Lean In: Not even a fairly average entry into the world of corporate advice books is immune from double standards.'>
Maura Magazine | Roxane Gay

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The Meaning Of Leaning

One lesson to take from Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In: Not even a fairly average entry into the world of corporate advice books is immune from double standards.

The Psychology Of Sales

I love a man who believes in multi-level marketing schemes. We sit in a hotel meeting room, a room named after the state flower followed by the letter B. My boyfriend, this man I love, is on the edge of his seat. There is a thin sheen of sweat on his forehead and upper lip. He is taking furious notes, digging his pen into the legal pad on his lap so hard everyone can hear his desperation.

When we first met, at a cocktail party for my job, he was tending bar. He wore a crooked bowtie and a wrinkled vest, a stained, short-sleeved white dress shirt and black slacks, also stained, which were a different black from the vest. I ordered a gin and tonic and he told me I had beautiful eyes. I watched as he made my drink, deftly pouring the right amounts of gin and tonic, cutting me a fresh slice of lime. He blew his shaggy hair out of his eyes and smiled as he handed me my drink. I took a sip and stared at him coolly. “You are a real mess,” I said. He shrugged, looked behind me and nodded for the next customer to give their order.

The man at the front of the room walks back and forth across the stage. He talks with his hands, is the kind of person you would say is animated. He is a short man with a bright shiny bald spot that gleams beneath the fluorescent lights. Every few minutes, he points one of his thick fingers toward an audience member and pulls them up front. I keep my head down. I don’t care for audience participation. His name, or the name he goes by, is Billy Bobby. I’m not quite clear on what Billy Bobby is selling but his racket involves websites and reselling and search engine optimization. I know enough to know his ideas are total bullshit while my boyfriend thinks Billy Bobby is preaching some kind of gospel.