Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Halloween 2009 - Part III

At the office
Even though it was close to lunch time, I saw almost no-one in the parking lot or lobby.  I was going to go into the cafe on the first floor, just to say hi, but I didn't really want to have to explain myself or tip off anyone from my office who might be down there.

As part of my pre-Halloween visit, I scanned my card and replaced my male pic with one of Meg.  I left my name.  I put this over my card ~ we use contact readers so all I had to do was hold the card up to the reader to get into the office.

I went up (alone) in the elevator to the top floor.  I walked through the glass doors straight to the receptionist.

We do not get a lot of visitors.  We get groups of strangers in for training in the morning most weeks, but by lunch time they all have temporary badges and they are not going into the secure areas anyway.

She said "may I help you?" and I grinned and showed her my badge without saying a word.  She looked puzzled for a second, then burst out laughing.  I gave her a broad smile and headed towards the side where I sat (there are two sides, one is training, consulting, IT.  The other is finance, marketing, and things like that).

As I held the card up to the reader she was still laughing.

I walked past my desk to N's office.  She wasn't there.  OK, this wasn't good, but it wasn't bad.  I noticed S, our office fashionista, was talking to one of the guys from marketing.  I stood behind him, where S could see me while they chatted about this and that.  After a minute or so, S said "can I do something for you?  I'm S."  I said "I know that.  I'm ."

She let out a yelp that I was sure alerted everyone on the floor.  I saw our head of security who was maybe ten yards away look towards us.  S screeched "{male name}" and got up and hugged me.  She asked what I was doing dressed like that and I told her N suggested I do this for Halloween.

S seemed to genuinely enjoy my new personna.  I wasn't sure what I was going to do next.  I came in to show N and had no further plans really.  I usually interacted with about a third of the people on the floor ~ mostly the ones on my side of the office.  Marketing and other corporate activities... not so much.

But S took over.  She took my hand and brought me to the nearest employee, a woman who had an office on our side, but the opposite wall from my desk.  S introduced me with a made-up name and said I was there for an interview.  She offered her hand, we exchanged greetings and she saw my badge and started laughing.  Then when we left she joined my new posse.

Most of the people on my side were out or in training sessions or gone for an early lunch so S grabbed my hand again and off we went to the other section.  There she introduced me to one of the accounting guys by a different name and said I was "her new assistant."  Again, we got away with it for a short time ~ this time, he said something like "what do you think of {the company}?" and I said "I've been here for a year.  I've only been S's assistant for a little while" and he looked confused so I showed him my badge.

As S dragged me around the floor our little group grew, and camera phones appeared.  I posed for a couple of pictures, and pictures of my meet-and-greet were taken.  Each time, S gave me a different name and a different title.  When we got to accounting, I was the "marketing representative for the midwest."  When we got to marketing, I was in "product quality."  In shipping I was "the new trainer."  Each time I was greeted, usually with a handshake and once with a look that was so close to a leer that I got a little hint of what women have to put up with from guys just being guys.  He seemed VERY embarrassed when he realised who I was.  And I was VERY relieved that he was embarrassed. :)

Although our IT head came over to me later and told me I looked great.  Then he did the same thing a few days later.

I had a great time, but I hadn't met with my manager yet.  She was in a conference room giving a presentation for a potential client.

I told S that my goal was to meet with N and this was much more fun that I could have ever hoped for.  I thanked her profusely. She had to meet a friend for lunch and I was on my own again.  Well, almost.  A couple of the women came by to talk to me, which was unusual and nice.  Oh... the head of security saw me as she was walking through the cubicle farm on my side of the office and yelled out "hi {male name}."  I later asked her how she knew and she said "it was obvious."  But I knew she heard S's first squeal and my "secret" was out ~ to her.

N took this photo of Meg and her messy desk
One of the women went into the conference room and got N's attention and told her I wanted to see her.  She said it would be another ten minutes and this was relayed to me.

It was way longer than ten minutes, but I spent some time getting an idea as to what it's like to work in an office as a woman.  I continued with my usual routine, except for my usual coffee overdose.  I did NOT want to have to use the ladies' room.

N finally got out of her meeting and came to my cube.  She took some pictures and seemed to genuinely enjoy my "Halloween costume."  I waited around for her boss, J, to see me, but he was out of the building at a meeting and never made it back.  I finally returned to the mall and did a quick "undo."  I was back in the office looking male within a half-hour.

Even though I was the only one in the office "dressed for the holiday," I felt great, not embarrassed like I thought I might be.  Everyone seemed to enjoy it, and one of the managers sent out an e-mail to all staff commending me on bringing cheer to our normal end-of-month crunch.

Alas, I'm in what is technically a military installation right now.  I doubt there will be a repeat for 2012.  But maybe I can finally make it to the high heel race.

(Not long after this, I came out to S.  I figured she earned it, and I wrote about that here.)


  1. We alway had festivities on Halloween at the military installation where I worked. We would have a costume contest and small party.
    Of course after 9/11 security changed over the years since so who knows if such activities would be allowed today. It appears you do have some great memories that you enjoyed!

  2. This was a wonderful account. It seemed as if everything went perfectly. I surmise that you had some degree of nervousness or at least a few butterflies in your stomach. I also would have thought that you would have considered staying dressed for the remainder of the work day but I can understand that it may have been a distraction.

    This is another excellent example of the fine work that you do as an ambassador for us with the civilian population.


  3. Great post. A lot of us have dreamed of doing this and now we can see what it would be like. We would love to be "leered at" (temporarily).

  4. omg...OMG!! :)

  5. What a great, fun day. You really looked cute and you couldn't have had a better reception at work.

    S sounds terrific. Do you and she keep in touch?

  6. You looked so great, why not just stay that way? A woman could do your job just as easily as a man no?


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