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The Full Monty

This story isn’t as bad as many others I have read on this wonderful website, but at the time it did upset me quite a bit.
A while ago my best friend (Fran) of 15 years (we met when we were 12) wanted to introduce me to her new boyfriend (“Jay”). We had gone for a drink that night and she was meeting him later, so she talked me into coming along as he was out with a couple of his friends as well. I am quite shy and awkward when I meet new people, so I wasn’t thrilled with the situation, but she really wanted me to meet him. I did however ask her to call him and make sure his friends knew we were coming and were okay with it as I didn’t want to intrude on a boys’ night out.

We arrived at a smokey little bar and she immediately threw herself at Jay before introducing me to him and his friends “Mike” and “Monty”. I could tell from the start that Monty was very unhappy with Fran and me being there, he only gave monosyllabic answers to the few questions we asked him before giving up talking to him. I should mention that these boys were 5 years younger than Fran and me, so their conversation was mostly about computer games and their recent graduation from high school. Let’s just say that I didn’t have a lot to contribute to that so it was basically them having their conversation and me and Fran talking about something else, with Jay making some sort of effort to occasionally comment on something we were talking about.

Also, this happened in Germany and obviously the conversation was in German. I mention this because at some point I used an English word and Monty, having heard it, interrupted me loudly and rudely: “That’s NOT how you say that!” Apparently he was half-American and took offense at my pronunciation. I explained to him that I had lived in the UK for years and that’s why I pronounced that word differently. He shook his head and said, “I don’t care! Okay? I don’t CARE! It’s wrong! You have to pronounce it like *I* pronounce it.” I told him I would go on saying things in my British accent and went back to my conversation with F.

A little while later Monty, who was sitting next to Jay, went to the bathroom and Fran got up from her seat next to me and sat down in Monty’s chair. When he came back he stared at her, then at me, then her again and complained: “That’s MY seat! You’re sitting in my seat!” Fran apologized and explained there was a draft where she was sitting. He gave me a nasty look and said to Fran: “How can you feel a draft when you’re sitting next to *her*?” I am a big girl, but I am not so morbidly obese that I would block the air coming from the door. I was stunned for a moment and sort of expected Fran to say something in my defense, but she carried on talking to Jay (Monty eventually sat down next to Mike). I decided to remove myself from this unpleasant situation, got up and went to the bar to pay for my drink. When I went back to the table to say goodbye to Fran, Jay and Mike, Fran was a bit confused as to why I was leaving already, but I simply wished her a pleasant evening and left. On my way to the door I could hear Monty say, “She’s leaving? Who’s gonna shield us from the draft now?”

The next day I had a talk with Fran (including telling her to make sure I never had to see this cretin again) and she insisted she hadn’t heard him insulting me. I found that hard to believe, but whatever. She told Jay about it who told Monty off and apologized to me for his friend’s behavior. I’m still glad Fran broke up with him a few months later and has nothing to do with this circle of friends anymore! 1126-12

It doesn’t appear to be a”circle of friends” problem as much as it is a “Monty” problem.   Why is an entire set of friends being demonized by the bad manners of one?   And Jay appears to be a decent guy who is pleasant.

You will run into Montys for the rest of your life.  There is always someone somewhere who is tactless and has no governor on their mouth so that whatever nastiness that is bubbling in their heart or mind leaks out. We allow them to ruin our day or life because we give them far more credit and esteem than they deserve so they end up influencing our emotions and opinions.  When I encounter Montys, I size up the situation and often mentally flush them away.  They just are not worth my time or mental energy to take them seriously.

{ 32 comments… add one }
  • Bint December 5, 2012, 4:06 am

    Credit to Jay for his manners; he sounds nice. Shame about his ghastly friend.

  • Kimstu December 5, 2012, 5:07 am

    Several bullets gracefully dodged by the OP here: Politely resisting Monty’s rude attempts to dictate her pronunciation. Politely shunning Monty (and the rest of the group who didn’t challenge him on it) after his INCREDIBLY rude direct insults to her. Not making a scene but candidly letting her friend know in private that she wasn’t going to put up with such behavior. Not making a fuss about her friend’s halfhearted (probably embarrassed) response to her indignation. Final result: OP’s friendship with Fran preserved, rude clueless boys relegated to the dustbin of history. Well done.

    That said, I could almost feel sorry for Monty (not to the extent of cutting him any slack for his appalling behavior, though) because he might have been suffering from the common delusion that many clueless awkward teenagers fall victim to: Namely, the belief that swaggering and insolence makes them look manly and mature and attractive to women. (It’s not even impossible that his awful and stupid remarks were his idea of flirting with the OP.)

    By this time, Monty has grown up either into (1) an okay guy who sweats slightly with shame and embarrassment whenever he thinks of his behavior that evening, or else (2) the kind of thick-skinned braying jackass who STILL thinks it’s funny to tell a curvy girl that she’s blocking the draft from the door, and no self-respecting woman will look at him twice. Either way, his actions are their own punishment.

  • Not Amused December 5, 2012, 5:57 am

    It is a hard thing to learn in life, but some people are simply not worth your time or consideration beyond the minimal requirements of etiquette. Monty sounds like one of those types of people.

  • Lo December 5, 2012, 8:06 am

    You handled this well. Guy sounds like a total schmuck, good riddance.

    Oh and as an American I’m rather motified at this guy’s insistance that you were pronouncing something wrong. I’ve known people who learned English in other countries from British teachers and they may have said some words differently and I’ve never heard anyone give another person a hard time about that. They may find it strange, they may find it charming, but no American in their right mind would call it “incorrect.” We may take a stubborn pride in our spellings and pronounciations but we know it’s called “English” for a reason. 😛

  • Lauren December 5, 2012, 8:26 am

    I have a huge problem with people who say “I didn’t notice” when someone is being extremely rude in settings like this. That’s bull. There were only a few people there, and her friend obviously felt that maintaining peace with her boyfriend was more important than standing up for her friend. This is not a person you want to be friends with with, she is not a nice person.

    To all the people who will give the OP advice on how to deal with people like Monty, I have news for you. He’s an obnoxious teenager… you are wasting your time! Why on earth would you bother dealing with some surly kid with an attitude problem. Walk away and then call your friend and make fun of her for having to date someone who’s mother probably packed him a lunch and made sure he zipped up his jacket before he left home that morning.

  • Allie December 5, 2012, 8:49 am

    I agree with Admin wholeheartedly. It sounds like this occurred a few years ago and you have held onto it far too long. Forget Monty. He’s not worth the brain cells you have dedicated to his memory.

  • Abby December 5, 2012, 9:10 am

    Yeah I don’t see how anyone behaved badly other than Monty and possibly Fran. Jay sounds very polite and properly mortified by his friend’s behavior. If Fran really did hear what Monty said, I find it appalling she ignored it then denied hearing anything.

  • acr December 5, 2012, 9:28 am

    Going to have to disagree with the eHell dame a bit. Monty may have been the rude one, but Mike and Jay a) pretty much ignored the OP and Fran and b) ignored Monty’s insults. They sat their while Monty called the OP fat, rudely corrected her pronunciation and was rude to her about the seat.

    I will give Jay props for telling Monty off and apologizing to the OP, but I would not want to ever be with that group again either.

  • Audra December 5, 2012, 9:37 am

    So sorry you had that experience, OP. I think the way you handled the situation was extremely classy-not allowing it to degenerate into a insult trading, shouting match. The Monty’s of this world will always have something nasty/cruel/mean/insulting to say. It is a hard thing to do, but you have to let it roll off your back and continue to conduct yourself in a classy manner.

  • hakayama December 5, 2012, 10:01 am

    Sometimes our “gut” feelings give us the correct take of a situation. In this case, you allowed your mind override your intuition, and wound up regretting that decision.
    Kimtsu described the characters very well, but she left out my own “unfavorite”… In spite of her “grown up” age, Fran acts like a teenager: pushed for having the OP meet the NEW boyfriend, pooh-pood the boy’s night out, “threw” herself at Jay, did not make the introduction in a timely manner.
    I can just visualize her all aflutter, giggly and girlish, oblivious to everything and anything but HER and Jay. It is not surprising that she did not hear and register anything beyond her own little bubble of high pitched voice and giddiness.
    Most likely, Jay DID get her number, and is now history.
    Monty is the obvious villain here, but let’s hope that the OP finally opens her eyes to Fran.

  • Stacey Frith-Smith December 5, 2012, 10:06 am

    Age has benefits- one of them being the maturation of perspective and the acquisition of wisdom, including the revelation that (smack forehead) “it’s not all about me”. It seems Monty was a bit late to the developmental milestone on that one, but he’s not the only one. Your “friend” seems a bit self-focused here too. On the other hand…remembering my own stupidity at that age…. perhaps it’s just as well that a few years have gone by!

  • Wendy December 5, 2012, 10:09 am

    “Why is an entire set of friends being demonized by the bad manners of one?”

    Because toleration gives tacit approval. No one called him out on being a jerk, therefore they approved, or didn’t care. Which makes them all equally jerks…including Jay.

  • Chris December 5, 2012, 11:06 am

    I agree with the admin here. The issue was not with Jay, or his circle of friends as a whole. It was with Monty. And possibly with Fran. You said you asked her to call Jay and tell him you two would be arriving. Did she? Did Jay actually ask his friends if they minded whether or not the two of you joined them? None of this, of course, excuses Monty’s behavior but may explain it. As for Fran’s association with them, you have no obligation to join her when she spends time with Jay. And you have no business trying to dictate who she dates. So I think your comment about being happy she broke up with him, based on the information provided here which does paint a picture of Jay as a decent guy, feels like you made a snap judgement about him and his friends based on the actions of a single person.

    Also, as a personal note, I’d like to address the following comment from your story: “I should mention that these boys were 5 years younger than Fran and me, so their conversation was mostly about computer games and their recent graduation from high school.” The way you phrase this sets the tone that you, erroneously, believe that video games are the sole purview of the young. It seems to perpetuate the idea that video games are a childish toy and should be put aside as a person naturally matures into adulthood. I take offense at this statement, personally. Their respective ages are irrelevant. A better comment would have been: “These boys were 5 years younger than Fran and I were, and as such we had little in common. Fran and I held a separate discussion from the boys, as they were talking about video games and their recent high school graduation, things we were uninterested in or could not relate with.” In this the statement acknowledges age, and the very real gulf that 5 years (at that age) can make. It also mentions the topics you overheard, but, fairly, were not interested in. But it doesn’t condemn them for the implied childish nature you assume that such interests indicate.

    Honestly, I don’t think this story was really e-hell material. Monty’s behavior is rude, undeniably so. But we all deal with Monty on a daily basis. From the little rudeness, to the large. It was very difficult of me to read this story, especially with the way you phrased it, as anything less than a somewhat selfish lady upset that she didn’t get to have the fairy tale evening out with her girlfriend that TV shows and movies tell her is her due.

  • Cat December 5, 2012, 11:18 am

    I’d be thankful you didn’t end up with Monty in the wedding party if things had worked out between Fran and Jay.
    I, too, have run into this type of individual. Perhaps they were never taught polite behavior or perhaps, as has been said, they are under the impression that their rudeness to a lady is a sign of maturity and shows their manliness.
    I stand by what I have always said, “If I am not married to this person and I didn’t raise him, he’s not my problem.”

  • Kristin December 5, 2012, 11:29 am

    What an ass. Flush him away (I love the idea of flushing these types in your mind).

    I’m really curious, though, to know what the “mispronounced” word was.

  • Ashley December 5, 2012, 11:35 am

    I agree with Admin, this seems to be a Monty problem, as from the rest of your story it sounds like they at least made something of an effort to talk to the two of you and be polite about it. Plus Monty was the only one who seemed to be yelling at you for pronouncing things “wrong” or insulting you. Jay even chewed the guy out on your behalf and apologized!

    Montys creep up everywhere. I make a note to avoid them, and carry on with my life. I don’t write off entire groups of people who happen to associate with them.

  • MichelleP December 5, 2012, 12:22 pm

    I agree with admin and others that you shouldn’t ditch the whole group. This may be difficult to hear, but no one is going to fight your battles for you. My mother taught me this my whole life, and I’ve finally believed her. None of Monty’s friends, or even Fran, has any obligation to defend you. You’re an adult. You handled it the right way, however, and as a big girl myself you have my utmost sympathy for the insult.

  • Cat Whisperer December 5, 2012, 1:38 pm

    The Montys of this world would have to crawl back into the slime that is their natural habitat if the Jays and Mikes and Frans of this world would refuse to tolerate their presence.

    Jerks flourish because they develop relationships with otherwise-reasonable people who either excuse the jerk’s behavior or ignore it as long as it isn’t directed at them. You can bet your bippy that if Jay and Mike have hung out with Monty in the past, they’ve heard plenty of comments from him about fat women, and have laughed at these “jokes” or otherwise given Monty tacit encouragement. I’m sure Monty didn’t suddenly out of a clear blue sky start spouting such hateful things in their presence; jerks usually start their relationship with people they hang out with by “testing the waters” with a few milder hateful comments– an offhand remark about “fat chicks,” a joke about a fat women, and they see how their comrades react. If Mike and Jay don’t react negatively, Monty continues; if Mike and Jay give him any kind of encouragement, such as laughing or making similar comments of their own, Monty progresses to something meaner and uglier.

    So no passes to Mike and Jay for their part in this story. Monty knew they wouldn’t call him on his rudeness, because they’ve heard it from him before and have never called him on it.

    As for Fran, the best I can say is that if I were the OP, I’d downgrade Fran from “friend” to “acquaintance” and start putting some distance between us. Fran obviously regards the OP as a “second-class” friend: good enough to hang out with when there’s nobody she likes better, but not good enough to extend courtesy to if there’s someone Fran likes better nearby. No passes for Fran in this little drama; she showed her true colors.

    OP handled this situation with grace and deserves better, IMO.

  • AS December 5, 2012, 1:43 pm

    First of all, I am confused – do people graduate from high school at the age of 22 in Germany? The OP said that she and Fran were friends for 15 years, from when they were 12, which means that they are 27 years old. If Jay’s friends were 5 years younger, they should have been around 22, by which time they should have been well into their college or a job, depending on what they choose to do. If they were talking about their high school graduation from a few years before, there is no reason why OP and Fran could not pitch in

    Secondly, the OP did not mention whether she knew German or not. I am assuming that she did know because she and Fran seemed to have followed the conversation. Otherwise, I’d say everyone was very rude to speak in a language someone in the group does not know.

    Finally, I totally agree with the admin. It does not seem that Jay’s entire circle of friends was rude, especially given that Jay did apologise. People often tend to tune out the rudeness of others they interact with often, and that might have happened with Jay, Mike and maybe even Fran (if she already knew Monty; or Fran might have been seeing stars in front of her eyes to meet Jay and didn’t notice anything else!).

  • Lilac December 5, 2012, 2:14 pm

    Chris–the video game comment stood out to me too although from the general tone of the story I am willing to give the OP the benefit of the doubt and think she was not meaning to demean video game players. Your post reminds me of an episode of Judge Judy though. Judy was hearing a case where a woman and here ex were disputing possessions. She claimed that he had an x-box (or some other console) and it was hers. Judy dismissively brushed aside her claim and declared that adult women don’t play video games. The ex got the box. Since I am in my 40’s and play games–as does my 65 year old mother this was news to me! Guess I should find some other hobbies 🙂 Adult women game!

  • bloo December 5, 2012, 3:44 pm

    AS – I believe that the OP was sharing an experience that was 3-4 years old. The writing is ambiguous on that, though. Since they were talking about the ‘recent’ high school graduation AND they are sitting in a bar AND this is Germany (lower drinking age?), they’d have to be 18-19 year old. If they were around 5 years younger than Fran and OP, that would put OP at 23-24 years old. So since OP is obviously 27 (BF’s for 15 years, met when 12), I’m guessing this story is 3-4 years old.

    I agree with a previous commenter that no one speaking up about Monty’s behavior is tacit approval and therefore, if I was OP, I would’ve been peeved at Fran and the others.

  • Anonymous December 5, 2012, 3:54 pm

    @Lilac–I think Judge Judy was completely wrong. It doesn’t matter if X-Box is a “socially acceptable” hobby for adult women; the X-Box belonged to that woman, so she should have gotten to keep it. As for the OP, I agree–Monty was rude, and Fran was also rude for not defending her friend. I wouldn’t make a big deal about it, but I’d distance myself, and then tell Fran why if she asked.

  • OP December 5, 2012, 4:01 pm

    OP here-
    first of all I am sorry about sounding so condescending about video games!! I didn’t mean to offend any players, I just meant that as a non-gamer I could not contribute to the conversation at all.
    Secondly, this happened 3 years ago, so Jay and his friends were around 20. The usual age to graduate HS in Germany is 18 or 19.
    Thirdly, I didn’t mean to say that I blamed Monty’s behaviour on Jay and that’s the reason I’m glad Fran broke up with him! No, he behaved very decently and I appreciated his apology! He really seemed like a nice guy, but the longer they were together (the relationship lasted 9 or 10 months) the more controlling and manipulative he became. And although he was so young he drank like a fish.
    And finally, I know nobody is gonna fight my battles for me, but if he had insulted Fran in front of me I would have defended her and I thought she was gonna do the same thing for me. Anyway, even if she had, I still would have left 😉

  • Yet Another Laura December 5, 2012, 8:43 pm

    On the “Fight Your Own battles” front, if you stick up for other people, you demonstrate to all around that the person you’re defending is worth defending. If someone is making malicious”jokes” as opposed to playful banter, and everyone present lets it slide, you have been pointed out as an acceptable target. In situations like that, you need an ally. Getting out of that role is extremely difficult and often requires that you get a new set of acquaintances.

    (Personal experience here, it really is hard when you know no one has your back.)

  • kingsrings December 5, 2012, 9:06 pm

    I echo what others have already said about tolerance breeding acceptance of the kind of behavior Monty exhibited. I was especially outraged and shocked over his comments regarding the OP’s weight. I struggle with my weight right now, and comments like that would have driven me to tears, they were so mean! But anyway, if people would stand up against comments like that, the Montys of the world would be stopped, or at least retreat away somewhere. There are polite but firm ways to speak up against verbal cruelty. I’m quite disheartened that nobody at the table said anything when Monty was mouthing off. And how do people like him have friends, anyway? I’ve known a few people in my life like him, and some of them have been quite popular. I’ve never understood why, and would love to know the pysche behind that.

  • Cat Whisperer December 5, 2012, 9:33 pm

    I want to make a point here: FWIW, I think Monty’s comments about the OP crossed an important line. His remarks weren’t merely rude; they were outright mean, deliberately belittling her and with intention to be hurtful.

    To me that’s a HUGE difference. A comment can be rude but not necessarily cruel. Monty’s comments about OP “blocking the draft” were calculated to demean the OP and make her an object of derision, to invite laughter froom others at her expense. That’s not just rude, that’s cruel.

    That’s why I really think nobody who let them comment slide by without admonishing Monty on the spot deserves a pass. Decent people do not shrug off an act of cruelty committed in their presence as if nothing happened.

  • Lynne December 5, 2012, 11:08 pm

    100% with Wendy and Cat Whisperer on this one, and others who spoke to the same effect.

  • Cat Whisperer December 6, 2012, 1:14 am

    …Also, am I the only one here who has serious doubts that Jay actually did tell Monty off?

    Re-read the OP’s posting: neither Fran nor the OP heard or saw Jay tell Monty off. Jay told Fran that he told Monty off. There’s no proof it actually happened. And it’s an easy lie for Jay to tell Fran: OP is never going to see Monty again, and Fran doesn’t sound like the type who would say anything about the incident to Monty even if she saw him again several times. So who is ever going to know what, if anything, Jay actually did say to Monty?

  • Melalucci December 6, 2012, 2:11 am

    If I were you, OP, when Monty made his first comment about you “blocking the draft,” I would have said, “Excuse me?!” and probably “How dare you?!” and left right then. And if I had been walking away and heard him say it again, I would have turned to give Fran a Look of Death. And she would have heard about it from me later if she ever contacted me.

    Lilac, that kind of thing is one of the reasons I like Judge Marilyn Milian (The People’s Court) much better. 🙂

  • Sazerac December 6, 2012, 10:56 am

    Just as a point: in the German culture, it is not considered rude to comment on personal appearance the way it is in the US. I have several German friends who see nothing wrong with saying someone is way too thin, they need to eat more; or a person who is overweight (like myself) needs to get out and exercise. It put me off at first until I realized that it was normal conversation and no insult was intended, however rude it may have seemed. That being said, Monty seriously crossed a line with his cutting and belittling comments. Even in the somewhat more frank-spoken German culture, that should have been a major etiquette breach. Shame on his friends for not squelching that immediately.

  • AMC December 6, 2012, 10:59 am

    Sounds like Monty was miffed that his boys night wasn’t turning out as he planned, so he took it out on the only available target: OP. He couldn’t go after Fran lest he incur Jay’s wrath, so he attacks the girl no one knows and isn’t dating anyone in the immediate vicinity. Good for OP for acting like a mature adult and leaving. And shame on Fran and the rest of the group for not calling Monty out. I don’t buy it that they didn’t hear what he said.

  • LadyPhoenix December 6, 2012, 11:24 am

    Jay is starting to sound less and less like a “nice guy” and more of well . . . a manipulative jerk. People act “nice” to keep a front or attract others. Also, he didn’t tell Monty to knock it off. He’s just encouraging Monty’s behavior by not saying a thing.

    Besides, Monty was a jerk to Fran too by getting on her case for a SEAT. The heck?

    These men are best to be avoided and the way you dealt with it is just fine.

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