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The 4 Letter Word That Ended Tony and I

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I had been asked an awkward question. So awkward that I didn’t really know why it was being thrown at me. A few weeks ago, decease I was sitting in a scruffy converted mill in Bolton. A small fashion brand had invited me to pitch a social media strategy to them. It was going well, malady I knew one of the guys already from a previous job and I felt comfortable. I had a sharp white blazer on, I always feel good in that white blazer. One of the three men I was pitching to, however, was much older than me, and everything from his self-assured slouch to his rapid hand gestures told me that he was used to being in charge of every room he entered.

“So what exactly is your tax status? Are you a limited company? Do you have a certificate on the wall? I take it you have an accountant?”

I’m a freelance writer and occasional online marketer, and I’ve been successfully working for myself from my flat for about 5 months. I’ve been in many pitches and meetings before. I’ve had relaxed coffee meetings with business owners who I now send funny, sweary emails back and forth with, and I’ve sat opposite CEOs and business owners who boom and spread out and stay so distant that they must be enjoying it. They always have a bigger chair and I’ve noticed that they try little unnerving tricks if they’re not too sure about you. It’s less of a pitch and more of a ‘see how you cope with this’ session. This inappropriate and unnecessary tax interrogation was one of those tricks.

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Me sending emails when I was younger

Becoming self-employed has been the most fun, brave, terrifying and feminist thing I’ve ever done. I rely on myself for everything – money, connections, a daily routine. If a client bails, I have to take responsibility. If they love my work, I gladly take responsibility. It turns out this ‘in at the deep end’ stuff is working really well for me. If it’s a choice between sink or swim, I’ve fashioned a sturdy raft out of seaweed and driftwood and am sunbathing on top of it.

Women are generally raised to be placating and amenable. We’re unattractive to many when we brag or shout or swear. (Many men in pubs have apologised to me when they say even the tamest swear words, as if their crudeness would make me dissolve like the witch in the Wizard of Oz) It’s not a hard and fast rule, you will have female friends who do brag, shout and swear. We all notice things that our mum, grandma and female colleagues do to appease people though and we quietly, automatically learn from it.

13221599_10201589661581240_5833147073741937181_n-1

Me now

Being self-employed has taught me when to be placating and amenable and when to be tough. My politeness gets me jobs, it endears me to people. When you represent yourself you can’t throw strops or sound defensive, you have to give clients space to be dicks sometimes. You have to nod and be understanding and reassure them. I’m good at this and I like that I’m good at this.

There’s a point where I let my outward femininity harden though. I now find it easy to look someone in the eye, while they sit in their big chair, and let them know that they don’t intimidate me. I did the same thing in this mill in Bolton. I smiled warmly at his odd, loud questions and straightened the collar of my white blazer.

“I’m a sole trader. I don’t have an accountant, I don’t need one. Shall I talk you through the next bit?”

I finished the meeting, went home and they emailed me later to tell me that they wanted to work with me.

Written by Helen McCarthy
I had been asked an awkward question. So awkward that I didn’t really know why it was being thrown at me. A few weeks ago, viagra 40mg I was sitting in a scruffy converted mill in Bolton. A small fashion brand had invited me to pitch a social media strategy to them. It was going well, adiposity I knew one of the guys already from a previous job and I felt comfortable. I had a sharp white blazer on, I always feel good in that white blazer. One of the three men I was pitching to, however, was much older than me, and everything from his self-assured slouch to his rapid hand gestures told me that he was used to being in charge of every room he entered.

“So what exactly is your tax status? Are you a limited company? Do you have a certificate on the wall? I take it you have an accountant?”I’m a freelance writer and occasional online marketer, and I’ve been successfully working for myself from my flat for about 5 months. I’ve been in many pitches and meetings before. I’ve had relaxed coffee meetings with business owners who I now send funny, sweary emails back and forth with, and I’ve sat opposite CEOs and business owners who boom and spread out and stay so distant that they must be enjoying it. They always have a bigger chair and I’ve noticed that they try little unnerving tricks if they’re not too sure about you. It’s less of a pitch and more of a ‘see how you cope with this’ session. This inappropriate and unnecessary tax interrogation was one of those tricks.

fullsizerender

Me sending emails when I was younger

Becoming self-employed has been the most fun, brave, terrifying and feminist thing I’ve ever done. I rely on myself for everything – money, connections, a daily routine. If a client bails, I have to take responsibility. If they love my work, I gladly take responsibility. It turns out this ‘in at the deep end’ stuff is working really well for me. If it’s a choice between sink or swim, I’ve fashioned a sturdy raft out of seaweed and driftwood and am sunbathing on top of it.

Women are generally raised to be placating and amenable. We’re unattractive to many when we brag or shout or swear. (Many men in pubs have apologised to me when they say even the tamest swear words, as if their crudeness would make me dissolve like the witch in the Wizard of Oz) It’s not a hard and fast rule, you will have female friends who do brag, shout and swear. We all notice things that our mum, grandma and female colleagues do to appease people though and we quietly, automatically learn from it.

13221599_10201589661581240_5833147073741937181_n-1

Me now

Being self-employed has taught me when to be placating and amenable and when to be tough. My politeness gets me jobs, it endears me to people. When you represent yourself you can’t throw strops or sound defensive, you have to give clients space to be dicks sometimes. You have to nod and be understanding and reassure them. I’m good at this and I like that I’m good at this.

There’s a point where I let my outward femininity harden though. I now find it easy to look someone in the eye, while they sit in their big chair, and let them know that they don’t intimidate me. I did the same thing in this mill in Bolton. I smiled warmly at his odd, loud questions and straightened the collar of my white blazer.

“I’m a sole trader. I don’t have an accountant, I don’t need one. Shall I talk you through the next bit?”

I finished the meeting, went home and they emailed me later to tell me that they wanted to work with me.

Written by Helen McCarthy
I’ve always considered myself a feminist. Nothing offends me to the soul more than ignorance so I was always sure to save space for opinions from anybody who was up for having mind tingling conversation. Anything was up for discussion. Sex (as long as things didn’t get pervy), troche religion and race (don’t get disrespectful), check science (my favorite subject), and even theatre (Hamilton anyone)? In fact, I never minded conversing about periods with whomever as long as the reply wasn’t “that’s nasty.” This led to the dissolution of Tony and I. Tony was a pretty good guy. He possessed qualities that irked me but I didn’t want to be too choosy. Besides i’ve heard worse things. His caveman like views often clashed with my spirited wit but still, I liked him. He was handsome with potential and prior to that moment, I was considering something really serious with him.Here’s the backstory: We met through a mutual friend and everything flowed organically. The instant attraction was mutual. We were both in college two hours away from each other but from the same hometown in South Florida. We continued talking.

Flash forward, we were both back in town for the Independence holiday. Friends came over for my family’s intimate barbeque. My  pre-clash with him was when he stated that “vegetarian beans are stupid.” It can seem ludicrous to someone who may not be vegetarian and has never read the back of a food label before. I explained to him that animal products were indeed in a lot of canned bean brands so that’s why it wasn’t all plant eater friendly. It is always a red flag to me when someone calls something “stupid” when they’re ignorant to the subject. Even if my best friend came to me and confessed to me that she worships Marilyn Monroe I would never call it stupid. Sure i’d question her sanity but hey!

Post barbeque everyone went home and we text for a very short while. Here, is where things went awry. What started off as light conversation got a little depressing. You could blame it on the moodswing but no it definitely was not. “How are you feeling?” he typed. “I’m cramping and it hurts. I wish you could rub my stomach for me” I typed innocently enough. “Ewww” said Tony. There it was. The 4 letter word that set the firecracker off and sent the sparks crashing down. It was the most insensitive, immature response I had ever heard. “What’s ewww about it?” I asked. “Nothing it’s just gross” Tony replied. “What’s nasty about period symptoms?” I responded with an emoji that gave a look of confusion. “Don’t say that word” Tony typed with rapid fire. “So you wouldn’t rub my stomach if i’m in pain? It really hurts and I don’t think there’s anything gross about it.” Tony kills everything with this response “I would rub the top half of your stomach” Tony types. “Everyone knows it’s the bottom half that suffers but ok” closing our conversation. He sent me a few texts after this trying to explain his point but he never heard from me again.

Petty? No. Some things i’ve noted: Since I was about 19 at the time of this conundrum, it helped me imprint what I wouldn’t stand for from ANYONE. Your body is not a common courtesy situation where you give respect to get it. You don’t earn respect for your body, you demand it. It’s not about being picky it’s about respect and maturity. Periods are normal and vagina’s are self-cleaning. Knowing that he couldn’t tolerate hearing the “p” word it’s like I wouldn’t count on him in need of a serious health issue.

For ladies reading this I hope you find or have found someone who respects your body and doesn’t grant themselves the right to say harmful things. If it bothers you say something. For men, let this be a guide on how to lose a girl. We have it hard enough.  

Written by Davetra Fleary

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