Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Are Lady-Realtors Better Than Boy-Realtors?

Sexism at its finest ...


Let me ask you this: what do you do if Brigitte Bardot decides all of a sudden to show your listing?

Alright, call me sexist (which, may I proudly point out, my doctor says it's in my genes), but this is exactly what has happened to me the other day. I receive a telephone call from this chick ... hem, lady-Realtor saying she wants to show to her clients this apartment I have just listed in Downtown Vancouver. I should have known that the voice was too suave. So this Brigitte Bardot-at-age-28 look-alike shows up with these couple of Buyers, almost accidentally left by me outside the door as I stood there in a state of subliminal, contemplative amazement. And I thought cloning had been vetoed by President Bush - maybe they approved it in Canada.

It will be recalled that one of the many precepts of sexism, that is the attitude based on traditional stereotypes of sexual roles, is whether the things that men are good at are more or less useful than the things women are good at. And by this standard of measure, by my own reckoning, I definitely lost. This is probably so, because modern professional life is dominated by such skills as emotional intelligence, empathy and communication, all of which this lady had absolutely mastered (besides her looks).

Take for example the description she gave to her clients of my listing (a 500-square foot apartment unit on the second floor of a 30-storey high-rise complex), which lasted a good seven minutes (I clocked her). How many things can a man possibly say on a 500-square foot strata unit, before he gets this urge of setting it ablaze. And the view - oh, the view! I swear, while she was describing the view all I could see was the building across the street. I thought the only way one could possibly see any view from here was to bring my Meade telescope and point it to the Milky Way, in hopes of catching a glimpse of the eleventh planet of the Solar System (that's because some scientist has just discovered the tenth planet - I saw it on the Science Channel).

But the culmination of the showing was when this gal began her dissertation on Penstemon grandiflorus. Now, if you think that Penstemon grandiflorus is the skeleton of the newest dinosaur they have just unearthed in the Gobi Desert (I saw it on the Discovery Channel), let me inform you right here and now that you are entirely wrong! Although, one might add, I initially thought of that too, but quickly reached the conclusion that a dino would not fit into a 500-square foot apartment unit. Then, for an unspecified glitch in the wiring of my brain, I figured she was referring to the Giant Squid, the one that this professor from the University of Tokyo has photographed underwater a couple of weeks ago (I saw it on the National Geographic Channel - he now wants to photograph Godzilla). But somehow, that too was not it. Nope. She was talking about this flower contained in a vase next to the window-sill in the living room, most commonly know as ‘large-flowered Beardtongue', as she pointed out to me so as to better render the idea (it did not help, at first). That was exactly the flower I was planning to execute in the next open house - but I digress.

Here is my whole point. Technology and globalization are undermining the usefulness of male skills, and this is all the more evident in real estate, the people's business par excellence. For instance, studies show that men are better than women at rotating three-dimensional objects inside their heads. Which is great, save and except for the fact that nowadays computers and software are better than men's heads at accomplishing the same task. Likewise, men are better than women at building machinery, digging tunnels or slinging bridges across rivers. But then again, now that the world has about as many tunnels and bridges as it needs, not to mention machinery of any size, shape and form, the usefulness of male dominance in these fields is being called into question.

Gentlemen, especially those involved in the fine art of real estate sales, would perhaps be best advised to spend as much time as possible with their female colleagues, boning up on how to undermine somebody's confidence while pretending to boost it, or honing their descriptive skills for the next time they show a 300-square foot cubicle to a client. Such skills are likely to have a greater impact on their overall earnings than the ability to spin an icosahedron inside their heads.

Oh, I almost forgot ... that apartment was sold in three days.

Luigi Frascati



Real Estate Chronicle


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