I’ve met this last jerk many times (mostly walking down the street because I don’t have a car. I am entirely unsure whether or not I need one so I’ve signed up for car2go to see if I use it a lot and I’ve started to bore my friends on the topic, but I digress):
- Walking down the street on a warm spring day. I pass a guy who says to me: “OMG, she’s wearing a scarf. It’s a million degrees out and she’s wearing a scarf.” And then he laughs.
- Walking to work in the drizzly rain wearing my UGG knock-offs and a woman passes me and says: “What an idiot – who wears UGGs in the rain?”
- Walking along a busy downtown street with my mom and a dude starts mocking us: “Ohhh. Look at me! I’m a fancy lady. Look at me with my fancy clothes.”
- Walking down the street and a homeless guy asks if I have any change. I say: “No, sorry.” So he says: “What the fuck do you have to be sorry for, bitch?”
How do we engage with these people? What are we supposed to do or say in these situations? Those of us with normal social skills are usually baffled by random acts of jerkness.
- We’re often scared and scuttle away out of harms reach.
- We sometimes take it on ourselves, and wonder: “What did I do to deserve that? Should I have given him some change? Maybe it is too hot for a scarf today?”
- Or we’re just so mystified that we wonder: “How do these people function in society? How are they allowed to have jobs and friends and to purchase items from stores?”
For the longest time, I was too afraid to say anything. But in the last few years, I’ve pretty much had it up to here (here = eyebrow level) with random acts of jerkness. I’ve seen it ruin people’s days. I’ve seen it scare people. It’s completely unfair.
I don’t feel sorry for these jerks. I don’t care if they are homeless. I don’t wonder what kind of childhood they had. I don’t give them a free pass because maybe they’re having a bad day. Don’t take your shitty life or day out on me.
So now, instead of walking away upset, I react. With confidence and volume, I say: “Fuck off!”
To the scarf and UGG commenters, I said: “Fuck off!” To the mocking dude, I said: “Fuck off!” To the guy who called me a bitch for not giving him my money, I said: “Fuck off!”
And guess what? It worked. In fact, when I told the mocking guy to fuck off, he turned in the other direction and walked away. Like any bully, once you stand up to them, they back down. It’s been so liberating! Granted I love to swear, so that always feels good, but it feels even better to stand up to random acts of jerkness.
If I could take the time to sit these jerks down and talk deep into the night about social skills and personal choice/responsibility, and if I thought for one second that this would work, I might try, but I don’t so I won’t. I’ll just keep telling them to fuck off in the hopes that they might.
Dear Mom: I will continue to scuttle away from truly scary people. Worry not. Despite wearing my fake UGGs in the rain, I’m not actually an idiot. : )