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Nov 16, 2017

See you at 2!

Hey everyone. Thanks for stopping by. If you have a few minutes, watch this video. It's four minutes. (If the link takes you to a library of videos rather than a single one, you're looking for the one titled "Just One Drink.")

This is a sexual harassment training video, put out by a corporate trainer, who codes workplace behavior by color: green, yellow, orange and red, with the colors ideal behavior (green), problematic (yellow), moderate harassment (orange) and toxic behavior (red). 

I was talking to the company's founder yesterday, and she was telling me fascinating things about how male and female viewers perceive the video differently. I'm curious to know what you think, and what stands out to you.

And then we'll start at 2!

Twitter recently unverified some white nationalists in response to complaints. Do most people see verification as an endorsement by Twitter? I always thought it was a way to tell if the account belonged to the person it presented itself as. Personally, I'd like know that the account undeniably belongs to a creep so that the person can be held to account for what they say, but I'm wondering if I'm missing something. I don't use Twitter a lot and don't really keep up on or care about a lot of Twittery things (The Ratio, re-tweeting etiquette, etc.).

I'm mostly with you. If someone is truly vile, and violates Twitter's terms of service, then ban them. But taking away their verification seems like a petty slap on the wrist that harms followers more than anything. I'd like to know if the wackadoo tweeting under "Richard Spencer" is, in fact, THAT Richard Spencer.

Is Steve Mnuchin a real person, or a bendable-foldable mannequin they stuck Harry Potter glasses on? Every pic I see of him is the same. He always has that odd, toothless grin that is just one step up from a Mona Lisa smile.

Let's put aside Steven Mnuchin for a moment and discuss his wife Louise Linton's outfit for their recent U.S. Mint visit. The ensemble could not have been any more chic or any more supervillainy if she'd tried. I do not know how to unpack this clothing but I hope my colleague Robin Givhan does.

So Roy Moore tweeted at Mitch McConnell: "Bring It On". And the rest of the world is pointing out that "Bring It On" is the name of a movie about high school cheerleaders.


60 yo male here. Red behavior. Guy is a total jerk. I would like to think he is so overdrawn to be a caricature (and thus the video not that helpful) but I'm sure you girls will tell me this is spot on.

"You girls."

Maybe it's because I've worked in a predominately female profession, but surely not?

Surely not that this happens? Surely not that it's acceptable? 

Is there any inclination among news outlets not to name all the crazy mass shooters in their coverage? What happened to that approach which had been discussed not to glorify these monsters. 

It's something that's been discussed in cycles. I know that some CNN hosts -- Anderson Cooper comes to mind -- at least for awhile would refuse to mention the names of shooters, for exactly the reason you mention. His rationale was not wanting copycats to think that a shooting was a path to fame in any way.

This reminds me of when my wife and I went to buy her car at a local dealership. The salesman kept asking me questions about what we wanted, etc. even after I repeatedly told him that it was going to be her car, so he should ask her. I don't even know if he made eye contact with her once. We didn't buy her car from him.

I bought a house this year -- and even though I was the one who found the mortgage broker, did all of the correspondence with the mortgage broker, and gathered all the materials for the mortgage broker, when the paperwork came through it was my man-partner's name listed as the buyer, while I was the co-buyer. All house-related mail comes to him. I have been told by other women that the same thing happened to them.

With the pace of the news cycle reaching clock spinning speeds, I just can't keep with whatever the latest scandal/outrage/running joke is. Is there a way to manage short of outright withdrawal?

The only way to manage is psychological -- to remind yourself that in this era, there are so many things happening that we cannot dedicate more than a day or two to any of them. So if you miss out on something, chances are it will be out of the news cycle by tomorrow. You just have to come to peace with that. Or else this era will kill you.

I thought for sure it was going to go to him hitting on her, so the coworker ranking was a left turn. Her reaction seemed a little over the top if taken in isolation but this jerk has earned a real takedown.

I think that's why that scene was paired with the others -- to show that her reaction wasn't happening "in isolation," it was a pattern of workplace stuff.

I turned it off after the clueless doofus team leader, who had already undermined the woman, asked about the thigh high boots and halter tops. A little nuance, please.

Who would talk to coworkers like that? 39 year old guy, here. This is Red, right?

Hey now, "you girls" was ironic. Working in higher ed, I am extremely careful about not using "girls" (and "kids") with our students. Would never think about using it to refer to colleagues.

Oh, I know it was. I was telling you I got the joke :).

Woman here - definitely Red. You mentioned different reactions from men and women. I'm not sure what is worse - thinking that there are women who don't think this is Red (what more would make it red??), or men who don't think this is Red (cluelessness). There are so many problems with the behavior, but the thing that stood out to me was the man's CONSTANT dismissal of the woman's POV, even though he claimed she was one of the "hot" ones and therefore more deserving of credit than her non-hot peers. Gross.

I was curious to know which parts would offend women more. Because the ranking of female colleagues is "grosser," in some ways, but the insistence on addressing her male coworker instead of her is so. much. more. infuriating.

OK, surely no one in the modern workplace is as clueless as the guy in that video, even in the opening scene? And yes, I am a woman who has never seen this sort of atrociously explicit behavior.

I don't know! I'll also confess that I don't know if this is meant to be realistic, or if these videos are made a little over the top to better serve as "teachable moments." But then again, an over-the-top video wouldn't do nearly as much good as a realistic one.

About 15 years ago, my husband and I (female) bought our first home. I handled most of the conversations and correspondence with the mortgage broker. He told me that the primary applicant would be the spouse who was making the most money at the time of application and that the lower paid applicant would be co-applicant. My husband made more money than I did at the time, so he was the buyer. Fast forward to the year we bought our second home, I made more money and I'm the buyer, husband co-buyer. Is there a chance that's what happened with your home purchase and your man-partner?

I do not think so.

Somehow, even though I make a lot more money than my husband, he is the "taxpayer" and I am the "spouse." He's also the first person on the mortgage, even though I'm a lawyer and did all the research/work on getting the loan. Sigh.

(See above. I do not think so because of stories like this).

Likewise, on US Census enumerations, if there's an adult man in the house, he's listed as Head of Household.

I'm in a male dominated industry with a female boss. We went to a trade show together and had dinner at a fancy restaurant which is a total violation of the Pence Rule. She was very pleased when the waiter placed the check exactly in between the two of us rather than handing it to me.

I've noticed this happening more and more. It seems overdue and smart.

I think a side effect of this is it causes a lot of people to start Googling for the name(s) and/or background of the guy (yes, almost always male but at the rate we're going there's bound to be a female sooner or later). This causes the related internet traffic associated with the person to spike. That's a kind of fame all in of itself.

There's no easy solution. I understand both the impulse to try to understand why something happened -- what went wrong in someone's brain -- as well as the impulse to say never want to mention the shooter at all, because the shooter's name doesn't even deserve to be spoken out loud.

A company I used to work for had a bunch of training videos we had to watch, not all just harassment. They definitely highlighted the issue in a way to make it obvious. I have not watched the video linked (can't at work) but based on the descriptions, I'm assuming it's similar.

I am amused that you cannot watch a workplace sexual harassment video at work.

to be really useful if it is the only one being used or all of them are that over the top. But I could see parts of it as being realistic. Especially continually asking the guy for information that needs to come from the team leader who is the woman. And she needed to tell the boss that she would assign someone to do his request (summary of next steps?) at the end of that first scene. Her reaction at the bar was not in the slightest over the top. She should have walked out (with an explanation) at the first explanation of him spending all his time at another booth because someone was epicaly (sp?) hot. And she should have switched her drink order to something non-alcoholic. He is dangerous enough to need to be sober around.

What was the name of the drink he tries to order for her? It had some comically over the top name like, "The lady will have the 'Lambada libido saucy dance pants with grenadine,' please."

Bill Cosby, Louis CK, now Al Franken. This sucks. I'm a guy and had no idea that so many other men acted like this. I knew women experienced real and wide-spread harassment/assault, but I had always (naively) assumed it was some small portion of men that did the vast majority of it. It's sickening and I'm at a loss.

You and everyone, buddy.

I, a married man, have had several instances of salesmen talking to me and ignoring my wife. I generally give them one chance where I'll point it out. If they don't change it, I try to find another person to help. My wife would prefer to just best it and move on, but it drives. me. nuts.

I bet that, "We'd prefer to give our commission to another salesman, because you don't seem to understand that this car/lawnmower/tractor is for my wife" would be a really effective tool. Nobody wants to lose money.

This just reminded me of something: At home improvement stores and dealing with contractors for work at the house, even though I'm outgoing and the one that is paying and well-versed in what we are shopping/contracting for, the male employees/contractors always try to talk to my husband and ignore me. My hubby would steer the convo back to include me. I actually was so used to this that I didn't notice this trend until my husband mentioned it. At least now I can recognize it and react.

So how do you react? What have you found works best for you?

and all husbands know that this is untrue.


I used to work for one of the very large defense contractors, and each year we'd have to run through a series of these videos. In one, an obviously skeevy guy was hitting on the cute young woman who wanted nothing to do with him. But in another one, the same actress was in a group of "mean girls" making fun of the fashion sense and activities of an older colleague! I don't know how intentional that was, maybe the same actress just happened to be available, but I always got a kick out of it.

For a Filipino Bodywaxer!


I'm a single woman, so I don't have car salespeople talking to a male companion, but I do get ridiculous reactions when I say that I want a manual transmission car, like they can't believe I know how to drive one. That's even when the car I'm driving is a manual, and I tell them I've been driving a manual for 25 years. It's like they can't believe I really know how to drive it!

I know this is a recurring topic in Weingarten's chat, so I'll just leave it alone, but I remain baffled be affection for manual transmission cars.

because of a computer system that hasn't been updated in 30 to 40 years. Maybe even longer. There is a time when it would have been considered unthinkable to do otherwise.

It's true. A lot of stuff just doesn't get changed for incredibly dumb technology reasons. Witness this essay by an involved dad who was frustrated that school notices were only ever sent to his wife. The school told them that the system had been designed to designate only one person as "primary caregiver," and it defaulted to the wife. Like it would be so impossible to arrange for two parental contacts per student?

I don't know how ashamed of this I should be, but I occasionally make salespeople and anyone trying to upsell me go away by opening my eyes wide and saying in a slightly vacant tone "Oh, but I don't know anything about that! You'll have to ask my husband." Even when this is a complete personality switch, it works distressingly well.

A friend of mine used to have a job for a company that eased transitions for Americans who had to move abroad for work. Her job was to travel around the world assessing various costs of living, which involved everything from touring housing, to seeing how much ketchup cost in a local grocery store. Sometimes business owners would see her with a notebook and get suspicious and rude. She said that her go-to excuse was always, "My husband makes me write down how much everything costs before he gives me the money to buy it." She said she always felt sick about using that as an excuse, and felt even more sick at how many owners seems to readily accept this excuse as a sensible one.

I wanted to suggest it early, before the holiday whirl takes everything over. I’ve found great ideas here in the past and I’d like to do it again if people are willing.

Sure! We'll be off next week because of Thanksgiving. How about the week after that? November 30th, I think?

there were stories around at that time that some women were finally being hired in car sales and they were making money hand over fist because they would actually talk to a woman who came into the dealership alone. The men assumed that a woman alone wasn't ready to buy but was just picking up research for her husband. They also had a better record of making sales to couples where the woman was going to be the primary user of the car.

I, too, am an older woman who has driven stick-shift cars all my life. I'm aware it's a dying art. A few years ago, a friend and I were leading bicycle rides for adult beginners, for our local bike club. You HAVE to shift gears on a bicycle. And there's a lot of people out there who were confused by shifting gears; they don't understand the concept at all.

Schools have to deal with treating divorced parents regardless of custodial arrangements totally equally quite often. Both have to get the exact same notices about the child.

And yet, I know some divorced parents who still struggle with their kids' schools over this exact same thing.

I'm a man. I'm not sure what I was supposed to perceive differently -- that guy was a total [redacted]. (Personally, I think it was grossly over-acted. I'm going to cry big manly tears if people tell me there really are lots of guys who act just like that out there.) Sometimes I wonder if we even live on the same planets. I'm around 40. I've worked with women, in a corporate environment, my entire adult life. I have no idea how anyone could still think that women as a class can't be just as capable and intelligent and whatever as men. (I've certainly met my share of incapable ones, but there are incapable men, too. Obviously.) What does the inside of these people's heads look like?

This is a good sum up for the state of the world today: "Sometimes I wonder if we even live on the same planets."


And with that, I'm signing off. See you in TWO weeks, where we will be telling each other what to buy for every difficult and obscure person in our lives. GSTQ.

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Monica Hesse
Monica Hesse is a staff writer for the Post Style section. She frequently writes about culture, the Web and the intersection of the two.

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