I am an attractive young woman.  Evaluations of my level of attractiveness and the relativity of my youth will vary from person to person (not to mention day-to-day), but generically speaking, this is a fair statement.  I am also a professional in an industry populated mpstly by men.  As such, I am largely at a disadvantage, but retain one *unique* advantage based on my personal presentation, if I choose to cultivate it.

This is a song familiar to a lot of you.

My office wear is carefully calculated to appear appropriate in the service of my own physical and mental comfort.  Any aspect that could be challenged as “alluring” or “radical” is studiously balanced out.  If my pants or skirt are form-fitting, my sweater or blouse is loose or non-confrontational.  If my shirt is vee-necked and tight, my trousers are wide-legged and paired with a blazer.  My hair, which is highlighted red and blonde, is subject to much comment by male colleagues (usually that it is too red and they prefer me blonder).  I take it into consideration, but still wear silver-hooped earrings every day, because I like them, and their size and shape belies how much my ears stick out (I hate my ears).  Every day, I wear an extremely high-quality, fake silver Rolex and a tasteful silver ring I bought on the street in Barcelona.  I take pride in the fact that people who have worked with me for years are surprised to find out I have a tongue stud, because I chose a subtle one ten years ago.

Pantsuits and pearls are for client meetings, with discreet pearl-drop earrings and straightened hair.  I have one gray suit and one black pinstriped suit.  I wear them with shined, heeled black boots for external meetings, or burgundy Franco Sarto heels for meetings in the office.  I bought both suits half-priced in a sale for $300, and then spent $100 in alterations.  I don’t own a skirtsuit because I haven’t found one that fits me well enough to merit alterations, although I have a gorgeous turquoise shift that my mother bought me from M&S when she visited me last year, which is very professional without looking matronly.  I keep it in the coat closet at work with a spare set of pantyhose, in case of an emergency client meeting.

Having been compared to a librarian, a schoolgirl, and a flight attendant at the office, I am careful to ensure I don’t look too costumey.  I once wore a tight black sweater over a crisp white shirt, with a black skirt and buckled leather boots and realized, mirthfully, that I looked like a Pilgrim, but no one noticed. I wore that outfit again for Thanksgiving, for my own private tribute, because I am an American in the UK. (more…)

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work_stressA few weeks ago, I did a post about my Boy Person’s impending move-in date, and how, while I was excited, I was also weighing in my mind the ways in which I view this new definition of commitment as a limitation of opportunity.  How very funny, in retrospect.  This week is my first week as a cohabitant, and the challenges thus far are a little different that the ones I was expecting.

I planned to do my second post on the division of housework and personal time – you know, the standard day-to-day things that keep us all ticking along, and seek input on how you divvy up your own allotments of chores and space as cohabitants.  While space is something the Boy and I are still working on, all of that has come secondary to The Most Important Thing in My Life:  My Job.

As seems to be the nature of my job, things lurch along without much of a problem until, all of a sudden!, we enter a solid week or two of panic mode, wherein I am at the office 11 hours a day, perpetually stressed and wiped out and completely incapable of carrying on functional relationships with the people in my Real-Life, to the point where I am too exhausted and irritable to even make a phone call when I drag my ass home.  I get so physically and emotionally tired that I am a fount of irritability.  I am crabby.  I am short-tempered.  I am brittle.  I am the worst version of myself and I have no time for anyone else.  I never meet friends during the week and I don’t even like to call my mom, because when I get home I just want to inhale the little bubble of solitude I have for three hours until I collapse into bed to have anxiety-dreams and wake up dehydrated and achey at 4:00 am.  It is melodramatic, completely self-centered, and I feel helpless to do anything about it.  (more…)

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You see that lady on the right? The one with the white hair who is clearly a student of the older persuasion? Most days when I’m at school I feel her age.

I go to school at night and on the weekend. I work my regular full-time job and two times a week and all day Saturday, I am in the business of educating myself. Getting that degree everyone tells you is so damn important is not only necessary but a pain in the ass when you’re twenty-eight and have law school dreams.

First, you’re not 17-21 and ya know, young and fancy free. You have a job, piles of bills to pay (like you know life as an adult), probably a husband or a wife, if you’re really fucked you maybe have a kid or two. But really, I’m not complaining. Ok, I totally am. But follow me after the jump and I’ll tell you why I have every right to be this miserable… (more…)