Except in my office, it's not the girls; it's mostly the boys who are mean. We have a lunch table where my group always eats together. It's one of the first things I learned about working here; everyone eats at the table together. For the first couple years I worked here, I didn't eat with the group much because I went to lunch with my boyfriend. But something I've noticed about eating at the table is that there's a core group of "Cool Kids" that make fun of people not at the table. Of course, like most groups they also make fun of members in the group that aren't there that day.
Last week, one guy wasn't there and I sat down with my lunch right in the middle of the group going off about how odd he was. Granted, the guy is a bit of an odd duck. He totally over-prepares for any outing; so much so that he almost sank his little flat boat last time he went fishing. But he's very smart and there's something to be said for overpreparing when you'll be outside. So the talk eventually ended with one of the guys saying that this guy is a loser. Not a nerd or a dork - "He's a loser" is what the guy said.
I know they talk about me when I'm not here; I don't want to know what they say. We're a bunch of science nerds; we're not fashionistas or trend-whores.... The guy who made the proclaimation is probably 125# soaking wet and has bad hair that has too much gel and dresses in plaid shirt, jeans and an outsized (at least for the city) belt buckle every day. He's no great catch! So I piped up and said, "That's kinda mean." Honestly, I couldn't have been more spineless because I didn't say it loud; but I'm far from being in the in-crowd. Then, when I got a couple rounds of "Well, he is." from skinny boy I said it was harsh. No-one else said anything more.
Geez, you'd think I work at a highschool with a bunch of teenagers. Most of my co-workers are in their late 20s and early 30s; and being that they were in band and all sciency you'd think they have a little more sympathy.