They’re A Sexist Jerk Under The Hood

, , , , , , , | Right | November 6, 2018

I currently work as a service writer at a car dealership, but my original background is hands-on; though I’m now tied to a desk, I am an ASE Master Certified Technician — among other professional certifications I maintain — and have been working on cars — first as a hobby, then in a vocational program, and then professionally — for almost twenty years. I am also a woman and am often mistaken for being younger than my age.

Many of my customers, especially “old-school” car guys, don’t expect me to be so knowledgeable. While most of them are delighted when I can not only keep up with them but teach them new things, a few just can’t quite grasp the idea of a female being technically capable, no matter how many times we’ve interacted.

One customer in particular is the type that thinks he’s very knowledgeable; he has literally said to me multiple times, “Well, I happen to know quite a bit about cars.” From what I’ve heard, his knowledge is both limited and mostly twisted by misunderstanding. He often tries to second-guess me while still asking for advice but trying to sound like he knows what he’s talking about.

Since our first interaction I have thought he’s not nearly as sharp as he thinks he is, but I try to give him the benefit of the doubt due what I choose to tell myself is our personality clash; that’s a nicer way to sort it in my brain than, “He’s a sexist jerk who squirms every time he has to come to me.”

I felt completely vindicated when one day he has to call me to ask me, of all things, how to open the hood of his car. The answer: pull the bright red lever with the silhouette of a car with the hood popped that’s right by the driver’s left knee. He has owned the same car for about a year. Anyone who “happens to know quite a bit about cars” should be able to figure out how to open their own hood after a year, without having to make a phone call to ask.

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