What is it with dirty old men and their fascination with my marital and reproductive status?
Yesterday at work, one of my (six) bosses confessed that he had run out of regular dog food for his bichon frise and, by way of compensation, filled her bowl with treats instead. I remarked that at least he doesn’t have actual children. Within a fraction of a second, a voice came from behind me, to my left: “Your time will come.”
I turned and found Dave standing there, beady eyes fixed on me. Well, some part of me. Dave is exactly what you would picture a dirty old man to be: sloppy, with a desk hinting at tendencies toward hoarding. Large, bald, rumpled, bespectacled, and an avid fan of wearing suspenders and a belt at the same time. (I always thought it was an either/or thing.) He’s built like Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum.
That’s even how he looks when he talks to me. Hand on hip, eyes closed, trap flapping.
So anyway, he’s all “your time will come” over there with his hands on his hips, out of nowhere and frankly apropos of nothing. Because we were talking about a dog. And I do want a dog. But that wasn’t what Dave was referring to.
Half-befuddled and half irritated already, I responded to his unsolicited comment with a professional, “Huh?”
“For children,” he said.
Oh, go away already.
“But you have to find a man first.”
Great. Because this is a discussion that’s appropriate for the workplace post-1965.
This kind of crap makes me bristle just out of reflex. As a matter of fact, if I wanted children, I would, indeed, prefer to “find a man” first. And given my tendency to shirk medical intervention, it would seem I would have “found a man” in order to conceive, even if he promptly wandered into the woods afterward. But that’s just me. Not everyone does it that way. Some people don’t even like men, but still want children. Including, incidentally, one of our co-workers, who is raising a son with her partner and standing about 20 feet away right now. Oh, and by the way, Dave, it’s none of your beeswax and I’m not quite sure why you think you know the faintest thing about me, my biological clock or my love life.
But the polite and controlled response I gave was meant simply to just end the conversation. “Well, that’s not necessarily true, Dave,” I said, laughing falsely. “Not in this day and age.”
Dave closed his eyes and leaned in, Tweedle-like, spittle spraying from his mouth. “Don’t. Put the cart. Before the horse. Trust me.”
Dude, are you kidding me with this conversation right now? What are you, Babydaddy to five? You’re a bitterly divorced father of two, conceived in exactly the way you’re advising me to do it. Assuming I’d want to.
“Dave,” I replied exasperatedly and uncomfortably, because exactly zero co-workers were coming to my aid even though three of them were overhearing this. “There’s no cart. There’s no horse. There’s nothing.”
“Good,” he said.
Then he told me his part of the project was done and asked me to look it over because he’d tweaked a couple of things since we last went through it, and he toddled off.
“I swear to God, I threw up in my mouth,” muttered my friend Andrea, wide-eyed, from her desk across from mine.
This isn’t the first time Dave has spouted off unprompted about his perception of my relationship and reproductive status. A few months ago, again randomly, he intoned that I would never find a man working in a basement, nights and weekends.
I’m not saying he’s wrong about the assertion. But he’s sure as hell clueless about whether I care to hear his opinion.
Dave is known throughout the basement as a dirty old man. Recently, when he needed help with his new iPad, he asked a co-worker, but forgot to clear the web browser history, and um, let’s just say we know what Dave’s doing with his free time, and we’d like him to wash his hands.
When one of our co-workers was pregnant, he noted aloud to her that the Titty Fairy had come.
I did not make that up.
During a project that involved a discussion on bras (yeah, it was odd – stay with me), he wandered around the basement asking every woman we work with, “Do you wear an underwire bra? Do you wear an underwire bra? Does your bra have an underwire?” He claimed it was research.
One time, in a meeting, the subject of physical therapy and massage came up, and Dave openly stated that he has never been a fan of massages if they didn’t have Happy Endings.
And most of the time, people are somewhat professional and polite and don’t really tell him that he needs to shut his sexist, idiot pie hole. Even when people try, he doesn’t really take the hint. It’s awkward.
Earlier today, he came over to me. I found myself raising my defenses. What will I say? I had been thinking about options, but one never knows what is going to come out of Dave’s mouth (aside from spittle). Faced with uncertainty, I cringed inwardly.
Turned out he just wanted to check a date.
Dodged him for now. But I’ve got to be ready for next time, when he tells me maybe I’m single because of my choice of underwear.
Featured image from freakingnews.com