Penetrating Male Environments
March 6, 2012 § 14 Comments
From yesterday’s Times:-
People do love to advise a plankton, and top of the – not insubstantial – list of advice is to be sure to penetrate male environments.
Easier said than done. I can’t just suddenly study to become a surgeon. I can’t just turn up at a conference of moth experts or undertakers or whatever profession I might suppose has remained predominantly, steadfastly male. I can’t just gate-crash a golf or dangerous sports club, even if I wanted to. And, call me short-sighted, but I don’t wish to do a course in motor-cycle maintenance and, even if I did, it would probably anyway be populated by legions of women.
So I accepted with alacrity an invitation to a relation’s work dinner. He works in an aged institution which – way of the world – comprises mostly men and just a few shining-light women. At these occasional dinners, he and his colleagues invite lucky guests and, whilst women are welcomed and appreciated, the diverse guests, like their hosts, are nonetheless mostly men.
I had a great time. I had good conversations with one friendly woman who I know a bit and like, and no fewer than five men (!) whom I had never met. One was an inordinately handsome metrosexual in his thirties. There was talk of a girlfriend in Stockholm. Another was old and had been with his wife for the greater part of a century, but was so taken with our conversation he asked that we might continue it over a cup of coffee. Those in their forties were married too, with young children, and we got on a treat. I might have thought damn and blast, but I am wise to the long game of planktonhood. By now enough people – I estimate several hundred – have told me that , “It’s not necessarily the primary men you meet, they may well be married, but they may well ask you to supper and you might meet one of their friends!”
With the married forties men, I had a very jolly chat. One gave me his card because we have work in common. I will definitely get in touch because he was delightful and he might have work to offer. This is how the ubiquitous advisors say things happen: chance meeting, see each other again on an unrelated basis, then in time meet a friend of his and hey presto!
Could be onto something… Meanwhile, in new-found enthusiastically-spreading-net mode, I have already asked my host when he might be able to have me along to another of his work dinners.