Get your mind out the gutter. I mean GENDER misunderstandings!
If you’re a woman in a typically male industry, you’ve probably had some of these misunderstandings relating to your “unexpected” gender. One of my first of these sometimes delightfully entertaining, sometimes incredibly infuriating misunderstandings was when I registered for my first HVAC class.
My husband and I decided to both further our educations at the local vocational high school. And it just so happened that they had the perfect offerings for both of us. Yay for carpooling! So off we went, checks in hand, to go register.
My husband happens to be an excellent cook, untrained but enthusiastic. He’s gotten pretty far with natural talent and genetic predisposition but he was ready to learn some more formal technique. So, there we stood, he and I, at the registration desk. He to sign up for a cooking class and I to sign up for the HVAC class. Seems pretty simple, but the staff manning (no pun intended) the registration desk could not seem to fathom the arrangement. After explaining, as calmly as possible, TWICE that HE wanted the cooking class and I wanted the HVAC class, I finally had to use hand signals. I literally pointed to my chest and to the paper, “Me HVAC, Him Cooking.” Just before resorting to stealing her pen and write it myself, light dawned. Finally! Registered correctly. Paperwork done. Payment made. Ah, but just when you thought the sexes had become equal again, the registrar starts telling my husband which classroom to go to for HVAC! Seriously?
At this point, I may have gotten a tad uppity with the registrar and said some not nice things. So she finally stutters out, “Oh, well, sorry. It’s just that, well, you’re a… and he’s a… so I just assumed that, well…you know.”
Translation, girls wear pink, play with Barbies and cook. And boys wear blue, play with trucks and take shop classes when they grow up. Gah! And the worst part was that she said it with the full expectation that anyone would have made the same assumption. Actually, I take that back, the worst part is that this woman works in a high school and interacts with young and possibly still impressionable young people. (Are they still impressionable at that age?) Anyway, I can only hope this particular administrator’s role is minor and far removed from young students, male or female. And that she is not involved in career or guidance counseling in any way.
I am female and I chose a career in HVAC. I am one of many females in this industry. So I say to all dinosaur school administrators, “Chicks dig tools. Get behind it or retire already!”