Category Archives: Women in business

The rise of the bullyhags … they ain’t pretty and they know it

It’s quite astonishing the truths you can uncover when you’ve lived as an adult for a few years. Of course living as an adult doesn’t always equate to your age; my son for example oft displays more maturity in one word than I can eek out of my whole being.

No … living as an adult in my book is recognising life’s lessons for what they are, and not blithely taking the same route, making the same decisions and arriving at the same unsatisfactory conclusions. If it didn’t work out last time the chances are fairly high that it won’t next. Being “grown up about it” means walking away on occasion, taking a risk without being consumed with fear and seeing that the hurtful actions that others display towards you is actually testament to their own inner demons, not yours.

Surprisingly I’ve witnessed some pretty hostile behaviour towards me since my marriage broke down over three years ago, and it still leaves me scratching my head as to why that might be. What makes it even more baffling to my little brain is that it has for the most part come from other women who I’ve come to call (affectionately, you understand …) the bullyhags. Surprising, baffling …. sad and grossly disappointing. You kind of hope your own gender will be batting for you … supporting you through the good times and bad. And generally when times are bad they will support you, but there comes occasion when your day starts to brighten that a few seem intent on spoiling it.

The bullyhags will offer up a few choice sharp and sarcastic words, some deliberate attempts to freeze you out of conversations and relationships and display an underlying inference that moves are afoot to undermine your happiness.

I recall being bullied first time round by the very unrefined Susan Smith when I was thirteen because she’d heard on the grapevine that I had taken a liking to her beau, the even more unrefined Mark Firth. I should point out that I never use real names in this blog unless (I’ve just decided) they have at some point displayed the characteristics of pond life. In this case I deem my decision to name and shame wholly justified.

And so having my polo mints snatched on a daily basis because I had embarked on a crush that was the first of many unsavoury repetitions cast me in the role of the bullyhag’s future victim.

The only good thing about being intimidated in such a manner when you’re a child is that it’s done in a very obvious and visible way. Other children witness it and there can be no doubt as to what’s going on.

As an adult it can be a very different affair. It’s often done subtly, at close quarters and quite viciously. There’s often no warning nor is there an obvious reason why the perpetrator has selected you as their would-be prey. As I said … baffling.

I was a little girl who spent her entire childhood trying desperately to please and impress her father so it comes as a bit of a blow to think that there are people out there quite willing to take you down just because they don’t like the cut of your jib. And for no reason other than that.

Friends have said this is often the work of a jealous mind which always amuses me. Given that some offenders have been in secure relationships with no obvious problems financial or otherwise, I wonder how they think my life feels at 3am in the morning when I have tossed and turned in my bed wondering how my bills were going to get paid and what my future held. And I wonder how they think it feels when I look at my son and worry that I’m letting him down and not giving him the childhood he deserves. But then again, given that the bullyhags are adults I’m sure they take all that into consideration before they launch their subversive venomous attacks.

Put quite simply it appears the bullyhags like to select victims that they deem “getting a bit too big for their boots”, someone who may appear to be making progress and who just needs to be taught a lesson. I guess you only have to acknowledge the column inches in the newspapers given over to tales of woe, tragedy and torment to appreciate that bad news will outsell good any day of the week. We just don’t seem comfortable with the nice stuff. That seems for me to be one of the biggest tragedies of all.

Clearly because I’ve written a whole post dedicated to the bullyhags I’m admitting that I do get affected by it all .. but less so these days simply because I don’t have to wait for the bell to go at four o’clock to make my escape.

Inferiority is a state that’s much easier to fend off when you live your life as an adult.

Was that the bell?

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Filed under divorce, Life, love and the universe, Men, parenting, relationships, sex, Uncategorized, Women, Women in business

Why women should wear lipstick … and not be afraid to smudge it.

As a woman of a certain age I lose count of the number of debates I have listened to and sometimes participated in about stockings, cinched waists, and the associated betrayal of the sisterhood. Apparently there are some people who believe that a woman is to be pitied if she feels compelled to apply mascara and eyeliner  of a morning … because in doing so she is enslaved to the evil desires of men, no more than the cherry on the top of a cheap tart.

It should come as no surprise that the exponents of this doctrine in my experience tend to be other women, of the barefaced variety. Rarely have I heard a man decry a female’s accoutrements and decorations in favour of a sexless option; sadly it seems it is only women who tend to have a problem with other women. Twas ever thus.

In my hedonistic days working in central London I was surrounded by females who sneered at the sight of a pencil skirt and who would become positively apoplectic if they thought you might have been wearing a push-up bra …What sane woman would possibly want to dress like that? So much more acceptable to join the clan who drowned themselves in shapeless, colourless garb in an attempt to look like a man and, in many cases, succeeding. Of course, if you wore clothing that accentuated your female form, you had to be sleeping your way to the top … 

Now it would be positively churlish of me to suggest that our gender should all be donning a boned corset and six-inch stilettos on a daily basis, but what is wrong with wanting to look like a woman? I can say hand on heart that I don’t apply make-up for a man’s benefit, I wear it for me. I work at home on my own most days, so when I start talking to myself in the mirror in attempt to break the solitude, it’s nice to see a half-decent face looking back  (sadly, I have done that …) There is no escaping the fact that I feel uncomfortable in leggings and a T-shirt, yet I’m ready to take make short shrift of any charlatan that crosses me when I’ve got my lipstick and heels on. 

I see no good reason why we need to turn ourselves into androgynous beings who wear brogues and pretend we like football to succeed in our chosen professions, although an understanding of the offside rule does tend to impress when you nonchalantly drop it into a conversation over a business lunch. Without a doubt, this touchline extends way beyond hemlines and hairspray.

There is of course, always someone who cries “foul” when they push their femininity to the point that it has perceived to have overtaken their ability. Caroline Flint made comment in her resignation letter to Gordon Brown that he saw her as little more than window dressing. All I might add on the subject is that if you type “Caroline Flint” into Google and hit “images”, you could see why GB might be forgiven if he occasionally looked at her  …. in the way a man might look at a woman. If you wear black leather boots and a thigh-high split in your pencil skirt, you have to expect that a man will try and look up it whilst he pretends to listen to what you have to say. Similarly, appearing in glossy magazines in slinky red satin numbers does tend to deflect from any other agenda you might have that is drab in comparison.

The moral to my story is this: ladies, let us by all means adorn, decorate and celebrate our womanly forms publicly and without shame, but let us ensure our heads drive our curvaceous vehicles, not the other way round.

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Filed under Life, Women, Women in business