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My husband is acting like I am making a fuss about nothing over the way he talks to women.

(86 Posts)
ImTooHecsyForYourParty Mon 29-Jul-13 09:20:01

I could do with some thoughts.

In the course of his business, he spends a lot of time skyping with people. I bring myself up to speed by reading back through the conversations (this is nothing unusual or covert!, they are business related and I need to know)

I am actually outraged to read him saying things like 'hello young girl, have you read X yet', or 'I know you're a busy young girl', or 'what do you think of x, young girl'.

It is wholly inappropriate and, frankly, makes him sound like a creepy old man.

he maintains that they are quite happy to be talked with like that hmm

I maintain it's unprofessional and patronising, over familiar and flirtatious and that it is an inappropriate way to talk.

And I've yet to read anything along the lines of 'hi there young boy, do you have that report yet...' No, that would be 'hi Bob, have you got that report yet...'

He thinks I am jealous hmm. I am not. I am annoyed that women are being talked down to like this.

Or am I over reacting?

His genuinely baffled and slightly amused reaction has pissed me right off.

eurochick Mon 29-Jul-13 14:31:30

It really is patronising. And pretty offensive. He is not treating them appropriately as fellow professionals or business people.

Thumbwitch Mon 29-Jul-13 14:35:12

He probably thinks he's doing it in a pleasant avuncular manner. But regardless of what he thinks, it will come across to the recipient as odd, patronising and demeaning.

He NEEDS to understand that; if his social interactions are so good, then it is something that he should be able to grasp without too much difficulty.

JustinBsMum Mon 29-Jul-13 17:38:05

His genuinely baffled and slightly amused reaction has pissed me right off

My DH uses this type of reaction. I suspect it is not genuinely baffled, he is deliberately using a slightly suggestive, slightly superior choice of words imv (as my DH does). Very sleazy imo, they are in denial.

Can you print it out and send it to HR anonymously??

FasterStronger Mon 29-Jul-13 20:56:55

if these women are clients, he is focussing on what he wants to call them - not what they want to hear.

if these women are business partners he comes over as very dated and not someone to be associated with.

as AF says, you have him on a pedestal. so does he. one of you needs to see him like the rest of the world.

to call me young lady...and actually be charming.... you have to be at least 90 and looking for someone to talk to at a bus stop. if he is less than 90 and not at a bus stop, he needs to cease this language.

Chubfuddler Mon 29-Jul-13 21:01:18

If you've explained to him why it's bang out of order then he's choosing not to get it Hec.

From what you've said about your husband before, this is not atypical behaviour for him. It's surprising really.

Chubfuddler Mon 29-Jul-13 21:03:35

And Hec you have no problem interacting with people. With nothing but the written word, no tone of voice, no facial expressions, no non verbal signals at all, you are funny, kind, forth right and sensitive by turn on these boards.

I agree with AF.

tribpot Mon 29-Jul-13 21:07:28

Most people, when tackled about a linguistic mix-up in their third language, would just say 'oh right, I only meant [x] or [y]' and understand that something had been lost in translation. And stop it.

I think you are being far too hard on yourself about your own social skills. What you describe is about 90% of all human interaction across the globe!

EBearhug Mon 29-Jul-13 23:36:51

I would be very taken aback if someone said "Hello young girl" to me at work, and probably I'd be asking myself if I heard right. Then I'd hopefully say, "My name's Bear, please use my name." (I can't be sure that in reality I might not just chicken out and seethe silently and avoid him in future.)

One of the men at work (of which there are many more than women) did refer to "the girls" and I pointed out that we are women (and in my case, I'm old enough to be his mother.) Don't know if it really made much impression or if he understood why it annoyed me.

zipzap Mon 29-Jul-13 23:45:13

If someone talked to me like that, I'd be very tempted to reply 'I'm fine old man, how are you doing?' Even if I just thought it rather than was brave enough to say it.

How do you think he would like to be called old man by them? In the sense that from what you have said he is older than them, not that he is actually an old man! But still, I think the comparison remains valid - particularly if you emphasize that the old man is not meant in a nice reverential respectful way in this context (just in case in his culture it is a nice reverential respectful thing to call someone!)

RandallPinkFloyd Tue 30-Jul-13 00:30:01

Hec I'm not so sure it's just that you have him on a pedestal, I think he has himself on a pedestal too.

Anyone who uses that kind of phrasing does so because they feel themselves superior to the person they are speaking to. I think the language/culture thing is a red herring. He is perfectly capable of conducting himself in English, yes? He uses English as his day to day language. The one he uses at home with his wife and children, and at work, and has done for how many years?

I don't think you should doubt yourself in any way on this one. I think you've got it spot on. In his mind he's placing himself as the dominant force and the women he is talking to as his inferiors. He's also trying to be the flirtatious older man. The one the "young girls" swoon over.

Unfortunately for him you are also bang on when you tell him he just sounds like a letchy old twat.

I honestly don't know what the solution is because I can't imagine how he could ever accept what you're saying without admitting to himself that he's being a knobber.

Aaaargh, you make me so angry! Ok, I haven't had the pleasure of meeting you in RL admittedly, but just by what I read on here you really aren't "crap". You understand people. You're insightful. You're kind without taking any bullshit. You have way more social skills that a hell of a lot of people I know. I can understand that you lack confidence in that area but I get the impression that he capitalises on that rather than reassuring you that actually, you aren't as rubbish as you think you are.

Don't you back down on this one! <shakes fist in defiant manner >

MadonnaKebab Tue 30-Jul-13 07:57:38

I remember you mentioning before that you find social interactions difficult .

I was amazed because your online self is so full of wisdom & insight.You always seem to know just what to say.

Has anyone other than him ever told you you're very socially awkward ?
Is there a bit of undermining going on here?

TheDoctrineOfAllan Tue 30-Jul-13 08:11:39

Can you get him to ask a woman he knows in a professional context, maybe someone he used to work with?

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Tue 30-Jul-13 09:25:59

(scroll down to bottom if you don't want to trawl though my over sharing to find out what I've done about his insulting turn of phrase)

I find face to face social stuff very troublesome. On here I am awesome wink cos me comes through my fingers in a way I just can't master verbally.

You'd have to spend time with me in order to know what I mean grin. Or if you didn't notice (because I prepare for you coming by coming up with lots of things I can say, and I act the part as best I can), then listen through the door after you've gone while I plague the life out of my husband disecting every moment wink

At this point I am so full of anxiety about it, just waiting to screw up that it has probably become a self fulfilling prophecy.

That's why I love it on here. I don't have to look at you. Which is a massive problem for me. I can walk away any time I like. I have only those conversations I want, for as long as I want and when I want to walk away - I do. This is who I am when I don't have to worry about looking at you, about whether it's my turn to talk, about keeping conversation flowing, about any of that stuff! It's why I come across as I do on here. Because it's me without all the stuff that I find so hard.

Has anyone other than him told me that I am socially akward?

No. It's never been put like that. grin My children's home visiting teacher was the first one who advised me to get assessed for ASD (my children both have autism) and that was over 10 years ago. Their paed discussed the same thing. My own gp. etc. It's on my notes. (which you could use to beat a whale to death!)

It is very difficult to describe exactly what I am like without sounding like a fruitcake and/or the most arrogant person on the planet! But here goes - I feel like I stand slightly to the side of the human race in my little white lab coat and I watch you. I understand exactly why people do the things they do, because it's so obvious. It is just stupid. (I mean that in a nice way grin ) It isn't logical and it's weird. When I was a kid, I used to say that I felt like I was surrounded by cardboard cut outs. I still do. I also feel like I am a mask I wear. cos I fake my every interaction in order to play by the rules. I analyse everything to death and understand it and act it but never feel part of it. It never feels real.

But, you're not my therapists grin and this was about him and his patronising way of talking to women.

Anyway, we had a long chat about it and he has said that he will not do it again.

I will be keeping an eye!

MadonnaKebab Tue 30-Jul-13 09:45:50

Maybe you should quit playing by the rules and unleash the real Hec
I think you'd be sensational!

Anyway, glad he's seen sense at last

RandallPinkFloyd Tue 30-Jul-13 10:57:08

I bloody luffs you woman!

ElephantsAndMiasmas Tue 30-Jul-13 18:05:11

Ooh good on you Hec smile

Sorry this is a bit grim but the only other person I've heard of using the phrase "young girls" was, er, Roman Polanski. It sounds a bit pervy tbh. Thankfully nowadays most of us are used to being treated as people in day to day life that it really jars when someone irrelevantly refers to our sex/age in day to day life. As if every time he thinks of "Barbara" he's not thinking what a useful and effective person she is, but of her physical attributes - slight thigh-rubbing connotations.

How old is he, out of interest? I've noticed my dad, in the last decade or so, having an almost Father Ted-like "lovely girls" way of talking about young women sometimes. I think he feels he's so ancient (he isn't, really) that he's not a "threat" and can be avuncular in this sort of detached way. I have impressed upon him numerous times that you're never too old to be considered a creep.

AnyFucker Tue 30-Jul-13 18:16:30

Erk @ Roman Polanski

Hugh Hefner would be another one that came to mind. Or Benny Hill. You get the picture...

Hec, you type how you feel so evocatively. You should write about this. I have gained a lot of understanding after reading just that one post.

I used to mentor a young woman who was struggling in her (our) chosen career that involves a shedload of face-to-face, frontline contact with people in a variety of situations, some of them very difficult. I remember her saying how she felt that everyone else (but her) "had already read the book", "knew the script" and that she was "like a bystander to her own life, dissociated from it somehow". It was years ago, but it really stuck with me. I asked her (gently) why she chose a profession that forced her to deal with that all day, every day and she said that she thought it was something she could learn but was slowly realising it actually wasn't.

Oh, I feel very melancholy now sad

ElephantsAndMiasmas Tue 30-Jul-13 18:21:04

Hec I think it might have been you who (aaages ago) contributed to a thread I started about my brother who I thought may be on the Aspergers spectrum. Your life sounds so very like his - he has to learn everything, like it's a foreign language. Ironically he is amazingly good at actual foreign languages - social interaction, not so much although he is getting better and better (and happier) all the time.

You are splendid and not being "a natural" at social stuff doesn't make you any less excellent. You give great advice and are hilarious, and I bet your friends/family get to see the great side of you in person as well.

specialsubject Tue 30-Jul-13 19:49:04

clueless and patronising.

I had someone do this to me around my fortieth birthday. I politely told him that it was not appropriate, he said 'fair enough' and has hopefully stopped!

maja00 Tue 30-Jul-13 19:57:48

The only man I accept being called "girl" by is my 90 year old grandfather - and that's only because he has too many grandchildren to remember everyone's names hmm

I'd be really irritated about it in a work context.

KaseyM Wed 31-Jul-13 14:43:39

What he said about them liking it may also be wrong. I've been called things like that before and haven't called it out for fear of being seen as rude or pushy.

I remember it took me years to finally get up the courage and tell my (married!) colleague that I didn't like it when he kept referring to how luscious my bum was!!

He used to send me such messages on a regular basis and I would be anxiously internally debating "shall I tell him? Shall I not? He's such a nice person, I don't want to hurt his feelings!"

It's pathetic how we're brought up to avoid conflict at all costs, or looking like we're being a pushy feminist crying "harrassment" at the drop of a hat.

So, when your DH says the women like it/ don't mind it, he really has no idea if this is true of not.

TheDoctrineOfAllan Wed 31-Jul-13 14:46:57

Yikes Kasey sad

KaseyM Wed 31-Jul-13 14:50:04

I know! I feel a right muggins when I think of it....

AnyFucker Wed 31-Jul-13 15:04:42

Op, you havent been on for a while

Are you ok ?

AnyFucker Wed 31-Jul-13 15:05:29

That was on the wrong thread, but still stands actually smile

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