Man worker tradesman job Stockfresh

So you think you are sexually harassed…

Well, that may be true, but is it systemically aimed at all women? And is it truly to put you in your place? And is it really misogyny? At what point does a high levity work environment become directed sexual harassment? And should one’s delicate feelings dictate the level of tomfoolery in a workplace that is already naturally serious?

Boys and men have “blow-off” levels, and when it’s kept bottled up, bad things tend to happen. These things aren’t always abusive or violent, or even so much as critical, but can easily escalate preposterously.

I don’t know, personally, how women operate together within a group, because I usually avoid gaggles of women and girls. Having been the victim of gaggles in high school, I have every reason to avoid them now. Being the only male – or one of a few – makes one a target, having no recourse but to put up with the objectification, or shaming, or jokes, or what-have-you, lest you’re accused of sexual harassment for your unsolicited wit; or worse, a significant other confronts you later for “hitting on” his girl/woman/wife, and having to either knuckle up or try to explain that you have no interest in her without making it sound like she’s not interesting (and I’ve encountered bastards who just want the excuse to knuckle you down, so talk is pointless). Sexual harassment works both ways ladies; moving on.

I am a tradesman, I work for a living; my trade requires both mind and body, and a certain level of one-on-one social skills. The blue collar workforce is dominated by men, and point of fact, dominated by men with more testosterone than your average college geek, coffee shop espresso latte master mixer, and grocery bagger. The average BCW (blue collar worker) will find his “better half” at some bar or party, or possibly some friend of a buddy’s SO. Why the bar? Because after a grueling day of muscling and measuring and blistered palms and munched fingers, a brew is a nice way to unwind; extroverts like company to recharge, introverts like myself, prefer to be alone.

On a typical construction site, you’re going to find a certain level of good natured derogatory speech aimed at one another. It’s not to one-up each other, or to self-ego boost, or even so much as to climb any imagined social ladder. It’s to keep the mind sharp, help with levity in a dangerous environment, and to generally enjoy the hard fought benefits of “free speech”. It can be things as silly as mama jokes, or as aggravating as finding your tape measure at the bottom of a bucket of drywall mud (keep track of your shit, or you’re wasting time looking for it!). Sometimes you’ll find a broom-handle up your ass while you’re climbing a ladder, not to speed you up, but to raise your awareness in a precarious predicament; how are you gonna handle a swarm of yellow-jacket wasps bursting out of a roof when you’re twenty feet up? Even mocking each other’s vehicles; hint, utility usually wins out over economy and features. And it’s not just in the work force that men encounter “trigger warning” speech.

My stepfather bought a house just as I started high school, and he regularly commandeered my aid to help him do this that and whatnot around the place. I was half his size, and had grown up in rentals and apartments, yet I was expected to suddenly be a man. “Fuck, man, what’d you do that for? Use what’s between your ears for more than keeping your skull from collapsing!” “quit pulling like a girl, put your back into it!” “it’s gonna take you forever to unload that, pack more per trip!” “is that all you got? Lean into it, PUSH!!!” This might sound like tyranny, and at the time, it felt like it, but he was there beside me doing the mule’s share of the work.

When I began my trade, I was 160 pounds and soft; when you’re over six feet tall, that is scrawny. I struggled doing things that now I look back on and laugh. I remember my journeyman telling me to go get a roll of carpet from the van (The roll was twelve feet long, but it had fifteen lineal feet rolled up in it); for context, it wasn’t a killer carpet, it was light weight and rolled up reasonably tight, so even given my own wiry frame I could pack it into the house if I balanced it properly on my shoulder. It was bulky, not heavy, and its length made it unwieldy but not unmanageable; and I was thinking my boss was an asshole – which he was, but carrying carpet was a lesson I would have to learn regardless. I’d watched him carry rolls of carpet before so I knew the basic mechanics of it, but theory and practical are rarely so cut-n-dry.

So there I was fighting this roll of carpet out of the van, and then fighting to get it up on my shoulder. With no mental meter to gauge “half-way,” I found myself thinking this carpet was insanely heavy, and then I discovered the boss and the homeowner were at the door smoking and laughing at me and my struggles, and he shouted, “move it forward, move it back, forward back, whatcha doin?” I was mentally cussing at him, which meant I wasn’t focusing on what I was physically doing, which translated to over-compensating and missing the halfway point. That’s when the worst happened, the roll broke (we call it a break, but really it just bends over while on your shoulder), and he laughed some more and said, “there’s nothing for it, that’s how it’s coming in” (meaning, even if I’d found the mid-point after, the break made the roll unbalanced and unwieldy. So I moved back and extracted the rest of the roll from the van, only to discover the heavy end was behind me; so I had to hunch forward to keep it from snapping my back, while pushing the “light” end forward to keep it out of the dirt. With my feet spread wide, and every part of me hyper extended, I quickly realized the inherent instability of bipeds; every step was a fight against myself. I couldn’t see where I was going, I could only see the dirt right below me – so with best guestimate I turned the roll and began trudging. When I got halfway I heard his voice off-center saying, “you taking that to the river or what?” Followed by laughter and, “we better go rescue your carpet.”

My job requires a lot of clean-up before during and after completion. There were a number of times during my training period that my boss would look at me and say something like, “well aren’t you a good little bitch,” “you’ll make a good wife someday.” Different skills required different positions, activities and, not surprisingly, different commentary, like, “quit wiggling your ass at me.” Or just outta the blue, for no real purpose at all, I’d be told, “you know you got blowjob lips don’tcha.”

I finally cut myself loose from him and with a single tool box, and a borrowed work van, struck out on my own. Now, until this point I’d had to stay clean shaven and have a buzz cut; neither were my choice because I have a baby face, it’s a hindrance on so many levels, but let’s keep this professional. I quickly learned that even though I had five years experience, and was twenty four, I still looked like I should be in high school, and greeting my customers bore that out, “you’re doing this job? You seem awful young, are you just doing the prep work?” I grew my hair and face as quick as I could, being a native half-breed, the hair grew fast, but not the face (thanks mom); and I noticed a shift in how I was perceived, I became an adult in people’s eyes, my words carried weight in regards to my skills.

Around this time, I had a sales guy who was fun to torment and who took it in stride and gave back just as good. One day I pulled into the back of the shop and saw his car sitting there, all by its lonesome (can’t have that); so with my well trained reversing skills, I backed up beside it and parked my van with a foot to spare. He came up to me the next morning saying I’d parked too close to his car, he had to climb in from the passenger side, to which I grinned and answered, “yeah… that was kind of the point.” He shook his head laughing and said, “get the fuck to work.”

I recently did a job, where the homeowners, general contractor, my boss, and I were discussing a carpet manufacturing flaw. There was a pattern bow in the carpet, and it stood out horribly in the hallway… where I’d had to seam it together. My boss is down on his knees measuring and taking pictures, I nudged the GC and said covertly, loud enough for all to hear, “you know what happened eh, I just tucked this part, then I kicked the piss outta that part, and then got lazy towards the end.” Followed by more banter between serious talk, like when I looked at the GC and with a completely serious look on my face, I said, “you know what the problem is, the house is crooked, fix the house.” Everyone had finally come to terms and my boss was at the door, the GC was wandering off, the homeowners looked at me sadly; then I looked towards the retreating GC and bellowed, “That’s it, I’ve had enough of your crap, I quit, I’m taking my toys and going home… I’m telling my mom on you!!!”

I remember a time I showed up at a job site, some construction was going on, about half a dozen guys were there bustling about. I just needed to get into the basement and slam in carpet in a bedroom; but the driveway was all blocked up with trucks. I only really needed one truck moved so I could get to the basement door, so I got a hold of one of the guys and let him know, in much less PC but more humorous manner. The guy called for the site’s “Toby” (the FNG, greenhorn, lackey, etc) and told him to move the truck, “ok, uhhh… is it an automatic?” The guy looked at the Toby flabbergasted, “what, you can’t handle a stick?!” Well as I waited for the guy to move his standard pick-up, I got to hear chorus of ribbing about sticks and girlfriends and how a man should be able to handle a stick in sticky situations; one of them going so far as to describe intimately the motions of shifting, “… if she wiggles or bucks, you’re in good; if she hops and gags, you’ve done it wrong; you want her to purr, not choke”. The poor Toby was beat red as he attempted to go about his job.

My biological father was telling me a story one day about electrical work. He was roughing in a house (running wires through a house frame before the drywall goes on) and he told his Toby how he wanted the ends cut. “I told him, ‘when you run the wires into the outlets, leave enough hanging out that I work with when I get back to do the rigging’ he asked me how much is enough, so I told him, ‘about the length of your cock’ and then I went about rigging up the power box, I thought for sure there’d be like eighteen inches of wire hanging out of each outlet, but when I got back to inspect his work, there was more than two inches, man I tell you, I felt so sorry for his girlfriend.”

If you don’t understand banter, or levity, or ribbing, or refuse to acknowledge such communication, then everything a man says will be construed as sexual harassment. We often use banter to relieve work stress. It’s pretty sad when banter you’re not even involved in, is grounds to get a man fired. So the next time you see the office Toby humping the photocopier, unless his pants are down, ask him about it before running to HR to file a complaint; I seriously doubt he’s sexually assaulting the equipment, or sending you telepathic patriarchal messages about his intentions towards you, or running off copies of his penis to remind the office gals who’s in charge; perhaps it’s giving him grief, or maybe he’s bumping it back into place, or maybe, oh I don’t know, the poor guy IS running off copies of his penis, because the boss lady told him to or lose his job.

Just some things to think about.

About Clint Carpentier

He's a halfway serious introvert, plodding through life watching people and taking notes. Call him anti-social, he won't deny it, because society keeps giving him reasons to turn his back on it.

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  • Jesse James

    For the life of me I can’t understand how your dad was able to put ten inches of wire, with four inches of girth, into such a small hole. But here you are.

    Hahahahaahahaha

    Eventually we have to get the point. Women are often even worse shit talkers, especially in sexual innuendo, then men. These sexual harassment claims are not about sexual harassment. It is something else.

    • http://caprizchka.wordpress.com Caprizchka

      Re: “something else”. I agree. I think that “sexual harassment” is just a new face on “class war”. Supposedly, we have done away with class and replaced it with “education”, but that’s just another smokescreen. It would seem to me that men of disparate demographics tend to get along better (like the construction worker playfully harassing the sales rep) than women of disparate demographics (who degrade into catfights). This tells me that women tend to be more materialistic with their sexual value being their “real” heartfelt or subconscious value or whatever it says in their girlish reading material. Therefore, a “threat” from a “lower-class male” sullies that supposed value.

      It also seems to me that women like Mae West, for example, were made of stronger stuff than the delicate feminists of today. I say to women all the time, “Sexual Harassment? Ask yourself, What Would Mae West Do?” It seems to me that human beings in general used to be made of stronger stuff. Of course, victim-worship changed all that.

      • Aimee McGee

        You are so right about women in the past being much tougher. My grandmother travelled by herself in much of eastern Europe in the 1970s armed with a bottle of vodka and whatever phrase-book she could find for the locality. She was in her 50s and used to tell some hysterically funny stories of her encounters with authorities.
        When I’m having to draw a line at anyone’s behaviour, I use her tone and demeanour (which she used to keep us grandkids inline) to make my point. No wussing out and being a victim needed

        • http://caprizchka.wordpress.com Caprizchka

          Your grandmothers and mine could have been pals! Cheers!

  • notinline

    The problem, though, with stuff like this, is you don’t know what has gone on in everyone’s past…For example: Were they repeatedly molested in childhood and it was never dealt with?
    You go bantering crap at someone with past issues you have no way of knowing about and it could end up real bad for you in all kinds of ways, one, is dead….Some of it can also be interpreted by some as the joker being in favor of child molesting
    I know it can “relieve stress” to do that stuff but, in my opinion, it’s NEVER a good idea.

    I’ve always lived by the motto that keeping one’s mouth shut keeps them out of trouble and it’s never done me wrong…One can take it for what they will, that’s just my take.

    I guess that’s not the point of the article but I had to say it.

    • Clint Carpentier

      Women talk about their past. They pay oodles of greenbacks to see therapists and talk. They talk and talk and talk; whoever it is they talk to and unload their tragic story to, they feel orders of magnitude better.

      What do men do? We go to work until the pain goes away. Given your post, that seems counter-intuitive, but we do it. And those men who can’t go back to work, are the ones who breakdown. So your post fails.

    • johncullison

      Grow the fuck up (cf. man up) and get over it. If you can’t handle social interactions involving men, you need to go work out your victimization with professionals, not try to change the entire world to suit your delicacy — even if you were legitimately a victim. Your having been raped doesn’t give you special rights.

      The ultimate hypocrisy of the touchy-feely brigade is that only the feelings of the touchy-feelyrati matter (because men don’t have feelings, except when they do, they’re dismissed as “man feelz” [man up, you little bitch!]). The feminist solution to “dangerous and threatening work environments” is to make work environments dangerous and threatening for anyone who disagrees with them. Hypocrisy, thy name is feminist!

      • Correctrix

        You need to decide whether men are allowed their “manfeelz” or not.

        • johncullison

          No, I don’t. I don’t decide anything for men. I decide for me.

    • Correctrix

      Indeed. The sort of “banter” (i.e. being a complete and utter fucking dick to your workmates, particularly those younger and less powerful than you) mentioned in this article is the sort of thing that makes earning a living a thoroughly unpleasant experience when it doesn’t have to be.

      The message of the article is that women can easily misinterpret that sort of thing as something targeted against them. That’s a good point.

      But that filthy little pederast making blowjob comments to the young men he supervises? Dude, if you’re gay, just admit it. Come out, get yourself a gay boyfriend, and fuck him honestly and consensually. Don’t be that dishonest little creep who gets a wife and displays an outward blustery façade of heteronormativity while excitedly patting boys’ bottoms in the locker room (“It’s tradition!”) and pantingly telling your apprentice that he’s your butt-wiggling bitch (“It’s just ribbing!”).

      • Guest

        The truth is that banter like this has an important psychological benefit of de-sensitizing people to shame, failure, and disappointment, allowing the person to move beyond it and better recover. This applies to both preparation and a post-traumatic recovery, and to many situations humans (not just men) will encounter — though society and women expect men to bear the full-frontal of the majority of humanity’s risks.

        This covers the gamut from initiation of potential romantic relationships (and the inherent very high rejection risks) , to starting businesses, to exploration of new lands, to the dirty jobs where failure can mean loss of life (or of a colleague’s life — potentially due to YOUR lack of vigilance or preparation).

        Failure to prepare the mind to deal with such shame, disappointment, or failure results in people being destroyed by their first failure, or incurring much higher costs in life.

        An example of this would be a case of my own mother.

        Her shame over the tidiness (or lack thereof) in her home led her to refuse to call exterminators when vermin infiltrated and caused serious damage. Because she did not learn how to deal with shame, she allowed a simple problem to compound until it ended up costing her her home. Rather than recovering herself, I had to come in and handle the necessary actions for her.

        In a meritocratic society, we’d recognize this value in banter, and, rather than pass sexual harassment laws, we’d be making it much harder for whiners to ruin society for the rest of us.

      • Clint Carpentier

        Like I said, the guy was indeed an asshole on many levels. However, your labeling him a pederast is assuming much. Whether he is or isn’t, not even I can definitively say, as I never saw any signs of such. I started my trade when I was 19, in a country where AoC is 16 and AoM is 19.

        He’s not an example of “casual” banter; he’s an example, “not just women suffer harassment.” And whether he’s gay or not has zero impact on the point being made. Right or wrong, I tolerated it (more wrong than right, I know this), and walked away with a skilled trade.

      • Clint Carpentier

        Like I said, the guy was indeed an asshole on many levels. However, your labeling him a pederast is assuming much. Whether he is or isn’t, not even I can definitively say, as I never saw any signs of such. I started my trade when I was 19, in a country where AoC is 16 and AoM is 19.

        He’s not an example of “casual” banter; he’s an example, “not just women suffer harassment.” And whether he’s gay or not has zero impact on the point being made. Right or wrong, I tolerated it (more wrong than right, I know this), and walked away with a skilled trade.

    • Paul Johnson

      Well it’s certainly a pertinent comment. I tend to keep it to myself but not be surprised by it. Sometimes, the ruthless will get me embarrassed, but they are rare, and that happens rarely. And then, I go on being perfectly fine.

      But you’re right, it can get you in trouble, and it can sometimes hurt others.

      But really, the reason I don’t give it back is because I’m not really good at it. I get some in sometimes, every now and then just to let them know I’m alive, but I just find it mostly boring.

      • Aimee McGee

        I used to enjoy listening to the banter on the shift at the dairy factory (I was the only woman on my shift), but I’m not often quick enough to join in the banter.
        We were joined by a young guy doing the management trainee rotation through the site and you could see he was dead uncomfortable that I was hearing some of what was said (this was the mid-90s)…or he was until I for once managed a very rude and funny repost to some comments about tools and their utility that he made.
        All the men on shift fell around laughing at this guy’s expense. The shift leader afterwards said to me on the quiet “thanks for that Aimee, he was sure you were too scared to speak up to that point.”

    • Dash Riprock

      I think that this kind of banter, although it appears off the cuff, usually never is. It’s carefully crafted, tailored to the particular recipient and carefully delivered with no maliciousness intended (mostly). Male communication is very complicated e.g. researchers are only just beginning to unravel a fairly complicated ‘non-verbal’ male communication language.
      The older teacher and the younger apprentice has its own dynamic, a level of harshness is required to keep the younger one alert and safe though some go overboard, while the intra-group banter involves bonding and trust. I think it’s an important part of a group’s ability to achieve in difficult and often dangerous circumstances.

      I wonder if Clint races to the van to help out his struggling toby. Or does he think to himself “I’ll supervise him carefully and if it looks dangerous or gets out of hand I’ll get there fast, however the boy has to learn for himself one step at a time and ‘doing’ is the only way”

      At least that’s how it seemed to me when I grew up in this kind of culture.

      • Dash Riprock

        I remember asking my boss, a really old guy, if he had a crow bar and quick as a flash he unzipped and said “Only this one sonny”.

      • Clint Carpentier

        One of the scariest things about teaching my trade, is deciding when to let them carry a roll on their own. Small rolls, less the 12’x12′ just don’t teach the balance right, because you can use brute force to keep it up on your shoulder with little issue. The moderate rolls are the real teachers, big enough to be ungainly if improperly handled, so you need to learn finesse; at the same time, they’re heavy enough that poor management will have you soaking in a hot bath for hours. I don’t trust the big rolls to helpers, unless they have a tough body used to physical abuse, and have properly learned the techniques necessary to not harm themselves or the property; the big rolls just munch soft bodies.

        A few years ago I discovered my own maximum limit, I was doing a hotel, for that Vietnamese dude, and the shop I was working for at the time had given me mostly standard cuts (12’x27′), but they’d leave the left over of the mega-roll on the last cut (a 28′, a 30′, etc). The carpet was heavy commercial stuff, double layer of latex, very stiff, very abrasive, rub my shoulder raw right through my t-shirt. The 27′ were manageable with a good share of determination; but the 30′ were something else, I could do them, but after each one, it was half an hour of cancer and walkin’ it off. Eventually I encountered a roll that was 30’6″; I could get that bitch on my shoulder and balanced, but I just could not stand up; I could literally hear parts of my body screaming at me, “DON’T BE STUPID!!!”

        No, it’s just too damn scary to trust a tender nubile to not hurt themselves without supervision. If nothing else but to be able to shout, “DROP IT!” when it looks to get hairy. I’d sooner see white carpet in a puddle of spring mud, than a young buck snapped in two.

        • Dash Riprock

          30ft!!! ……Holy !#$%,

          Thanks Louie, You are obviously very experienced and I suspect one glance for you is probably sufficient to know how to deal with a roll and that is enough to keep a newbie safe. I am sure you very expertly judge a learning experience from a dangerous experience even though it is still for you a scary experience. Maybe scary is good as it keeps you sharp and the knowledge is safely passed on.

  • http://funkymunkyluvn.wordpress.com/ Jason Gregory

    I’ve noticed that the lines between bullying, harassment, and jest often become very blurry between men. These blurred lines are a culturally acceptable way in which we police masculinity.

    For example, when we laugh at you struggle and awkwardly carry something like the roll of carpet, we are, in a way, lamenting the fact that we are used as beasts of burden. The men who can’t or struggle with doing such things–they aren’t “real men” because they aren’t very good beasts of burden. And so we laugh at your awkward struggle, one that belongs to all working-class men. Laughter soothes this harsh reality for others and even for they guy who is struggling to be a good beast of burden. This laughter, harassment, and bullying all rolls into one thing–the policing of masculinity and its effect on the lived-experiences of men. It’s an odd way in which we simultaneously lament and reinforce the policing of our masculinity.

    As has been said, the best jokes are usually lamentations. Some of the best tragedies are indistinguishable from comedies. Perhaps this is why women typically struggle to understand our jests. They don’t understand our struggle to be good beasts of burden. They don’t understand what it’s like to “be a man.”

    As such, our humor/laments will not be understood by women who’ve never been expected to be used as beasts of burden. Nobody lampoons, harasses, or bullies women for not being good beasts of burden in this way. Women, unlike men, are not typically subjected to ridicule because they can’t trowel concrete or dig ditches like “a real man.” There is no cultural expectation that women lug shingles up extension ladders in 90+ degree weather.

    The most physically demanding cultural expectation of women is that they perhaps go through childbirth. Harassment, to these women is the cultural expectation that they, from the comfort of their climate controlled homes, perhaps bring some cold drinks or coffee and sandwiches to the men who are working for her as good beasts of burden on her comfortable home. With modern technology, the most physically demanding labor (aside from childbirth) for women is that they put trinkets on shelves or find some dust-bunnies behind the TV. When men “joke” about these expectations, we are often lamenting the relative ease with which women have it. Pointing out that finding dust-bunnies behind the TV is orders of magnitude easier than digging ditches–that’s experienced as some form of misogyny and devaluation of women, but in reality, it’s simply a lament about the lived-experiences of men.

    It’s weird how the lament about our role as a beast of burden also reinforces our adherence to such roles. It polices our masculinity…because a real man would rather be digging ditches than finding dust-bunnies behind the TV. Masculinity is tragicomic in this way.

  • Guest

    Google has posted a video from IT’S OWN ACCOUNT titled ”International Women’s Day Doodle 2014′

    Dedicated entirely to women and trying to play the victimhood card once again.( The description will tell you this)

    I am there trying to fight the feminists. You’re welcome to join in.

  • Bombay

    I think this is a great article that presents many aspects of blue collar subculture in the US. There is also many other subcultures, including white collar and none should claim they are the masculine. The so called Geek is just as masculine as the BWC unless society/people pigeon hole men and their behaviour. Having spent many years in both subcultures, both are part of the larger world of men/society. Many aspects of misandry stem from stereotyping men as being of the blue collar culture. Men are all that and more.

  • Victor Zen

    There were a lot of things in this article I identified with. I worked as a laborer for my father, a general contractor, for about 4 years.

    I got good at it, but I had to deal with my share of hazing. My physical struggles included trying to weigh down a huge plastic tarp with cinderblocks on a particularly windy day, getting the shit whipped out of me by a backfiring cement mixer hose, and using ammonia on an unventilated bathroom’s floor without a respirator. The hazards combined with the mocking of skeleton crews was not good for my nerves, but fuck me if the experience was not humbling.

    When I came back to the white collar world of Adria Richards, that is when I really started to notice that emotions (especially women’s emotions) are far more important than the job. The idea that women are sexually harassed is plausible, but hard to take seriously so long as even the most minor incidences of mere *references* to sexuality can end a career.

    The woman who is quick to call sexual harassment would not last a week as a man on a blue-collar team project.

    While it would be annoying and degrading to be truly sexually harassed (as opposed to “harrassed” because a woman looked at my bulge for a second), that would be worlds better than having the entirety of my being cast as superfluous as I empty out the next tractor-trailer full of merchandise.

    Thank you for the food for thought.

    • http://youtube.com/imagocanis Drawing Butts

      Sage, you just blew my mind, “emotions (especially women’s emotions) are far more important than the job”. My experience with blue collar work is limited to DIY, helping dad around the house shit. But, as a cashier/bookeeper for Safeway, that makes too much damn sense! I find myself constantly thinking when coworkers (and they literally are all women) will take accountability for the fact that, thanks to their narcissistic perpetual victimhood, there’s little to no camaraderie between us. It’s just one complaint after the other, shitting on each other and causing drama for the sole purpose of making yourself look good to the managers.
      The guys, when these women are not around, can joke with each other and even customers who surprisingly can take things in good humor. But, when just one of them is around, all bets are off.
      I remember one of these women asked me for something when I was in the middle of making loans to multiple registers. I didn’t hear her, so I stopped, turned to her and said, “What?” Later the store manager called me into his office because she filed a complaint on me. I confronted her about it later and she said I was “very condescending to her”. I told her that, when I’m in the middle of multitasking the last thing I’m worrying about is if my tone upsets her. Since I was off the clock when I said that, she couldn’t technically file a complaint, but instead now she keeps track of my every move and, as I said before, looks to shit on me at every turn to make herself look good.

  • plasmacutter

    The truth is that banter like this has an important psychological benefit of de-sensitizing people to shame, failure, and disappointment, allowing the person to move beyond it and better recover. This applies to both preparation and a post-traumatic recovery, and to many situations humans (not just men) will encounter — though society and women expect men to bear the full-frontal of the majority of humanity’s risks.

    This riffing doesn’t just pertain to blue-collar jobs, either. It starts early in school among children and applies equally to both genders. People who learn to deal with it properly have the fortitude to take risks in life, whether that’s approaching a potential SO, facing down your bosses and telling them they need to revise their favorite project because it’s not technically feasible, or learning from a failure in safety prep and moving forward when a colleague dies in an industrial accident.

    Failure to prepare the mind to deal with such shame, disappointment, or failure results in people being destroyed by their first failure, or worse, becoming paralyzed by the prospect of facing them and incurring much higher costs in life.

    An example of this would be a case of my own mother.

    Her shame over the tidiness (or lack thereof) in her home led her to refuse to call exterminators when vermin infiltrated and began causing serious damage. Because she did not learn how to deal with shame, she allowed a simple problem to compound until it ended up costing her her home. Rather than recovering herself, I had to come in and handle the necessary actions for her — way too late.. because she also couldn’t handle the shame of giving me the whole story as it happened.

    I’d like to point out the issue of banter is generally drawn along gender lines, and the male approach to banter is probably why fathers are so necessary in the healthy development of children. The vast majority of mothers/women instinctually seek to shield their children from this force, while the majority of fathers/men, when push comes to shove, will, in the absence of serious physical threat, insist to their progeny that they must sometimes learn to deal with their own problems.

    In a meritocratic society, we’d recognize this value in banter, and we’d hold allegations of harassment to very high standards.

  • scepticwithoutdogma

    I can identify with some of your concerns and experiences. I started off as a construction laborer, then an electrician’s helper. Personally I didn’t care for the types of extroverted egomaniacs that I had to work with, being an introvert and sensitive guy. I didn’t find this work fullfilling either, so I decided to get an Associate’s Degree in Specialized Technology in ElectroMechanical Maintenance. I then furthered my schooling to learn about transformers, PLCs, robots, motor controls, etc.
    This was the best move I had ever made, since this allowed me to work by myself more, and not be as reliant on taking orders from others since I had a skill set that my co-workers didn’t have. I also get to work with electricity in a much more meaningful way that I never could before. I’m a pretty good welder too, and despite usually being the quietest and most sensitive guy among my co-workers, I’m usually the one up high in the air on telescope lifts welding a frame, or replacing a fan motor. It is still dangerous work, and I’ve been knocked on my butt, and shocked several times during my career, usually under pressure to hurry and not taking safety procautions that I should had. I don’t regret my career change though, and I get treated much better by my bosses and co-workers since taking this career path.
    I like to unwind too, but I’m definitely not a bar person. I’m more likely to be playing chess online, reading a good book about physics or working on my projects in my basement rather than being out with friends, people I have very little in common with. It’s been difficult for me to find any compatable friends, or a compatable mate since I tend to be a very deep thinker type vs small talk, gossip or work related issues.
    I am in contact with more women then before since I work inside of factories and warehouses now, unlike the previous work places. I can understand your dread of facing women in groups too. My experience has been that ignoring them seems to draw them more to you (at least in my case), but many tend to be troublemagnets. The hatred and disposability of men, and lack of consideration of our feelings has come to be such the norm that just merely being in a woman’s presence without doing nothing more even gets you ridicule and hateful, judging comments by others. I don’t honestly believe anyone would believe some of the events that happened to me concerning women at the workplace, and even outside of it, but they’re rarely good.
    I’m just trying my best to lay low these days, and survive this life so I can hopefully enjoy the next. At least I have my nephew and a loving mother and sister, and I try to make a difference in the lives of people I do come in contact with. Perhaps this was the way God meant it to be for me. Where I disagree with traditionalists is when they say you need to live the life you were meant to live (according to their rigid standards), seriously what the f–k kind of ridiculous statement is that?! I’m more on the side that only you as an individual can determine the type of life that is best for you, and this is the key to true happiness and meaning in my opinion. I wish you luck in your life endeavors sir, and I enjoy reading your articles.
    Logging in with Disqus means my username has changed. I wasn’t expecting this.

  • scepticwithoutdogma

    I can identify with some of your concerns and experiences. I started off as a construction laborer, then an electrician’s helper. Personally I didn’t care for the types of extroverted egomaniacs that I had to work with, being an introvert and sensitive guy. I didn’t find this work fullfilling either, so I decided to get an Associate’s Degree in Specialized Technology in ElectroMechanical Maintenance. I then furthered my schooling to learn about transformers, PLCs, robots, motor controls, etc.
    This was the best move I had ever made, since this allowed me to work by myself more, and not be as reliant on taking orders from others since I had a skill set that my co-workers didn’t have. I also get to work with electricity in a much more meaningful way that I never could before. I’m a pretty good welder too, and despite usually being the quietest and most sensitive guy among my co-workers, I’m usually the one up high in the air on telescope lifts welding a frame, or replacing a fan motor. It is still dangerous work, and I’ve been knocked on my butt, and shocked several times during my career, usually under pressure to hurry and not taking safety procautions that I should had. I don’t regret my career change though, and I get treated much better by my bosses and co-workers since taking this career path.
    I like to unwind too, but I’m definitely not a bar person. I’m more likely to be playing chess online, reading a good book about physics or working on my projects in my basement rather than being out with friends, people I have very little in common with. It’s been difficult for me to find any compatable friends, or a compatable mate since I tend to be a very deep thinker type vs small talk, gossip or work related issues.
    I am in contact with more women then before since I work inside of factories and warehouses now, unlike the previous work places. I can understand your dread of facing women in groups too. My experience has been that ignoring them seems to draw them more to you (at least in my case), but many tend to be troublemagnets. The hatred and disposability of men, and lack of consideration of our feelings has come to be such the norm that just merely being in a woman’s presence without doing nothing more even gets you ridicule and hateful, judging comments by others. I don’t honestly believe anyone would believe some of the events that happened to me concerning women at the workplace, and even outside of it, but they’re rarely good.
    I’m just trying my best to lay low these days, and survive this life so I can hopefully enjoy the next. At least I have my nephew and a loving mother and sister, and I try to make a difference in the lives of people I do come in contact with. Perhaps this was the way God meant it to be for me. Where I disagree with traditionalists is when they say you need to live the life you were meant to live (according to their rigid standards), seriously what the f–k kind of ridiculous statement is that?! I’m more on the side that only you as an individual can determine the type of life that is best for you, and this is the key to true happiness and meaning in my opinion. I wish you luck in your life endeavors sir, and I enjoy reading your articles.
    Logging in with Disqus means my username has changed. I wasn’t expecting this.

  • Jean-Pierre Laroche

    I have the same beard problem, mannaging my hair is an everyday struggle. I find that when I dont shave, people think im younger because of my incomplete beard. Best solution: shaving everything on my head exept for eyebrows. Being half native is cool tho: you get a pass on much of the PC bullshit about what your allowed to think and say and you save a ton of money at the bar XD. Good piece.

    • Clint Carpentier

      I can’t do either, I’ve thus far refused to get status, and being the pale injun I am, I pass quite well for “da’ wyt man”. So really, anything I say (and I’ve said much) has sometimes required lineage explanation. Wouldn’t be so bad if I was farther north, I could just flip my grandfather’s name and I’m practically nobility; but around here… you wanna talk about being behind enemy lines, the people here and my people have had some bad history.

  • Jean-Pierre Laroche

    I have the same beard problem, mannaging my hair is an everyday struggle. I find that when I dont shave, people think im younger because of my incomplete beard. Best solution: shaving everything on my head exept for eyebrows. Being half native is cool tho: you get a pass on much of the PC bullshit about what your allowed to think and say and you save a ton of money at the bar XD. Good piece.

  • Civilisationftw

    Harassment and Hazing are double edged swords.
    Trying to make Verbal harassment illegal is opening pandoras box, because language is too complicated to easily distinguish between violent speech and calling someone justly on their bullshit.
    Also gleeing over spitefull statements is (sadly?) a lot of fun, thats why gossip whores like HuffPo are so successfull.
    But on the other hand you have people kill themselves over derogatory statements (Nancy Grace).
    Or college students being seriously maimed by hazing pranks.
    So the totally liberal way is obviously not the right way also.
    But what is totally wrong is to take only one gender to task for harassment, while both are committing it!

  • Eilís

    Joking is laughing with someone, not at them. And the second time you laugh at someone, it’s a choice and not a mistake.