Before I say anything else, I would like to make one thing clear. I am not a mad feminist. I am generally concerned about the usual things women have cause to moan about – gender pay gaps, the fact that us ladies are often written off as old and past it much younger than men (I mean look at poor Moira Stewart. They would never have done that to Trevor McDonald), the unfair advantage given to beautiful women (and men for that matter) in most areas of life, that sort of thing.
I also like watching Sex and the City, but despite what most men think, I don’t wish to emulate their shallow consumer driven lifestyle. I’m not even particularly interested in shoes. Wearing sky high heels only means I can’t get as drunk as I would like on nights out, so I’ll stick with flats, thank you very much. However, I do wish to voice a concern that has given me much grief this week. And the concern is men. Not in general you understand, but men in the work place – in my work place to be precise.
This is partly my own fault (and I shouldn’t be the least bit surprised) as I have ended up doing a ‘blokes’ job. I am manager of a group of mainly male employees, which for the most part, they don’t seem to like one bit. I am currently managing a pub, which before me was run by a group of middle aged men who had all known each other for years and who, despite their little fallings out and disagreements, at least all gave each other’s opinions equal weight because for all intents and purposes, they were cut from the same cloth.
The other unhelpful factor in my transition is that before becoming manager I worked in the same pub as a barmaid. And everyone loves a young barmaid.
Barmaids get you drunk, look pretty and pretend to flirt with you a bit. However, if we then end up in charge, in a position to throw you out or make business decisions, apparently we just aren’t fun anymore. Barmaids aren’t supposed to understand anything about business, and as soon as they hint that they do, they aren’t to be trusted.
I have managed to get this attitude from all sides. Customers, workmates, and generally any man who thinks he could do the job better. Which is just about everyone. Because they’ve all been in a pub before. And apparently, that qualifies you to run one.
Didn’t Britain used to be full of landladies? You know, those great British treasures in the vein of Peggy Mitchell, off Eastenders. Bit of a battleaxe, but good fun and took no nonsense, except off those ape-like sons of hers, but at least they could help her lug barrels about. I used to quite like Peggy Mitchell.
But along with numerous other stereotypically British traditions, this one seems to have died. And I suppose I am quite young to be taking on such a job, but give me a bloody break! I have so far been patronised, openly bitched about and argued with, ‘advised’ that I am going about things the wrong way, or simply ignored completely.
I arranged a meeting with an employment lawyer a few days ago, which the bookkeeper (a man in his forties) decided to sit in on. And they were a well-known reputable firm. Did this arsehole look at me once? Did he bollocks. After his initial poorly disguised shock that I was the manager in the first place, he proceeded to give me a fleeting glance every few minutes, and direct all the answers to my questions to the bookkeeper.
I felt like a kid at a grown-ups dinner table, to be seen and not heard. I eventually forced him to direct his attention to me by pointing out that I had called him in, and I was potentially going to hire, and pay him. I had to be downright pushy, which really annoyed me. I did not hire him, by the way.
It’s the same with the assistant manager. Despite reps, delivery men, contractors, accounts people or anyone else knowing I am the manager, and that I am usually the one that arranged the bloody meeting, they will still refer all questions and answers to the assistant, simply because he’s male. And I think I’m picking up some manly aggression due to it.
I now spend practically all my time with men. I work with them and due to most of my friends being connected with work, as most peoples are, I end up spending my free time with them. For Gods sake, I live with two blokes also.
I’m starting to crave a Sex and the City marathon and a night out in high heels.
Despite my horror at the prospect, it seems you can be as ballsy as you like, but the old skills hold true. The quickest way to get men to do anything is the tried and tested trick of flattering their ego, and making them think it was their idea first, whilst batting your eyelashes a bit.
So take note of this fellas. Women are only manipulative because you don’t fucking listen. And, Mr Lawyer, if a woman is potentially paying your wages, look her in the face for Christ’s sake.
Women aren’t stupid, and we are perfectly capable of doing our jobs. And the bits we don’t want to do, we’ll make you do – and we’ll make you think it was your own brilliant idea in the first place.
And you’ll have no one to blame but yourselves.