I’ve been drafting a post focusing on what it’s like being a twenty something in the workplace for a few days now. However, thanks to a recent, let’s call it “incident” I heard about from a friend of mine, I’ve decided to add a new word into the mix. That word is female. I now present to you what-it’s-(sometimes)-like-being-a-twenty-something-female-at-work.
I’m going to go ahead and jump right in. Here’s a quick recap of a conversation someone I know (who is the same age as I am) had with her coworker:
40-something-year-old male coworker and apparent hair care expert: What’s going on with your hair?
40-something-year-old male coworker and apparent hair care expert: It doesn’t look very good today.
40-something-year-old male coworker and apparent hair care expert: I mean, it’s frizzy and not very shiny. Did you do something different? Did you forget conditioner or something?
Friend: …..no? I’m sorry?
40-something-year-old male coworker and apparent hair care expert: Oh, well it doesn’t look as shiny. What’s going on?
Friend: …couldn’t tell ya.
He then went on to ask if she typically uses three cups of conditioner each time she showers, mentioned a few more times that her hair didn’t look very good as she laughed awkwardly, and then walked away. She sat there stunned for a second, then immediately gchatted her neighbor, who also happens to fall into the twenty-something female category. She, too, has received similar comments from their resident hair care expert.
Not surprisingly, I couldn’t stop laughing when I heard about it, and the two of us couldn’t believe what just happened was real life. Surprised and speechless are probably two of the best words to describe it. She actually used the word flabbergasted to describe how she felt, which may be most appropriate and the most fun word to describe the circumstance.
Fast forward twenty four hours later, and I received another text from her. She had a second visit from the resident hair care expert the following day. This time, she was in her manager’s office with a coworker. Just to set the tone, all of them are female.
40-something-year-old male coworker and apparent hair care expert:
(To my friend) – Your hair still doesn’t look very good today.
(To her manager and coworker) – I told [name] yesterday that her hair didn’t look very good.
Manager and coworker: Huh?
Friend: Really? I took to heart what you said yesterday and changed up my routine!
40-something-year-old male coworker and apparent hair care expert, smiling: Really?
Friend: Absolutely not.
A few more awkward lines (at the expense of the resident expert) and awkward laughs (at the expense of my friend and her coworkers) were exchanged and that was that. After I got the text, the word “WHAT?” echoed in my head for the rest of the day. Just like that, too. In all caps with a big question mark. Because really, what did anyone glean from these two exchanges? (Aside from wondering why this guy felt the need to say these things out loud, that is.)
Since this isn’t my first time hearing about an exchange like this, I sometimes wonder if twenty-something females (or probably any females) are being filmed at work, like in the show Candid Camera. If they just keep their cool and behave how they’re supposed to in these awkward circumstances, a television host will come around the corner with flowers, balloons, and a big fat check. To date, I have not heard about any fancy television host visits, but you’ll be the first to know if I do.
It’s times like this where I wish I had the power to see what goes through peoples’ minds. I’d like to know why comments like this are even spoken out loud. What prompted it? What made you think my friend wanted or cared about your opinion on her hair? Better yet, why does this guy care about her hair, which, by the way, has looked the same way nearly every day for the past five years?
I also want to highlight the fact that I put the word *sometimes* in the title. It’s not as if she’s faced with this type of behavior every day. (If it’s something you deal with daily, I’d encourage you to report it, and consider seeking new job opportunities. No one should have to deal with that.) It’s just something that happens from time to time that makes me shake my head and question what’s wrong with some people. And, another fun fact to add before I’m labeled as a Femen wannabe, it’s not as if these comments only come from men in office settings. I’ve had my fair share of “you’re wearing that necklace with that shirt?” or “that’s what you wore to the wedding? huh (crosses arms and purses lips)” from plenty of females in my own office, as well.
On the plus, I got a blog post out of her experience. Cross your fingers that her hair is runway ready today, and that she used the perfect amount of conditioner.