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Author Topic: was I being intrusive?  (Read 14264 times)

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was I being intrusive?
« on: December 05, 2007, 08:10:17 AM »
I *might* have been the guilty party in this situation but I'll leave it to the e-hellions to tell me.  :-*

this happened sevetral years ago, I was about 17, I think. I had spent a my adolescent years in another country/culture and moved back to the West. This information is relevant later.

So I had just walked into a shopping mall where, in the foyer, a young lady was bending over 0 a pushchair  (buggy) tidying the basket or something. she was bent so far and her skirt was so short that all her underwear was on display. I guess lucky for her that she had dark boyshorts. (this is how much detail I saw) all the other shoppers were going about their business, this lady's friend was even standing watching her from behind.

So given my recent upbringing - where you always tell someone if something in their appearance in not right, people would thanked you for it, or even be upset if something wasn't pointed out - I went to the lady's friend (LAdy looked too engrossed in her stuff) and said soemthing like " please tell your friend that her skirt's riding up" or something to that effect. not huffily, more in a helful way. Friend just said in a blase voice "yeah, I'll tell her" and carried on watching.

I was pretty shocked at this, that her friend was letting her show everthing while the friend just looked on and didn't do anything to stop her. I was even wondering if this was somehow socially acceptable... I was also feeling a bit silly for going up in the first place.

So I'm just wondering: in similar situations do you give the person a "heads up" or do you just leave them to it?  is it rude to point something like that out?


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Re: was I being intrusive?
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2007, 10:19:53 AM »
If it's matters of public exposure or a safety issue, I would tell the person, regardless if it's a stranger.

Just yesterday, I noticed a fellow passenger waiting on the El train platform near me had one of the pockets on his backpack unzipped.  I went up to him and said "Excuse me, but you've got a pocket unzipped and thought you might want to know."  He was very grateful.  An open backpack or purse is quite an invitation to pick-pockets.  Just last week a woman getting on my train got something out of her (open) purse nabbed. 

In the ladies' room at my office building (shared by several offices on my floor), I always let someone know if her skirt is accidentally tucked into her undies/hose or if something's mis-buttoned, etc.  I've never encountered anyone who was mad at me for noticing.  They're usually grateful that I'm trying to help them avoid further embarrasment. 
I am grateful for the friends I have made on EHell and everything I have learned, but it is time I move on.


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Re: was I being intrusive?
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2007, 10:32:07 AM »
I think this is one of those situations where speaking up is both helpful and intrusive.

Hopefully, the other person will see your good intentions, but it is also possible for them to be embarrassed and annoyed-for example, if they do know that their fly is open but for whatever reason can't stop and zip it (arms full, for example, and no place to put their things down).  I think tactfulness is important too.  If you take someone aside and mention it discreetly, that's generally fine, but calling out "Lady, your fly is open!" would be rude.
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Re: was I being intrusive?
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2008, 04:16:42 AM »
I believe I've posted this in another thread, about the opposite situation, but what I was taught is, if you're fairly certain the person doesn't already know, and it's something they can fix right away, you should tell them.  Otherwise, don't, because it will just make them feel self-conscious for no good reason.  The key thing here isn't whether or not they will be self-conscious, since they definitely will, it's whether or not it will do them any good.  From what you're saying, this sounds like a situation where you definitely should tell them, and I'm appalled that the friend didn't.

Sara Crewe

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Re: was I being intrusive?
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2008, 02:30:15 PM »
I once did this with a colleague whose thong underwear (yes, you could tell) rose above the waist band of her trousers whenever she bent over, particularly as she tended to wear short suit jackets as well. 

It turned out from another colleague that this was apparently fashionable - silly me for not realising appropriate office wear for someone who deals with the public every day involves flashing one's underwear.  ;D

Midnight Kitty

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Re: was I being intrusive?
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2008, 02:42:04 PM »
I was on the receiving end of an etiquette lesson last week.  My hair stylist is also our friend.  She now cuts my hair & my husband's hair & beard at our home so we can socialize.  All 3 of us were at a concert a couple days earlier where one woman was dressed extremely provocatively.  DH & I were working the door with another woman in her 50s.  She pointed out the provocatively dressed woman to me & even I was shocked:  White lace "Merry Widow" with baby blue ribbon trim & garter straps hanging out of her skin tight jeans cut so low you could not only see her thong, but her "cleavage" as well.  This woman was clearly under the influence, whether of drugs or alcohol or both, I don't know.  She was doing lap dances for her "date" (a married man whose wife was out of town) and his friends.

DH & I asked Hair Stylist (HS) if she saw the "slut."  HS said, "The woman wearing the bustier?  Poor child.  She must have been abused to treat herself with such little respect." :-[  Not knowing anything of this woman's personal history, I still agree with HS.  I can't fix her, but at least I can have compassion for her instead of gloating over her self-abasing behavior.  Until HS said what she said, I did not recognize my attitude as mean spirited self righteous gloating, but it was. :-\
"The first rule is to keep an untroubled spirit.  The second is to look things in the face and know them for what they are."

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Re: was I being intrusive?
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2008, 09:31:12 AM »
Well, the problem is, if society treats everyone who behaves inappropriately with tea and sympathy, eventually no one knows what appropriate behaviour is.

Perhaps the word you used was a little harsh. But if dressing in a way that would have embarrassed a streetwalker a generation ago and performing sex acts on married men only gains this woman concerned sympathy rather than social disapproval we get ... well, we get what we have now, when in some places high school girls who DON'T want to make out in public (with "friends" of both sexes) are considered "sexually inhibited" and "stuck up" (and spend prom night home alone), rather than simply possessed of the sense God gave a goose.

If "Girls Gone Wild" says this behaviour is A-OK, and society doesn't step up to say otherwise, then this behaviour WILL be accepted in the next generation. This has nothing to do with abuse or a sad life - it's simply that if no one is willing to step up and say "this is not acceptable", the lowest standards will spread.
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Re: was I being intrusive?
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2008, 05:43:04 PM »
OR, where young girls do dress like streetwalkers and can't understand why everyone thinks they're easy or why 40-year-old men and all the "icky" boys they don't like are ogling them.  I've heard of this happening a lot.  High school girls getting mad because someone's staring at them in their tube top and miniskirt, or assumes they're "selling" what they're showing off, to modify an adage.  That sort of dressing and behavior has become so commonplace that these kids don't even realize that yes, hello, it's sexual, and yes, people will judge you by how you dress!

Or as a comedian I saw on TV once said....he was telling a story about being at a club and seeing a woman with a VERY short skirt (you know, one of those ones that is more like a belt).  Naturally, he was looking at her--wouldn't you!  She saw him and snapped "WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT?"  And he was thinking, "your VAGINA!"

I don't especially feel bad for thinking that way, either.  If I showed up to work or church dressed like a slob, people would assume I was a slob.  If I go around in public dressed goth or like a hippie or Amish or whatever, people will assume I'm goth or a hippie or Amish.  But it's not okay to assume someone's a slut because they dress like one?  I don't get it.


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Re: was I being intrusive?
« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2008, 02:36:16 PM »
I don't especially feel bad for thinking that way, either.  If I showed up to work or church dressed like a slob, people would assume I was a slob.  If I go around in public dressed goth or like a hippie or Amish or whatever, people will assume I'm goth or a hippie or Amish.  But it's not okay to assume someone's a slut because they dress like one?  I don't get it.

OT: not everyone knows what Amish looks like.  I went to visit my sister in NYC and arrived in the dorm where she was staying.  I was wearing jeans, a pink tank top, and flip flops.  I have long hair, which I was wearing down.  The guard called her room.  No answer.  I called her cell from my cell.  No answer.  We were giving her a minute in case she was in the bathroom and he asked me where I'd come from.  I said, "I drove from Central PA to Newark and then took the train into the city."

"Oh," he says.  "Central PA?  Are you A*-mish?"

I barely held it together enough to say no, I just go to school there, and most of the Amish are south of my school...  But seriously man, have you ever seen Witness?

*The guy had a very strong Brooklyn accent.  For full effect, imagine the A pronounced the way you would say it if you were saying, "I got straight A's!"

Anyway.  Ontopic, I ignore a stranger's underwear in most situations no matter what I can see.  However, as her friend I wouldn't have just stood there.

Ant V

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Re: was I being intrusive?
« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2008, 06:06:33 PM »
Socially acceptable.  No.  That being said, there are too many that don't even care what's socially acceptable. It makes a person wonder.


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Re: was I being intrusive?
« Reply #10 on: February 09, 2008, 10:42:56 AM »
Gadget-gal, I think you did the right thing. Frankly, her friend should have said something, but you never know the dynamics of people's relationships, especially "friends". There may have been something else going on there, or she may have just been a snotty chick--perhaps just having a bad day, and you caught them at the wrong time. But, I don't think you did anything wrong.

I have had complete strangers notice a tag sticking out of my collar, and either let me know, or on a few occasions (in college, actually), a girl would slide it back in for me while sitting behind me. I would turn around, surprised, and the girl would say, "Oh, your tag was out." I always said thank you--but this was also in an extremely laid-back town, so this kind of thing was the norm. I have also been told that a pocket on my backpack is open--and since I work in Manhattan and often walk around town, I am always grateful for this.

If I see someone in a potentially embarrassing situation (TP trailing on their shoe, skirt stuck in their pantyhose) I will run over, say something quietly, and let them take care of it. :)


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Re: was I being intrusive?
« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2008, 05:36:23 PM »
My guess in this situation, the more I think about it, is that maybe she knew very well and didn't care, or was doing it on purpose, and the friend knew this?