Wednesday, May 2, 2007

41 Years of Compartmentalizing, or Not

The postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.


I knew there had to be a CEO(s) of a major company who was gay or lesbian, but just not open about it. I am sorry for the turmoil that the former CEO of BP, John Browne, might be feeling, and sorry that he felt he needed to compartmentalize his life so utterly.

The article I read in "The New York Times" tonight captured my imagination. He spoke of keeping his love-life and work-life separate for 41 years -- for a lifetime, i.e., for as long as I've been alive.

Beauty/Ugliness: Two Sides of the Same Coin

A lesbian IBM colleague in France is delighted by the female candidate, Segolene Royal, who is running for president there, and I jumped on her electronically when she referred to the fact that this candidate is not "fat and ugly."

All the time, I observe gorgeous women around me. Often, I write about their delicious effect on me, in my mind. Is that the same as others expressing themselves about people who are either unattractive or large in size?

Attractiveness is subjective. Weight is objective. People's perspective on people's size varies.

Segolene Royal delighted me with her looks, it's true. I want to enjoy my observations and not feel guilty even as I want people to feel guilty for expressing aloud their displeasure at someone's appearance or size.

In the pool on Monday morning at the YM-YWHA, a woman was swimming in a large bandana, a white blouse over a dark jogbra and a knee-length skirt with leggings. I don't know how she was allowed in the neighboring, or any, lane, but there she was.

Her modesty in her dress was far more alluring than had she been wearing merely a bathing suit. Initially, I saw noticed her while my face was underwater and I kept marveling at the billowing of the skirt.

I finished a length of backstroke and heard, "Excuse me" twice.

I stopped swimming and just treaded water. I looked over and the clothed swimmer was speaking to me. She had strikingly green eyes and perhaps waterproof mascara, or just naturally long lashes. She wore no goggles while I was wearing an old, foggy pair, which felt like a blessing, as I was staring, and perhaps less obviously so for the goggles.

She said, "Do you know how to do a proper 'dolphin?'"

"Sorry, I'm not sure what you mean by 'dolphin.'"

"Uh, I mean butterfly."

"I'm not sure I know how, but I'll try." I swam the whole length of the 25-yard pool in butterfly and then backstroked back.

I reached the edge of the pool, where I did not expect she'd be waiting, and she said, "It looked good to me!"

On my way out of the pool, at the end of my 30 minutes, I didn't say goodbye to her or wave. I wanted to flatter myself that she had flirted with me, but probably, she was amazed simply to be in proximity to a woman who could swim the way she herself would have wanted to swim, had she been less orthodoxly religious and had the freedom to refine her skill.

Last night, eating my microwaved beans/mushrooms/peppers for dinner in the Teachers College Dining Room, I was surrounded by earnest, beautiful study-groups of women half my age. I haven't really expressed myself about them since last semester. I became more so non-plused for awhile, as I had to study most often while I ate dinner, and so could not just sit and stare at them...which is probably positive.

Last night though, I allowed myself to breathe and look around at their lovely faces at least a bit. It's got to be spring. Honeybees are either fighting or mating around our crabapple tree in the backyard and people seem to be blooming, too.

How is Spring Fever affecting you, if you live in a region where it's springtime now?

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