When I was fat, I did have complete strangers offer me weight loss tips, which I thought was rude.
Since I lost weight, I saw an old friend from high school. He’s response was “What happened to you…You used to be fat!” I still haven’t decided quite how I should take that comment, but whatever.
Being physically disabled, I’ve had people ask some pretty bizarre & inappropriate (as well as simply badly-phrased) questions - sometimes with equally odd motivations.
I’ve been asked by a NYC cabbie about my sexual function. I’ve been asked if I’ve ever engaged in coitus whilst in my wheelchair. I’ve been asked, “So. Not to be rude, but, like, what’s wrong with you?”.
Once a little old lady came up to my friend & I on campus. This was her opening salvo:
“Excuse me… Where do you live?”.
I kinda just looked at her askance, then after a moment remembered to ask her why she wanted to know. Turned out that she works at some sort of physical rehab center & she knows two recently physically disabled young men whom she thought would do well to meet some nice girls (my female friend was also physically disabled).
I thought it imprudent to comment that two newly physically disabled young men probably wouldn’t be too keen on being fixed up with physically disabled young women just yet.
Last night, 9:50 pm, the phone rings. My first thought, as always, is, “Who the hell is calling me this late? Somebody better be dead.” I pick up and what sounds like a sixtyish woman says, “Oh, hello Scarlett, are you related to Henry Mylastname in Racine?”
No “May I speak to Scarlett,” no “Hello, my name is X,” nothing like that. I was so flustered that I just said “No” (true) and she thanked me and hung up. If I had been related to Henry, I probably would have said something like “I’m sorry, I don’t believe I know who’s calling,” as well as made some reference to the time.
Couldn’t that have waited until a reasonable hour??
I was hugely pregnant and waddling around the mall with my husband - cheap entertainment, you know. We were coming out of a bookstore, and a woman I’d never seen before came up and started talking to me as if she knew me. She was telling me how I was going to birth a son (I have a daughter) and she went on and on about her own pregnancies (her husband and 3 kids were standing off to the side) and the entire time, I was trying to figure out if I knew her.
I should say here that I often don’t recognize people if I see them out of their “normal” places - coworkers in the office, sailing friends at marinas, favorite server at favorite restaurant, that sort of thing. So while she was talking, I was wracking my brain trying to figure out if/where I knew her. My husband was just standing there looking perplexed.
When she finally left with her brood, my sweetie and I just sorta stared at each other. Neither of us had any idea who she was or why she felt compelled to approach me. Maybe she found mega-pregs to be irresistable??
Being fat, I get the diets and surgery advice often but I also get a lot of stares. My rule is “You stare at me; I wave and speak to you.” The number of rude teenagers whose stares go from derision to confusion to chagrin… Suddenly, I’m not an object; I may be an old Sunday School teacher or cousin.
And there was the time I was donating blood and quietly talking to the resident vampire about the fertility drugs I was taking. This woman comes up and proceeds to loudly tell me that I had a prolapsed uterus and would never get pregnant without the Lord’s Intervention[sup]tm[/sup]. She then proceeded to lay hands on me and pray for my uterus, right there in the middle of the Red Cross. I can’t do anything; I’m still hooked up to the bag. She then smiles and leaves the building. And No, I had never seen her before in my life. (Oh and it didn’t work… No kids here.)
Really? How old are you? Or do you have to be at work at like 5 in the morning or something? at 9:50 I’m getting ready to watch the evening news, I certainly would not be upset about someone calling me.
I’m 36, but I don’t really see how that’s relevant. I was raised under the notion that it’s rude/intrusive to call people (especially strangers!) after 9 pm or so. I don’t even like to call people after 8:30 pm unless it’s a friend/relative that I know won’t mind, or they’re expecting my call. IIRC, telemarketers are not supposed to call after 9 pm.
Yeah, I was up, just sitting there watching TV, and the phone was within reach. But to my mind it was too late for a casual call from a stranger.
I’m 6’2" (female) and I regularly get people saying stupid things to me about my height. “you’re tall” Am I? “do you play basketball?” is there a need for women basketball players in West Cork? “what’s the weather like up there?” *oh that never gets tired … * I just ignore them.
A few weeks ago two girls were walking in front of me in town, one of them turned around for something then turned to her friend and said “there’s a really tall woman behind us. Don’t look!”
They went into a shop (I happened to be going there as well) the first girl tells the second to look now, then yelps “oh no don’t look, she’s coming in here!” Inside the shop she continued to loudly give her friend a running commentary on what I was doing. I stood and stared at her. She says to her friend “do you think she can hear me?”
I looked at her and said “Yes I fecking can!”
She didn’t look in the slightest embarrassed or anything!
I’m sure there must be a Small Talk Primer out there that states “You must alway ask a tall person if they play basketball”.
A few years ago I was asking an old lady for directions and she then finishes with, “you speak very good english” (with me being Asian and all). I replied with a slow, enunciated BBC accent, “Thank you, I’ve been speaking it for 20 years”. I’m not pitting her, but it did seem rather cute at the time - she even smiled a bit too.
On the other hand, I’ve acosted in the street with someone speaking at me for a few minutes in what I think was Korean - no introduction, nothing. I couldn’t get a word in edgewise to get the guy to stop.
I’ve also met some other Asian students who upon first meeting people is to ask where they’re from. When I reply UK, they immediately ask me where my parents are from. It’s not that I mind answering once I know what their name is and gently explaining the concept of “2nd generation”, but it does seem strange that it’s the first words out of their mouths. I’ve given up and started to reply, “Chemical and Process Department”.
FWIW, I don’t think 9:50 PM is too late to call either. Not saying you’re not entitled to your own views in this regard, but I can certainly understand why someone wouldn’t think twice about calling a stranger at 9:50 PM. Now, her not identifying herself seems definitely rude.