Hippie In A Suit

Episode 6: Ain’t Nothing But A Thang

Hey Hippies!

Hope your week has been good, because it’s been a weird and long week for me. You know when they say that some people just speak without thinking? Well, imagine when it happens consistently, with actions or statements laced with intolerance towards a specific stereotype.

This has been my reality for the past year and although we sometimes give excuses like, “You know, they’re just being blunt, that’s how they are” or “they didn’t mean it, you’re being too sensitive”; there’s a word for this type of ‘attack’ called micro-aggression. These are the kind of remarks, questions, or actions that are hurtful because they have to do with feed into distorted stereotypical narratives that are quite frankly, outdated!

Let me fill you in on why this week in particular just sucked, on such a level that it took the grace of God not to fish slap this Partner at my firm. I don’t know why that image of slapping someone with a fish keeps running through my head, and making me laugh, but since it’s making me feel better, I wouldn’t question it…lol.

Anyway, back to the story. I have this boss that has always antagonized me since I agreed to work in my dad’s firm. I could attempt to guess why, but I wouldn’t because I’ll be stabbing blind in the dark with my assumptions and more importantly, I don’t care enough to bother. What matters is how this guy consistently keeps taking shots at the fact that I cook and DJ in my spare time. In the interest of confidentiality, let’s just call him Mr. X.

Now, when I first joined the firm, during the introductions I distinctly remember that the first thing that Mr. X said to me was “Ah! Adric (my father), is this your son that you said you have been trying to convince not to follow the path of a woman?” Chale, oh boy, to tell you I was insulted and livid was an understatement! I didn’t know whom I was angrier with; my dad for sharing my personal affairs recklessly or this nincompoop for thinking he was a regular Dave Chapelle. Obviously, his statement got the reception he expected, because my father burst out laughing, “Mr. X, he is oh! The very same one, but he’s gradually coming to his senses and doing more manly things these days”.

Hippies, I’m guessing that you’re already beginning to get a sense of the kind of person I am. I’d like to think of myself as an easygoing guy, but every day I work with Mr. X, I get truly tested and I lose my Zen. So, as it happened this Tuesday, I came in to work looking dapper (you know nau!), focused and ready to work on my client’s brief. As I sat down at my desk, a younger Associate, Asha came up to me and said “Hey Kobe man, how’s it going? Have you seen your dad? He’s been looking for you, something about pushing up the meeting time to 9am instead of 11am”.

Now if you know my dad, you know that tardiness is not a trait he condones or forgives. So, when I saw the time was 8:30am and I still was not fully prepared for the meeting, I was freaking out a bit. Just as I was about to tell Asha to help me stall, Mr. X walked past my office door, stood at the entrance and said, “Oh there he is, Mr. Loverman, exclusive DJ in the whole of Accra”, and laughed. I ignored him and addressed Asha instead “Asha please tell my dad I’m on my way, and make arrangements for tea and coffee in the meeting room”. As Asha was about to leave, Mr. X held up his hand and said “Asha, why are you always in Kobe’s office? Don’t tell me he’s seducing you with food o. Actually, if that’s the case, I’m sure Adric wouldn’t mind. After all, he’s always worried that this boy might be gay since he likes the kitchen too much”. This time his laughter was louder and sounded like a wheezing goat being slaughtered.

My people, I had never seen Asha look so embarrassed, as she ran out of my office, and I could not blame her. The whole situation was as awkward as it was super tense. For a second, I stared at Mr. X before I said, “Sir, it appears my personal life keeps you awake at night. My apologies, I did not know you were that interested o. Unfortunately, I’m more interested in your daughter, so maybe you could tell her that when she’s ready to date a man that can treat her right, she should call me. After all she does have my number”. With that I picked up my files and walked out of the door. I left Mr. X at my office door shouting that how dare I say such nonsense and insult him like that. And the most predictable one of them all, that, don’t I know he’s old enough to be my father?

Hippies, when I tell you that this led to me getting a query, you wouldn’t believe it! My old man told me that I should have ignored it and known that he was just joking and meant no harm. Oh! Oh!! Oh!!! So how couldn’t he too know that I was joking and meant no harm as well? What a load of BS! (I’d say more but people would say I am being disrespectful… tsk tsk) Why do people feel like it is acceptable to be intolerant towards people, that their attitude and actions are supposedly not harmful and completely innocent?

Mr. X’s behavior for the past 1 year could have led to my debilitating mental health, if I wasn’t so sure of the man I am. Micro-aggressions like this happen in the workplace often all over the world, and people expect us to just keep taking it. However, I am not having it, this ain’t nothing but a thang, and I have moved on. I just need to confirm that date with his daughter though! 😉. Do you guys think he’ll approve? LMAO!!!

On that note, my fellow community members, have a great weekend and remember to speak up against any kind of bullying, intolerance and all forms of injustices.

As my Nigerian brethren keep saying, Sòrò Sókè (Speak Up)!

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