Tony: My social security number.
P.S., she’s not taller than me in heels, and she has a very long memory for a grudge. She gets that from her mother.
Pepper: There was no interview. We met by chance; he offered me the job because I happened to be wearing a short skirt, and I accepted because I had student loans I was trying to pay off.
Tony: She was working in accounting and she found a mistake in my numbers that would have cost the company billions. Then she barged into my office to tell me about it and wouldn’t leave until I heard her out.
My dad always used to say, if you find someone who can do your job better than you can, hire them and delegate. So I did.
As little as possible. I hate clothes. Sometimes I spend the entire day naked!
I apologize to all of our devoted readers. As you can probably guess, the above response was not actually written by me. Apparently even the most sophisticated of randomly generated passwords are no match for a certain genius wunderkind.
If I’m not going out, I usually wear a t-shirt and either jeans or yoga pants. Occasionally I live dangerously and wear shorts.
Tony: I don’t want to embarrass her too much because then she’ll stop doing it. I will say that the last time she used language that would make a sailor blush.
Pepper: Nope! Never happened.
Pepper: We’ve been asked variations on this question before. It’s a nickname that Tony gave me when we first started working together.
In spite of the fact that he has an eidetic memory, Tony is terrible with names, primarily because he doesn’t listen when he’s working on something. It took him a couple of weeks to notice that I was not his previous assistant, after which he tried out a variety of nicknames (all of which I vetoed) before he settled on this one.
I don’t know how he came up with it—every time I ask, he gives me a different answer.
Tony: Not true, I noticed her right away. Also: freckles.
Things have been busy around the office as of late, but we haven’t forgotten about you, and we hope you haven’t forgotten about us.
Pepper: Sexism is ingrained in every part of the world, not just the parts I inhabit, and I don’t know if I’m any better at dealing with it than anyone else. I think everyone finds a strategy that works for them; for example, I once waited tables at a restaurant where the manager encouraged the servers to go out back and smash a plate each time we’d had to deal with a difficult (usually male) customer. (It was a great release, but the unfortunate outcome is that when people really get under my skin, I have to resist the urge to break things.)
Working with Tony was probably the first instance of me speaking my mind about sexism in a work situation, I think because I’d never met anyone who was so openly disrespectful of women in general (and me in particular). There were at least three occasions during the first six months I worked as his assistant that I threatened to quit, including one time when I actually did walk out. There was also the slap heard around the world, as he likes to call it. The less said about that, the better.
Not that I’m excusing Tony’s behavior at all, but he’s had a number of influences in his life who have taught him to devalue women and treat them as objects/accessories. It’s no longer his default setting, though he still has his moments (some of which have happened on this very blog).
I think it’s important to remember that sexism as a phenomenon can’t exist independently of the people it’s attached to. A lot of us go around enacting it on each other, sometimes without realizing. So if you see someone behaving in a sexist manner, call it what it is.
That being said, it’s also important for me to recognize that I benefit from various types of privilege, now more so than ever; I’m in a position where I can call powerful people on their sexism with few or no recriminations, and because of that I feel it’s my responsibility to do so. Your situation may be different, in which case, you have to take care of yourself first and foremost.
I guess what I would say in terms of advice is… don’t give up. Speak your mind about what’s going on if you feel comfortable and able to do so, and if you don’t, then surround yourself with a support network of people who care about you. Consider removing yourself from the situation if you think it might cause you harm. And seriously. Don’t give up.
Pepper: Here’s the update since our last post about the Avengers:
Tony hasn’t had much success convincing the team that they should all come and live at the Tower, but he’s still proceeding with the construction as though it’s all settled. (I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but he can be a little stubborn sometimes.)
Bruce is still there, and he seems to be doing all right. He and Tony spend most of their time together talking shop, a lot of which goes right over my head. As Tony mentioned last time, when I’m there, Bruce and I sometimes cook together (tonight is pad thai). I still don’t think he’s completely decided about staying, though.
Steve lives in New York too, but he’s away right now—he decided to take a cross-country road trip on his motorcycle. He said there was something “not quite right” about wearing the stars and stripes when there was so much of America he’d never seen. When he’s in the city, we go out with him occasionally. Tony does this thing where he pretends that Steve has a crush on me. Like most of Tony’s jokes, it’s about 12% as funny as he thinks it is.
We don’t see much of either Clint or Natasha; they both took leave from work to recuperate from their injuries. They seem like very private people, so I’m not sure how much we’ll see either of them around, unless there’s another emergency. Besides which, Tony is still a little annoyed about that time Natasha “tricked” him into hiring her as his assistant. (I was there. I maintain that she didn’t have to employ a lot of trickery.)
Tony: That all sounds mostly right. Two small corrections:
1. Natasha is a total manipulator. I’d say I trust her as far as I can throw her, except that I bench 325 and she’s really little.
2. Absolutely not kidding around about Rogers. That guy needs to get laid like yesterday.
(Also I see we’re still not letting that 12% thing go. Awesome.)
Pepper: If you had ever heard me sing you would realize how unlikely that is to make for a pleasant birthday experience, anon.
Pepper: As a few of our astute readers noted, I mentioned last week that today was Tony’s birthday. Thank you for all the wonderful birthday wishes and questions!
I gave Tony this wristwatch from Linde Werdelin, since he seems to have difficulty with telling time. I’ve been assured that it works well both at extreme altitudes and underwater. I’m afraid you’ll have to wait until August if you want one, though—I had to do a little bit of name-dropping.
Tony: Today should be a national holiday. Don’t you think? Write your congressman!
No plans to blow up the house this year but I am going to raise the roof at a local club here in NYC. Just me and a couple hundred of my closest friends closing the place down, it’s going to be a magical evening. Then a much smaller afterparty at the Tower. Small as in, I only invited one person. Hopefully she’s available.
If not, I guess Pepper will have to come instead…