Different Generations of Men?

Women’s experiences are so completely different than men’s.  How women see the world or how we react to a situation is directly tied to our own past experiences.  Those experiences started as a young child.  If we really want to have equality at every level, we need to start at the beginning.

Each generation of men and women look at the world through a different lens.  What one person deems acceptable another deems utterly astonishing.

For some reason, I have been thinking a lot about past experiences and how they made an impact on me and how I reacted to them.  There is one particular event that took place over a decade ago that made it to the top of my mind recently.  It says something about different generations of men.

I went to a dinner to celebrate the closing of funding for a company.  They are nice things to do particularly at the Series A round.  I was a bit under the weather at that dinner because I had some minor surgery the day before so not sure I was completely there.

One of the largest investor, who by the way never got involved with the company one iota, asked me if I was going to write a book about my husband.  Someone else had just done that who he knew, second marriage and the first wife wrote a novel around her husband’s life and it was quite controversial.  A million things went through my mind.  First being that he was certainly being dismissive about my own personal investing as if it was just a hobby, frivolous, doing it for my husband.  Second, we were having steak and my first thought was do I just ignore him or do I take the steak knife and lean over the table and stab him through the chest.  I decided the stabbing probably wasn’t a good thing.

The founder was shocked by the entire interaction.  Fast forward, the company grew and the financial outcome was a win-win for everyone involved.  There is a lot of history here but the investor gave me huge credit for my involvement that he went on to invest in other companies that I am involved with.  He really gave me the nod.

Did I earn my respect or was it always there?  Was that behavior just one of a particular generation of men?  Not that it makes it ok but it is worth noting.  Time has passed and my own personal confidence has risen way above that type of fray but perhaps because of the me-too voices, this evening has made its way up to the forefront of my thoughts vs the deep hard drive of my brain.

Different times, different conversations and hopefully more acknowledgment and respect than stupidity that isn’t mean-hearted but just unaware.

Comments (Archived):

  1. jason wright

    I guess one would have to have been there and witnessed the moment, but does it have to be interpreted as a dinosaurish thing for him to have said? Who would be better placed to write such a book? Writing a book is certainly not easy. Bookshops are filled with junk.

    1. Gotham Gal

      I could care less about someone writing a book about their experiences. Just because I am married to a successful man doesn’t mean my lot in life would be to write a book about him.

      1. jason wright

        I get that! There’s no role or obligation in a relationship for the writing of a book by one half about the other half.An unauthorised biography would probably be a better read. None of the personal and all of the public, but no hagiography please.Identity politics pisses me off, in all its forms.

    2. NicholeSmaglick

      Taken in complete isolation, I can see your point. Yet, our moments are not in isolation from one another. There are patterns, norms, mindsets and behaviors. For example, we know from social norms, that her husband would probably never be asked to write a book about his wife. I have been an entrepreneur for 21 years and in that time, I am asked about once a month if I run the business with my husband. Even though he is not part of my company, if seen together, it is first assumed that he is the founder. And he has never been asked if his ventures include his wife. So, I could take the comments as innocent in isolation, but I would be as dumb as a doorknob if I did.

  2. JLM

    .Clearly should have stabbed him. Always follow your first instinct.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  3. LE

    Did I earn my respect or was it always there? Was that behavior just one of a particular generation of men? Not that it makes it ok but it is worth noting. My vote is that it was neither. I think it’s pretty typical even when you have multiple people that are all men involved to assign prominence to one member based on pattern matching or stereotype.I could give many examples of this but the best I can give is my own experience when I started a business out of college. It was a traditional business (printing and graphics). I knew nothing about it. I was in my 20’s. It was low tech (and dirty). Just about every person assumed I had taken over my fathers business. That was not the case. Obviously. I started it from scratch.That is what people do. That doesn’t negate your point because of course what you are talking about does exist. The upside is that the fact that it does gives someone a way to get noticed when they beat the stereotype. That is most likely what you did. The investor had one idea and then you gave him reasons that made him know he was wrong. To me that is actually better than if it never happened in the first place (from my experience). I do that type of thing on purpose. It’s like a trojan horse perhaps.In the early 80’s when I started in business I hated to get dressed up. So I would dress the way I liked to (dungarees) and at first was not taken very seriously. Because I was competing with older men who dressed up (in bad suits actually; probably JC Penny). Pretty soon buyers looked beyond the dress and it actually helped me. That’s right it helped me their initial bias. Because of the contrast of what they thought vs. what I was able to do for them. That is what happened with you. [1] That is my guess. So you use a disadvantage to an advantage.[1] My analysis based on limited facts presented.

  4. LE

    I ran into this growing up with the Vetris. The Vetris were neighbors and their son went on to become a famous chef. (Marc Vetri; James Beard award winner; the toast of Phllly). Sal Vetri owned a chain of retail jewelry stores. Barbra, his wife, was an attorney. I knew both of them pretty well and there was no question that Barbra played a role in the chain of stores (they were in malls and he used to curse the malls out you’d appreciate that). Anyway Barbra was the one who got him to do many things like put each store in a separate entity and she also negotiated the contracts with the malls ‘sons of bitches’. She was a hustler ‘jew broad’ and I say that in a positive manner. But everyone just thought of Barbra as Sal’s wife and that being a lawyer was kind of a hobby. (She was a sole practitioner.). Sal told me when his son wanted to open a restaurant ‘if he thinks I am going to invest in that he is nuts I’m not’. [1] Of course the parents did play a major role in Marc’s success and got involved. But my guess is that it was Barbra who convinced Sal and actually did the heavy lifting. Interestingly Sal was not jewish and Barbra was. Growing up that was a big deal. We always talked about them and how odd a mixed marriage (at the time like that) actually seemed to work. Barbra was really like you. She is in her 80’s now.Oh yeah one more thing. Their daughter became a somewhat locally famous DA and is now a judge. Barbra tried to run for office in the 70’s but couldn’t get the backing of the local male political machine. But her daughter pulled it off.[1] This is after Marc went on his own to Italy and worked in various places and also worked in NYC and for Wolfgang Puck in California. I actually did his resume (edited it) for either that job on the one before it (I still have the floppy).