Life, Writing

Slut Shaming and the Single Lady

How I made the slut list without even knowing it

It was a regular week at work. The day was going by slow and for some odd reason the clock seemed faster at my house than it did at my job.I worked in the IT field, in a small business that should have went out of business year ago with the amount abuse they bestowed on their employees, but more on that later.

The lady from human resources, for legal purposes let’s call her Maude, walked feverishly towards my desk. Maude, was a heavy set woman in her mid-50s, with a short blonde bob and big bifocal eyeglasses that made her eyes look two sizes too big. I liked her spirit. She was a no-nonsense type of woman and admired that. Working the information technology world has its draw-backs, it’s a male dominated profession, one that can clearly be defined as ‘boy’s club’.

Maude and I made infrequent chats in the lunchroom. As always, she remained professional while keeping the humane aspect of her job on the low. From what I gathered, she enjoyed kayaking on the weekends, going to the gun range, and reading personal development books. She was like the old lady version of myself. Maude was a divorcee. Her marriage went south when he ex-husband ran off with another younger woman.  She had invested decades into the marriage before he got another woman pregnant. It explained why she took shooting lessons, they were practice drills.

I recalled one conversation, during lunch, when we discussed how to get away with murder. I had a strange fascination with serial killers and as a writer, that aspect of human emotion appealed to me.

“I planned a perfect murder before. One time, I planned how I would kill my ex-husband,” Maude confessed as she stuffed a large piece of greenery in her mouth. She chuckled a bit, but I knew there was a hint of truth in her tone.

“You’re already disqualified from the perfect murder. You told me so you can’t get away with it now,” I replied. I shuffled my lunch a bit.

“That’s why I said ‘I planned it’, past tense,” she remarked. She made it sound like I was trying to be a smart aleck, when in reality I was just pointing out the obvious.

“Because no one would suspect the ex-wife,” I shrugged my shoulders. Her statement was an open and shut case. My six-year old godson could solve that mystery.This may have been the reason Maude was after me on this particular day. The perfect murder remark kept me on her shit list. I always thought we were cool. We even hung out after work; she was my kickboxing and self-defense partner. Nothing says bonding like having the old wise-cracking lady as your head lock partner.

This day was different, Maude was on a mission. She stood in front of my desk and posed: “Can I see you for a second?”

I nodded my head in agreement. If I was nice during the proceedings, when they gave me the boot, at least they could mail me my paycheck in 1-2 business days instead of saying it got lost in the mail.

Maude whisked me away into an empty office and closed the door behind me.

“You’re not getting fired,” she responds. I wish at that point in time, I could’ve let out a sigh of relief, but this job had a retention rate of about 10%. I counted 17 people being fired or quitting between the seven months I ‘ve been employed there.

“…but you are getting written up,” she spoke. She pulls out a form and a stack of sheets that is longer than my first novel.

outfit

I googled business casual.

“The dress code here is business casual and for your department, a company shirt for the field technicians. What you are wearing is a dress code violation,” she retorted.

I look down at my clothes. I was wearing black fitted slacks, a gray shirt, and a matching gray cardigan. If that wasn’t business casual I had to google what is.

“I understand that you have a nice body, but you don’t have to show it off,” Maude said. She proceeds to unravel her novel. It was a picture of a women with all her breast out in tight buttoned shirt. I guess that who I was supposed to be but I would never wear a shirt like that without an undershirt.

Maude pointed out that working with men meant that they were constantly looking at me. I noticed that she didn’t say that they were constantly looking at us. She couldn’t fathom why I would choose to wear heels in the office. I looked down at my feet. My heels were barely two inches high but I know my wedges looks extremely high and that’s the illusion I was trying to convey…that I was tall because being under 5’5″ does not have it’s perks. Then she posed:

“Who are you dressing for?”

This is when I almost lost it.

“Myself. I dress for myself and I wear heels just like you choose to wear sandals, I feel comfortable. It’s no different than anyone who chooses picking a watch over a non-time wearing individual,” and there it was…smarty, the smart aleck rearing it’s ugly head.

I was livid. Only because she accused me of trying to seduce the men of my department. What a joke? Did she see the slim pickings: the gay guy, the old guy, and the middle-aged men that were closer to her age than ever to me. If I was trying to sleep my way to the top, I was doing a horrible job and should be written up for that fact only.

Maude was slut-shaming me, assuming how I’m dressed dedicated how I’m perceived sexually. Of course, my fitted clothes that covered up 90% of my body with the exception of my face was a call for men to look at me and think that I’m at work to sexual gratify them, not anything to do with the fact that I was there to fix computers.

teacher

#TeacherBae is slut-shamed for dressing inappropriately

I recalled her saying I had a nice body, then pointing out my percentage of cleavage. I was a top heavy person. The only way to hide my enormous breasts was to either wear a burlap sack or pay someone to remove them all together. Since burlap sack was out of the question and not qualified as business cas and I was too poor to even pay for top ramen; I had to accept the body I was given. No over-sized company shirt, or jacket could hid my big ones. I’ve been trying to get rid of them since they first appeared. And that was the thing, most women spent their whole lives in the gym trying to work out to look like me and I was just handed it, then told to hide it because my body shape was deemed work appropriate.

teacher-2

Having curves means fitted clothing is slutty

This reminds me about this article about the teacher in the Maxi Dress who got reprimanded for being ‘too sexy’. Her dress falls at just above the knee, yet because of her curves and the shape of her body, she was slut-shamed. Clearly, her outfit didn’t prohibit her job. It’s the same case of the rapist shaming the victim for dressing rape-like.

“What can I do to help?” Maude attempted to sound altruistic.

“Do you need more company shirts? I know I have only two and don’t have any time for laundry,” Maude added trying to sound empathetic. I shook my head no. Someone insinuating that I was a slut made me want to hold my tongue.

“You don’t want to talk to me? Oh, because now I’m the bad guy,” Maude noted. She handed me her bible of notes then had me sign a form.

“Um, no. I’m not signing that,” I added. There was clause that said my clothes were too tight but it also said that my skirts were too short.

“My skirts always fall just slightly above or below the knee,” I remarked. I mean, even whores have their limits.

“Well, then initial where you feel it does not apply,” Maude shrugged her shoulders.

“Can I initial the whole document?” I crossed my arms.

Maude gave me a look. I initialed where I felt was appropriate and then I took Maude’s list of complaints and shoved them under my arm. She wasn’t the bad guy in the situation, the bad guy was my wallet. If I didn’t need money, I would have walked out the building in my beige pumps and worked in a profession that didn’t spend their time ogling my outfit choices but rather my extraordinary talent.

The next day, I wore two winter coats to work. It was 93 degrees outside and there was a swimming pool of sweat under each of my armpits.

“Nice jacket!” my co-worker winked at me. I didn’t know what he meant by that comment. I’m sure Maude wouldn’t write him up for looking at me in a sexual matter.

I rolled my eyes and thanked him graciously. I noted that it was my favorite one and I was so excited for Winter that I wore this coat four months early just to break it in.

At lunch, Maude was gulping down a hearty salad when I sat down across from her. We both greeted each other. A middle-aged male co-worker walked by and my chair was in his path.

“Need me to move?” I offered him a seat.

“Can I sit on your lap?” he remarked.

I quickly said no with a disgusted look on my face because even whores have standards.

Maude didn’t even bother to glance my way nor give the gentleman a verbal warning. I was targeted for sexual assault and I was wearing a large coat hiding all parts of my body with the exception of my hands and face. I guess sexual advances are only caused by single women in fitted clothing.

 

 

You may also like

1 Comment

  • Ice

    Well done arcltie that. I’ll make sure to use it wisely.

    December 27, 2016 at 11:29 am Reply
  • Leave a Reply