A throwback Thursday of sorts

Occasionally I’m reminded somehow of someone I knew long ago. Sometimes they were good friends, sometimes co-workers or just people I knew. That happened this week. A person from my past popped into my head for no apparent reason.

Before I went into Human Resource work, I supervised a large administrative staff in a company staffed predominantly by engineers. I learned to work with men. Engineering men are a class by themselves.

Most of the employees were youngish (under 40 for sure) and there were a lot of social activities like baseball teams, bowling leagues, and yes, happy hours. It was at one such event that I had this peculiar experience.

There was an engineer who was a hunk. A hottie by any standards. He was about five years younger than me. He had just broken up with his girlfriend of two years and was “dating” again. On one occasion, probably after too many drinks, he told me his story. (Since I don’t really like people, I am always amazed that people want to open up to me. I must feign empathy well!)

He felt that women were using him for his body. I’d guess his age to be upper 20s to low 30s. This is usually a time when men wish women were after their body. He complained about the carnal intentions most women had when it came to dating him.

Yep, almost fell off my stool (or maybe it was a chair?). Never had a guy complain about being a sexual object. I didn’t know what to say so I assured him that I wasn’t after his body. (Truly I wasn’t. Pretty isn’t my type. We were at a group function so I’m not sure why he opened up. Maybe I seemed “safe.”)

Fast forward about three months. He brought a date to a company picnic. She was not at all what I expected. His last girlfriend was a drop-dead gorgeous blond. Very perky and personable. His date was neither attractive nor homely and introverted. She was nice and accomplished in her field (which was financial – maybe a CPA or accountant? Head abacus?)

While sitting with her she talked about her relationship with Mr. Hunk. She had no idea why he was dating her and was fearful that it would end badly for her. (I know. Why do people tell me these things?) I could assure her that he wasn’t looking for a sexual relationship (based on his earlier complaints to me). I suggested she “ride it out” and enjoy herself.  After a year or so, they married and moved to the big city for better job prospects. All this happened in the 80s and I’ve often wondered how it worked out for both of them.

I eventually moved into Human Resource work where I encountered a lot seedier stories that made this sound tame.

57 thoughts on “A throwback Thursday of sorts

  1. Hmm – interesting that he decided to find someone who did not want him for his bod, but his mind Poor girl would always be insecure, no matter how many assurances, thinking he’d be looking for greener pastures. I know you and I could trade stories about employee behavior, since next month will be year #22 working for a management labor. The “juiciest” stories were those of the freighters “at sea” er, the Great Lakes for weeks at a time. A few episodes required my boss going to the freighter and conducting taped interviews with various personnel on the boat. It was interesting when they were obligated to hire a woman for a comparable position to a man. They were ignorant to the woman in each case. One in particular, ship’s engineer was a man, but they hired a relief engineer. The old codger put pinup pictures (sans clothes of course) as a screensaver for whenever Emily was set to go on her shift. He was fired and was so shocked, he left the boat, hired a rental car and ran off the road and died – everyone figured he committed suicide. Other times, it was taking pictures of themselves with partners (male and/or female or a threesome) and leaving the video on a tablet where the woman had to go.

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  2. I’ll try this again. Comment didn’t show up. Delete this one if it does, Kate.

    When obscure people from the past and random old memories pop into my head, I always think it’s because I’m going to die soon, like my life is flashing before me.
    : )

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    • It never occurred to me that he might be hitting on me. I liked him as a person and he was part of a big social group. I’ve never been attracted to really gorgeous guys. Oh yes, his favorite rock band was Pink Floyd. Mine was The Eagles. That says something too. I dated a gorgeous guy once when I was really young. OMG! We’d walk into a bar with a mirror and he’d spend 5 minutes checking his hair. So not me but he was a looker.

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  3. I enjoyed your story, Kate. People open up to me, too, and it can be kind of uncomfortable. They sometimes regret it and feel over-exposed. Or at least, that was what one person told me. But then again. that’s just one person.

    I hope your engineer friend found happiness.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I had that happen too. One good friend told me how her husband manipulates her in an argument (he was the alpha in the relationship). Afterward she told me she felt like she had betrayed him by telling me that. Truth is, I already knew it. Doesn’t take a brain surgeon.

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  4. It’s nice you were able to offer her some sound advice, having heard his side of things. Maybe you could be an Agony Aunt like Ann Landers, with your own syndicated column? (The cats could help you out.) I laughed at your comment re not really liking people – same here. Only in small doses. People always want to tell me their whole life story on planes/trains/waiting rooms – places where you are captive for hours. Sometimes it’s interesting, but sometimes I’d rather read. I too would be interested in the seedier stories from HR!

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    • There was a time counseling interested me. I worked on a women’s hotline for a while. I got very disillusioned. Most people know what they need to do but can’t do it or won’t do it so I felt my time was wasted.

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  5. I’m also someone people will confide in. I don’t know how they know I am trustworthy with their secrets (but I am). Never heard of any man complaining about being used for his body let alone an engineer. I went to a university for my undergrad that had an engineering school, enough said!

    Deb

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  6. Interesting isn’t it how some people just seem to want to tell a relative stranger EVERYTHING. I worked in Human Resources for a while too and found it a daily occurrence….I’ve always been a magnet for confessions though – sometimes from strangers which I find VERY awkward. Now that I’m old this doesn’t happen anymore…..but you won’t hear me complaining about that! LOL

    Hugs, Pam

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  7. With the demographic trending “oldish” here people want to tell you everthing about their life… the good, the bad, and the ugly. We haven’t been to any mix and mingles since the plague found our little community. We don’t miss them. Kate, I hope they lived happily ever after.

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  8. Had to laugh – engineers are their own species.
    And a second laugh – you know how cats always seem to pick out the person the least interested in them to sit on and cosy up to? Maybe you’re like that to people who want to talk? Or you have something like that invisible “pet vacancy here – apply now” that is outside our door.
    Just hilarious!

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    • I did try googling. First, I didn’t quite recognize any of the pictures. I may have seen him but his strawberry blonde hair is now white so I wasn’t sure. There was no mention of a wife. I checked facebook too and no luck with wife either. Maybe it didn’t work out after all.

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  9. I have this problem, too. People tell me things, unsolicited, they start telling me their stories and I’ve no interest in their stories, but I listen. I think you were destined to be in HR– and as for me? Destined to be a blogger!

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    • So funny. A young woman (about 22) who worked for me in HR greeted one of our senior women employees with a “how are you.” The woman thought she really meant it and started to tell her that her vagina prolapsed. She came flying up to google that because she couldn’t believe that was a thing. People are willing to share the strangest things.

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  10. (Since I don’t really like people, I am always amazed that people want to open up to me. I must feign empathy well!) ~> Back in the day, I often suspected that Human Resource Personnel weren’t really people pleasers. 😀

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    • If you want to be fair in HR, you can’t get caught up in people’s sad stories. You have to treat everyone the same and I find that non-people pleasers work best in HR. That’s not to say we’re not kind but we are often the hand of “no” in the company.

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