The Hello Bar is a simple web toolbar that engages users and communicates a call to action.

delivery guys, politics, and a very passionate rant. you’ve been warned.

April 6, 2011

My office no longer has a receptionist, which means that every time someone comes through the front doors they ring a bell and someone gets up from their desk to greet them.

Usually that person is me and usually the person ringing the bell is FedEx/UPS/USPS needing a signature for a package.

I do not mind this process. At this point in my employment, our regular delivery guys have learned how to spell my last name and they are very polite.

Except for one.

He comes around 4 in the afternoon a couple times a week. Every time he sees me walk to the front desk he sort of rolls his eyes in the “Not you again” way. Because no matter how many times I spell it for him, he can’t seem to remember the order of the twelve letters in my last name. Our interactions started off fine; he just asked me to slowly spell it for him while he punched it into the machine. One day he asked me if that was my married name or my family name. I replied that it was my family name. He told me I should marry someone with a shorter and easier last name.

Noted. Let me just go add that to the list of qualities that I require from the men I date because that is clearly of utmost importance.

For weeks our conversations repeated the same cycle – married name or family name, how I should marry someone with a better last name. I can only attribute his repetitiveness to an undiagnosed case of amnesia. It got increasingly annoying to the point where when I was busy and didn’t feel like listening to him again, a coworker would go sign for that package to spare me.

Last night I reached my breaking point. I walked to the front desk and reached for the device to sign, and he held it back.

“So I have a question for you.”
“Ok.”
“Do you have a fiancé?”
“No.”
“Will you marry me then?”
“No.”
“Are you sure you don’t have a fiancé?”
“Yes I am sure I am too young to be married right now.”
“How old are you?”
“Twenty-three.”
“Okay you marry me next year then.”

I was not amused. I signed for the package and walked off, seething. My coworkers couldn’t understand why I was so upset. It was flattering that he said those things, he was just joking, don’t take it too seriously.

And you know, I probably could have laughed it off easily. A two-minute annoyance in my day doesn’t have to result in me calling my mom to rant about respect and business interactions and being a woman.

But this incident comes on the heels of so many other things that make me angry.

The fact that there’s a serious chance that Planned Parenthood will be defunded.

That we finally have women in politics that have significant influence but these women are Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin.

That Mike Huckabee slams Natalie Portman for having a child out of wedlock while teen mother Bristol Palin is evangelizing abstinence and performing on Dancing With the Stars.

That a state legislator in Georgia authored a bill making it a felony for a woman to have a miscarriage unless she could prove it was not intentional. Because the very thing that a woman wants to do after suffering the loss of her unborn child is defend herself in front of the courts. I don’t even care that this man is a lunatic who also doesn’t believe we should have public schools and that all transactions should be made with gold and silver because even if he is crazy, people have continued to vote him into office for the last 15 years.

I feel like we, as a country, are on the brink. We’ve spent the last few decades progressing and progressing, yet fighting it the entire way. And now we are at the apex of this fight where, if we win, there is the potential for smooth(er) sailing, and maybe we’ll still face discrimination and hate but at least the government will stop attempting to legislate our beliefs and personal choices. But if we lose, we lose big. We lose decades worth of progress and will find ourselves living in a world before Roe v. Wade and gay marriage and my peers and I will have no choice but to become the new leaders of the movement back towards progress.

I am fully prepared to make my stand, but I really hope I don’t have to.

So my coworkers, friends and family may be right – the incident with the delivery guy yesterday is, in the grand scheme of things, no big deal. Life goes on and I’m sure this isn’t the first time I’ll have to deal with unwanted and inappropriate harassment in a business setting. Except that it reminds of everything else and then I get angry.

Angry, and a little scared for what’s on the other side of this apex.

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

phampants April 6, 2011 at 12:51 pm

This is why I want to move to Europe or Australia.

Reply

Renee April 6, 2011 at 12:56 pm

European men are the worst at keeping their thoughts to themselves.
Renee´s last blog post ..Grammar Pet Peeve – Crime in Passive Voice

Reply

Jenn April 7, 2011 at 9:21 am

I was actually grabbed in the street by a complete stranger in Madrid. The one redeeming factor about the overt sexualization of women over there is that a lot of the women tell them off, whereas we would be told to “calm down, lighten up, it’s just a joke”. Doesn’t make it better, but at least it doesn’t seem to be trivialized to the extent it is here.

Reply

Renee April 6, 2011 at 12:55 pm

In the grand scheme of things, a MAN making a comment on a WOMAN’s relationship status and providing a SOLUTION to her lack of a HUSBAND is actually a BIG FUCKING DEAL because we live in a world where MEN COMMENTING ON WOMEN WITHOUT HESITATION and WITHOUT INVITATION IS ACCEPTABLE. I’m sick of it. I’m sick of men thinking it’s okay to comment on how we look or don’t look. IT’S NOT A COMPLIMENT, IT’S A THREAT.

Reply

Jenn April 7, 2011 at 9:22 am

When you put it that way… I totally agree.

It was one of those things that if that was the ONLY thing that was happening, I could lump it in with the other things I brush off on a daily basis. But when coupled with the proposal and interfering at my place of work, THAT is what set me over the edge and made it something I got angry about.

Reply

rachel April 6, 2011 at 1:02 pm

i’m with renee. everything she said was true. where and when would it be acceptable for us to ask a man to shorten his last name or to take his wifes last name so it’s easier for his future wife/delivery guy?! sure, it’s an option, but we’d be laughed at. and yet, it’s acceptable for a man to say such a thing to a woman he barely knows.

besides, your last name is ridiculously easy to spell. next time, tell him to sound it out.

Reply

TJ April 6, 2011 at 2:57 pm

I have no problem taking a wife’s last name if that is what we decide. How is that even remotely laughable? Hell, I grew up in super conservative city and we still talked about how if the girl had a last name that had a better sound for the two first names that it would make sense.

This isn’t the 50s anymore, and while it certainly isn’t the norm – it does happen.

There’s a reason why this guy is delivering packages for a living, and Jenn is a white collar worker.

Who has the last laugh?

Hint: it’s not him.

Sounds like Georgia has some fucked up laws in the making….but the South has always been scary. Just reaffirms why I am staying far, far away.

Reply

Jenn April 7, 2011 at 9:24 am

I’m not even sure how to approach the exchange of sexism in favor of classism, and I think that would just spark a separate tirade against you.

Sure, the FedEx guy was who I chose to make an example of in this instance, but you’re delusional to think that it’s only “blue collar workers” that are guilty of these behaviors. That’s just ignorant and a whole separate set of prejudices.

Reply

TJ April 7, 2011 at 10:10 am

I did not intend to to suggest that blue collar workers are the only folks who are capable of sexism. Obviously that is not the case.

Reply

TJ April 7, 2011 at 7:57 pm

To further clarify, because I guess it was not obvious, I was only commenting on one specific situation with one specific man. The one that you referenced in the beginning of this post….which is all I really ever intended to make a comment on.

Reply

Suburban Sweetheart April 6, 2011 at 1:36 pm

I am so angry about so many of the same things. And more. And I’m so tired of being so angry,. so tired of gearing up for fight after fight after fight…
Suburban Sweetheart´s last blog post ..Grown Men in Great Garb

Reply

Alex April 6, 2011 at 1:42 pm

Amen.

I’m effing PISSED.

That said, every time I see Bachmann, Palin, Angle or McDonnell, I always think of our amazing Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton and our former SOS, Madeleine Albright. Two of my absolute heroes.

And f*ck that delivery driver. I wish him nothing but repeated STDs. Well, not really. But … almost.

Reply

Tess April 6, 2011 at 11:39 pm

Plus bad ass Nancy Pelosi who was Speaker, passed a bunch of important legislation, AND is a mom of four.

Reply

Jeney April 6, 2011 at 2:00 pm

I could not have said it any better than you just did. So I won’t try.

Reply

sarah marie p April 6, 2011 at 2:08 pm

Ugh, that delivery guy is so ridiculous. Almost as ridiculous as Planned Parenthood potentially losing funding. And I hate how he assumes that if you were to get married, that you’d automatically change your last name.

Reply

David Stehle April 6, 2011 at 2:46 pm

I only have half the amount of letters in my last name – 6. Yet no one can seem to spell it right or even pronounce it right. It’s not Steel or Steely or Stall or Stally. It’s pronounced Stay-lee. And unfortunately for me, there is no chance I’ll marry into a new/simpler last name. So I’m forced to answer to just about anything, including “hey you.”

As far as the rest of your rant goes, personally I loved it! And I say preach on! And I think it’s a good thing you haven’t hear about the “Slut Walk” that’s been in the news recently. Don’t know what I’m talking about it? Google it and prepare to watch your blood pressure rise.
David Stehle´s last blog post ..Respecting Silence

Reply

Jenn April 7, 2011 at 9:26 am

Oh I’m highly aware of the Slut Walk, just didn’t throw it in this post. And you are correct, blood pressure rising ;)

And I actually had no idea how your last name was pronounced so thanks for the heads up! Haha.

Reply

David Stehle April 7, 2011 at 12:10 pm

See that, you learn something new everyday! :)

And I learned that in some states it can be a felony to have a miscarriage? I can’t even wrap my head around the ridiculousness of that!
David Stehle´s last blog post ..Respecting Silence

Reply

Jenn April 7, 2011 at 4:53 pm

Oh yes. It’s absurd. Luckily it won’t go anywhere because this guy is a nut job and thinks public education is a waste and that we should pay for things not with money but with gold and silver. He is also so religious that he considers George Bush to be a pagan. Mmmhmmm he’s nuts. But it’s still shocking to know that people like that exist and can have a voice in our government. YIKES.

Reply

Rebekah April 6, 2011 at 3:58 pm

I got a wee bit tipsy last night and started going off to Dan about the Planned Parenthood thing, why can’t people understand how the government funding vs. non-gov funding works, how it will decimate the availability of women’s healthcare to low-income communities, how much my birth control would cost us per month if I didn’t have kickass insurance… I went on and on. It makes me angry too. Incidents like the one with the delivery guy may not be THE big deal, but they are definitely PART of the big deal and indicative of the downward spiral into which both the politicians and the masses of uninformed, mob-mentality voters are dragging this country.
Rebekah´s last blog post ..Catching up with my head-shrinker

Reply

Toe April 6, 2011 at 4:06 pm

I know I should be saying something about women’s rights and freedoms and such but if it was I that was feeling that way I would have just contacted the delivery company and complained. I bet he won’t be as rude and annoying the next time you see him.

Reply

TJ April 6, 2011 at 8:13 pm

Exactly…I’d definitely complain to FEDEX. If they don’t do anything, sue the guy and Fedex.

The thing is so many women out there strangely seem to ENJOY this kind of attention, it’s very annoying to watch (though I’ve never seen it to the extent of marriage proposals, jeez) and whenever i make a snide remark about what has taken place, I usually get a “uhh, he’s just being friendly” Um ok. Strange concept of friendly.

Reply

Jenn April 7, 2011 at 9:27 am

And the important thing to realize is that just because a few women enjoy the attention doesn’t mean that it’s a universal acceptance. One woman does not speak for the masses.

Reply

Jenn April 7, 2011 at 9:26 am

I thought about it, but I think that’ll be the next step after I tell him his behavior makes me uncomfortable. If he still persists, then I’ll go to the company.

Reply

Garnet April 6, 2011 at 4:23 pm

Fuck yes. I could hug you right now.
Garnet´s last blog post ..Wining and Dining- Ten on a Tuesday Dating Edition

Reply

Jenn April 7, 2011 at 9:32 am

Please do! I love hugs!

Reply

doniree April 6, 2011 at 7:03 pm

The way he treated you IS a form of harassment, for all the reasons Renee (and the others) have said. And I get just as angry as you do about the other issues at hand. HIGH FIVE.

Reply

Jenn April 7, 2011 at 9:33 am

High five back atcha lady :) It’s nice to have strong female friends that support the same things I do. I appreciate you mucho.

Reply

Sid April 7, 2011 at 6:53 am

This brings forth unpleasant flashbacks. Had a similar thought recently. Had the same thought when a Toronto policeman stated that “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimised”. His callous statement resulted in the Toronto Slutwalk. Not sure if you’ve heard about it. http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2011/04/04/resistance-language-and-the-toronto-slutwalk/
Sid´s last blog post ..Lombok – the day after the earthquake

Reply

Sid April 7, 2011 at 6:56 am

Oh and one last thing, read an interesting article that stated that young girls/teens/women are under the firm that they do NOT need to expect more from their boyfriends, unless they’re thin. Quotes from the article include: “I’m the girl you get with for a blowjob”, she said; “I’m not the hot girl you hold hands with in public.” You can read about it here: http://hugoschwyzer.net/2011/03/31/if-i-were-thinner-id-have-the-right-to-expect-more-on-perfectionism-and-the-scarcity-model/
Sid´s last blog post ..Lombok – the day after the earthquake

Reply

Jenn April 7, 2011 at 9:33 am

I had heard about the Slut Walk but not about the second article — thank you so much for sharing, even though they’re such depressing stories.

Reply

howie April 7, 2011 at 9:47 am

all legitimate reasons to rant, but jenn, maybe its time to leave georgia. maybe head back to chicago or boston? we’re pretty liberal and open-minded here in nyc. and yes, you do have a long last name, but if you keep running into the same redneck who doesn’t realize your last name is spelled the same way it sounds, i think it maybe time to move on.

Reply

Jenn April 7, 2011 at 9:57 am

Is this your way of saying JENN COME BACK TO ME I MISS YOU SO MUCH?!

Because in that case, I say come party in Atlanta because it’s like 80 degrees today and I’ve already had multiple sunburns starting in February and a couple weeks ago I laid out by the pool because it was almost 90 and basically my life is amazing.

So forget NYC with all that snow and cold and come hang in the south. We’ll rage against conservatives.

Reply

howie April 7, 2011 at 10:14 am

ah jenn, we have never met and i suspect my wife might object if i came down there to hang out with you. i was just suggesting that one could only tolerate living in georgia for so long and that maybe you have reached that point, regardless of how amazing your life is. nevertheless, i am happy for you.

Reply

Jenn April 7, 2011 at 4:51 pm

Pshhh bring her! Haha but honestly, you’re right. I’m not sure how long I foresee myself living here — I sort of feel like I’m betraying the democratic party and women everywhere by living here, although I do think my voice needs to be heard in this environment. We shall see — so many places to go and I’m still so young. I’m sure there will be another cross country move at some point!

Reply

terra April 7, 2011 at 5:08 pm

Concur. I keep feeling like we’re teetering on the edge and we’ll either be pulled to safety or fall to the depths of doom and shit.

Rock on lady!
terra´s last blog post ..And then there were kitties

Reply

Micah April 8, 2011 at 10:22 am

I could not agree more, Jenn. We ARE on the brink of going backwards, and it’s terrifying.

Reply

StartedOver@28 April 8, 2011 at 11:50 am

Some guys are just idiots.I would have been annoyed with that exchange as well and do not blame you for being upset. There are just some people who come into our lives whose sole purpose seems to be setting us off. There are bigger issues in the world, sure. But that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t an issue for you at that given time.

Reply

Clark April 8, 2011 at 4:07 pm

Your being harassed. Tell him to knock it off. If he can’t do that, call his company and complain. If that doesn’t work, have your boss call his company and complain too.

Many (unfortunately, not all) companies are pretty sensitive when it comes to customers being harassed by their employees.

Reply

Peter April 13, 2011 at 12:53 pm

I waited a few days to let your feistiness calm down, so I could say this…

Canada is waiting for your apology.
Peter´s last blog post ..writing with loops

Reply

Kelly L May 8, 2011 at 1:08 am

I love you for this. I’m very, very concerned with the way we are going and the way we seem to be unraveling all our progress. I’ll be right there making a stand with you when/if the time comes.

Reply

leenanna May 30, 2011 at 4:24 pm

What a day! I wonder if he’ll continue asking you to marry him they way he was asking about the family name lol. You should just make him read this post maybe he’ll learn a thing or two :)
leenanna´s last blog post ..security system with wireless cams

Reply

Previous post:

Next post: