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I am Not Your Sweetie

Back in May of this year I wrote a blog post entitled "Girly Girl Jiu-Jitsu". ( The basic point was that there are many different ways to be feminine. That I can wear cute dresses and still know how to choke you out. In other words, don't put me in your little box, I don't fit there.

The construction at the dojo is still going on. The hole in the ceiling is gone (thank you Jebus!) but there is still plenty of work to be done. Today there is a nice dude with a hammer and a screw gun, hanging sheetrock and driving nails into the facade. His name is Freddie.

Freddie was very helpful this morning. He swept the floor for me. He moved his stuff out of the way so I could set up for my morning class. He had a nice smile. He stared blankly, but politely, at me when I asked him any questions about his work. (Mainly when it was going to be completed.)

He also referred to me as "sweetie".

I told Freddie my name this morning, however, he is a very busy man. Perhaps he forgot it?

I run a karate school. You, Mr. Construction Man, are currently hanging the ceiling inside said karate school.      True, the class I was setting up for included 10 rainbow colored hula hoops and a tunnel from Ikea. True, I was wearing a cute red dress and tights instead of a white gi and tattered black belt. Perhaps you thought I was the secretary? Or the kindergarten teacher? Actually I am those things too. But I am also a black belt.

I am not saying women who do martial arts should be treated like men. You don't have to hand me a hard hat and a tool belt and put me to work. But if you can't remember what to call me, ask. Or call me "miss" if you have to. Or "ma-am". I'll take "ma-am" and a slice of peach pie. Just don't call me "sweetie."

Women call their husbands sweetie when they want them to take out the trash. When one of my three year olds falls on his head because he cannot stop jumping up and down, I give him a hug and say "It's ok sweetie." If I still had a grandmother she would probably call me sweetie while handing me a plate of freshly baked cookies. But not you, Freddie. You are rebuilding my dojo. Technically, that makes me your boss.

I am sure he didn't mean to be offensive. He was just being nice. He probably calls everyone sweetie. ("Hey sweetie can you hold this two by four while I hammer some nails into it. Thanks Joe.") I am not mad. Next time I'll just wear a name tag. "Hello my name is Jennifer. Yes, I am a woman. This is my dojo. I am a 4th degree black belt. I also know how to do a triangle choke". Just saying.

But that comment about how hard I work and how "that's why you are so skinny"?  You can keep making that one.

Now keep building my wall, Paco!


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