Funny things happen when you work over the internet with multitutes of people spread over many different countries.
Funnier things happen when you finally get to meet these people after having worked with them for over a year.
Showing perhaps the nature of human sociology; or the close-proximal-social lives of our ancestors; we tend to imagine for ourselves who the people behind emails are.
I have been told many a times that I turn out to be totally different to who people imagine me to be based on my emails.
Since no one has been willing to explain to me what my email version is like, I imagine that it’s not good.
I do not blame them. Being a person that makes sure rules are followed, a person that sometimes also sets the rules, I am the scrouge of Marketing; nit-picking and sweating all the small stuff; stuff that no one else bothers to sweat about that I am paid to sweat about.
As a matter of fact, I realize my work emails have recently been along the lines of, “No. You can’t do that.” or, “Do that. Or else.”
So, I’m not surprised if entire country teams think of me as some old widow with graying hair, tinky glasses, crooked nose and a high-pitched voice making sure everyone has their shirts tucked in for my pure enjoyment.
Yesterday, this person said to me, “Wow. You look very different from what I imagine…”
“Yeah? What did you imagine me as?”
“Hahaha…you look much better than I imagine! Hahaha…”
And then she walked away.
I’m not sure if I should take that as a compliment to my in-person self, or as an insult on my email-self.
On a different note, this dude introduced himself to me:
“Hi! I’m Chan.”
“Oh, you know, the Chan who sends you all those emails?”
“OMG. I’ve corresponded with you for over a year and I’ve always thought you were a female!”
No, of course I didn’t say that. But I wanted to run into a toilet stall and bang my head against the wall and laugh hysterically.
Ok. Maybe not.
The thing with Chinese names, and especially those from a dialect you’re not familiar with, is that you can’t really tell whether they’re male or female.
Perhaps this shows that I’m sexist (?), but I’ve also just recently realized that the computer technician I’ve worked with for the past year is a female. (Since when do you find female computer geeks?!)
Since I found one residing in Singapore.
Therefore, I propose that, if you have only a Chinese name (or any other non-sex-obvious name), I suggest you identify your sex at the beginning of our correspondence, so that I can imagine you correctly. Thank you.