Tuesday, July 12, 2011
New Sara & the Pseudo Compliment
I met a real piece of work a couple of weeks ago. In all likelihood, he's a total jerk, but he made my day--in a shallow & awful sort of way.
It had all of the Hallmarks of a wild & crazy Saturday night: a little Panera, to Scheel's for a new water bottle for Dave's bike & then Wally-World for some kitty litter--we know how to party.
Midway through Dave's dissertation on the merits of the new & varied options for cycling hydration, a man wanders up to us & says to me, "I don't know if it's really like champagne." What?!?! Right, I was wearing my Saturday night special, going out High Life t-shirt, complete with drips of salad dressing & a stretched out hemline. "Mr. Wonderful" then proceeds to tell us his life story, as his daughters moon about aimlessly--clearly accustomed to their dad's social dalliances.
He spared us no details. I can tell you where both he & his wife work. I can tell you down to the month how long they've lived in their house & where they moved from. I know that his wife is 11 weeks pregnant. And I know that he's a jerk. How do I know this? Somehow, through all of his wanderings through the tale of his life's story, he was able to squeeze in a nasty joke about Lane Bryant. It was a throw-away joke--one of many as he gave his practiced oration about himself.
As we extricated ourselves from the situation (not until Dave dutifully saved Mr. Wonderful's phone number & promised to call him because we "seem like cool people & we should hang out"), I realized that I hadn't listened to a word out of his mouth after the joke. But before I seem pious for shutting out the words of Neanderthal man, I must confess: I was elated.
No one makes Lane Bryant jokes in the presence of women who could shop there. As soon as those words were out of his mouth, words that he had clearly practiced & said before, all I could think was that this man didn't see me "like that." And I got so caught up in the fact that a handsome, glad-handing, charismatic Mr. Wonderful thought I was thin that I forgot to recognize that he was a total butt-face.
Nearly 15 years out of high school & I'm still goopy in the knees when a cute jerk says something that can be twisted into a backhanded pseudo compliment--even though I've got a cuter sweetie who gives me real compliments all of the time (compliments that don't have collateral damage, at that!).
I've alternated between feeling giddy & guilty for the last two weeks. On the one hand, it feels good when a handsome man "hits on" you (even if it is as a couple). On the other hand, seeking validation at the expense of others is absolutely toxic & I feel horrible about being a part of a conversation that even appeared as though I was disparaging to anyone with weight issues.
And so, I'm sorry. I didn't say anything disparaging & I didn't encourage Mr. Wonderful at the time, but I certainly glorified his comments in my head after the fact & for that I'm sorry & I promise to look for all around positive affirmations from here on out. I don't want to build my new self-esteem on the back of anyone or anything but my own hard work.
For the record, Dave promptly deleted Mr. Wonderful's phone number once we were free stating, "I'd rather get teeth pulled without anesthesia than hang out with that d-bag." At least one of us is good with perspective.