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I had a most wonderful Christmas-New Years week skiing up north with X. Okay, so there were a few things I might like to forget, like the concussion, and the occasional night with very little sleep, and the tall guy with glasses and 7 kids. But even with these things, I wouldn’t change a thing about the trip.

Except one thing: I was the recipient (subject?) of a grossly inaccurate assumption. While I rarely ever take personally other people’s opinions of me, this one struck a particular chord deep within that rendered me very unfun for a small chunk of the New Years evening.

And this story is being retold 2nd hand… I did not hear or witness this assuming.

Background: NYE at a private ski club. I was delighted to be the guest of two very fun people that night. X, his father, and I had a marvelously scrumptious 6-course dinner, overlooking the ski valley. The room next door is what I would call a smoking lounge. It’s a bar, but has the atmosphere of a smoking lounge (eg: no kids, dark wood paneling, leather chairs). Sometime after dinner, I walked through the lounge and back (to get to the bathroom) before joining the real NYE party in another room. X stopped off in the smoking lounge to, well, smoke.

The comment: [something along the lines of…] X being the CEO of a company, and how he brought his secretary up with him.

[Yes, ThoughtfulFriend, I will be calling to discuss this with you, at length]

The reasons this bothers me:
1. I have worked very hard to be more than a secretary.
2. I have a doctorate degree, damnit.
3. I do not believe it’s okay to have an affair.
4. I do not support inter-office relationships, particularly between superiority lines.
5. I am successful on my own, and the dress, shoes (the cute, peep-toes from Nordstrom, ThoughtfulFriend!), and jewelry (sans watch) were afforded on my own dime.

Caveat: I have nothing against secretaries. In the legal world, they are indispensable and oftentimes more impressive than the attorneys they serve. I took this assumption purely from the stereotyped allegation that was proffered.

I am still angered by this. I am angered that this man jumped to the conclusion, still harboring the archaic notion that women can’t be successful on their own (how dare I be able to afford this Club on my own!).

But I am angry for other reasons. I am angry, first, that I let him get to me [Thank you, X]. I am angry that I let his off-hand comment allow me to question myself, my appearance, and my demeanor. And I am disappointed in myself for not letting this roll off my back like water on a duck.

But for all of these things, I did walk away a better (albeit saltier) person. I learned to not necessarily be so quick to judge the external appearance of others. If someone could mistake me for my boyfriend’s secretary, then I could mistake someone else something more offensive. I learned, as my Dad advised, to thicken my skin. And, as X advised, I have learned to resist sinking to some ill-informed fool’s level.

As my Dad always said: Never assume… it makes an ASS out of U and ME.

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One thought on “Assumptions (or, Getting Thicker Skin)

  1. Pingback: Housekeeping « Thursday Morning Meditations

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