Gents

Working in a predominantly male environment isn’t a problem. After years at the school-gate, I enjoy it more than I thought I would.

I don’t even mind being on the ‘cc’ list for emails where we’re all addressed as Gents. Really, I don’t. What’s the alternative, after all?

Folks? Sounds like what follows is to be delivered with a Clinton-esque drawl.

Colleagues? Likewise, only German.

All? Probably best of a bad bunch, though it lacks a certain something.

If we were predominantly women, would we go for “Ladies”? I doubt it. Gents may suggest a sort of chummy inclusivity (ironically enough), but Ladies has delicate floral overtones of something else entirely. If there were a bloke or two among us, it would just seem altogether wrong. I wonder why,

So no, being a relatively lone woman in the office isn’t a problem. I like my colleagues. We get on well. We’re all just doing our jobs, after all. We’re all gents. More or less.

It’s just that I’m jealous.

They’re tired at work? They can scrub their fists into their eyes without fear of spending the rest of the day like a panda.

They’ve got desk ache? No worries! They can stretch their arms over their heads; link their hands behind their back and release shoulders without the inadvertent engagement of a bosom.

Itchy ear/nose/crotch/armpit? That’s why God gave you the ability to scratch, damn it. Why interrupt your important work to do it somewhere a little more private.

Stressed? Hot? Tell me spreading dark rings under the arms are as acceptable on a woman. Go on, I dare you.

Time of the month? Oh, of course, the gauntlet of getting those strange little man-supplies to the office, or breaking out of interminable meetings to use the damn things doesn’t apply, does it?

And yes, gents, I know, you have to shave. But the looks you get if you don’t are probably akin to the ones I get when I’m running so late that getting ready amounts to little more than a once-over with a brush and a wave of my make-up back in the general direction of my face.

It’s not their fault, any more than it’s mine. No-one writes these rules, after all.

I’m here, after all.

It’s a level playing field, isn’t it?

Isn’t it?

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2 thoughts on “Gents

  1. Very interesting. Do we not bear part of the responsibility for imposing these standards of acceptable female dress and behaviour on ourselves? It’s often struck me as absurd that high heels and make-up – impractical at the best of times, but especially so when trying to do business – are regarded as appropriate in the office.

    1. Thanks for your comment! Yes, absolutely we do – or, at least, it’s not the “fault” of anyone in particular. It has just struck me, very forcibly, quite how far apart these standards are – and how much time, effort and attention is distracted away by maintaining them

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