Men typically don’t have a frame of reference for what it can be like to be a woman, especially in a male-dominated industry. In 1995, I went on tour with a band as their booking agent, tour manager, production manager, road manager, and sound engineer. 16 shows over 24 days in 5 countries in Europe. And every time the band introduced me to someone as their tour manager and sound engineer, the guy I was meeting typically said something like, “Well, aren’t you pretty!” or “Which guy in the band are you dating?” I was rarely taken seriously. And I couldn’t imagine that if that guy were meeting David, the tour manager and sound engineer, he’d tell David how handsome he is.
Fast forward to this week. Even though I have a serious boyfriend, I am still listed on an online dating site as looking to make friends… because I’m in a new city, and I’d like to make friends! My profile is very clear about this, and my profile is full of all the work I’m doing. The name I use on the dating website is the word “Busy” and then another word relating to business. So I don’t give it away, let’s say I’m “BusyEntrepreneur” as my online name.
This is the email I received yesterday through the dating website:
I’m too old for you. But this is a networking note, not a boy/girl thing.
I’ve been a CFO for a couple of telcom start-ups and returned from 4 years in Europe to this crappy job market. I’m a bit underemployed at my current gig at [a local well-known university].
If you need a snarky finance guy for one of your ventures, send me a note.
By the way, did you accidentally leave out a “t” between the “s” and the “y” in your screen name 😉
Really. Just to make sure you didn’t miss the subtlety of that communication, please note 1) he’s basically asking me for a job, and 2) he suggests a letter T is missing from my online name… which would turn my online name into BUSTY Entrepreneur. Following that?
Sure, he’s a jerk. Sure I’d never hire him. Sure, he’s out of his mind. But it’s not like this is amazingly rare. So today, I ask each guy out there to think about how he looks at the professional women in his life. Even those of us with nice breasts, that’s not all we have. You may have nice eyes or be very good-looking, but in the professional arena, I’m interested in your qualifications and ideas. I will NOT be making any references to your looks or your body parts.