The other day Captain Cavedweller and I were visiting with some people we recently met. We talked about the boring, safe topics that you generally discuss with strangers or new acquaintances.
Then the conversation took a decided turn down the path of disaster. It went something like this:
“So do you work outside the home?” the new acquaintance asked me.
“Yes, I do,” I replied, somewhat surprised by this question.
“Where do you work?”
I stated my place of employment.
“Oh, are you the receptionist?” new acquaintance asked, looking sincerely interested in how I would respond.
At this point, CC nearly choked on the pop he was drinking and I felt the muscles in my neck begin to tense.
To clarify, there is nothing wrong with being the receptionist. I’ve served in that position twice in my career. However, I find it somewhat insulting when someone just assumes because you are employed “outside the home” that at 40 years old, you would have “worked your way up” to receptionist.
Are you kidding me?
If everything around us morphed into shades of black and white, I don’t think I could have felt any more trapped in a 1950s time-warp if we’d been magically transported in time with Mr. Peabody’s Wayback Machine.
Taking a deep breath, I calmly said that I was not the receptionist. CC grabbed my hand and was giving it a gentle squeeze at that point. I’m not sure if it was to provide reassurance, support or restraint.
“Well, what do you do?” new acquaintance asked, trying to wrap their head around the notion that a woman working “outside the home” might be able to do something beyond receptionist work.
When I stated my job title, I got a confused look and the conversation was abruptly shifted to grilling CC about his job.
I have to tell you, that entire conversation made me more than a little bit peeved. In the year 2012, I find it hard to digest the fact that people still have such stilted views of what roles women should play in society.
CC has taken great pleasure in teasing me about the whole thing for the past several days.He has bandied about the phrase “cause I’m the husband and I’m in charge” with a smart-aleck grin more times than I care to count.
The good part about all of it is that it has given me two ideas for novels and a great character that will someday find its way into one of my books.
When life throws lemons at you, squeeze that juice into your next bestselling novel!