I work in an all male environment and it is turning me into That Chick who spends too much time in the company of dudes.
Exhibit A: Today I opened up a sleeve of Thin Mints. I called out to Ink Dude in the back office, "Yo, Ink - you want a Thin Mint?" He did not respond. Before I became That Chick I would have gotten up and walked (Thin Mints in hand) to the back office to offer again. Instead That Chick muttered, "No response, no cookies."
Exhibit B: Last week I used an expression the boys taught me in a conversation with one of their male friends. Let's say the operative word I used was "Weltmeisterschaft".
That Chick: You know he is all Weltmeisterschaft.
The Friend: Ack! (He kind of squeaked like a mouse.)
That Chick: What? You're a musician. You know I'm right. He's got Weltmeisterschaft written all over him.
The Friend: Okay. Whatever. I'll agree as long as I never have to hear you say that word again.
That Chick: Huh? You mean Weltmei...
The Friend: Ack! (And he ran away.)
Exhibit C: I held a staff meeting a couple of weeks ago to discuss toilet cleaning responsibilities, the lack of non-alcoholic beverages in the office refrigerators, and the office sexual harrassment policy. The jokes those boys made about the agenda were unrepeatable. By the end of the meeting Ink had cleaned the toilet but nothing else had been decided and I was laughing too hard to care.
Exhibit D: Speaking of Weltmeisterschaft, that's how the Germans talk about the World Cup. That Chick wants to buy a TV for the office so she can watch her team (Deutschland, of course) when they play. That Chick is all down in the mouth because her team is not looking good this year. That Chick has choice words in several languages that are not fit for polite ears when she thinks of her team not placing in the final three this year. That Chick says fussy things to her co-workers regarding sports apps on her droid. I read over that list and all I can think is, "Who is this woman? Sports... apps... on her... droid???"
I have always thought that gender differences were overblown in our society. I thought that "masculine" and "feminine" were cultural constructs with often nefarious power implications. I never felt like I fit in with the extremes on either end of the spectrum. Yeah, I sew, cook, and do crafts with the kids but I like philosophy and sci-fi, homebrew and barbecue. It all seemed to end up being a kind of gender neutral collection of interests shared by both men and women. Until I worked with all dudes. Now I am either "the girl" of the office which is a role I have NEVER coveted or I am That Chick who runs with the big dogs rather than stay on the porch.
Don't get me wrong. I truly work with three of the nicest guys I have ever known. They are smart, funny, responsible, loving Dads. They are serious about their work and they work hard. They have been incredibly patient with my office music choices which range from jazz to bluegrass, alt-country to hip hop, Sinatra to Snoop Dogg to Springsteen and back again. But put them together and throw me in the room and we become Three Dudes and That Chick.
I am not in full feminine crisis mode yet, but the day is nearing. When I give one of the boys a "Good Game" bum smack and belch out loud I'm checking myself into testosterone rehab: a quilting convention.