November 9, 2006

See That Pretty Girl in the Mirror There?

Posted in Lessons Learned, Office Hijinks at 2:31 pm by devilwearsbrooksbrothers

There is an old Jeanine Garofalo bit wherein she is talking about fashion magazines and recalls reading a recent cover that proclaims “Pretty is Back.”  Ms. Garofalo then breathes a sigh of relief and says something to the effect of, “Thank god because pretty people have had it so tough lately.”

 

Of course the joke being, when wasn’t pretty in style?  When was it hard for pretty people? 

 

There is a girl that used to work with us that I called Pretty, because she just was.  When Pretty needed help working her dictaphone, nobody batted an eyelash, well except for Pretty.  Every time Pretty called the IT department, I’m sure they rolled their eyes, but they also came right away. 

 

One time Pretty told a managing partner, whom she was helping with a last minute filing, that she had to leave at five, none of the other girls gasped.  He certainly didn’t yell.  Nor did my boss pull her in for the “team effort” speech.  Pretty simply left at five and the firm asked for volunteers to stay.

 

Now, mind you, I’m pretty, but I am also smart.  Okay, not always.  Sometimes I am just pretty.  Like when I thought joining a bowling league would be a good way to meet guys – that day, I was just pretty. But most days, I’m both.

 

Also, I am not picking on pretty girls here.  I’m picking on just pretty girls.  Which I would venture a guess is the minority of pretty girls.  Whether it was because of a fat phase, or an ugly phase, or having a prettier older sister your whole life, most pretty girls have to learn to survive without their looks. 

 

But not Pretty.  One day, Pretty’s boss wasn’t around, Pretty didn’t have much work to do and one of the other girls needed help.  In her pretty little way, Pretty strolled over to the girl’s cube, informed her she’d be happy to help after her lunch. 

 

I don’t know if the other girl was having a bad day, or maybe she hadn’t eaten or maybe she was just sick and tired of picking up after Pretty, but she snapped.  Just a bit. 

 

Hurt, Pretty left, calling her boss on the way to tell him that she just couldn’t come back to that place. However she would be back the following day. 

 

See, I envy and pity Pretty. 

 

I envy her naiveté, and general lack of responsibility.  I envy that she can get by on her looks and not feel dirty or guilty or silly about it.  She can even laugh about it.

 

I pity Pretty because I fear she has no belief in herself, beyond her good looks.  Pretty once talked about going to law school, but shrugged it off as a stupid idea.  In my head I imagined her parents clicking their tongues, tilting their heads, patting her hair and saying, “Honey, law school isn’t for you.  Law school is for ugly people.”  Then smiling and turning away. 

 

I also pity her because never in her pretty little head did she see anything wrong with walking out on a job, just for an afternoon, because she was having a bad day. 

 

After talking with Pretty, her boss called my boss, my boss called the HR director, the HR director called the managing partners and in the end it was decided that Pretty wouldn’t be allowed back.

 

And that was, I’m sure, a very hard lesson for Pretty to learn.  Maybe as hard as math.

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