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To find this persons assistance a little sexist?

(326 Posts)
rachelmonday1 Fri 17-Jun-16 14:13:14

This may seem a little confusing, but I'm a crossdresser and am perfectly happy doing the day to day things that people do, whether wearing male or female clothes. This morning though, I went into my local B&Q to buy some paint brushes, masking tape etc for a decorating project that we're about to start. I was comparing paint brushes, when a male assistant approached me saying something like "Are you ok there love? Do you know what you're looking for" I was slightly taken aback, not because I think that he assumed I was a woman, but more about the way he asked his questions. Are women not supposed to know anything about paint brushes, or is it me?

MitzyLeFrouf Fri 17-Jun-16 14:15:58

It's probably B&Q policy that staff on the shop floor approach customers to ask them if they need help.

kate7590 Fri 17-Jun-16 14:16:43

Sounds like he was trying to be helpful and friendly?!

Floggingmolly Fri 17-Jun-16 14:17:44

Jesus hmm

Pinkheart5915 Fri 17-Jun-16 14:18:29

Sounds friendly to me, he was just doing his job. I like it when they offer help rather than me having to ask for it.

He probably says need any help mate to men and need any help love to woman.

ElsaAintAsColdAsMe Fri 17-Jun-16 14:19:14

I worked there a long time ago we were told to ask all customers if they needed help as we walked past.

DonkeyOaty Fri 17-Jun-16 14:19:28

I think he was trying to be, you know, helpful

CathemeralChild Fri 17-Jun-16 14:20:20

No, that sounds patronising and sexist to me: "Do you know what you're looking for?
"Can I help you?" or "Have you found everything you need?" would be better.

rachelmonday1 Fri 17-Jun-16 14:22:13

It's just me then! I was perfectly happy with being asked if I was ok, but the "Do you know what you're looking for?" grated a bit. Maybe I was just being a bit defensive smile

BertrandRussell Fri 17-Jun-16 14:23:23

It could have been phrased better. The "love" was wrong, and I bet he wouldn't have said "Do you know what you're looking for?" to a man- he would have said "Do you need any help?"

But good luck, OP. You will have set off a Mumsnet Avalanche!

SissySpacekAteMyHamster Fri 17-Jun-16 14:23:23

Doing his job no doubt.

Seriously do people have to try hard to be offended.

MitzyLeFrouf Fri 17-Jun-16 14:24:10

I suppose a lot of people in B&Q don't always exactly know what they're looking for. I might go in looking for a primer only to be faced with ten primers so I might have a blank look on my face for a while.

Antlily Fri 17-Jun-16 14:25:26

I think it sounds patronising, I find the use of 'love' by anyone I don't know annoying.

Could it be that women are so used to being addressed like that, especially in 'male' environments we become immune to it? I think the OP is seeing what it's like to be a woman and because they're not used to it it grates more.

rachelmonday1 Fri 17-Jun-16 14:26:50

I wasn't so much offended SissySpaceAteMyHampster, more just surprised at the way the questions were and I have no doubt that he was just trying to be helpful.

WhereYouLeftIt Fri 17-Jun-16 14:29:37

"Are you ok there love? Do you know what you're looking for"
Depends on the tone of voice, but no I probably would not find this sexist. Just a turn of phrase. In a place like B&Q sometimes I know exctly what I'm looking for, sometimes I'm just seeing what there is. I would not take it as insulting.

EatShitDerek Fri 17-Jun-16 14:30:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MyKingdomForBrie Fri 17-Jun-16 14:32:20

If you have no doubt he was trying to be helpful then what's the problem? it was a badly phrased question in that it was pretty obvious I imagine that you were looking for a paintbrush but not sure where sex comes into it..

dogdrifts Fri 17-Jun-16 14:32:20

OH, don't worry, love. The more you are out and about in a frock, the more patronizing and sexist shite you'll encounter. Someone asking if we need help with paintbrushes in B&Q is the very least of women's worries.

Would that it were worth starting a thread about.

Crinkle77 Fri 17-Jun-16 14:35:30

I don't mind being called love. Sounds like he was just trying to be helpful.

pigsDOfly Fri 17-Jun-16 14:36:22

Giving him the benefit of the doubt, he possibly worded his question awkwardly, rather than meaning 'have you any idea what you're doing here?' He might have mean't 'can you find what you want and do you know where to look for it?' Or maybe he was just be patronizing.

I have been going to B&Q for years and have bought loads of different things and I've never felt patronized by any member of staff, even if I've asked slightly daft questions.

DontBuyANewMumCashmere Fri 17-Jun-16 14:37:26

What would a woman have to wear to be considered a cross dresser? Is it just men who can cross dress? I wear jeans every day and rugby tops, walking/outdoor gear. Don't own heels. Hardly wear dresses.
If I wanted to cross dress what would I wear? Is it more about wanting to appear as the opposite sex rather than the clothes? So I'd have to strap down breasts etc?
I hope I'm not being offensive, really just interested rather than trying to be GF. If this is offensive I'll ask to be removed.

Anyway, I don't think you're being overly sensitive OP; sometimes people, although trying to help, don't phrase things the same way to men and women. I imagine he might have asked a man 'Can I help?' Whereas a woman gets 'Are you OK?' with a vague implication that you might not be OK looking at decorating stuff.
I probably wouldn't think about it again but at the time I would notice it.
Personally I hate it when people call me 'love'. It's quite a patronising term to someone you don't know or actually love.

sequinsandwich Fri 17-Jun-16 14:37:32

I'm female and I wouldn't be offended by that.

"Do you know what your looking for?" The reply could go a few ways

"yes thanks anyway" end of conversation

"Yes masking tape"
"Ok that's in aisle 4 if you need any more help give me a shout"

"yes I'm doing some decorating at the weekend and getting a few bits and pieces" Que shop assistant asking if you need any help finding things, recommending products etc

"No not really I'm doing some decorating at the weekend and need everything but I'm not sure where to start"
Shop assistant would then find out a bit more, suggest things and help you find them.

I think it was just the way they worded it but it's a reasonable question.

MitzyLeFrouf Fri 17-Jun-16 14:38:46

Whether I'm annoyed at being called 'love' all depends on the person saying it and their tone of voice. A patronising estate agent type calling me love and talking to me as though I'm a child would definitely get my back up. A cheery shop assistant who was eager to assist probably wouldn't.

OurBlanche Fri 17-Jun-16 14:38:47

No, he was being DIYist - and that is probably his job!

I buy quite a few tools etc and have been asked that question a few times, as has my DH. I usually reply "Yes, an X with Y, Z and a good price"

Then I get walked to the best place to find said item. Makes life easier when trying to navigate around the DIY sheds.

rachelmonday1 Fri 17-Jun-16 14:38:58

Oh dear! Maybe I was wrong to query the phraseology of the question, which was my only question. The guy was perfectly polite and helpful, and I bought everything that I needed. I think i only asked because I've never had a guy query my knowledge of DIY in such a way before, no matter what I'm wearing. I guess I just felt a bit taken aback.

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