dudes in a hurry (silicon valley culture clash #1)

If I die this summer, it will be on a staircase.*

So recently, my life became a giant sausagefest. For the past nine years, I’ve been surrounded by women, effeminate men, and people who don’t subscribe to the gender binary. This is a direct consequence of attending performing arts high school followed by Vassar followed by working at a dance store and living and breathing dance and theatre. I was only exposed to large groups of men when they were visiting all-male a cappella groups sleeping on my living room floor (hey, Haverford Humtones!) or… nope. That’s actually the only significant large group of men I’ve been in close proximity with in the past nine years. (See? I TOLD you I didn’t fund my Vassar education by working as a high-class hooker!) 

Anyway, I recently started working at a Silicon Valley tech company. Guys, let me tell you something: that whole thing about how the tech industry is overrun by dudes is not a joke. It is actually overrun by dudes. Kind, smart, well-mannered dudes, but dudes all the same. I started by first day with some twenty other interns. I was the ONLY lady. (I am also an English major and the only non-tech intern, so it was kind of like being an anthropomorphic enchilada at a pizza parlor.) I got over that in about five minutes and am now thoroughly enjoying my burgeoning friendships with all my new male computer genius buddies. 

But here is a fact about dudes in the Silicon Valley: DUDES ARE IN A HURRY. Dudes do not walk. Dudes RUN, and they run everywhere. I turn corners with trepidation because three times out of ten (not nine. We have like half of Palo Alto’s real estate; there are not enough employees to cover all those corners), there is a dude RUNNING around the corner, off to input some groundbreaking code or play some really important rounds of Halo or grab the last size XL manganese T-shirt. Sometimes I wonder if I should wear my bike helmet around the office, lest I lose my brain cells in a tragic accident with one of the many Davids or Matts. 

The most dangerous time is mealtimes. My company is one of those awesome tech companies that feeds its employees three meals a day. And unlike certain dining halls in certain liberal arts colleges where I’ve spent time in recent years, that food is not just edible but REALLY, REALLY good. But particularly at lunchtime, there is a MAD DASH to the kitchen… especially the kitchen in my building, because we have the best chef. 

Let me bring this back to stairs: I have to go up a staircase to get to the kitchen, as well as the bathroom. (This is a good thing, because I’m trying really hard not to gain the freshman fifteen again… difficult when you could actually eat your body weight in Cheez-Its at any hour of the day. For free.) When I walk up the stairs to get my lunch, I am invariably met by a dude or a platoon of dudes SPRINTING down the stairs, often with lunch in hand. I have seen lettuce abandoned on the staircase after it flew off a Sprinting Dude’s plate. It is NO JOKE. It’s like taking a leisurely stroll directly into the last mile of the Boston Marathon, if the Boston Marathon were full of people who hadn’t been running for 25.2 miles and tended to subsist on Mountain Dew and cupcakes. And also if only two to three people ran the Boston Marathon at a time. Regardless, it’s dangerous. More dangerous than the malfunctioning remote-control helicopter the man in sequined pants was testing in the atrium last Fancy Pants Thursday. 

Contrast this with the general snail’s pace of men at Vassar. Vassar boys (I can’t believe I used the word “men” first. There are no men at Vassar, except for the hale and hearty James H. Merrell, chief manitou in charge of American history and fellow 7 A.M. gym-goer) are, comparatively, slugs. They are too busy pondering the meaning of life and working out new guitar chords and trying to think of new ways to seduce girls into their rooms besides “Hey, wanna watch this sweet foreign black-and-white postmodern epic set in a postapocalyptic Sweden with no subtitles?” Compounding this constant state of self-improvement is the fact that half of them are high all the damn time. Clearly, it is too much to ask that one wrest philosophical meaning from the vagaries of life while maintaining a steady footfall. 

This brings me to my more meaningful point: how vastly the attitude of Silicon Valley tech dudes differs from that of Vassar boys. I’m generalizing here, but for the most part, Vassar boys think slowly and speak slowly. (There are exceptions… my beloved Joey Army, who doesn’t read this blog.) I often feel that the reason that Vassar girls trip all over themselves in class to make their opinions heard as fast as possible as that we’re trying to show that we’re as smart as the “wise” boys. I could go on at length here about the “valley girl” stereotype and the way female speech patterns have evolved, but that’s another topic for another time. I resent that we are inherently perceived to be dumb or flighty or “valley girls” because we speak quickly and trip on our words. Here in the Silicon Valley, men do the same! They, too, are in a hurry to make their thoughts known! And in a similar and less metaphorical hurry to get back to their office with their crab cakes before they get cold!

I just like that the dudes here are is as much of a rush to get their words and work out as I am. They code like I write: fast and furious and with a lot of angst and strife but also a lot of what one might dare call “skillz.” And if this manifests itself in the overwhelming urge to sprint down stairs and around corners all the damn time, so be it. I might just pull a Hermione Granger and start looking around corners with a mirror like there’s a fast-moving software developer basilisk on the loose. 

*I rode my bike for two blocks in the wrong direction on a one-way street today, so take this with a grain of salt. 

Advertisements

15 thoughts on “dudes in a hurry (silicon valley culture clash #1)”

  1. I do not know whether it’s just me or if everybody else encountering issues with
    your blog. It seems like some of the text within your posts are running off
    the screen. Can somebody else please comment and let me know
    if this is happening to them too? This could be a issue with my browser because I’ve had this happen before.

    Cheers

    Like

  2. Howdy! Someone in my Facebook group shared this website with us so I came to give it
    a look. I’m definitely loving the information. I’m book-marking and will be tweeting this
    to my followers! Superb blog and brilliant style and design.

    Like

  3. Hi there! This post could not be writen any better!
    Reading tis post reminds me of my old room mate!
    He always kept talking about this. I will forward this page to him.
    Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thank you for
    sharing!

    Like

  4. I blog frequently and I genuinely thank you for your information. This article has
    truly peaked my interest. I am going to book mark your blog and keep
    checking for new details about once a week. I opted in for
    your Feed too.

    Like

  5. I don’t drop a leave a response, but after browsing a
    few of the comments on dudes in a hurry (silicon valley culture clash #1) |
    dana cass. I do have 2 questions for you if it’s okay.
    Is it just me or do some of these responses come across as if they are
    left by brain dead folks? :-P And, if you are posting on additional online social sites,
    I would like to follow you. Could you post a list of the
    complete urls of all your social networking sites like your
    twitter feed, Facebook page or linkedin profile?

    Like

  6. Heya are using WordPress for your blog platform? I’m new to the blog world but
    I’m tryihg to get started and create my own. Do you need any coding knowledge to
    make your own blog? Any help would be reaoly appreciated!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s