Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Copy room convo

Scene: Unsuccessfully trying to get a letter of reference to print on letterhead. A student comes in.

Him: What program do you work for?

Me: I'm a faculty member in X department. What about you? What do you do?

Him: I'm a student in Y department. What's your name?

Me: Elizabeth [Barefoot].

Him: Oh, [Bare-y]? Lizzy [Bare-y]?

Me: Don't even go there.

What's up with the patronizing, diminutizing nicknaming?!?? Do I need to drop the friendly, informal demeanor and start referring to myself as Dr. Barefoot all the time? Should I boycott the copyroom and demand that the administrative people make all the copies for me? Would a grey wig and thick glasses garner more respect?

I may be a little sensitive about my gender and age, in that I'm a department that has historically been male. However, I'm hard pressed to believe that this student might have said, upon meeting one of my grey-haired male colleagues, "Oh you're Bobby? Bobby Scholar-y?"

How would you handle such situations?


Anonymous said...

Good grief! Was this guy a grad student or an undergrad? And no, he would never have tried to get all cutesy with a male faculty member.

In situations like this, I would probably just repeat myself, a bit more slowly: "No ... it's *Elizabeth Barefoot.*" Trying to sound puzzled if possible, as though I didn't understand how he got the idea that I was "Lizzy Barefoot-y." It gets the point across a) that you don't think he's funny, and b) that you now think he's an idiot.

Anonymous said...

Meant to add: it sounds like you handled it really well, though! I so rarely have to courage to say something like "don't even go there." You made it completely clear to the student that his "joke" wasn't appropriate or well-received.

elizabeth said...

Thanks, PetiteChablis! I like the idea of just repeating my name: I get so annoyed with strangers presumptively shorten it.

The student was most likely a grad student. I was entirely disgusted with his condescending attitude, and the "don't even go there" didn't require much thought at all.