First of all, I am not discriminating against men, and I don't wish to start a war on which sex is cattier. The majority of male nurses I've worked with have been great coworkers. However, I'm seeing some behavior that I have seen occurring almost solely in males, and I'm downright sick of it. I do think that a lot of what I'm writing can apply to people of both sexes, but again, such behavior is more prevalent in males and nursing is minority male.
When a man is surrounded by women, especially if he is the sole male, things might go to his head. It's no secret that some women tend to see males as more trustworthy and less catty, and will flock to them and compete for the male attention. Some guys love this attention, and they start losing objective and get this really obnoxious "I'm Mr. Popular" attitude. Some annoying habits of theirs are:
-Getting offended if you don't enthusiastically acknowledge their attention every time like a happy puppy. ("What, no hello?")
-Appointing themselves as your personal shrink and viewing themselves as beacons of wisdom, mostly bragging about themselves.
-Coming up to you when you're obviously busy, and saying in an obnoxiously Pollyanna voice, "Smile!" Some human hemorrhoids will actually start giving unsolicited behavioral counseling, mostly to serious women like me.
-Sticking their nose in your business, perhaps even creating situations so they can appoint themselves as your Freud.
It's not always about flirting or romantic/sexual attention either, although I've seen some totally inappropriate behavior. In my experience, most of the catty, obnoxious guys were married, had girlfriends, or were gay. However, they use the attention to promote themselves. IMO, it's about "winning" the masses in a social situation that is conducive to their popularity. More competition is present when you're surrounded by the same sex. However, being the sole male surrounded by females is a market that is more easily monopolized.
I'm not the only one who has seen this either. When I went to the charge nurse explaining a situation (see below in example #2), the manager told me, "Yep, he's mad because you're not giving him the attention he craves. It's like how cats love people who don't pay attention to them. He actually came to me complaining about your "arrogant" behavior, and stormed off when I asked him why he wasn't doing his work instead." My boyfriend is often the sole male in his library job, and flat out states that he gets preferential treatment, is asked to do more heavy stuff, and is put in the middle of a lot of situations. He says that he could get away with so much and milk it if he wanted to. He has also seen the Mr. Popular attitude with some of the other male coworkers and is disgusted by it.
Here are some examples of 2 people who have pretty much exhibited all the behaviors I'm talking about
Example 1: At my former job, I worked with a human hemorrhoid of a new grad. He was obviously very accustomed to being a good-looking male receiving lots of female attention, and would always greet the co-workers with hugs and air kisses. While I was OBVIOUSLY swamped with a mound of paperwork, he came up to me and started chatting about how tired he was and other crap-shooting. I told him that I was very busy right now, sorry, but would help him if he needed it. In a voice much better used on a baby, he told me to smile and that I was so grumpy. When someone tells me to smile, especially in a busy situation, said person has automatically proven him/herself to be an insensitive, obnoxious Pollyanna with no sense of priority. It's like being told to sit, stay, beg. I ignored him, he persisted. I eventually had to tell him, "Don't talk to me if it doesn't pertain to work or not some kind of emergency. Don't get passive-aggressive about it either. You are a professional, act like it." He probably thought that I was a young eater. However, he seemed to respect me a lot more than the other nurses who gave him the attention he was seeking.
A week ago, I was hanging out with an ex-coworker from this job. She told me that for two weeks, he had asked her, "Would you sleep with me if you weren't with your husband?" He only stopped after she asked him how he would feel if another man was doing this to his sisters. I would have reported him directly to administration the first time. He's also made rounds with some of the nurses, creating tons of drama. Forget menage et trois, this is at least a menage et cinq. Disgusting. I'm glad that I set limits on his behavior when I did.
Example 2: This guy was very successful and made 6 figures with his 2 jobs (weekday engineer, weekend nurse), and made sure that everyone knew. I was raised to treat salary and costs as taboo in conversation, yet he let it be known to everyone that he could afford things like his customized house, investments, etc., complete with price tags. Once, on company time, he took people out to the parking lot to look at his brand new luxury Cadillac Escalade. One coworker stated that she preferred Fords and earned his cold shoulder for a week. He was nosier and cattier than any female I've ever worked with. I once had a confrontation with another nurse, and he wanted to know the details. I told him that it was between me and the nurse. He reported me to the charge nurse for being rude, and she told him to mind his own business. If you didn't greet him every time, he'd inquire why. He often told me that I seemed so angry and that I should smile more, even while running 50 mph carrying supplies. After I started ignoring him, he'd come in the same room obviously waiting for some kind of greeting, eventually, saying, "HELLO!" in an angry tone. Rather than greet him, I asked him if it was something pertaining to the tasks at hand or some kind of emergency. It never was, just a lecture on how rude I was and how he deserved an apology from me, at which point I'd resume ignoring him. His complaints of me actually became a running joke with the charge nurses.
Again, these obnoxious Mr. Populars are a minority of the great male nurses I've worked with. However, I can't deny that I have seen these behaviors much more in men than women. It especially seems to be an issue with the new grads who haven't realized that they are in professional environments.
1) To quote Tyler Durden from Fight Club
, "Listen up, maggots. You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You're the same decaying organic matter as everything else." Yes, you may be surrounded by women and may even have a couple throwing themselves at you. You are there to work, not to make yourself the Big Man on Campus. Would you rather be respected as a hardworking professional or seen in a more familiar way as a himbo? If you're going to establish a presence, do it constructively, such as networking or aim to get into administration.
2) Be careful. I've known people who have gotten canned for sexual harassment with pretty minor offenses or even just unfounded accusations. Nowadays, even a pat on the back can be considered battery. Also, anything you do can and will be used against you. The guy in example #1 is darned lucky that she didn't get him fired. Just because you have female coworkers willingly sitting on your lap and asking your opinions of their breasts doesn't mean they'll own up to it. Remember Potipher's wife and Joseph from the Bible.
3) Your pride does not really matter to anyone but yourself. Do not be insulted if people don't greet you every single time they pass you. It's a busy job where people have much more critical things to worry about.
Last edit by Mexarican on May 6, '09