Under the expensive boots are cheap athletic socks

By Mir
December 15, 2005
Category Job? Huh?

I got to play grown-up today, the key word being “play” because it’s all an act. Sometimes I think I overestimate my awkwardness, or overstate how casually I tend to dress when I’m working at home and only going out to take the kids to school.

And then, I have a morning like today, when I put on my big girl clothes because I have a business meeting! I take the kids to school and every parent and teacher with whom I normally exchange a “good morning” or “cold today!” does a double take and asks me who died. By the third or fourth person, I’m seriously rethinking the theory that no one knows I’m still wearing my jammies if I’ve got my long coat on.

On the one hand, it’s great to hear a dozen “Wow, you look great today!”s before I go meet a client. On the other hand, it does tend to deflate one somewhat to realize that if EVERY SINGLE PERSON says that, it’s probably less about how nice I look TODAY and more about how CRAPPY I usually look.

So, yes, today I SHOWERED before leaving the house! And I fluffed my hair (ha! I love having short hair, where “extra attention” means spending 7 minutes on it instead of 5) and only stuck the mascara wand into my eyeball once and wore a blazer, the universal symbol for “you should totally give me money on account of how I look all businessy, like I really mean business.”

And of course I wore my new favorite boots, because we all know the power of a good pair of boots.

Anyway. God. Could I go on and on a little bit more about what I wore? My earrings were precisely half an inch long! My panties were purple! The point, really, is that I was ready to Play The Game. The We Will Size Each Other Up And Decide If We Trust Each Other game. I got the kids to school, came home again and assembled my various paraphenalia for the meeting, and headed out.

I got lost on the way there. Proof positive that even really nice leather is no substitute for a good set of directions.

But eventually I arrived and we started talking about potential work and past work and all of the stuff you typically go over at this sort of meeting. The client in question is someone I already know, and have worked with before (in a different capacity), but we’re each in different positions now. We’d like to work together again, perhaps.

And there I was, not quite as nervous as I’d be with someone I didn’t know, but nervous enough about making the right impression for this circumstance that I’m being overly animated and TALKING HIS EAR OFF because that’s just what I do. Only I am trying to limit my babbling to business-appropriate matters and make sure I actually answer the questions posed, etc.

Then it happened. He pushed back in his chair a bit and folded his hands across his middle, looking at me expectantly. “So tell me,” he says, “what else can you tell me about Mir?”

[Digression: Chickadee has started referring to herself in the third person for reasons known only to her, and there is little I find more annoying. If she walks up to me and says, “Chickadee would like some cookies,” I am inclined to respond with “Chickadee should stop referring to herself in the third person, then, because it tends to make me think she’s suffering from some sort of mental retardation that may have been caused by excessive cookie consumption.”]

Imagine me, faced with this question. “What else can you tell me about Mir?” I’m sitting there in my work clothes, trying to convince this person that he can trust me to perform well on a large contract, and my first instinct is to tell him that if I am sitting right across the table from him WE SHOULD NOT BE REFERRING TO ME IN THE THIRD PERSON. Unless, perhaps, we are suffering from that rare cookie-induced retardation.

My second inclination is to respond with, “Mir can write great copy for you, seeing as how your grasp of acceptable usage is a bit sketchy!”

Not to worry! I do bring my brain-to-mouth filter with me on all business interactions. It doesn’t always work, but I did manage to stifle those thoughts before they fell out of my mouth by accident.

So what I felt he needed to know about Mir was more or less limited to the matter at hand; I talked about the sort of work I enjoy, my methods for tackling issues, blah blah blah hiiiiiiiiire meeeeeeeeeeee. He listened and nodded and I felt I’d made it through that particular challenge.

Not two minutes later, he asked me the SAME question AGAIN. The repetition made it clear that he was looking for something MORE. Something beyond the stock answers. I branched out a bit, this time. Now I was talking about basic character traits, trying to balance “honest disclosure” with “blurting out inappropriate things.” If you know me at all, you know how difficult this is for me. Again, I thought I’d navigated through fairly well.

We talked for about five more minutes, and AGAIN came that infernal question. My mind was racing. WHAT does a person want when he asks you THREE TIMES what he “needs to know” about you? I was out of appropriate material, and starting to panic, to boot. I didn’t know what he was hoping to evoke. My script didn’t cover this.

“Well…” I was stalling for time. I realized I was trapped. “I can juggle. I can walk on stilts!” Yes, it’s true; and most people don’t realize that you have a much greater chance of landing a copywriting contract if you can perform stupid circus tricks.

I still don’t know what he was hoping to get out of me, but after that he laughed and stopped asking.

Next time I’m just going to wear one of those “HELLO MY NAME IS __________” tags and fill in the blank with DORK. It’ll probably save time.


  1. ben

    Holy cow, you can juggle?

    You think you know somebody. Wow.

  2. DebR

    Wow! How tall are the stilts?

    (Don’t you love how your readers immediately hone in on the very most important parts of your posts when we comment?)

  3. Cele

    Can you teach me to walk on stilts? I always wanted to, not that being 6 feet tall wasn’t enough for me, but it was sooo unique and I wasnt’, aren’t, am not.

    Hmmmm, so what what do you think he wanted to know besides you are a slightly used mother of two? I always wanted to write a singles ad using that line – Slightly used mother of one looking for a good home. Is house broken and comes with papers…..I chickened out.

    You don’t think it’d be ridiculous for a middle aged (OHMIGOD!) woman to learn to walk on stilts do ya?

  4. Marvo


  5. Humor Me

    Delurking again…

    Wow! Purple undies AND you can juggle?? While walking on stilts or separately?

    Excellent answer to an invasive question. I’ve always hated that one. I feel like they’re waiting for me to say that I’ve discovered the cure for cancer and will be releasing it momentarily, but that pales in importance as to what I can do for THEM of course.

    For them, I shall wear my shiny armor, slay those pesky competitors, vow with great honor and meaningful stares to preform knightly feats while swearing fealty (from stilts). NOW will you pay me?

    Can I use that on my next interview? Pretty please?

  6. David

    Darn, that Marvo beat me to it. So, did Mir get the job? *ducks quickly*

    Also. Purple? Really? *more quick ducking*

  7. Zuska

    Inquiring Zuskas want to know: did Mir get the job?

  8. Bob

    purple power panties. guaranteed job winner here.

    what the hell was this guy after? he knows you from before and then pulls this passive/aggressive 3rd person interview ploy. it isn’t enough that you’ve already discussed the project with him, he needs to be convinced that you REALLY want the job? I hate interview games.

    But – I hope you get the big contract anyway.

  9. Aimee

    See, when people ask me questions like that (especially THREE frickin’ times!) that’s when I hope that I remembered to pack my filter AND my little gizmo that keeps my eyes from rolling in derision. Jeez. So didja get the job, though?

  10. Cyndi

    Whew! You scared that niggling to freelance right outta my brain!

    I don’t even understand that question. If you want to know something in particular, ASK ME!

    The one I hated was “What are your positive traits…and negative…? I am so sure. If you think I will intentionally say something negative about myself in an interview, just because you keep asking me…well, who’s stupid here?

    Um, my negative traits are I just work too darn hard…and I never seem to ask for raises…can’t seem to develop a taste for coffee or cigarettes…can’t go home if there’s work left to do…

    Ugh. I am better off working for my husband! LOL

  11. Chookooloonks

    Seriously? You can juggle? My husband can juggle!

    We need to get you two together.

    You know, to juggle.

    Not as a euphemism for anything else, you understand.


  12. Jenn2

    cookie induced mental retardation. Hee. You’re killing me.

    Really liked the number of men commenting on the purple panties. You’re such a vixen.
    Maybe that’s what you interviewer was after!

  13. shannon

    Hmmm, I think with the third time of asking you probably nailed it. I mean, I am guessing the guy was wanting to fluster you, not that mentioning juggling and stilt walking is a flustered statement (btw, IS it at the same time you can do these two things?). I think he was wanting you to kind of loosen up and share with him…a cookie, piece of pie…I don’t know, but the point of this rambling is…shit, point is gone, brain needs more coffee…

  14. Zee

    You know, maybe I’m just weird or goofy or insane but my first thought when he asked you that question was that he wanted to know about you personally … as in, was interested in dating? I dunno – just seems like an odd thing to ask someone.

  15. Amy-GO

    Now, if you can walk on stilts WHILE juggling, wearing ONLY purple panties, THEN I’m impressed. Bet it would’ve gotten you the job, too…
    Seriously, what was this guy after? Does he need to know your life story in order for you to write for him? Sheesh.

  16. LatteMan

    Now I think it is slightly unfair to compare using third person for yourself (hereforeto known as cookie binge retardation), and using it when trying to evoke an answer from the “third person”

    In general he was asking for information about Mir the “person”, not Mir the “power suit” that came for the meeting. Which is why he came at you with the question multiple times.

    And yes, it would appear that you need to rethink the jammies and long coat. It would seem “they” are watching you. ;)

  17. Stephanie

    He may have been trying to see how you handle pressure or adapt to unexpected situations. As long as you didn’t run out of the room screaming, I think you’ll be ok. Unless you told him you were wearing purple panties. And broke into a rendition of ‘One-eyed, one-horned, flying purple panty wearer.’

  18. Leanne

    This would have been the perfect time to use what you learned from the webpage that I sent you yesterday!


    You could have spouted off great facts like “MIR: an ancient Russian word with the complex meaning of Peace, Community, and World” or that you are “Within Reach – Beyond Imagination”!

  19. Em

    You know what though, you ask a stupid question, you get a stupid answer. You ask a stupid question THREE TIMES, you get a leather boot in the fanny. He got off lucky.

    “Purple panties” followed by “really nice leather”? Are you messing with google?

  20. Snow

    Silly Mir! He was trying to get you to offer him sexual favors. He wanted you to say, “Mir can put out!”

  21. Cori

    I’m thinking you need to save that “HELLO MY NAME IS” for the interviewer. *He* sounds like a real dork. Not like you, who is apparently a multitasking, cool-headed in crisis, copy writing fool.

  22. ben

    Ben would like to hear more about the purple panties, and the nice leather bound, aforementioned sexual favors while juggling on stilts.

  23. Irene

    I hate that question and I usually answer it with a “Well, what else would you like to know?”

    And, CRAP you can juggle?

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