There are moments that happen time and time again which truly amaze me. 

I am at an event and I am introduced to someone.  The first thing out of his mouth is, "so what do you do"? 
For some reason, last night, I looked at him and said "I'm a super hero".  Definitely a bit of a wise ass answer on my part but I couldn't help myself. 

He is a bit taken back and then proceeds to go into a dialogue about how fantastic my husband is.  That he follows him on twitter, reads AVC every day and it appears to him that Fred has a good family life.  Looking for confirmation I concur with "yes, I'd said so".  Then he says to me, "so you even go to the industry events with him"? 

On one hand, I wonder if the guy actually reads AVC because if he did, he'd know that I could be categorized as a blogger.  He doesn't even have to read this site because it says so right on Fred's home page.   On the other hand, I take a moment to step back and ask myself, "why does this piss me off so much"? 

The guy continues to talk about the industry basically explaining it to me, advertising vs social media.  Not that I needed the explanation but whatever.  After somebody enters our conversation who knows me, he comes back around and asks me what do I really do. 

I won't go into the rest of the conversation but it is one of the most frustrating things in the world.  Perhaps it is my own identity crisis but I do not keep my husband's fan mail going….and clearly I am a fan myself and appreciate the kind words but my work life does not completely identify what I do. 

I do a lot.  Grrrrrr.  Hence, the superhero.

Comments (Archived):

  1. bijan

    that sounds awful. sounds like a jerk on many levels.i’m glad i know youand i read your blog all the time and learn a lot from it and enjoy it

    1. Gotham Gal

      The guy did apologize through email today. Funny enough, his wife agreedwith me. Lesson learned.

  2. ErikSchwartz

    I learn where to eat when I’m in NYC from this blog.

    1. Gotham Gal

      Thanks Erik.

  3. greenskeptic

    I’ve always hated that question, “What do you do?” I do a lot of things and at any given time I can be wearing one of my many hats: father, husband, pizza-maker, blogger, investor, entrepreneur, poet, public speaker, strategist, dog walker, reader, friend, rabble-rouser……so I’ve started to use Walt Whitman’s line from “Song of Myself” in response to that question, “I am large, I contain multitudes.”

    1. Gotham Gal

      Love “Song of Myself”. In our kids school, they have to write their ownsong of self at two separate times. Once in middle school and once in highschool. Very enlightening.

  4. rebeccastees

    Superhero was a great answer.What’s your tagline?I’m a superhero and I’m only rescued by people with a sense of humor and fun…..

    1. Gotham Gal

      Love that tagline. I might have to use it.

  5. bridgetwi

    Well that’s funny because I saw Fred tweet that he was there, and I was trying to find him so he could introduce me to you. So there!

  6. Atlanticgull

    Keep the faith, Joanne. Don’t break your stride over jerks like that. (Accidently spilling a little red wine on him is much more effective.)

  7. dhgoodman

    Wow Joanne. It was definitely a crummy thing to ask in a social setting. Perhaps it deserved a snarkier answer I overheard once at a party:”What do you do?”Whatever the f*&^ I want. What do you do?”Delivered pretty flat to devastating effect. An inappropriate answer to an inappropriate question? Dunno, but I remembered it!

      1. dhgoodman

        Hate to admit it but snark works .. especially when it’s served cold.

  8. Pamela Parker

    That does sound awful. It’s crazy how people insist on wanting to pigeon-hole others, immediately upon meeting them.I love reading your blog for many reasons, including your thoughts on women’s roles and family life (and the public perception thereof). I think what you are doing — all of the multitude of things you do, as reflected in this blog — is fantastic and important.P.S. We met long ago at a “Silicon Alley” industry event.

    1. Gotham Gal

      Thanks Pamela. Glad you are enjoying the read.

  9. kirklove

    That question. Ugh. Only one worse is “Where do you live in Manhattan?” As if your neighborhood defines you. So lame.Your blog is great as are all the projects you are involved in. I really enjoy reading about them. I’m partial to the restaurant and cooking stuff, but you bring it across the board.

  10. steve cheney

    great post. and too bad he apologized or you could have barred him for life 🙂

    1. Gotham Gal

      Could have but I am glad he apologized. His wife agreed with me. Hopefullylesson learned.

  11. Erin Newkirk

    It must be tricky to define “work life” when what you “do” is live a full life. From family to food to travel to business, you know and share and DO so much. (Thank you for that!)

    1. Gotham Gal

      I like that “work life vs full life”.

  12. Christine Tsai

    I must admit I came across your blog via Fred’s blog. But nowadays I think I frequent your blog more than his 😉 I love reading what you have to say about food, life, family, and culture. Keep it up!Btw, your chocolate chip cookie recipe has now become my go-to recipe.

    1. Gotham Gal

      They are so good. Someone sent me another chocolate chip recipe to try andI am going to make those next. Maybe a contest?

      1. skysurfer172

        I concur! I found this blog via AVC and I am a big fan of Fred’s, but GG’s blog has made me a better cook/baker – and that helps with the ladies. ;)Someone with more creative talent than I should design a new avatar for Joanne. Super Gotham Gal!

        1. Gotham Gal

          Design away!

  13. ellen

    For people who don’t have a personality and cannot come up with interesting conversation, that is always the first thing out of their mouths.

    1. Gotham Gal

      Ellen, you are very wise. I believe you might have hit the nail on the

  14. CCjudy

    I understand your reaction cause there is something that hi-jacks me everytime and I am learning that reaction is automatic and its about survival the survival of who I consideer myself to be. I am beginning to notice when it happens and to bring my Self there and how I handle it alters and what I am left with is freedom, power and full self expression. I learn all this at Landmark Education and my seminar An Invented Life

    1. Gotham Gal

      An Invented Life. Nice title.

      1. CCjudy

        whenever we are triggered or hi-jacked we can know thats not Me – its something like a reaction from IT to handle what appears as a threat Its important to you to be seen a certain way and anything that threatens that will cause this reaction and it limits your powerI have a fierce reaction to anyone getting angry at me and anyone thinking I am old – recent it was a receipt that had a line – 10% senior discountJudy

  15. Yule Heibel

    Gawd, I hate that question – mainly because I don’t have a pat answer, but even if I did, it would bother me to flatten myself to one answer, eg., what I used to do (“I teach art history”) or anything like that.Your answer (“I’m a super hero”) is a good one. It throws the whole implied economics & status anxiety behind the question off-kilter. Super heroes work for the good, not for the money or status as such.On my Disqus profile, I wrote, “I stretch imports in the conduit,” a reference to Jane Jacobs, who wrote about cities and their economies. For me personally it just means I’d like to be as bright as Jacobs was, but I bet it would confuse a lot of people if I actually used it to answer The Question. (Incidentally, Jacobs is sometimes described as a “housewife” – albeit one who saved Washington Square and won against Robert Moses and changed the way urban planners think.)I like dhgoodman’s answer a lot (for those mean-feelin’ moments when snark is just right) and also CCjudy’s (maybe for when my polite and thoughtful inner Canadian wants to shine, heh). ;-)Congrats on holding your own in these situations. It’s not easy, but your readers know that you have enough spunk to blow one-dimensional chit-chat out of the water any day!

    1. Gotham Gal

      Thanks Yule. I am comissioning my cape. Jane Jacobs a housewife…that’s goodjoanne [email protected]

  16. Sharon Lew

    Why did it piss you off? Because there was an immediate assumption being made before you answered the question, and you knew it. Similarly, I have had men comment if I leave the office earlier than usual, or venture on a Field Trip, that I am doing so, so I can be like the ‘real’ moms. Same coin, different side. grrr . My Mom wrote a book called You Can’t Do It All (30 years ago!) based on these issues and how to balance them. It’s the pre judgements that are hard to take. Superhero, was a great response.

    1. Gotham Gal

      You Can’t Do It All is so true. Every generation wants to believe they canbut it is a big fat lie. It is absolutely the pre-judgements that aredifficult to take. It is hard to be a Mom and go to work or be a Mom andnot go to work but want to do something but want to be home. Although weall try so hard to find our own identity, on Monday you might have found itbut by Tuesday you might have lost it. Never easy.

  17. Tanya Monteiro

    Gosh, your Grrrr is my AHA. It’s tricky finding the right answer to that q, for me, especially since leaving wall st. Thanks, now I have 2 options – it’s a toss up between super hero and dhgoodman’s!

    1. Gotham Gal

      David definitely hit on something.

  18. Tereza

    Well, for what it’s worth, to have a life that’s rich in exploration, experimentation, progress and food (!!) — and the generosity of spirit and time to share it with the rest of us — is superhero-worthy in my book.And that probably just nicks off the tip of the iceberg of everything you “do”.So, pretty please, keep “doing it”. It’s a joy.

    1. Gotham Gal

      Thanks Tereza

  19. federico lowenstein

    its totally understandable. i arrived here throw your husband blog but the true is that in the end im more interested in your recipesbest regards

  20. Christy

    I think it’s rude and presumptuous for someone to wonder aloud if you follow your husband to conferences, but asking what you do is somehow insulting? It seems to me not an unreasonable way to start to get to know someone. If what you “do” isn’t a full-time office job, so what? Unless the answer makes you unhappy, I don’t see why the question should bother you. Your blog, your right to your opinion, etc. etc., but I certainly see it a different way.