Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Prejudice

I have never thought of myself as racist or prejudiced. While I expect that all of us have some of both, I have always made a conscious effort to avoid judging a person by their skin or religion or accent or other noticeable differentiation.

But I have a lot of flaws. I hate cleaning bathtubs, I clip my toenails too short, and I find a sadistic joy in placing my ice-cold feet on my husband's skin. Recently I discovered another major flaw. Before I reveal my inner demon, please remember that I am the one in the family that owns a tool belt. I am a girl. And yet, I am prejudiced against women in a Man Store. (A Man Store, incidentally, is Harbor Freight Tools, Schucks Auto Parts, a gas station that is not hooked to a convenience store, and certain departments such as electrical, hardware, and plumbing in any home supply store.)

Oh, I'm fine with them running the till, balancing the books, halooing someone over the loudspeaker "Bill, line one" or cleaning up, certainly. But when I have a question about screws or pipe fittings, or concrete, I would like a 45-60 year old man with experience around his eyes and, preferably, a white mustache. I do not know what it is about a mustache, but it lends credibility in a Man Store. I'd like him to have grease under his fingernails and in his callouses from thirty years of working under a hood. It is best if he calls me "sugar." (Like a grandpa, not like a creep.)

Our local Lowe's has a chick that works in a Man Store department. She is not just a woman, she is a chick. She wears tight, slightly cheap jeans. Her eyebrows are plucked to a very fine line on top of which she draws in thick, seamless color. When she walks, she slaps her heels then jerks her knee straight which causes her hiney to twang abruptly back and forth. Turns out she knows a little bit about her department, but boy is it hard for me to see past the girl part of her. And it's not just her! Any time a woman comes to ask if I need help, whether it be choosing windshield wipers or ducting, I wither a little bit and think, Oh, great. A girl.

I KNOW! It is wrong and now that I am fully aware, I am going to try to reform.

But also, if there is a male in the children's clothing department or at the perfume counter? If a man tries to help me pick out wallpaper or embroidery thread? Nope. Can't handle it. Cannot handle it!

I guess I have a lot of work to do.

4 comments:

  1. I TOTALLY agree with you on this matter. If I saw a man working in a childrens clothing store, I would feel a little creeped out. If I saw a man working in Women's clothing, I would hope he was gay with good taste in clothing and would totally help me pick a great outfit.

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  2. We all have something.

    Years ago, I called Victoria's Secret. And a MAN answered the customer service line. I freaked and hung up. I just could not deal with the idea that this guy would know my name, address and what color bras I owned!

    Just part of being human. Besides, it's not that you're saying that she CAN'T work there, just that it feels a bit strange. Big difference, in my tiny, humble opinion.

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