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Men behaving badly

Maureen Jordan
Friday, April 16, 2010

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A couple of years ago I was renovating a house in the eastern suburbs of Sydney – an old Victorian home that needed to be unshackled from ugly layers that had built up over the years. Its bones were good. If you’re an architecture lover like me, you’d see the beauty in the craftmanship of old houses – the curves, patterns and the balance that’s often lost in modern homes. I dealt with tradesmen on the building site, though two of the three architects engaged in the total building process were women, very attractive women. The other young architect was a flamboyant gay guy, highly creative but extremely eccentric for his years.

On site, the tradesmen treated the three architects poorly – behind their backs, of course. Because the women were good looking they received due attention and a host of comments after they’d left – none of which need to be repeated. Comments like this could be blocked by Kevin Rudd’s new filter!

The tradesmen were basic blokes not too long out of the trees but with every comment that either the architects made, or I made for that matter, they had this look on their faces that they were dealing with dumb women, and yes, unfortunately, dumb blondes. The gay guy they thought was a joke. When I’d stop to consider how something was progressing, they’d think it was because I didn’t know what I was doing but in fact they’d often do work in such a ramstam, bull-at-a-gate manner that it ended up being wrong and had to be redone. But they always made out that it was me. I was a woman. I didn’t know what I was doing and shouldn’t be on a building site.

So dealing with blokes on the building site was one thing. I always tried to be polite to them, despite their complete rudeness to me, based on my belief that they had limited life experience. But this dumb woman thing extended beyond the building site right into the stores that sold building supplies. Let me give you an example.

I needed door hardware, in particular certain door handles and locks that were made in France. I drove to a specialty hardware shop. I remember walking into the store and became a little overwhelmed at the variety of locks, handles, escutcheons – you name it, there was so much choice. So I took my time trying to work out exactly what I needed. I didn’t want to waste time having to come back to the store again if I got the wrong device. Then what appeared to be the owner of the store came over and told me to (and I quote) “Get out of his f---ing shop”. He said I was only a woman and didn’t know what I was doing so just “f--k off”. I had someone with me who can verify this! (Later, someone told me that he was going through a divorce and was pretty angry towards women!)

OK, now what I am going to say next might shock or annoy some people but this man was the only supplier of this door hardware in the country and I needed to get the house locked up. So I sent a man down to get these things and just forget about this ignoramus. I wanted those locks!

But, shock horror, the other day I needed to get another one of these locks. I had no choice but to go back. Three years had gone by and I was sure he wouldn’t remember me. And the memory-challenged sap didn’t. I got out of the store with the lock without insult. “Hmmm,” I thought. “Times could be changing.” Got into my nifty little car, feeling good with the security device beside me and proceeded to drive onto the airport to pick up Peter. In the rear vision mirror I could see a white semi trailer looming down on me, with horn bellowing. I checked my speed, I was in the slow lane anyway and just kept driving. He wouldn’t get off my tail and was putting real pressure on me to speed. When we came up to the red lights I stopped and he took the left turning lane. Then he half fell out of his window with his fingers gesticulating skyward and yelled “Get off the f+*#king road you dumb f---k”.

Talk about Meet the Fockers! But where do men get off screaming abuse like this at women? Is this still coming through our schools, the television shows that I don’t watch or is it being passed on genetically? There are so many Neanderthals out there that I can’t help but think there must be some missing link in our schools. Society really needs to go through extensive renovations.

Important information:This content has been prepared without taking account of the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular individual. It does not constitute formal advice. For this reason, any individual should, before acting, consider the appropriateness of the information, having regard to the individual’s objectives, financial situation and needs and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice.


Published: Friday, April 16, 2010

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