Last night I had to run to the drugstore. My husband is sick with a sinus infection and laryngitis, which means he is under doctor’s orders to not speak for two days. I think it’s driving him crazy to have to stay so quiet…
Anyway, I was picking up some meds and vitamins for the sicko, and as I compared priced for the various brands of vitamin C (good grief, so many choices), a man walked past heading to the pharmacy counter. As he did, he said, “don’t you look pretty today!”
I smiled, instantly flattered. And then I spent the rest of the evening ruminating off and on about the encounter. Should I have been insulted? Was he a creepy old man trying to hit on me? Or was he just a nice guy trying to pay me a compliment?
The way he said it, I honestly thought he was speaking to a young girl. Then I looked around and realized he meant me. Since I’m pushing 40 at this point, it is flattering to have someone compliment me, especially since I hadn’t done much with my appearance yesterday.
I worried that it was a comment on my jeans – maybe he was checking out my butt? Was he some crazy pervert who said things like this to every woman? What if he had spoken like that to someone much younger, even a minor – would that make it better or worse?
This train of thought doesn’t help ANYONE. I know my mind was at war, a fight between the feminist agenda that society has ingrained into me and every woman and the Christian attitude of charity. Please don’t read that as an assault on some feminist ideas. I think that equal pay for equal work should be a given. It’s 2017 and we haven’t figured that out yet? I also think that both men and women should take time off to be with their newborns (and I wish the time allotted to both was longer). But I’m also aware that we can take the concept of “rights” WAY too far. To get bent out of shape over a harmless comment seems insane. Yet that’s what I was doing.
And it isn’t like it changed anything for me to stress about it. If it was inappropriate, me worrying doesn’t change that it happened. It doesn’t prevent it from happening in the future either. I’m not in control of the actions of others. I could have called him out in the middle of the store, but that’s not my style. I hate public confrontations. I could have frowned at him, but what if he really was just a nice guy? That wouldn’t have helped him to amend his language in the future – it would have just confused him.
Sometimes I wish my brain had an “off” button. Especially at night when I can’t fall asleep because I keep thinking about stuff. Anyone else have this problem? I really just want to give people the benefit of the doubt. Since I can’t read anyone’s mind or control the way they speak or act, I can choose to react with kindness. And if someone is truly, obviously, being awful, I pray that I have the courage to speak up, even though it scares me.