Well-Intentioned But Stupid None The Less

by admin on June 2, 2011

This story describes a terrible case of Foot in Mouth Disease on my part. I really don’t know what I was thinking…

I was working behind a bar at the time, and a regular young-ish female customer come in one day accompanied by an older lady who I had never seen before. I assumed it was her mother. Anyway, the older lady had what I thought was a terrible black eye and I found myself exclaiming, “Oh my god, are you ok, what happened?!” In return, I received extremely cold stares from both mother and daughter and a very frosty response indeed: “Nothing happened, it’s a birth mark.”

The ground could have swallowed me up. I stuttered something even worse after that as well, something about being concerned because it looked as though someone had hit her. As if that would have been appropriate thing to draw attention to as well. I’m fairly sure I never saw either of them in the bar again after that. So, cast me into hell because I thoroughly deserve it! 0525-11

{ 56 comments… read them below or add one }

karma June 5, 2011 at 10:04 am

Marfy’s story makes me think: there’s just really nothing that is “safe” to say. That means either we walk about life avoiding speaking to others, even casually, or we learn to handle with grace the moments that are not ideal.

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RP June 6, 2011 at 10:20 am

@Claire – Goodness, you’d think the people who recognize that it’s a medical thing would know better. Maybe the people making recommendations are trying to help you out but I think the “what is that” people are just being nosy. It’s not like they think you don’t know it’s there or that you’re in need of assistance.

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Natalie June 7, 2011 at 4:40 pm

I suppose it’s never even occurred to me to get upset about comments like this, although my own physical quirk is minor and not especially embarrassing. I have a handful of freckles (more in the summer) including one on my lower lip. I can’t count the number of times someone, attempting to be helpful, has told me I have pen on my lip. I don’t think I’ve ever responded with anything but “Oh, no, that’s just a freckle. I get that all the time.”

But I suppose I might feel differently if it was more noticeable or something painful that I wanted to forget, like the aforementioned psoriasis.

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Ash Kilday May 8, 2012 at 4:14 pm

Aww, I’ve done that before too, but the person I questioned was an elementary school child. To be fair, I was in a church summer camp setting and I was trying to get to know the children, so I asked him (casually, not in front of a group) what he’d done to get that black eye– “Was it a fight? Did you get into a fight with a bad guy?” He looked at me kind of strangely, then said, “It’s a birthmark.” I think I replied with something like “Oh, groovy,” but inside I was having a -facepalm- moment!

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Joanna July 11, 2012 at 12:39 pm

Well-intentioned though this person was, that’s why you should never comment on such things. What if this woman DID have a black eye? No doubt it would be extremely embarrassing to her. So why on earth would someone strike up a conversation about it, especially a random stranger who really has no business asking about this kind of thing?

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