Friday, August 18, 2006

I Just Wanna Stop

Trivia for today: Woodward Ave. in Detroit, Michigan, carries the designation M - 1, because it was the first paved road anywhere.

About 15 years ago or so, when I was working at the U, I had to attend a department wedding. This was in the height of my Black Wardrobe days, but the bride felt it necessary to ask that I not wear black to her wedding. Puhleeze, people. This isn't the 1950s! Who gets offended when black is worn to a wedding anymore, especially when you know that person wears only black? It's obviously not meant as a statement of some sort against the wedding, although it should have been. *eyes rolling* You'll all be happy to know that I didn't wear black, but my dress was extremely olive with black print, so there. ;-)

The wedding was for one of the profs in my department who was almost old enough to be my father and the secretary (a few years older than me) in another department. He left his wife of almost 30 years for this woman. In fact, his wife came to the office one day (I must have been at lunch because I missed it, but heard all about it), stuck her head into our office and asked, "Where's Humanities?" in this "take no prisoners" voice. Tricia said, "Oh, hi Karen.: and gave directions to Humanities, knowing full well why Karen was looking for Humanities. We all wish we had been a fly on the wall in Humanities that day.

The story really happened at the wedding. Being a bunch of academics there were no dancers in the group and they certainly weren't playing anything I wanted to dance too, so a bit into the evening (after dinner), we were all standing around in a circle outside as it was a nice evening and chatting. One of my Economists who was (probably still is) Indian and about my age. He might have asked me out previously, but I had always said No as he was very right wing and not my type at all. He's standing next to me and at one point reaches behind me and pinches my ass. He thought he escaped unnoticed, except for my friend Pat. She saw his arm go behind me, me jump and my eyes get really big. I didn't say anything as I didn't want to cause a ruckus at the wedding, but Pat came into the office on Monday and said, "So, Parth pinched you on the butt?" I looked at her and said, "You saw it?" She acknowledged that she caught the gist of his movement. I still didn't want to make a fuss, but then Pat said something to Parth, he denied completely and then turned around and immediately called me and essentially threatened me telling me that I better not be telling anybody because nobody was going to believe a secretary over a professor. I WAS PISSED then. Up to that point I was willing to let it go, but don't threaten me, asshole. Everybody in my department believed me, of course, particularly, since Pat saw it happen, but I knew if it got elevated to Personnel that I wouldn't have won because it's true that at the U, a staff member's word will not be taken over a professor's.

Parth and I had many run-ins over the years that we both worked there. He was a definite chauvinist and didn't like that I spoke my mind or give in to him because he was male. In my last year there, I had my own office with a door that closed and everything. I worked on salaries and such things, but rarely closed the door, just because that's not my style (not like the admin for a different department who would lock herself in her office for HOURS to do the semesterly payroll, even though we had departments of a very similar size and I could do my payroll in about 30 minutes). One day though I was changing clothes to go out walking or something and obviously closed my door. Someone knocked and I said, "Just a minute." When I opened the door, it was Parth and he proceeded to yell at me for closing my door, as if I were doing something nefarious and as if he were my boss. I just looked at him, and said, "I was changing my clothes. What do you want?" The stupid thing is that even after he pinched my ass and generally treated me like dog dung, he would ask me out occasionally and get offended when I'd say No. Bloody hell, I was single, not desperate and stupid!!!


At Friday, 18 August, 2006, Blogger MW said...

You must admit that it was probably a lot of fun to shove your equal status in his face every chance you got. Right? If I had been you, I certainly would have loved rubbing his nose in it every chance I got.

Just curious: What made you think of that story out of the blue? It's definitely my favorite kind.

Also, just for the heck of it, I'm listening to "I Just Wanna Stop" right now. It came out during one of my two favorite summers of all time (1978). I had just arrived back in South Dakota for my senior year when it first hit the charts, so my mind immediately goes back to those wonderful times whenever I hear it.

At Friday, 18 August, 2006, Blogger Kathleen said...

MW - I just wasn't going to let him think he was better than me. No other prof treated me that way and an asst prof w/o tenure certainly wasn't going to.

I don't know what made me think of it. I thought of it this morning as I walked into work.

At Sunday, 20 August, 2006, Blogger Heather said...

Those types of guys need their ass kicked on a regular basis by women! He was probably so pissed that you turned him down and that was why he treated you like that. We had a similar situation like that at work a few years ago!

At Monday, 21 August, 2006, Blogger Scott said...

That's because guys like him just don't hear themselves speak. There was a brilliant episode of All in the Family where Archie apologizes to Reggie Jackson for racial comments he made, and ends up pissing him off worse because of the same thing. He just didn't understand how bigoted he really was.

At Monday, 21 August, 2006, Blogger mr. schprock said...

Wait a minute! He pinched your ass and you didn't fall for him? Your heart must be made of stone, lady.

At Monday, 21 August, 2006, Blogger Sal said...

You were far more professional about this situation than I'd have been. I'd have been sure everyone on campus knew the guy was a letch.

BTW, my sister's best friend Bernadette had a black and white wedding, it only lasted 3 years before she found out her husband was gay, but I don't think the black clothes had anything to do with it.

At Monday, 21 August, 2006, Anonymous Derek said...

Unreal. Guys like that deserve to be socialized via cattle prod.

I'm only guessing from his name, but was he an immigrant? That's no excuse, of course; he had certainly been around long enough to have grasped the fact that North American culture is just a little different than home.

At Monday, 21 August, 2006, Blogger Beth said...

Parth sounds like an absolute ass. I'm really impressed with how well you held it together.

At Monday, 21 August, 2006, Blogger Kathleen said...

Heather - Men are so weird. ;-)

Scott - I think he honestly thought he was better than me because he had a Ph.D. Whatever, get over it.

Schprockie - That's me, the Heart Stone Bitch from Hell. ;-)

Sal - Egads. You couldn't help out with your gaydar?

Derek - There's no way in hell he would have treated a woman in his own country like that. I think he had that mindset that American women are all floozies.

Beth - He wasn't worth losing my job over. I LOVED my job.

At Monday, 21 August, 2006, Blogger trinamick said...

I have no shame in a situation like that. I'd have jumped, squealed, turned around and shouted something like, "If you ever pinch my butt again, I will break off every finger and shove them somewhere where they will be of no use to you!"

But that's just me. :)

At Monday, 21 August, 2006, Blogger Clarity25 said...

Ewww.. Parth was a prick and he was also way out of line. You handled it well. I HATE men like that. Yuck.

P.S. German men in general are good looking. It's a strange phenomena. They're also gentlemen and more feminine. Maybe it's a European thing. You wont find many men like the one you described in this entry. They're much more respectful and well-behaved.

We'll take you with us when we move back to Germany, how does that sound? Eric's got a lot more cute AND single friends;)


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