Beautiful Girls

A conversation overheard as one woman fired another:

Honey, we have to let you go.
You’ve been late too many times and
The manager made the call and
I’m so sorry to have to tell you this…
Don’t cry! It’s gonna be OK.

You’re such a beautiful girl.

You just… didn’t behave responsibly.
Your work ethic is… disappointing.
No, we can’t give you a recommendation.
But you’ll figure things out,

Because you’re such a beautiful girl.

In fact, maybe during this free time
You can find someone to take care of you.
Have him cover your bills, just this once…
There’s really no reason to worry, dear.
The world looks out for

Beautiful girls.

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26 responses to “Beautiful Girls

    • Precisely. But most of all, it made me so sad that this compliment was the only comfort the woman could offer. No comments on the girl’s intellect, or her good personality, but just the reassurance that she has her looks going for her.

      On the flip side… if she really isn’t very clever or responsible – if she has a horrible personality – does she deserve these breaks her boss is referencing just because she’s beautiful? We’ve got a long way to go, baby.

  1. Interesting. I thought it was quite a nice sentiment, if you didn’t think into to much. Soften the blow of being fired with a splattering of compliments y’know? It’s what people do. (Of course if you did think about it, I wholeheartedly agree about not mentioning anything about intellect/personality etc…)

    However the bit where the manger tells her to use her new found ‘free time’ to find someone and let ‘him cover the bills’…Eh? Her last word of advice is not to say anything informative like ‘try to reflect on where you went wrong’ or ‘learn from your mistakes’ hell, she could have even said just left it at ‘try again when you’re ready’; but to suggest she should start a relationship just for short term financial cover! By all means, she can start a relationship if she’s feeling lonely or just because she wants to, but to give someone advice which basically encourages scrounging because she’s a ‘beautiful girl’, and the ‘world looks out for beautiful girls’. Hmmm.

    • Right?! I have so many feelings about the whole thing. You nailed it with your point that there was no effort to give her any useful feedback or advice. It was more like, “You failed at this, you probably can’t do anything well, but you’re pretty, so someone will provide for you.”

      Mind. Blown. I have no idea what the woman being fired felt. She was nodding her head, but that could have been just a reflex.

  2. Reminds me of a friend who, when made redundant from an accounting job, went for an interview to work on the make up counter in a local department store. Upon hearing this her manager responded “O thats nice, you would be better suited to that”. My friend is pretty and a blond, she is also super intelligent and was very good at her accounting job, her manager, was a man, who possibly should have read up on all things HR.

    • *sigh* The thing is, he probably thought it was a compliment. How can it be so unclear that – while a woman may enjoy a polite comment about her appearance – she’s unlikely to want it at the expense of attention paid to her professionalism or smarts.

    • I’m with you. There are so many different strands of wrongness tangled up in this conversation. I think the simplest way to explain why it feels wrong is that, if you subbed in “boy” for “girl,” the entire thing would feel almost laughable, and definitely not like a conversation I could have actually overheard.

  3. right or wrong . . . beauty in a society built upon shallowness and sexually repressed men means a WHOLE lot because her beauty often acts like a burka and covers the woman’s intellect . . .

    Beauty covers everything of value when all men see is nothing but T and A . . . .

    • I’m not sure I entirely understand your comment. I do know that any man who can’t see a woman’s intellect because she’s traditionally beautiful is playing with less than a full deck…

      • What I am saying is that because of the typical shallowness in men they appreciate beauty above all else . . . except perhaps in money matters.

        Sad, but in my 71 years of observing men in all strata and style, that’s just the way it is.

        We generally pick the prettiest girls we can get.

        Hire the prettiest women who can do the job.

        Always place an attractive lady as a greeter for our office building . . . and promotion is always easier for them.

        Sucks, but I think it’s in our DNA or something.

        Intellect is important. Intelligence is important, but attractiveness is many times the essential ingredient.

        I hope I live long enough to see the phoniness rub off, but I doubt I will.

        Why should women have to take on the attributes of men in order to get ahead in this country anyways?

        • It’s not in the DNA. Accordingly, while many men do act this way because of the culture they grew up in, things are evolving. I’ve seen both sides – I used to work at a restaurant where the owner said he would never hire an ugly girl or an overweight girl to be a waitress, because customers are happier if they like how their server looks. (Not only was he sexist, but had no idea how many different types of “look” people enjoy. But I digress.)

          Since then, woman have come to hold over half the jobs in the American economy. They aren’t represented equally in the higher positions, and we all know they frequently aren’t paid as much as men, but the scale is tipping toward equality. When more and more women are the primary breadwinners, less and less attention will be devoted to judging their looks instead of their worth as employees. (And people!) And traditionally “feminine” skills such as good communication and effective multi-tasking are now highly prized in the workplace – I’ve seen women brought in as consultants to hone these abilities in men. So I wouldn’t say that women *have* to take on stereotypically male attributes to succeed.

          I’m not arguing with you, exactly – I think our hearts are in the same place – but I think much more progress has been made than your comments show. And that’s a good thing.

          • Please . . I enjoy a good argument (as long as it’s a learning experience) . . . I will say this. I have worked with women in the trades. I worked with a women on a fishing boat in Alaskan waters. (which is very dangerous) I was twice married . . .I really enjoyed every experience.

            A women has the power to tame the beast in the roughest of men.

            I am not chauvinistic as far as I can tell, but I am a realist. Too many men eat, live and breathe sex. . . no matter the tone of their voice or their politically correctness.

            Men have ruled far too long IMO. That bunch of fools in the Bush Admin sealed the deal for me. I would love to see a women in office, but a real women with the good sense not to man act.

            We need change and I’m thinking it will take a women to make it happen. Believe me when I say I am on your side . . . I’m sick of war and American hegemony. Your young . . . you could help make a difference.

          • Experience is all we have to rely on Jennie . . everything else is hearsay. . . anyways we could beat this thing around for a long time and . . . I do much better at this kind of discussion in a coffee shop . . . so thank you and good night . . . 🙂

  4. Jennie, Beautiful – and what an incredible conversation capture. Surprisingly, I think my favorite line is “But you’ll figure things out.” Things could go so many ways. Love it! All the best, Terri

    • Thanks, Terri. I do wonder what she did next – I left the coffee shop while they were still talking. I’m going to guess she went out and found another job, because when the whole find-a-sugar-daddy suggestion was made, she sort of nervously laughed it off. Because clearly the older woman was giving the worst life advice ever. So yeah – I’m with you – I bet she figured it out, and not *just* because she was pretty.

  5. Oy. Perhaps the “beautiful girl” could cultivate a better work ethic and more responsible approach to life, and become a *truly* beautiful girl.

    • Oy, indeed. But if most of the responsibility lies with her, at least some of it lies with the people who let her off the hook because of their own skewed world views. It’s harder to grow if no one tells you specifically what your weaknesses are!

      • I totally agree. Certainly the people in her life did her no favors by letting her get this far without developing certain attributes. But at some point in our lives, we have to claim responsibility for ourselves – even if no one directly “teaches” us to do this.

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