I do tech support at a solar company, and I'm the only man in my department. Yesterday I was sitting next to a coworker as she was struggling on the phone with a customer. She was being perfectly sweet but I could tell the person on the other line was being rough with her. She transferred the call to me because he was demanding to speak to an engineer (which I am not, I have a basic understand of International Building Code and some electrical knowledge). When I spoke with him he was nothing but respectful, friendly, and listened to my instructions. We even got chummy and thanked me for my time.

This is not the first time this has happened, not by a long shot. Some of our customers are gruff contractor or engineer types and seem more receptive to getting advice from a man instead of a woman. A colleague can repeat herself over and over again, but when I say the same fucking thing everyone shuts up and listens. The two of us talked a little bit about it, like, "sorry that happened again, that sucks."

The same colleague was doing the voice-over for some of our training videos on the website, but because of the incident yesterday a dark new consideration has entered the conversation: would men not listen to the video because the technical advice is coming from a woman? This is got me super bummed out. I made my little ally stand by saying that as a company with progressive values we shouldn't cater to customers like that, but I don't make the decisions around here so we will see what happens, if a man will do the voice-over. Damn.