All Balls Itch

Another girl pretending to be a guy so she can write freely. And not get fired. Or divorced. Or lose friends.

That Wasn’t On The Menu

I rarely take my clients up on their offers for dinners or drinks. Mainly because I work with a bunch of gossipy bitches and I don’t want stories circulating about my inability to keep my pants on. Convention Guy Syndrome is real and it’s not to be toyed with. I treat this condition with the care of a petrie dish of Ebola or a brick of C4.

But Ebony is a fellow black woman of a certain age who has had to balance the shaky tightrope of talking professionally and talking white. She’s tiny and fun and someone who I look up to professionally. She can talk to anyone at any time, flawlessly. I fully expect that if she was dropped in the middle of a KKK rally, she’d have them in conga line singing “I’m black and I’m proud”. She’s THAT good.

After a hectic day at work, I was exited to see her pull up in her giant SUV with gorgeous smile. Of course, she’s a master multitasker so she was finishing a phone call as I ambled into her truck.

We hugged, we laughed. She was telling me about her new husband when she stopped abuptly, mid-sentence to ask “Hey, do you mind if we make a quick stop before we go to dinner?”

No problem!

We continued to chat and laugh until she parked the car. In front of a piercing shop.

ME: You getting something pierced?
EBONY: Yup, my hood!!

She went on to tell me how she’d been thinking about it for awhile, that her husband is out of town and she wanted to surprise him when he got home. I mean, her smile was so big. Like kid-gets-Xbox-on-Christmas big. I didn’t have the heart to curse her ass out for springing this on me.

We walk into the shop with all the grace of hippos on rollerskates, giggling and clicking our heels on the wooden floor.

Not So Subtle, Party of 2.

The Piercer was not amused and had that look of a Planned Parenthood doctor the Sunday after Spring Break. Ebony wanted the shiniest piece they had on display, but The Piercer said that piece was better suited for belly buttons. After a very clinical, and not all that titilating, discussion about the variety of hood sizing (there’s lots) and aftercare (there’s washclothing involved), and heeling (about a month), and bacterial avoidance (use condoms); we went back to the room to see what size rod Ebony needs for her hood.

SIDENOTE: This this only the third time I’ve seen Ebony ever in life and the first where we’ve hung out socially.

While Ebony dropped her pants, I become deeply fascinated by the photos in the wall. I assume the awkwardness of the handholding here is implied and there is no need to detail JUST how strange an experience it was.

Ebony and The Piercer settled on a size and we went back to the waiting room for paperwork and crack. OK, there was no crack but I would have tried it had it been available. Because sitting in a room with someone I semi-barely know with her pants around her ankles is also on my last of things I never thought I would do.

I was perusing the other patrons, wondering how many of them were also putting holes in their nether regions, when Ebony shouts “I wonder what SHE’S getting done!”

SHE was clearly a stripper.

ME: I’m pretty sure a piercing shop is kind of like ‘the clinic’– you can’t just run around asking people what they’re in for.
EBONY: No, that’s prison. Hey, what are you getting done?
SHE: My nipples.
EBONY: I HEARD THAT HURTS!!
SHE: I heard that, too. But the hood was quick. You’ll be fine.

Ebony heads back into the room and I try not to fantasize She’d backstory. Is she a mom undercover in a strip club trying to find evidence for her wrongfully jailed son? Or is she saving money to escape her abusive husband like Jennifer Lopez in’Enough??

FRONT DESK GUY: Um, She? You indicated that you haven’t has a substantial meal in the last 2 hours. When was the last time you ate?
SHE: Um… Breakfast?… Yeah, it was breakfast yesterday?

(What the what?!? I ate 2 hours before Ebony picked me up. And I could totally eat again! Remember to research ‘Tweaker Stripper Diet’ when I get home).

FRONT DESK GUY: Well, you’re going to experience a rush of hormones in your body and you could pass out. You really should eat something.
SHE: Can I eat this candy on your counter?
FRONT DESK GUY: you really need something more substantial. Try a granola bar and a Coke.

Kudos to Front Desk Guy for making the experience of poking permanent hole in your fun bags a safe one.

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Bitch, Please.

One of the things that has kept me away from blogging is the fear of getting discovered and thusly fired because of what I post here.  I realize bigger better bloggers have blazed that trail and are not subsisting on cat food nor are they turning tricks to survive.  And thanks to quick response to my random email from Kristy, I’m gonna give it a go.

I mean, I have advanced degrees.  I’m cute.  And nice.  And black.  And some place is going to have some affirmative action quota they need to fill, so there’s that.

Over the last 7 years, I’ve had a pretty bumpy career.  I think it’s because my first 3 professional years were so amazing that my expectations for the World of Work were set pretty high.  My first 3 years I worked in an environment of unbridled support and mutual respect.  We picked up the ball for each other without worrying that we’d be working unpaid overtime.  We did happy hours, celebrated birthdays, went to each other’s weddings, laughed, grunted through work so it never felt like work.  I was inspired. I was happy. I was doing exactly what I my high-priced education prepared me to be doing.  And then shit changed. People got promoted. They got egos. Divisions were made between us and them.  It was like being friends with a divorcing couple.  And I stuck it out for 2 more years until I saw the underside of a bus.  Since then I’ve followed jobs where it starts out all sunshine and promise and that THIS time will be different. Until it’s not.

So I changed industries.  Followed the money with a big company. The one where I felt a little tingle in my bottom every time I saw the logo on TV.  Where work/life balance is not only non-existent, but people take pride in the amount of time they spend away from their real lives.  Where sending an email at 3am is a badge of honor and walking around the office with an IV of coffee and speed are strongly encouraged.  While I’ve never been one to chase awards (I’d rather see your appreciation on my pay stub), it was starting to come.  At first my recognitions were well-received by my colleagues.  Then I got a promotion and that shit changed real quick.

In an office of 70+, there are 7 men.  And, besides me, 4 black women.  While I pride myself on being able to get along with just about anyone (some of my best friends are white!…actually ALL of them are), I seem to be running into some issues lately.  The newest being one that is “older” and has questioned my qualifications since the day I arrived.

The frustrating thing is she has a very Holly Hobby, kindergarten teacher manner.  Her voice is soft and sing-songy and I let her get away with starting sentences with “Girl” because punching her in the face would be rude.  I’m essentially her assistant on a project with very picky clients.  Most of the other people I’ve assisted have scheduled a meeting with me to say “This is what I need from you, this is what I expect, how I want information to come from you, and when I need it.”  Done and done. I can work with ANYONE if you’re clear with me.  Now if you expect me to meander through the cobwebs of your mind, we’re gonna have problems.

Which is what we have now. Problems.

I take notes on all of our calls with the clients email them to her.  Since I am pretty detailed in this process, most people I assist either send them directly to the client or give me a heads up on what they’ve changed before sending it.  Not her. She changed a bunch of crap, assigned it to me,  and didn’t alert me to it until the day before our next client meeting. And then got pissed at me for not having it ready.  While I was out of town.

It’s MY process that I know more than my assistants, so I can delegate tasks appropriately.  On our last client call she asked me some key questions, I felt, she should have known and then threw me under the bus.  When I scheduled a “Hey, let’s talk about your style/process” call with her, she asked me if I wanted to go through each point in my job description to make sure I understood it.

(sigh).

I’m adding “mind reader” to the “Other Duties As Assigned” and moving the fuck on.

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