Friday, June 20, 2008

unfortunately not overheard this morning

at 6:30 this morning i went through a hateful ritual of putting on a suit and driving to tysons corner for a networking breakfast. long story short, our firm is a member of a business development community called the breakfast club (read: pyramid scheme) that hosts events to draw together professionals (read: whores) to build networks and business. the breakfast is once a month. i have managed to weasel my way out of representing the firm at these glad hand shows for a solid span of 8 months. my arsenal of excuses is exhausted, so there i idled along chain bridge road soaking up some jose gonzalez and practicing my canned responses and intimations of placation.

instead of mixing it up in the crowd, i tend to shuffle my feet in one place in the corner hoping i can make it through the coffee and chitchat hour in the banquet room without having to press my card into a single hand. this is clearly impossible, but i am proud to say i managed to walk out of there with only one card in my pocket. it turned out to be a woman, a guest, who seemed to hate these things as much as i do. in a way we were the greasers at the party of socs, maybe kindred spirits. in any case, i usually survive and should admit that occasionally i have a good conversation.

in these situations, voices in my head, possibly from a darker comedy side of myself, mutter things that i'd dare not literally speak in a social situation. there have been times when i've had to put forth a concerted effort to suppress the urge to blurt one out. these impulses, banal and childish as they may be, put a smile on my face, so i thought i'd share a few with you.

scene 1:

ron: hello, i'm ron pella. good to meet you. (extends limp fish handshake)

me: hi, ron. say, how's your wife doing?


see, that wouldn't work out so well. raises lots of questions, gets someone hot under the collar pretty quickly. it assumes so much. still, wouldn't you love to say it just once? no?

scene 2:

subtle grunts followed by explosive shit sounds come from the single stall in the country club men's room. snickers come from men in suits pissing at the urinals or picking their noses in front of the mirrors. i'm waiting to enter said stall due to case of stage fright and inability to piss at these particular types of urinals lacking any edge or partition. eventually i give up and decide i'm bailing early on this thing anyway and can make it. before i go, i rap my knuckles on the stall door a couple of times.

poor bastard: what, it's occupied!

me: i know...i just wanted to see if i could get your business card when you're done.

poor bastard: what?!?

me: it's okay, i'll wait out here for you. i'm just going to slide mine under the door now.

scene 3:

a guest speaker, the cliche chest thumper, rants on and on over his slide show presentation. he's so into it. it reminds me of tom cruise's character, frank mackey, in magnolia - the self help sex book author and motivational speaker who coaches guys on getting laid. in a zone out moment i almost expect today's speaker to start chanting "respect the cock!" like frank mackey. when he wraps up his diatribe, he asks if there are any questions.

at this point, i wonder how the crowd, a mixed bag of generations, perceives the breakfast club film reference in the title of this quasi club. each and every time i've been to one of these, the speaker offers to take questions, and the obvious question, which judd nelson framed perfectly, just had to be asked.

yeah, i got a question. does barry manilow know that you raid his wardrobe?

alas i survived and made my exit during the follow-up speakers bit, telling a colleague i was headed to the restroom. he knew i was ghost and whispered me out as i passed with a "keyser soze."

Friday, June 13, 2008

leave it to cleavage

earlier this week human resources informed my wife, through one of her female colleagues, that she is showcasing too much cleavage at the office. apparently some guy went to HR and said he was unable to concentrate in a meeting because he could not stop staring at my wife's breasts. this prompted the HR woman to enlist one of my wife's peers ,who is not her supervisor, to deliver the news.

the ripples of this have not completely settled yet, as my wife is naturally flustered and annoyed for a number of reasons, and i don't blame her. there are a few things about this matter that are not sitting well.

her chest happens to be pronounced these days due to the fact that she's breast feeding. (i enjoy this aspect, of course, but that's another story for my erotica blog.) still, she has not changed her style - classy and elegant - one bit since she joined the firm over a year ago and is suddenly being asked to do so because some guy can't keep his eyes off her breasts and goes so far as to dispense what can be construed as a lewd comment about her. by the way, they were gigantic during her pregnancy, but no one had concentration issues then. does my wife work in a bible camp or a religious setting? ummm, no.

the fact that the HR woman sent one of my wife's colleagues to deliver the news strikes me as inappropriate. this might add up if the HR director was a man. i am not knowledgeable in the ream of HR laws and policies, but i think any HR issue, especially one like this, should be handled with sensitivity and confidence. she should have approached my wife directly instead of threading someone else into this.

the whole thing seems circuitous and messy. some guy - the poor victim - makes a comment, so HR sends another woman to deliver the news and handle it. to me it's almost a watered down version of those terrible rape stories you hear about or see depicted in court dramas on television: well, she shouldn't have worn that sexy outfit. how could i restrain myself from tossing that roofie into her drink? i'm a man after all.

it's hard enough for her being a working mother in a global pr firm where the reward for hard work is more hard work, so, as you might imagine, to be billing in the neighborhood of 60 hours per week, getting thrown under the bus by people covering their own asses (life in a pr firm), catching this kind of hell from HR has found her near the end of her rope.

the situation will obviously not boil down to this, but one of our close friends is a partner in a big law firm's employment law practice. he makes a living raking large corporations over the coals for gigantic settlements. in jest, to lighten the mood of all this, i suggested that she contact him so we can score an early retirement in the name of her boobs. we could buy a place in the BVI, get a yacht, and name it "cleavage." how fantastic would that be?

yes, far fetched, but that won't stop me from rolling down the street to barneys to buy a few low cut items for her on my way home tonight.