Yielding Our Happiness Over To Cretins Is A No-No

by admin on June 5, 2013

I’d like to share this story with you all and would love to hear how you think I should have responded to this. Of course, at the time I had no words so remained silent which I’m kicking myself for now.

Background:
I’m 22 years old now but have been overweight for the majority of my life. Around two years ago, I decided to start eating healthily and joined a gym. Over time, I managed to lose quite a bit of weight and I am now a UK size 10. Unfortunately, I’m still unhappy with my body and don’t have a lot of confidence in myself so I still push myself daily in order to lose weight. Sometimes this causes me a lot of stress and upset because I haven’t achieved what I would like to achieve.

Anyway, my boyfriend and I had arranged an evening at a night club for a friends birthday. I was excited for the night. I spent the day getting ready and even bought a brand new pink dress which I was nervous about wearing but loved it! Usually I stick to wearing black because I don’t like drawing attention to my body. After spending a fun afternoon getting ready for the big night out, I left the house feeling happy about how I looked though still self concious about the parts of me I didn’t like.

We all arrived at the nightclub and the girls headed for the dance floor whilst the men stood around at the bar. I was having a good time dancing with my friends when I felt someone reach over and ruffle my hair behind me! I turned around to see a man looking back at me. I didn’t say any thing and continued dancing with my friends – but he did it again and again and again. I turned round and gave him a confused look as if it say “What are you doing?” and he came up to me, looked me square in the eye and said “You’re FAT”.

I would like to point out that I had never met this man before in my life and hadn’t said a single word to him throughout the entire “hair ruffling” thing so this seemed very out of the blue and cruel. He walked off after that but left me feeling like I’d been punched in the stomach. My friends didn’t see what happened and I felt too ashamed to tell any one. Instead, I found myself sitting outside on my own wanting to cry.

I was so mortified about what he said to me that I didn’t respond to him however I really don’t know what would be a polite thing to say to someone who had hurt my feelings for no reason whatsoever. As soon as I got home, I threw my new dress away and unfortunately let his comment bring me down.

My question is, what could I have said? This man has no idea that I eat salads every day and work-out four times a week to try and get in to shape and I guess it isn’t really his problem either – but I just WISH I could have said something witty yet remaining dignified too. 0507-13

Likely the man was drunk which does not excuse his rude comment at all.  There exists a subset of people in this world who use the power of the spoken word to gain control, manipulate, abuse and damage others.   If only for a brief moment, he has caught you off guard and inflicted hit-and-run harm.   We will never be able to change the ugly people of this world to be different than what they are.  We can only change ourselves.

One question to ask yourself is why you feel shame for that man’s behavior?  You’ve done nothing wrong to be ashamed about.   Your response should at least be indignation that some creep thought you were worthy of his rudeness.  Sometimes a little arrogance isn’t a bad thing if it helps you develop a polite spine.   How dare this creep think he can dump his insecurities and bias on me!  Who does he think he is?

Second, why do you allow a total stranger to hurt your feelings?   You have given him far greater power to rule you than he deserves.  He successfully succeeded in removing you from the dance floor , ruin your happy mood, and destroy an innocent dress despite the fact that your friends and boyfriend were the positive counterbalance to his ugliness.   One man, for a brief moment, had the power to tip your emotional scales so that the contributions of love, companionship, friendship and acceptance from your friends and boyfriend weighed little in the balance.  Ask yourself, “Why?”   Never, ever let miserable, manipulative, crass, insulting people live in your  brain and heart because to do so gives them more power to hurt than they ever deserve to have.

What would I have done in your situation?  Depending on the situation and the mood, I might have rolled my eyes and said, “Jerk”, before moving on to have more fun.   Living life happily is the best revenge and you certainly never want to give anyone the satisfaction that their words might have a smidgen of power over you.   Or I might have more firmly (as in more loudly) said, “What are you doing?  Don’t touch me again,” which would have immediately alerted my husband and friends that something was amiss.   Draw that line in the sand that says to yourself,  “No one touches me without my consent…ever.”

{ 112 comments… read them below or add one }

The Elf June 5, 2013 at 12:33 pm

What could you have said? I know what I would say, and it would have a lot of curse words in it.

If you aren’t comfortable with that sort of confortation (I’m usually not, but something like that get me so steamed!) then go for the other end of the spectrum: Puzzlement, slight smile, even laughter and shake your head, then turn away. The man’s a fool and he doesn’t deserve to be taken seriously. Treat it like he just spoke a string of total nonsense.

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sio8bhan June 5, 2013 at 12:41 pm

Some guys can’t handle it if it looks like women are having a genuinely good time and perhaps not feeling self-conscious for a few minutes at least. They have a hard time seeing women having fun without a man next to them. They seem to have a radar for someone they can crush most easily. He’s had practice, probably with his own S O’s.

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Lo June 5, 2013 at 1:26 pm

My original reply didn’t post. I was going to resend but I read a lot of these posts and thought I might need to rethink my answer.

A lot of these replies are patronizing. I’m bigger than you, OP, and I don’t consider myself fat but you have a right to deal with your body issues as you like. If you think you’re fat and want to lose weight that’s no one’s business but your own.

Your self confidence really has nothing to do with this incident, except in how you reacted. But rather than tell you that you should feel more confident, which will accomplish absolutely nothing, I’d like to assure you instead that jerks and bullies are everywhere. Jerks and bullies prey on your insecurities. So even if you don’t feel good about yourself you would do yourself well to practice faking it so that these people don’t get the reaction they are seeking– your undeserved shame and humiliation. You can love your body or you can hate it, but no one who has the audacity to come up to a complete stranger and say “You’re fat” deserves a polite and thoughtful response. I won’t speculate on the man’s motives. People like this come in all shapes and sizes and they can be male or female and they don’t really need a motive to hurt a person.

I agree with the admin and those who say that “don’t touch me!” followed by getting away from that individual, might have been your best course of action.

Other than that. I feel for you that this ruined your night. But try to refocus the blame on this idiot and not dwell on it. You just keep doing your thing.

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--Lia June 5, 2013 at 1:30 pm

I said earlier that saying nothing was the right thing, and I still think that, but if you want more ideas, look here:

xkcd.com/1027

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Michelle June 5, 2013 at 1:43 pm

It’s times like these when I wish proper etiquette allowed a rude reply or a slug to the stomach.

However…that not being the case…I can only reflect on one of my favorite comebacks which must remain unsaid: “I can always lose more weight. But it’s too bad you’ll always be a sorry excuse for a human being.”

I bet you looked great, OP.

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Phitius June 5, 2013 at 1:44 pm

I think this guy was attempting to hit on you and when you didn’t respond favorably to his physical advances he insulted you to protect his ego.

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aschmid3 June 5, 2013 at 1:45 pm

I completely understand why a two-word sentence from a total stranger would have cut the OP so deeply, since it addressed something she already felt self conscious about.

To answer her question, I don’t think there’s any reason to be polite to that jerk in that situation. I’d have told him after the second time he touched my hair uninvited that if he did it again, I’d find a bouncer or some member of the nightclub staff who could have him removed. I’d have loved to have cussed him out properly, because if anyone ever deserved it, he’s it, but it sounds like he was drunk and/or the kind of guy who would react violently to a woman calling out his bull… crap.

I’m so sorry the OP threw away that pink dress too. I bet she looked absolutely lovely in it.

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Daisy June 5, 2013 at 1:53 pm

Why are you letting this man live rent free in your head? Size 10? Size 10 is excellent! I’ve never been a 10 in my life, and neither have half the women I know. Your worth has nothing to do with your weight. The polite, ladylike thing to do is to ignore remarks like this, usually after staring at the idiot in amazed silence and disbelief. However, the unladylike, but immensely satisfying thing to do is to turn right around, look him over from head to toe and say, “Yeah? Well, you’re stupid and ugly. And *I* can diet!” Then go back to having a lovely evening.

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Kendo_Bunny June 5, 2013 at 2:03 pm

I once had a similar experience on OKCupid. I am a bigger lady, and I’m pretty open about it, including plenty of full-body pictures. I wasn’t on one afternoon, and got home to a series of increasingly bizarre messages:

Him: Wow, you are so cute!

Him: Why aren’t you responding? You are really so pretty, I love curvy ladies.

Him: Come on, baby *increasingly inappropriate comments about why he likes big women*

Him: What, am I not good enough?

Him: Fine, you’re a fat ugly stuck-up COW! No guy in his right mind would go for you, you FAT WHALE *redacted*. FAT! FATTY!!!

This was over the course of several hours and multiple messages, rather than taking the message that I was not actually online, he decided he wanted to hurt my feelings if I wasn’t going to immediately start indulging his wish for sex with me.

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ladycrim June 5, 2013 at 2:08 pm

I, too, wonder if he was saying “phat”. Don’t know if that’s a known term in the UK like it is here in the US.

That being said, though, I’d have probably reacted in a similar manner. I’ve struggled with my weight all my life and am currently on yet another diet. I’m a good 85 lbs. down from my highest, but I have developed body dysmorphic disorder. It’s a major struggle for me to see how I truly look, as opposed to what I used to look like. So no matter what he meant, I’d have heard an insult. I’m sorry that happened to you, and I hope you don’t let it discourage you from dressing up and going out more.

I don’t blame you for being too gobsmacked to say anything, either. I was recently at a nightclub an had a guy try to get too familiar with me. I was so shocked I didn’t give him the telling-off (or the slap) he so richly deserved.

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Susan June 5, 2013 at 2:21 pm

Wow, I am so sorry that was said to you. You know what, so what we are all not that super thin. Hold your head up high, smile and have fun A good come back could have been And I don’t remember asking your opinion? or I care because why? No, that right I don’t care and Ignore him.
I remember oner time as a teen eating a piece of candy at a stop light, and some guy yelled out hey pig? What the heck, You know what I am just slightly above average so there are always people who should keep their mouths shut . I hope you can erase that from your mind and add hey I’m doing just fine for me. Have a good day.

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NicoleK June 5, 2013 at 2:22 pm

Isn’t a UK 10 like an American 8? That’s hardly fat. In fact, it’s so not even borderline that I think the guy was messing with you or something.

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NicoleK June 5, 2013 at 2:24 pm

This is going to sound weird, but isn’t there some pick-up strategy where you’re supposed to insult the woman to make her feel a bit off? I think the idea is to do playful banter, but maybe he majorly messed it up?

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Auryn Grigori June 5, 2013 at 2:45 pm

It looks like this dude may have been trying to “neg” you. It’s a thing that so called PUAs (Pick-Up Artists) do. They tell a girl that she has a flaw, and she supposedly falls all over herself trying to prove them wrong.

Whether it was an insult, or just some idiot’s idea of a good pick-up line, you should not have let that cretin bug you. You certainly should not have thrown away your dress.

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Raymee June 5, 2013 at 2:50 pm

My parents dressed up and went out to dinner in the city one night, and a drunk man walked past my mother and said “You’re an ugly one aren’t you?”
She was crushed. Absolutely crushed. She’s not a hugly confident person to begin with, so this really affected her.
If I had been there my response wouldn’t have been ehell appropriate, that’s for sure. I just get so angry now thinking about it.

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Green123 June 5, 2013 at 3:27 pm

A drunk guy you’ve never met ruffles your hair and verbally abuses you in a club. Contact security and have him removed – that hair ruffling is, technically, assault.*

*yes, I know that’s overreacting, but he ruined OP’s night… why shouldn’t she ruin his, eh? ;)

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Marozia June 5, 2013 at 3:29 pm

What could you have said? Easy!
Cretin: You’re fat.
You: Your attitude’s bad. But I can lose weight. Oh, and BTW, if you touch me again, I’ll get Security.
Go back to dancing. If your friends ask, just tell them it was just some drunk moron.

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jen a. June 5, 2013 at 3:37 pm

It sounds a lot like he was trying to get your attention. If he was really “disgusted” by your uk size ten body (something I’d love to have!) he wouldn’t have touched you. Engaging with him would have just encouraged him to talk to you. He did the equivalent of punching your arm and running away.

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Ashley June 5, 2013 at 3:49 pm

Ack, I noticed a typo in my previous comment and it’s driving me nuts now. I meant “now I get yelled at for being too thin”, not “too thing”. I’m not even dangerously skinny or anything, like I said, I’m a size 8!

I also want to take the time to agree with those who are saying his hair touching was probably a failed attempt at hitting on you. It’s a sad fact of life that some people use really creepy ways of “flirting” with people, then immediately switch to hurling insults when they don’t get the response they want. It’s happened to me too. I was at a club and I was walking from one side of it to the other. My sole mission in that exact moment was to get from the bathroom, and back to my seat at our table where they were about to bring out a bottle of champagne for our friends birthday. Some guy grabbed my arm and started with some “Ay baby ay” type line. It caught me so off guard I screamed and then whipped around to face him and say “You do NOT have permission to touch me!!” He quickly went from “ay baby ay!” to “Fine, b****, I didn’t want to dance with your ugly a** anyway”.

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Cami June 5, 2013 at 4:10 pm

I have worked with a lot of men over the years and one behavior I’ve heard/observed/discussed with them is the “insult a woman” behavior. Long story short, there are two types of men who engage in this: (1) misogynists who enjoy hurting women and (2) men who have discovered that sadly there are enough women out there with low self esteem who, if you insult them, will actually be attracted to the guy who insulted them. I’ve heard guys brag about how many women they’ve “bagged” with that strategy.

Either way, OP, when someone flings an insult, you need to school yourself to feel anger instead of shame and eventually, to feel nothing at all except pity for their horrible soul.

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sv June 5, 2013 at 4:26 pm

My response at age 22 is not the same response I would give now, at age 42. Now they would be wiping him off the floor after I verbally pulverized him; but at 22, I probably would have said nothing and then cried. People like that are not worth your respect or restraint. He was clearly trying to get your attention, and after the hair touching was ignored he moved onto being an offended bully who needed to lash out to satisfy his own sense of masculinity.

And “fat” is a relative term. We all have friends who worry about an extra pound, and friends who are big and fabulous. I’ll say the same thing everyone else is saying – who you are as a human being has little to do with your body size. Love yourself, sweetie :)

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Carol June 5, 2013 at 4:42 pm

He probably thought he was being flirtatious, and then when you didn’t respond to his creepiness, he, in true ‘nice guy’ fashion, decided to insult you.

One of my favourite quotes of all time is ‘You have not half the power to hurt me as I have to be hurt’ which is something I don’t always remember, but it basically means people only have power over you if you give it to them.’ I know, easier said than done and all that, but I try to keep it in mind.

I don’t know what I would do in that situation, honestly. Probably react in a similar way, so don’t beat yourself up for not being able to handle it the way you wish you could have.

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AIP June 5, 2013 at 4:58 pm

You sure he wasn’t Irish? ;) (in seriousness though, I’ve never come across a British bloke who’d have the gumption to say that, unless you turned them down. Young Irish men can be more demanding of women in their presence. Even if they had a face even their mother would live to slap and would have mo0bs to rival Jordan/ Pamela Anderson)

I used to get that sort of thing fairly often when I was your age and wasnt fat. “You don’t deserve your good looking friends” would be a regular comment (the occassinally racist and homophobic ones who wouldsell me down the river for a scrap of male attention – too feckin’ right i didn’t!). Another would be just simply trying to get past a bloke in a crowded club could earn a double-take and a “Christ you’re ugly!”. This knocked me for six the first time it happened as I was used to it from people I knew, not complete strangers. It would happen often enough for me to have combacks prepared and rehearsed.

“You should be f***kin’ ashamed to show that face in public” would earn either “just following your lead love” or “I noticed you were getting away with it, s I thought I’d chance it”
“You should cover that face with a paper bag” … “Can I borrow yours?”

But the very same crew could sidle up to me I they thought I could get them an “in” with my friends. God love them but they obviously thought I was as stupid as they looked.
Some were all right looking- others looked like some sort of mythical creature that had been evicted from its lair under the bridge. None were “drunk” though.

Long story short, you are obviously attractive to your boyfriend and your mates enjoy being out with you. There are jackasses out there who love to attack women, be it physically or mentally. With the latter you hold all of the power in allowing their abuse to grind you down. Treat yourself to a new frock – and some Spanx as that extra layer of protection so everything is as smooth as you want, they’re fab and plenty of Hollywood types use them – and repeat the mantra of “mind over matter – I don’t mind because they don’t matter”. Rinse and repeat until you believe it and ENJOY YOURSELF!

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Lisa too June 5, 2013 at 5:48 pm

Library Diva said: You didn’t give him the attention he was hoping for, so he tried to hurt you.
And she’s RIGHT. Some guys do this all the time. They love you and whistle. The moment you don’t respond, you’re a whore.
The funny thing to me is that most women can smell their misogeny a mile away, and avoid them like the plague. Then they start complaining about how all women are liars, or whores, or playing hard to get, all golddiggers, etc… Never realising that the reason no woman wants them, is because THEY are ugly, both inside and out. These are the same type of guys who pick up a mail-order bride, and then loudly proclaim how much BETTER Russian, or Asian women are… So much nicer and *feminine* then Western ones. Untill a few years later, when the poor girl has managed to scramble away from them… And then the endless complaints about how there are no good women anymore come to the surface again. I’ve met a few of these guys in my days, always trying to find ways to put women down, so that they don’t have to accept the fact that they are the ones who are faulty and unwanted.

When I was younger, I was quite pretty. (Still am, but not in the girlish way that attracts these creeps anymore). I’ve had a guy come up to me who said: You seem intelligent, but I bet you’re not.
I think he expected me to fiercely debate this and fight for his approval. I just laughed and went my merry way, but afterwards, I couldn’t help but feeling annoyed about it. -The fact that I remember this 30 years later says enough about how much it annoyed me-. However…. Later I talked to a friend of mine, who knew a girl that had been in a relationship with him. She broke up with him because of his weird sexual requests; he wanted to be urinated on. When I heard that, I REALLY laughed.
This is the type of guy you were dealing with (a loser, to put it bluntly), so just laugh. You’re way too good for an idiot like that, anyway. :-)

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White Lotus June 5, 2013 at 6:06 pm

First off, sounds like you are not fat at all. Second, who cares what an assaultive creep thinks? I hope not you. Third, when men use words like “fat”, “bitch”, “dyke” or any other word men deem to be perjorative, it generally means the woman isn’t doing whatever the man wants her to — which means YOU WIN!
I think my response — and I know it would be may daughter’s, who is more your age, because I asked her — “and you are a ‘donkey’s behind’. Eff (in full form) off and don’t touch me again.” No need at all to be polite to verbally and physically assaultive bullies. And really no need at all to let random verbal assaults by idiots affect you at all. Be proud of yourself. Sounds like THAT is what you REALLY deserve.

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cathy June 5, 2013 at 7:08 pm

I know what I would have said, but it’s not printable. LOL You’re NOT fat, and you need to ignore jerks like this in the future. I used to react like you did if someone said something mean or critical; now, at age 57, I yell and cuss at them and tell them where to go. It tends to freak people out, but I figure if they have the nerve to try to insult me, I definitely have the nerve to freak them out!

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Crinklestein June 5, 2013 at 7:30 pm

Him: You’re fat.
You: O_o So?
Him: I said you’re fat.
You: Aaaand I care why?

Though Jenna Marbles is frequently rather crude, if you feel like ignoring that this video seems appropriate:
http://youtu.be/8wRXa971Xw0

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--Lia June 5, 2013 at 7:36 pm

The chances are excellent that he’s heard variations on the “I may be fat, but you’re a jerk, and I can lose weight” line a dozen times. He probably has a comeback ready or sees the clever retort as engaging you in banter, albeit insulting banter. I’ve said before that saying nothing or KEEP AWAY FROM ME is the appropriate response, but if you do want to insult him, I suggest something more along the lines of “what an adorable little boy” or “cute, you can’t make much money” or “still live with your mum” or “I don’t believe it! Can’t even get negging right!”

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Mabel June 5, 2013 at 8:40 pm

Eww, what a freak! Who ruffles the hair of people he doesn’t even know?

Other commenters said it, but I will too–
Jerk: “You’re FAT!”
Answer: “You’re RUDE!”
Then move far, far away. If he follows you, tell the bouncer or the bartender that someone is bothering you. If they don’t throw him out, find a new place for you and your friends to go.

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Kate June 5, 2013 at 9:36 pm

I’m sorry you had to experience this. I think this man is just a bully, as Admin said. His comment was not a reflection on you – he probably just said it because he wanted a reaction and thought it would be an easy way to upset a woman. Who knows, he may have read that horrible advice book that tells men to put women down in order to attract them (seriously, does this actually work for anyone? I hope not).
Be proud of your achievements in being able to lose weight and if this ever happens again, chuck your drink in the person’s face (OK, it may condemn you to Etiquette Hell but it would be very satisfying!).

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Lexie June 5, 2013 at 10:31 pm

OP, I am so, so sorry that happened to you. The man who made those comments has no excuse – he was just a hateful little creature who hurts other people to build himself up.

I, too, am overweight and working on improving my health, fitness and lifestyle. But people are, frankly, asshats and I’ve noticed that being overweight is treated as the most unforgivable and unredeemable crime there is, which is sad – it teaches everyone that nothing matters except your appearance.

When I was 16, my mother talked me into a pair of jeans (I hated jeans) and I wore them out to the cinema, with my sister. We were both overweight at the time, and walking along the streets, giggling and sharing an iPod. A woman and her companion walked past us, and she turned to him (perhaps assuming we couldn’t hear over the music?) and said, “Look, fat girls day out.”

I was mortified and called my mother to immediately take me home. And only nine years later, am I considering donning jeans again.

I can only advise the OP to use the same statement I use anytime someone criticises my weight:
“I can lose the weight, but you will always be unpleasant and rude.”

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Maggie June 5, 2013 at 10:40 pm

“In order for you to insult me, I would first have to value your opinion.”

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lakey June 5, 2013 at 11:00 pm

That guy was not an emotionally well adjusted person.

When I was younger I would go to clubs with friends. Every so often you would run into someone who was just socially messed up. A person like this would say something that was completely inappropriate, then act like it was some sort of a joke. As you get older you’ll be more accepting of yourself and have enough self esteem to not be so bothered by what others might say.

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SJ June 5, 2013 at 11:28 pm

“Interesting opinion. Touch me again and I’ll have you thrown out of the club.”

Saying nothing was fine, but I’m so sorry for how much it hurt you. He’s a moron. You are not fat.

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Rug Pilot June 5, 2013 at 11:50 pm

I have an expression that I can produce without saying a word out loud. I think to myself “Are you quite sane?” and just look at the object of my question. The appropriate facial expression immediately appears and the message is transmitted. It usually works very well.

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Kovitlac June 6, 2013 at 1:29 am

I’m maybe willing to bet that he was trying (poorly), to hit on you, and when he didn’t achieve the response he wanted, he decided to throw random insults your way.

I remember some random guy in college who was cool enough, it seemed, but then one day just called me a whale, just out of the blue. Then he laughed like he was joking. Maybe he was, but guys like that need to learn that hurtful insults are NOT jokes, unless you and the other person know each other well enough ro be joking like that. I never hung out with him again.

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Ginger G June 6, 2013 at 8:22 am

I’m in my 40s and I’ve also had weight issues my entire life, so I have probably forgotten more episodes like this than I remember. For the most part, I have ignored them but I remember a few when I did respond, sometimes more appropriately than other times.

One particularly memorable instance ocurred when I was in college. My friend and I were standing at a bar minding our own business. This was actually one of the thinner periods in my life when I had worked hard to lose weight and get in shape, so it makes what happened even more galling. I was still maybe 15 lbs overweight, and my friend wasn’t overweight at all. A guy came up and tried to flirt with us. We weren’t interested, actually we were dating two of the bartenders at the time. We weren’t rude to the guy but since we didn’t give him the response he wanted (like the OP’s guy), he decide to insult us – “You’re just a couple of whales, especially HER (meaning me)!” My friend gasped in shock, while I calmly picked up my half-full vodka tonic and threw it in his face. Not ehell approved I know. Now that I’m more mature I certainly wouldn’t do something like that, however I would use appropriate words to let him know what a total fool he was.

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Jenn June 6, 2013 at 1:15 pm

I’ve gotten better about not leaving terrible comments unaddressed, but it’s still a shock when something comes out of the blue like this, especially when they’re complete strangers.

One comeback I like to use for unsolicited comments is just a simple, “Who are you?” or “Did I ask?” delivered in an offended tone (and one that really leaves no opening for a response). Sometimes that’s enough to remind people that, hey, maybe that stranger doesn’t need to know your innermost thoughts and opinions.

I had a similar experience in high school (only they were insulting my sartorial choices rather than my weight), and there are few things so instantly hurtful as a well-placed negative remark from a stranger. It’s easy to think that maybe your boyfriend or friends are too close to you to be objective about your weight or clothes, but that’s precisely why their opinions matter more. Who is that person? He’s no one, just a mean drunk who thought he was entitled to talk to you like you weren’t a real person. It hurts, but ultimately, your boyfriend, friends, and most importantly YOU know better than a random drunk how beautiful you are.

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Lacey June 6, 2013 at 3:00 pm

Completely agree with everyone who said this creeper was trying to hit on you (by touching, which is NOT ok) and then insulted you to reassert his power when it became obvious that you didn’t like his hair ruffling. Do not take his misogyny as a negative reflection on you.

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BethRD June 6, 2013 at 3:34 pm

I agree with the Admin’s intent, but not with the tone. I don’t want you to now to feel bad because you felt bad! A stranger touched you repeatedly and then insulted you. There isn’t anything wrong with you that you found it upsetting. There is some kind of happy medium between “I am at the mercy of every passing jerk” and “If I feel bad for a moment because a passing jerk insults me, it’s because I’m doing something wrong.”

In such a situation, I think something simple would be best, such as “Please stop harassing me or I’ll call the bouncer over.” I know that after all the work you have put into losing weight, this particular remark seemed very personal and made you feel as though you had to defend yourself, but honestly, that particular insult works on the vast majority of women in a Westernized culture so it’s not like he had supernatural powers and could see your history. He was just a creeper who gets some sort of charge out of acting inappropriately in public. There probably isn’t any response that is guaranteed not to play into whatever mental scenario he’s got going on, but I wouldn’t worry about being witty, just be matter-of-fact and unemotional; stop messing with me and leave me alone, or I’ll get you thrown out.

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Noodle June 6, 2013 at 4:30 pm

I know what it’s like to struggle with weight. Most of my biological paternal family is overweight and I also have PCOS, so I often eat less than others around me but still weigh more. I’m also trying to shed the weight I gained after my son was born.

There was this “gentleman” on Match that said he’d meet me at the movies, then took one look at me and walked away. Later he told me that he didn’t expect me to be so fat, and I did let it get to me. It was my first time going out in a while and the first time I’d ever been stood up like that. My reaction was to immediately sign up for several exercise classes and cancel my Match subscription, but then I realized that I was giving this man way, way too much power over me and that HE was the problem, not me.

I am enjoying the exercise classes now and I know that I needed them, but to take the classes (or throw a pretty dress away) because of ONE rude man is the wrong reason why I should be taking them. I had to keep telling myself that he was ONE rude man and that there have been and will be plenty of others that didn’t–and won’t–react to me like that.

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Jenna June 6, 2013 at 4:35 pm

Op, I am so sorry that you experienced this. I too have BDD and comments about ones body can be brutal. I’ve had it as long as I can remember and the only thing i’ve found that helps me with rude comments about ones body is to learn to let it slide out of your mind. It is actually something I would consider to be a skill, and I personally visualize the rude comment falling into a cardboard box that is on a conveyer belt which promptly drops the box out of my head. I know how painful it is to feel like someone else can see the you that BDD is presenting, I would honestly suggest speaking to someone you trust about that if you have not already. I have been able to find some relief myself through therapy.

Other posters have some wonderfully empowering things to say, I agree with this positive message of self empowerment. It can be very hard to learn to internalize that message, but it can be done with a lot of persistence. I like to think of how much my fiance loves me and how I know he finds me beautiful as a person. I may not know, but he does and I trust his opinion greatly.

I actually feel pity for that guy in the club, he must have a pretty sad life to come to a nightclub (which is a place to have fun, let loose, and celebrate) and find himself unable to take part in the joyous atmosphere. He must be a pretty miserable person. Or as others suggested he made a very poor attempt at a pickup line, either way sometimes speculating about this type of thing helps ease my mind.

I probably would have responded to the first hair ruffle with a question; ‘Did you really just touch my hair?’ I don’t know of any place it is acceptable to touch a stranger’s hair, some people spend a lot of time on their styles! I think you handled the situation as best you could, it is hard to avoid getting a touch flustered when something like that happens. My favorite comeback to any body comment towards anyone in the media or myself is to become philosophical about the nature of beauty. I studied Culture, Adornment and Human behavior plus art in college so the question comes from a place of understanding about the largely varied definitions of ‘beauty’ in cultures around the world. So my tendency is to simply question their logic about why this person is (insert generic negative label here; fat, ugly, too thin, old, etc.) in a polite, calm and gentle manner. This either sparks a very good discussion or ends the negative body talk immediately, I use this only with my immediate family however as I tend not to discuss philosophy with those I don’t know.

I wish you the very best OP!

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gramma dishes June 6, 2013 at 6:57 pm

Ginger G ~~ I certainly hope your drink was promptly refilled (on the house) and that the bouncers made sure the guy didn’t stand around inside long enough to drip all over their floor!

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Stacey Frith-Smith June 7, 2013 at 9:53 am

This is such a difficult topic to “let go of”- I guess it’s one we can all identify with. Just wanted to add that being polite doesn’t mean tolerating this kind of behavior. Outrage, a shouted reply, calls for help from the bouncer or management… These are all within the bounds of etiquette. I think most of us work too hard at being nice as it is (not advocating anarchy, just observing that women often are conditioned to compensate for aggression with a conciliatory response). So, by all means shout if you need to- as in “get your hands OFF me!!” . “Stay AWAY!”. And anything else you need to do for your safety and to single out the bully.

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The Sojourner June 8, 2013 at 6:46 am

Like others, I would encourage you to talk to somebody (a therapist, a religious leader, etc.), because it seems like issues relating to your weight are negatively affecting your quality of life right now. (For the record, I’m 23, about 30 lbs. overweight, and I’ve been to therapy–for things other than body image, but coping skills are coping skills.)

As far as Drunken Boor goes–there are people in the world who will use small boundary violations (inappropriate touching, comments, etc.) as a “test” to see if you will protest larger boundary violations. This guy probably wasn’t one of them, since he backed off eventually, but in a situation like that your primary concern should be your physical safety, not being polite to drunken boors. Bouncers exist for a reason.

Also, his boorish behavior had nothing to do with you (or your weight, or anything) and everything to do with him. He probably would have done the same thing to anyone else who happened to cross his path.

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Jess June 8, 2013 at 10:35 am

Hi OP.

This is not a nice thing to happen. I nada similar occurrence, and when it happened, one of my girlfriends was there and snapped a quick “at least fat can be changed. Ugly is forever”. Now I am not suggesting that responding to this bullying like thanks the rightwayto go about things, but know that you are doing what you can, the people who love you don’t make these kind of statements and love you. I find the bestthingtk do with unsolicited, unwanted comments is to stare directly back at the insulted, the very purposefully turn my back. Don’t give them power. Take it back. Know that man is sad on the inside, and trying to take that onto you.

I hope you talk to the people who love you about this. And if you keep having ongoing issues about your body image, Hun, go see someone about it. Talk it out and see what is underpinning it. Learn to love yourself. Everyone has it’s about themselves they don’t like, but it shouldn’t be emotionally crippling like this. I wish you all the best, and thatyoucan find a way to take back power.

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Hellbound Alleee June 8, 2013 at 12:47 pm

I know this probably doesn’t help a whole lot, but I think before you can simply “grow a spine,” you have to learn to accept yourself the way you are. And I don’t mean just accept. You have to love your body. You can’t pretend that your body is different than your mind, because it isn’t. Your body is all you. And by “love your body,” I don’t mean to tame it into submission. I don’t mean to change it or brutalize it or chastise it. I mean to love it, no matter what. To GLORIFY in it. To give yourself pleasure. To REWARD yourself, by feeling good. I’m not talking about exercise or diet. That’s, geez, that’s okay, but it’s not as important as the whole you.

What’s the use of an imaginary body somewhere in the future if you can’t enjoy it? You need to be happy and have JOY! To revel in life. And the best way I’ve ever found to relish life and really LIVE THE HELL OUT OF LIFE, is to get out of your own head. To FOCUS OUTWARD. Sometimes those of us who have low self-esteem don’t realize we are way too self-centered. Unbelievable, I know, but true! To focus on what’s actually going on around you is the way to go. To get off that goll-darned scale, for Cripe’s sakes! Throw that piece of garbage away! You are too focused on it. Maybe it’s enabling your beating up on yourself.

Go have a brownie, and start finding yourself something to become passionate about besides all that stupid weight loss bull pucky! You know I’m telling you the truth. You must know that 99% of ANYTHING out there in the market is a complete and total scam. Go on youtube and watch a demonstration by James Randi of homeopathy. Then look at all those potions and pills and note what’s actually in them. The weight loss industry exists for one reason: to make money. Get angry!

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Tanya June 8, 2013 at 10:16 pm

I like ( in a tone of curiosity) “wow! You are being so rude! How do you do that?”

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Michelle C Young June 9, 2013 at 5:00 am

“Fat” is a descriptive, not a pejorative. He had no business saying that to you, any more than he would have any business saying, “You are Black,” or “You are wearing a pink dress.” It is apropos of nothing, and had absolutely no purpose other than to annoy you.

Your best response in such a situation would be to say, “Why, yes. Yes I am,” and then go back to dancing. Do not give him the power to upset you.

As for being fat – your weight does not mean you are not eating healthy or working out. You are not yet at your goal weight, but that does not make you some pathetic loser, just because you are not yet there. And even if you were at your goal weight, or even UNDER your goal weight, I guarantee that there are people out there who would still think you were fat, and even some who would come up to you, for no reason other than to be rude twits, and call you fat.

You know just a few weeks ago some newspaper was reporting on an Olympic swimmer, with EIGHT Olympic medals to her name, and they were snarking about how “fat” she was. Heck, I have witnessed a fool calling an anorexic fat. He thought it was a really fun thing to do.

In short – pay no attention to the idiots. And even if you are not happy with your body as it currently is, that is YOUR call to make, not theirs. They do not know your body, your lifestyle, your eating habits, or in this case, even your name. It’s not their business, and they only have the power to hurt you if you give them that power. So don’t give it to them.

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Lychii June 11, 2013 at 4:42 am

A male friend of mine took one of those “pick up artist” classes, and what you describe sure sounds familiar! It’s very likely that the guy’s behavior was never about you, just a misguided pick-up attempt gone wrong.

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