I can write about this specific incident because it has been five years or so and the people involved have surely moved on and don’t think of me anymore…
My husband hosted an armor workshop for local geeks to come use our shop and tools to make, well, armor. Okay, long story, but it’s really not integral to this post so I’ll skip the explanation for now. Suffice to say we have an “armor locker” in our compound – one of the reasons that the paranoid older lady next door thinks we’re insane and possibly dangerous.
The point is, it was a time set aside for people to make things. That’s how it was described to everyone invited.
Two young (college aged) women came. One was wearing jeans too tight to do much of anything in and a shirt with glitter-writing on the front (I don’t remember what it said, but I know it had the word “Daddy” in it), and the other brought a little yap-dog with her.
I wouldn’t have minded the dog if it could have just run around the yard with ours while we worked. But it was so small that it could slip through our fences, and not trained well enough to stay with its owner – so the woman had to carry this little dog around like a clutch purse the whole time she was here. I offered her a leash so she could tie it to a post, but she just looked at me like I’d suggested closing it in the refrigerator.
There she stood, taking up room in the shop while people worked around her, for hours. Her friend stood by her side talking to her the whole time. I had a three or four month old baby at that point, and I was more useful to the armor-making effort than those two women combined. I could hold my baby in one arm, nursing, and steady a board with the other hand while someone drilled holes in it (the board, not the baby).
When I got frustrated because I wanted to be more useful, I thought of a perfect plan. I walked over to the two women.
“Since you’re just standing here, how about you hold the baby while I work?” I said to the one who didn’t have an arm full of puppy.
Those two women looked at me like they were both horrified and insulted. Probably thought I was being sexist by asking them to babysit. But no, I remember saying exactly the same sentence once to a couple of men who were sitting around under a tree at an event where I wanted to participate.
It had the same effect on these women as it had on those men – suddenly they wanted to participate. The one holding the dog obviously couldn’t do anything, but the other one managed to burn her fingers on a jig saw blade within ten minutes, so that people had to stop what they were doing and see to her wounds.
Thank you so much for coming to our workshop and making us less productive.
And I haven’t even gotten to the point where she of the tight jeans asked me “You got any snacks? What do you have to drink?” When I gave them a few options, they chose apple juice… but when they saw me pouring it into a cup, the one with the dog said “Oh, the only apple juice I like is the fresh stuff from the Farmers’ Market.”
Last straw, Honey.
I said “Then maybe you ought to go somewhere else, where you can buy any food and drink that pleases you.”
The last thing I remember is the dog-woman running around in circles because she had stepped her dainty little fashion cowboy boot in some dog shit in our yard. My husband, bless his heart, refused her any help beyond pointing at the nearest hose.
This post isn’t so much about the dog, obviously. It’s about the useless attitude that comes with it. It doesn’t have to be a dog – I’ve seen it happen with clutch purses, sun glasses, bottles of beer, and overly manicured fingernails. It also doesn’t have to be a woman – we’ve had other workshops where a man has come and basically slowed the entire production down by his mere presence. Some people just inhibit progress. I suspect women get away with it more than men because they can be taught early on that their pleasing appearance warrants a spot at any gathering.
Maybe at a frat party, ladies – not my house.