and met up with a few other classmates so I was able to put some distance between us.
The whole thing is such crap. At first I felt like I had to make an excuse for why I wasn’t wearing make-up like “oh my allergies were acting up” or “I was running late and didn’t have time”. But that is ridiculous. I do not have to wear make up and whether I choose to or not what right does anyone have to comment on it?
I came home and told Todd and he laughed (at my classmate’s cluelessness) and then asked me if I was going to survive the semester with him. I just don’t know. But what choice do I have? This is the same person who thinks it’s okay to use “ism” language with friends and that sexism does not exist in the business world and who asked me the second night of class if I was a “feminazi”. Right, because standing up for equality is the same as committing genocide. I have to challenge the nonsense that falls out of his mouth at least once a week. It is exhausting. Not to mention that I have to be careful that when I do so I am nice and do not bruise his delicate male ego because ultimately I have to work with him all semester long. Joy.
As exhausting as it is though it is maybe good in a way, for me at least. He challenges me to be assertive, to find ways to successfully work with people who, for me, are difficult to work with, to educate and advocate and to try to see things from another person’s perspective who I do not at all agree with.
I know I have written a few posts now that touch on my frustrations with this person but we still work together rather well on projects. I think a big part of that is being able to put our differences aside and appreciate what the other person brings to the table, he has strengths just like everyone else. I cannot ignore the things he says that offend me but I do not have to let that define what i think of him either. There is more to this person than just that and I know better.
I am not going to lie though sometimes, like when it comes to make make-up-less face, I do wish he would just STOP TALKING.