Things You Just Don’t Say to People

As happens on an all-too-frequent basis, I found myself at Target Sunday afternoon (and, off topic, I only spent $9.99 + tax! I win the weekend). As my daughter and I were getting in line to check out, a man passed us. And, as also happens too frequently, he commented on how little I am.

This would be the point where I mention that I’m 5′ tall. When wearing 2″ heels. Yes, I’m 4’10”. As a full-grown adult. Because I don’t have an underlying medical condition, I’m not considered a dwarf. I just have short parents, and had a thyroid deficiency during crucial growing years. But even without the thyroid problem, I wouldn’t have been more than 5’2″ or so.

Anyway, this man approached me as I was trying to convince MissA to put on her coat. And he said, “I’m sorry. I have an important question. Well, it’s important to me. My girl said I shouldn’t, but I have to ask. How tall are you?” I politely answered him and he thanked me and went back to his girlfriend. Who is apparently smarter than he is. He should have listened to her.

While I was polite to this man, mostly because I don’t have the energy to be rude and because I don’t want my daughter to observe me telling this man what I really thought of his question, my outward response was in no way consistent with my internal reaction. What I really wanted to say was “What the hell makes you think it’s OK to ask me that? What the fuck is wrong with you? I don’t care if this question is important to you. You’re not in any way important to me, and you’re taking up my time. And you’re forcing me to inadvertently condone behavior in front of my child that I think it rude and unacceptable. Why the hell would you think it’s any of your fucking business?”

Seriously, what is it that makes people (it’s almost always men, but sometimes women too) think it’s OK to comment on my height. Why do they feel this overwhelming need to point out what’s different about me?

I don’t have a whole lot of point to this blog entry, except to get this off my chest. And to say don’t do this. It’s not OK. Your curiosity isn’t important to me. Respect me enough to keep your rude question to yourself. I’m tired of people being so self-absorbed that they can’t be bothered to think about how their actions affect others. I’ve made peace with my (lack of) height, but what if it was a major issue for me? This guy doesn’t know.

Think before you speak. Think before you act. Your words and your actions have consequences. They affect other people.

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