Ask Agatha: “Should I Correct A Black Coworker Who ALWAYS Misuses Words?”
Dylan from Cincinnati, Ohio asks:
Girth or length? Asking for a friend.
Um…have you met women? We want both. And if you don’t have both you better be really fucking interesting and by interesting I mean rich. And by rich I mean okay with us seeing other people—like your big swinging dick daddy while you’re at work and sometimes when I’ve sent you out to get eggs because we’re out of eggs, but I want the organic eggs from the Whole Foods across town so you’ll be a while which is good because your daddy’s Viagra just kicked in and we’ll need a minute.
(Editor’s note: You’re a weirdo.)
Arielle from Baltimore, Maryland asks:
So I was watching a new kind of “round table debate” the other day and they were talking about feelings getting involved with sex (aka getting attached because the sex was so good). Someone said, “Fuck with your pussy, and not your heart.”
I wanna know what you think about that.
Honestly, I often find myself getting a little attached in the wrong situations. I have a (for lack of a better term) “fuck buddy.” Of course, I know it’s only sex. It was always only sex. It may always only be sex, but I want a relationship. The sex is explosive! Never been so sexually compatible with anyone in my life, except this guy. He brings out a wild side of me that even I didn’t know. Oh, the tricks I’ve mastered!
But the more sex we have (read: every other day/sometimes every day of the week), the more I begin to think, “I really like this guy. We vibe so well. Our personalities and mindsets are just alike. We hang out more often than we used to.” Do you think it’s just the sex talking?
Mind you: It began as us just using each other for sex. He worships my pussy and vice versa. It’s just that amazing. Could our sexual chemistry ever become more or should I “fuck with my pussy, and not my heart.”
One. This is the longest question on record. (Don’t no one else send me a question this long.)
Two. You see each other every day? Y’all dating. That’s your man chica. In fact, I have a feeling this is the best relationship you’ve ever had. I wouldn’t fuck with it by “having a talk.” Having a talk implies he has a decision to make, but that ship has sailed.
Y’all go together.
Your best bet is to slowly start adding other things to your daily activities. But be slick.
Don’t ask him to take you on a date. Tell him you want to have sex in the park and when he shows up break him off a little something, and then lay out the blanket for your picnic basket. Now you’re on a PICNIC!
Don’t passive aggressively tell him he doesn’t do anything for you, just tell him you’re sick but not until he’s at the door. Then ask him to heat up a can of soup for you and after that ask him to rub your back. Now he’s playing nursemaid. NURSEMAID! (And tricking someone into doing something for you, tricks them into rationalizing that you must’ve been worth doing the favor for therefore they must like you. That’s the Benjamin Franklin Effect. Look that shit up. It works.)
And, don’t invite him to meet your family. Instead have him pick you up because you’re “stranded” and whoops everybody just happens to be hanging outside. Unless he’s an animal he’s going to allow introductions.
And that’s when you drop the “boyfriend” title in his lap.
But by this point, he won’t even skip a beat because he’s long since accepted that that’s who he is.
Also phrases like “fuck with your pussy and not your heart” sounds like the sort of advice pimps give. You need to watch different roundtable debates.
Kristen from Manhattan, NY asks:
My one black employee is always using words slightly out of context in staff meetings. For example, “I garner we all share the same opinion.” I feel like I should tell him but don’t know how to broach the subject. Any advice?
I never learned how to code-switch well. Some people are on automatic when it comes to code switching and some people are driving a stick shift. I’m driving a stick shift with a tricky clutch. At work, I spend most of my day talking all kinds of shit to my friends in our group chat. I’m super proficient in shit talk. It’s my first language. And then my boss, an Oxford University PhD professor, will ask me a question and I stutter. And my tongue gets tied. Because my brain can’t figure out a way to say “nigga I guess” in office speak.
At all times at work, there are two narratives running through my head. And so I’ll say garner when the word is gather but in reality my mind wasn’t even thinking “I gather we all share the same opinion” but rather “so we all good?”
And I feel like this might be what’s happening with your coworker because presumably you’re all equally qualified to be at that staff meeting.
And I know however inarticulate I can be in front of my coworkers; I know I’m supremely qualified to be doing what I do. I was in AP honors all through middle school, high school and college so even though I may mispronounce words like respite, harass and sanguine, that doesn’t mean I don’t know what they mean. It just means that I haven’t often heard those words said out loud. Because my family speaks broken English and my friends and I have our own patois.
I’ve tried talking about this war in my head with one of my co-workers. He’s a young White male and he listens to a lot of rap and I thought he’d get it. But he didn’t because apparently he doesn’t ever have to change his jargon to match the in-group. Apparently, how he spoke at home and to his friends was how he spoke in the office. So I guess the rap had no affect on his speech patterns in the same way reading a book every other day has never had an effect on the “language” in which I think.
So my advice to you Kristen is to let his gaffes go.
It’s not your job to be his vocabulary tutor. And if you decide to make it your job I can guarantee you it’ll just make the work environment a more hostile place for him—your lone Black employee. It’ll just make him self-conscious and it’ll make him withdraw. And now you’ll have one less person, who you hired because of their qualifications, contributing their ideas. And that seems counterproductive.
So as long as you can parse through what he’s trying to say, don’t correct him.