Writing this column may be the most amusing write-up I've done. Hopefully none of this gets edited by my superiors, but I won't go as far as that, will I? When interning here, I did expect a better female/male ratio than 7:1. I imagined conversations about football, car parts and I looked forward to seeing someone else with facial hair. All that turned into fantasy once I stepped into the office in the summer of 2012.
There was, however, a fellow male intern who didn't show up much mainly because he was a photographer who worked outside the office, but having another guy around did help. I had a wingman, a person who fought alongside myself against the predominant females and their conversations that were filled with nail polish, dieting, weddings, bad hair days and sudden cravings.
The girls and I do share some 'activities' during the day, though. The daily gazing out the window "getting inspired," the occasional breakfast outings, and enjoying some coffee. But even the brand of our laptops are the same female to male ratio: 7 macs to 1 HP.
I think it's a sign. It's like I was sent to Khaleejesque to help create diversity, but I failed. Oh well, at least I don't have to constantly share my charger.
Wondering what the greatest pleasure for me during the day is? Watching the females poke fun at each other and finding out which animal they say they look like. Oh wait, I'm usually a part of that. No, I'm always a part of that, and because I'm the only guy, I'm usually the target. Yeah, so I don't think it's the greatest pleasure for me. Maybe for everybody else. But chipmunk? Seriously?
Because 7 is an odd number, there are three twos, which means there are three conversations going on about art, fashion and brown sugar… and I'm number 7 sitting there trying miserably to indulge in their conversations. I stare at each conversation and think of what to add, but it's pretty difficult to talk about fabric, curly hair and the colors of shawls.
I've been here for eight months and every day, I step in and greet the prime gender. But the question is: Did I have to show a soft side during working hours? Was I forced to share feelings? I had to be careful of what I said, reminding myself that I was the only male in the office.. and still am.
But it's not all that bad, really. Being able to label myself as 'the one and only' did feel rewarding. I was sometimes pampered with food and coffee and yes, I have to pretend I know a thing or two about moisturizer cream and Bradley Cooper but it was something I could deal with, or else I thought so.
At the end of the day, I appreciate and enjoy the time with the divas. We get along, have pleasant conversations, and being with 7 women can't be that stressful. They add color to the office, good aroma to the air and a week with them is a week well spent. But all that goes away when I get back to the office on Sunday after a weekend with friends. It's back to dealing with the feminism and learning about colors like teal and tiffany blue (they're plain green and blue to me!).
How I get through the week is beyond me. Every day is a challenge, one mistake by me and I'm the target for the week. What I go through is like being the only soldier in enemy territory.
This series of Man Outnumbered will be a weekly post and I will definitely have more to share, so stay tuned for next week's post!
Adnan Al-Timimi is the only male editor in the female dominated Khaleejesque workspace. Follow Adnan's column to know more about his unique experience in this unusual territory.