wrote a little about my experience at our recent convention appearance with a guy who was just a little too friendly. I was talking after the show with Conquest's CCG coordinator, Kristy Mack, about our shared experience of being female company reps who need to be accessible to our fans and customers but then also receive unwanted attentions. Saying hello in the elevator is not an invitation to rub me. The fact that I am manning the booth for hours on end does not necessarily mean that I want to listen to your creepy political rantings on how you have the RV packed and ready to go, how women are out to get men, or the details of your treatment for cancer of the scrotum. [Oh, dear reader, you think I exaggerate for effect here, but it's true, all true...]
In my youth I might have hauled off and smacked the guy; threatening to pound grabby junior high schoolers (putting the fear into them before we reached high school and they grew bigger than me) worked pretty well back in the day. Of course, those were the days when unleashing my righteous fury on the neighborhood bully wasn't something likely to land me in court for assaulting the little delinquent. As a younger adult, I was more sharp-tongued and prone to lashing out verbally (or virtually, as my loving husband will attest -- we met by getting into a fight in an AOL forum). These days, my reactions are slower, I'm not necessarily "wiser" but I'm certainly older. I am aware that people still hold against me things I blabbed off about when I was barely 20 years old and working in the highly stressed Lion Rampant/White Wolf environment. I've seen jackasses threaten to boycott my company because they disagree with my political views. I'm just not so quick to jump to it anymore.
In fact, at this same show I had a long conversation with a guy who had been in business with an industry hothead
I'd had run-ins with in the past. He was telling me how the business relationship had finally dissolved and everything he'd been doing to tie up all the debts and loose ends for that company. I laughingly told him the "Vindictive Little Bitch" story: on Dave Nalle's Kick-Me-Off-WZL-Will-You?! anti-WZL mailing list, back around 1999 or 2000, I was cracking wise about some subject, the specifics of which I've long since forgotten except the certainty that I was (in that particular case) being neither vindictive nor particularly bitchy, and this fellow replied to the rest of the list, "Anyone ever notice that Nicole is a vindictive little bitch?" My response: I can be vindictive, I can certainly be a bitch, but don't call me little. Anyway, this story was an eye-opener to the guy I was talking to, because, as it turns out, I maintained my reputation of "bitch" with the people of his company, even though he admitted that he'd never had anything but pleasant dealings with me and couldn't understand the reputation himself.
Interestingly, Pramas didn't tell the punchline of the Mr. Backrub story! Mr. Backrub had wandered up to the booth toward the end of the show while Chris was looking over some goods at one of the other dealers' booths. "Uh, hi," I said, "I thought you said you were leaving at 1:00." "Oh, I got caught up in a game," he says, beginning to rub. Up walks Chris, who gives me one of his typical greetings: "Hello, wife." At that, Mr. Backrub promptly turned and walked away, never to return, without so much as a goodbye.