Puppies and “Intimates”

I work for a nonprofit and therefore I have learned the value of “presenting yourself.”  My job is to build relationships with people.  By sharing the story of who I represent, I cultivate relationships that will hopefully offer them an opportunity to support the girls and women we serve.  Usually this happens through emails, phone calls, lunches, and coffee dates.  Other times it happens in their territory, within their walls, up their stairs, and through their doors.  These are the appointments that make me stop before I open the door, take a deep breath, pat my cheek a time or two, and enter their space as if I’m completely comfortable with it.

I’m one of those people who everyone thinks is an extroverted social butterfly, but really I’m an awkward corner-dweller who would be happy to know 3-4 people max…ever…for my whole life!  All that to say…when I walk into someone else’s space all I’m thinking is…”Dana, don’t be lame! Don’t be weird! Don’t embarrass yourself…or your mother…or your family…basically anyone who might ever say they know you!”  (It’s really quite the load to bear.)

Famous last words.

Well, I felt it time to begin sharing how gifted I am at embarrassing myself.

While “little” things happen on a daily basis, like when someone calls the office to interview your president and you end the phone call with “OK, thanks for calling. I love you.  Wait!  I mean…ugh…goodbye.”  There are those times when things don’t feel so “little.”  Like the other day when I attended a meeting with my boss at the office of someone we were pretty desperate to bring on board for an upcoming project. This was a prime “impress” moment.  When we arrived at his office we were surprisingly greeted by his adorable but very spunky puppy.  Now, I don’t really understand the whole “bring your dog everywhere you go” thing, but I can imagine that having a cute little furry friend lends itself to never wanting to part.  So, I embraced the moment and pet the pup.  We made our way into the office where our new best friend, Giles (the pup), made circles around our ankles, panted for treats, and assumed we were there to play with him and not the man sitting behind the desk.

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My boss is great at getting things started.  She jumped right in to business and began presenting what we were hoping to get out of our time together.  I sat in the side chair listening intently to capture every note and thought on my bright yellow legal pad.  Do you feel a little more like a grown-up when you pull out a blue-lined legal pad too?  Well, in the midst of in-depth note taking I saw a little furry flash run by my feet, then heard a quick rumble by my purse, and finally a tiny crinkling sound that reminded me of  the little old ladies in church who open their peppermints with no awareness that the entire congregation hears it and now craves one of those minty gems.  I looked for Giles, the furry flash, and didn’t see where he had gone.  In fact the man behind the desk asked, “did he grab something?”  To which I said, “no, I’m sure it’s fine.”  I went back to being an adult and jotted something down on my legal pad.  Then all of a sudden my boss breaks out in a horrific gasp followed by a laugh that started in the depths of her belly and played there far too long!  The man behind the desk jumped to his feet as I finally got my eyes on sweet little Giles…standing there with what he surely mistook for a stick but which oddly resembled something made by Playtex instead.

“NO!”  I jumped to my feet.

My boss stayed doubled-over in her chair as tears of sheer laughter rolled down her cheeks.

The man behind the desk was already on his feet.  He and I then began in on an old game of run-around-the-desk-to-catch-the puppy-who-stole-my-tampon!

I was mortified.  I couldn’t do anything to coax the pup any closer to me.  He loved this game and all I could think was, “If this man has to pull MY tampon out of HIS dog’s mouth I will most definitely die!”

After the longest game of chase I’ve ever played, I caught that pup with a tighter grip than I would’ve admitted to the man behind the desk.  I yanked the crinkly and barely still packaged bright green “pup toy” out of Giles’ mouth, dropped it back in my purse, picked up my legal pad, death-gripped my pen, and looked back at the man behind the desk.  All I could mutter was, “now, where were we?”

The lesson:  Not every embarrassing moment means you lose the account…even if they know you prefer the bright green Playtex.

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