Moderate Moment | Moderate Moms

Does Sass = Leadership Skills? Let’s hope so! By Sandy Coburn

March 18, 2013  |  Share

Bossy The buzz right now is all about Sheryl Sandberg’s new book, “Lean In.” Sandberg, who is Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, is a crusader for increasing the number of women in leadership positions in our corporate world and government. My hat’s off to her, and she says that if your daughter is considered Bossy, that it is a good sign, and rather than stifle or tame any of her instincts, she should be encouraged – as bossy behavior is a precursor to leadership skills. Girls demonstrating authority, confidence, and autonomy are dominant in a good way (not mean girls?!)…so I’m hoping SASSY fits nicely into this same category…

My nineteen year old daughter, who is attending college in London, was in a Club (legally) with two of her friends from Norway, when she noticed an older gentleman staring at her, “like really staring, you know creepy, stalkerish, Mom,” she explained.  So when he approached her “delicate” 6’2” frame in towering heels, she quickly, defensively stated, “Your staring is making me very uncomfortable, please stop.” To which he responded, “Well now, we have some real SASS here don’t we?  Are you by chance an American?” Yes, I am, she nodded in the affirmative, and he responded, “I had a good reason to stare my lady, I was studying you; I own this place,” he turned while gesturing, “Follow me.”

As a mother, you’re always holding your breath, in anticipation of that possibility of a “tragic turn of events,” but my daughter said mom, you always said follow your instincts, and my gut said this is a good thing (of course she noticed he had grabbed a huge bottle of let’s say Perrier- for her grandfather’s sake – before he turned the corner around the back of the bar.) 

There, in his VIP room, he introduced her to none other than Justin Bieber; his entourage; and his four “goons” who she said made sure NO ONE captured the event with phone cams. And so another brush with fame began. (Her list of brushes: Springsteen, Streisand, Eastwood, Khashoggi weren’t lame)

Justin said, “Wow you sound like an American!” And she laughed, “And you sound like a Canadian, hahaha,” and she added, “Yeah, my friends are obsessed with you!”  To which Master Bieber inquired, “And you?” Here’s where mom would have fallen on her face …”Well,” she said, “I respect you as an artist, but I’m not obsessed with you.” And instead of having his Guidoes throw her down -and out – Justin enthused, “GREAT! Then you can sit here all night,” as he pointed to his table.

Well she didn’t want to bore me with details. (I begged.) “You know we laughed a lot, he just wanted to be a normal kid, and have fun and not worry about anything…so we talked music, and laughed some more, and we all, about 8 or us, just you know, hung out and were normal. It was cool, we were chill.”

“Honey do you realize…” she cut me off, “Yeah mom, Justin Bieber, but he wasn’t Diplo ~ I’m obsessed with Diplo!” This is the “never satisfied’’ element of the teenager I don’t remember being.  Is this part of the “Bossy Nature?” because I, on the other hand, was a satisfied “follower,” sort of…I actually had just called to ask her why the huge “cab fare” debit had appeared from that day. I trace all of her movements by my sort of “chip method,” which is to say her credit card balances which appear on my account! Instead of reading her the riot act, I suppose I was like a deer in the headlights, Bieberized vicariously through my daughter, who said, “Yeah, so we had to leave later, in stages, kinda’, dismissed by the goons, and I had to take a cab rather than the tube.” I got it, so at this point all I could utter was a “Well way to go Sassy!” 

“Oh and Mom, since I am showing my photos this week at the thing at the V&A, and am going to teach six Sundays at the Saatchi, I’m going to need a lot more money in the transportation department, because I have to schlep so much art stuff around!” Sassy is as sassy does.

I can only pray that this sassy, bossy, artsy young thing will be looked upon as a young leader poised for greatness by whoever will be giving her a pass!


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