When you try to do something nice for someone and it turns into a big ol’ mess
At my job, it’s mostly men. Only about 7% women. 6.8% to be exact. I just did the math.
The first time there was a baby shower and I was invited, I was a bit cranky, as I did not know the woman for whom the shower was being held. It was a potluck and I had to buy a present and I was loudly cranky.
Not one of my better traits, I admit.
I mean, I wasn’t loudly cranky at work. That would have been rude.
But I was loudly cranky at home, to Mr T, about how women have to do all these stupid things at work that men don’t have to do and nobody judges a man who skips a baby shower but woe to the woman who does not go.
So I bought a stupid present – well, a copy of The Cat in the Hat, which is actually quite subversive and not stupid at all, and made David Lebovitz’s brownies, which are awesome, and went to the shower, prepared to sulk (quietly and politely and discreetly).
Only to meet one of the organizers as I walked in, who introduced herself happily and said, “We have so few women in this office that we always look for any excuse to get us all together.”
And I realized I had been ridiculously dumb about this issue and had over-reacted.
And I met my sister co-workers and after we had eaten and spoken some, the male co-workers of the expectant woman showed up with more food and presents of their own because they, too, wanted to celebrate with their co-worker and I thought, Wow they do it right here.
So when my co-worker Laura got engaged, I thought, Cool! We will have a bridal shower! It’s been eight months since the last baby shower. We need to have a party!
I asked Laura if her team was already organizing a shower and they were not.
Which bothered me a bit. Shouldn’t her team be organizing this event?
But I thought, How hard can it be? I ask the woman in charge of the mailing list for the women’s group to send out the email, I reserve the room, and voila, we have a shower.
Woman in charge said sure and looped in Traditional Organizer of Baby Showers (TOBS).
And this ensued (condensed version):
TOBS: We don’t do bridal showers. We only do baby showers.
Me: Well we need to start.
TOBS: But we don’t do bridal showers.
Me: And – maybe that’s because nobody’s gotten married in a while? But – a party!
Me: So – anyway. Shower.
TOBS: If we have a bridal shower for Laura, then we need to also have one for Cindy. Cindy is also getting married the same month.
Me: Fine. Whatever. Go ahead with your bad shower-planning self. I think I’ve met Cindy?
TOBS: But – Cindy’s boss and the rest of her group is in another city.
[The boss usually buys the cake]
Me: And this is my problem why?
TOBS: Who’s going to plan Cindy’s shower?
Me: I dunno. Anyhoo. Back to Laura’s shower. You have the tablecloths? I can get them from you. I’ll set up.
TOBS: We should combine the showers.
Me: Wait. What? No. No. No.
TOBS: We should combine the showers. It would be easier.
Me: Nononono. Separate showers. Each bride gets her own shower.
TOBS: But then that would be two showers in one month!
Me: AND THAT WOULD BE TWICE AS MUCH CAKE!
TOBS: It’s too much work!
Me: I – don’t think so.
Me: Every bride should have her own shower.
Me: Cindy and Laura don’t even know each other.
Me [Laura is marrying another woman. Cindy goes to a church where women never cut their hair. This is not going to happen.]
Me: This is not happening.
So. I went to Laura’s boss (LB). Told her what was going on. LB said, “No way is Laura sharing a shower. We’ll have just our group, men and women. I’ll buy lunch and dessert. We’ll have just our group.”
And we did. And it was fun.
I dug more into Cindy’s situation. Turns out TOBS and Cindy are in the same group. The boss is in another city, but Cindy and TOBS and a few other people are here, so TOBS could very well have organized something local either for their team or for all the women.
Which she never did. Cindy was unshowered. Not my fault.