Some years ago I was at a client social event with some software vendors. As so often happened, there were 14 men sitting around drinking, and me. The only woman. The men were talking about their wives. A surprising amount were stay at home mum’s. We mustn’t forget Mr. California’s Malibu barbie wife – doesn’t cook, doesn’t clean, doesn’t work. To be sure it’s no small thing to run a house and keep up with kids when your partner is on the road 40 weeks a year.
And there was me. Still dancing backward in my high heels, kicking ass and taking names. The youngest principal, well respected in her field. I am nobody’s little woman. I stayed quiet. Nothing really to say. The conversation was mercifully short, but it took a surprising turn at the end.
One of the men, a Texan, an internationally respected mountaineer, one of the kindest and smartest men I’ve ever called a friend – he held up his glass of beer.
In his drawl . . . “Now, I’m from Texas and we like our women a little different. We want the ones that dig their heels in, the ones that keep their heads when it all goes sideways. The ones that load the kids and the horses up when trouble comes, that circle the wagons and grab a gun.”
And he leaned over and he looked at me and said “Honey, I know you are from Alberta, but in your heart, you are a Texas gal. Strong and tough. Don’t ever change that.”
It’s a story worth telling on International Women’s day. We come in all shapes and sizes, all forms and functions. And the world needs all of us.
Here’s to the women.