Some people talk about things that catch their eye.
I’m more likely to notice things that catch my ear, like words, sounds, voice and tone changes. Recently I’ve noticed more of those things during conversations with men who work in wine — things that, when I heard them, made me turn to the speaker and tilt my head in curiosity and interest.
To be clear: There’s nothing offensive about this collection of quotes, and none of them were said maliciously or with premeditated, “sound bite” slyness. They came as a surprise, and seem to have caught one or even both of us off-guard.
Cue the head tilt.
These quotes are worth sharing because they capture a sense of this moment in wine and our current dynamic of gender and politics. As I gathered these quotes and excerpts of conversations, I noticed that, for as challenging as our current moment in wine is, it is also suffused with evidence of compassion and vulnerability.
Though these quotes are worth sharing, it’s important to me to respect the privacy of each speaker and the confidentiality of our conversation. In the spirit of holding that space, I’ve withheld attribution in each case.
- “We purposely seek to hire women who are trying to return to work after they’ve had babies. I recognize that I’m a privileged white male, and I don’t want to draw attention to what we’re doing. But it’s something I know we stand for as a business.”
- “I’ve lost my mojo.”
- “I see myself becoming more obsolete with each passing day.”
- “For someone who doesn’t drink a lot, being in this industry has been a challenge. And I have had to chasten sales staff in the past about who they represent after hours.”
- Me: “How are you, otherwise?” Him: “Hanging in there. Hard time. Crucible time.”
- “Don’t be shy about the dollar amount. It is what it is. Write it according to the need.”
- “I’m still making time for meditation and mindfulness. It’s not easy but I’m trying not to expect too much or get frustrated.”
- Me: “This is sensitive information. Do you want me to sign an NDA before we go any further?” Him: “No, thanks. I’d rather do a handshake deal.”
- “We are all the walking wounded.”
- “What can I do to help you?” And its variations on the theme, such as “Let me help you to…” or “Let me introduce you to…” or (my personal favorite) “Count on me.”
When you consider what’s conveyed here — compassion, vulnerability, awareness, support — are you surprised? Why or why not? I’m curious to hear your thoughts in response.