I was at a networking event recently, full of entrepreneurs and tech start-up types and those aspiring to be one of these.
I missed the main event, because apparently I don't read instructions well, but was there to mingle and eat free food.
Then I was introduced to someone we'll call David.
Organizer: Will, this is David. David, Will.
Me: Hi David. What do you do?
David: I run Blahblah.
Me: Oh, right. Hey, you'd know Fatima.
David: Yeah. B----.
David: Yeah I know her. She's a b----.
Me: Uh. Right. And why is that?
David: Well, we hired her for a six month contract. Two months into it she takes something else and up and leaves. Caused me so much grief.
I then asked David if he thought that this was a good reason to call a woman a 'b----'. David's quick defense was that he had given me 'context' for it.
I explained I didn't really think that mattered. People take jobs. That's what they do. She took a job with you. She then took a different job. It happens.
But, David explained, it caused him so much grief in having to re-hire and all that …
Me: Right, I get that. That sucks. But can't you agree there's a better, more gentlemanly way to express your grief than calling a woman a b----?
David: Yes. I suppose. I take your point.
Me: Also, don't you think it's a really stupid thing to be doing, walking around networking events saying these things? She is, after all, a good friend of mine. It's also, you know, pretty stupid considering all the 'news' about how women are being treated in tech.