The other day, as I’m leaving work, a male colleague (we’re going to call him Jimothy) approaches me and says, “Hey Girl, I know you’re leaving, but would you mind if I make a personal observation real quick, while it’s on my mind?”
Immediately defensive, because Jimothy is a Work Bro™, and he’s offered me this let me trap you literally in the mantrap as you try to leave sort of interaction before, I say, “Uhm. I don’t know, Jimothy. That depends. How unkind is this observation?”
“Wow,” he observes (eyeroll), “you seem really defensive.”
And, like I said, I really am defensive. I am a fat, queer, liberal, atheist woman with a lot of opinions that I share in a constant, steady stream, because I like being a fat, queer, liberal, atheist woman and I’m not shy. So, as some of you might guess, I get offered a lot of “helpful” feedback. Most of it can be distilled into the following categories: Be Less Fat, Let Me Tell You How; Be Less Queer, You Should Pick Team Sausage; You’re A Liberal Bitch, Jesus Hates You. I am no stranger to constructive criticism, Jimothy, I know where this road leads!
I gently explain, “Jimothy, bruh (this is how you have to talk to bros, folks), most of the dudes who want to tell me about myself don’t really like me.” And he looks uuuuuuuuncomfortable now. Naturally, I stare at him to draw the moment out.
“Well,” he begins, and stops.
“Jimothy, are you about to tell me about myself? Because I’m going to take a hard pass on that, if you are about to tell me anything unkind because my day is pretty much over and I’m about to go enjoy the evening.”
There’s some word fumbling, which I take to mean, yeah, Jimothy wants to tell me something really important about me, except that I am clearly hostile, which might even be what he wants to advise me on à la Maybe You Should Smile More, or Men Are Talking, You’re Fucking That Up, or even You Were Really Aggressive In That Meeting When You Shared Your Thoughts. And I certainly never want to pass up an opportunity for personal growth, but damn it Jimothy, now I have to kill you.
“It’s just that in our meeting you were a little–” he starts, and I hold up my hand and then walk the fuck away, because I don’t need that kind of feedback from Jimothy of all people and it was 5pm on the dot, which is when all fat, queer, liberal, atheist female project managers go home to sacrifice children to Hillary Clinton.
Glossary of Terms:
Work Bro – One who is a bro, that you work with, who somehow manages to make every interaction seem as if you are stuck in hell/a frat kegger in the corner of the kitchen where one of these dudes drones on endlessly about themselves and their high school victories, except now this guy is 35 and you’re at work, and you will never ever get away from Work Bro until someone cooler walks by and his attention is diverted.
Hillary Clinton – Some lady who wrote some emails, I dunno, bro.