So my office is hosting a roundtable with a handful of big shots and my boss decides that I should moderate the panel with him. I do not want to this because:

a) I sound like a six year old on the mike
b) I really don’t think I have enough experience to actually add value to a discussion such as this.

However, my boss insists so I spend an afternoon researching questions and then get him to discuss these with me and we come up with some good questions.

Because I’m on the panel and I remember that most of the rare women on such panels are always in a jacket I am in a dilemma about what to wear. I don’t feel daring enough to wear a girly dress but I don’t want to be just another person in a suit. I really must remember to buy colourful jackets – or at least white so I can wear pink underneath.

After pulling out half by closet and nearly killing myself by attempting to pull down a suitcase in which the clothes Ididn’t think I’d be wearing in a hurry are stored, I finally settled on a white tank top with low neckline and straps and trousers – because frankly do not believe this event is worth shaving my waxed legs for. I stalk into work an hour late – but doesn’t matter because this event could go on till ten.

Finally, this is what happens.

We sit down and my boss introduces everyone and asks the first question. And then everyone answers – somewhat – while shamelessly pitching thier own companies. Then boss asks another question, and another and… I am just sitting there trying to think of a way to get a word in edgewise. But what makes it difficult is that as soon as people seem to be stopping to speak, my boss puts his hand on the mike so I can’t even get a hold of it. Finally, I have to actually tell him that I want to ask a question. To which he goes “Oh you want to ask a question?”

Duh.

So I’m thinking – why was I there at all. What was going through this mind? It can’t be that he thought I didn’t want to ask a question because why would I have sat discussing the questions with him otherwise. I have a feeling his intention was to reward me for something but I had made it clear that I didn’t actually wanted to be there. So – what?

Did he think I would just provide glamour quotient?

The thing with my boss is – I wouldn’t put it past him. It’s obvious that most of the women in the office are attractive, that my boss takes pleasure in this and that he uses it to his advantage in terms of actively encouraging us to go out and socialize. But sometimes he does go too far.

Normally, he doesn’t try this with me because I use the fact that I am Indian, married and formidable to sow a seed of doubt in his mind about exactly how far he can go. But E has pointed out that he is deeply patronizing – and I have noticed this of late. What is it with men? Hot Korean friend says that she just laughs and thinks in the her head: “Silly boy”.

Apparently, this has not escaped people’s attention. A PR guy at the party said to me: “Obviously your magazine has a policy of hiring very pretty women.” Which is flattering in a way, and not in another.

Oh well. Just use it to one’s advantage I guess.

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