Gender and ignorance (and humor)

Just found this draft – it was going to be a reply to a post on QuiltArt in January 2011, but my mind started wandering down so many avenues I didn’t know where to start. I (and my husband) have often been entertained by different incidents relating to being the ‘wrong’ milieu. It helps to know that I am tall – close to 6 feet, and live in jeans and other unisex clothes. (Is that word still used?) More than once I have been called ‘sir’ by someone who didn’t look closely, or high enough, when I was at a typically male environment. Then there are the times that women gasp when they see me in the ladies room – it embarrasses them, and I figure I can laugh at them freely.

One big part of life for me and hubby has been Bahr’s Mill, a 19th century woodworking historic site. It’s an amazing place – the sort that looks like the operators closed the door 75 years ago and left it untouched. We have worked there and given tours to thousands of people. Lots of times someone will ask hubby a question that he has to refer to me, which confuses the visitors to no end.

Now he has moved into the quilt show world with me, and he alwaysP6260035 gets to chuckle when he demonstrates something to the largely female crowd. It’s less funny when they don’t buy from him. He finds it interesting that the high end products – long arm quilting machines in particular – are sold ‘by men in suits.’ But he’s not yet ready to put on a suit for the shows. I wonder if it would make a difference; I do plan to upscale my wardrobe a bit this year.

When men come into my booth I try to treat them like other customers, but I find that it can be tough. That’s my fault, and I certainly don’t want to insult anybody.

Fast forward to 2013 – I just got home from the Creative Arts Business Summit, and we had a speaker discuss how we present ourselves. She suggested fitted tops that are flow-y, not fitted, and that I can wear comfortably over my jeans. And to wear my scarves – around the neck or the waist. So I’ll give it a try! Keep an eye here to watch the other results of the summit!

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