Not too long ago, I finally stepped out of my post recovery shell. While in the mix of friends and friends of friends, a guy looked over at me and asked why I looked so tired. Obviously, I’m still recovering, I’m not at 100% and I don’t look it. I didn’t take offense to his question, but it was the extension of the conversation among his peers that I found eye-opening and disappointing.
His friends attempted to advise him against such comments like that, similarly to asking a woman her age. His response was “I don’t care, what’s wrong with asking that?” Another supported him with, “be yourself, you do whatever you want”. While I don’t have an issue with either question, I tried explaining why women may have a different point of view. It was futile as they were nodding at each other about being themselves. Do whatever you want bro, they said.
There is a fine line between being yourself and being insensitive. Too many excuse their inability to learn from their mistakes by claiming “this is me, this is how I am”, “I don’t care” or “you’re the problem by being too sensitive”.
Women are constantly criticized or commented about their appearance and it starts at a very early age, then it just it goes on and on and on. Asking if one is tired because we look weathered or aged is just the tip of a very large iceberg.
Here are just a few wonderful gems I had the pleasure to experience myself –
I ran into a guy friend with friends on random Sunday. I was having a good time until he decided to offer some unsolicited advice on exercises that would improve the shape of my body. That was a nice blow to my Sunday.
One lovely night, someone thought it was cute to share that I was part of recent rating and their justification for my number. Thank you for the not so kind words?
Another time, some guy was in my space and was constantly rubbing himself against my boobs. After telling him a few times to stop, I finally raised my voice. He then thought it was appropriate to confirm it was an accident by insulting me. He wasn’t trying to do that because he’s not even attracted to me. I wasn’t his type.
Don’t forget there are also many passing comments and subtle judgments women get day-to-day. We just don’t talk about. It’s “our responsibility” to ignore it until we can’t.
Imagine going 5, 10, 15, 20 or so years surrounded by this dialogue. It gets old. Opinions form and tolerance lessens.
At the end of the day, I’m not here to explain why a woman may take offense at being asked her age because I don’t need to. If women don’t care for that, then respect it. That is reason enough.
You can always ask for clearance, “Do you mind if I asked you…”. That’s always a fair and safe approach.
If you refuse to #respect women’s sentiment about this or refuse from “objectively” commenting on a woman’s body, then expect the same results and reactions. Sure, go about your life bro.
No one will miss your opinions or will be hurt by the things you say as people will distance themselves. Your world of people just gets smaller.
If your goal is to improve your relationships through self-awareness, you are already in good place. You know that you aren’t the only person that lives in this world. We exist in a co-habitation where understanding and respecting each other’s boundaries will prove to be the most harmonious for all. Rule of thumb: you focus on your domain while we focus on ours. Be cognizant and #learnyourselfsomething.
We all make mistakes and may say something stupid occasionally. I know I do. If anything, learn this: do not write off your insensitive behavior as “that’s who I am”.
“Being self-aware is not the absence of mistakes, but the ability to learn and correct them.”
‘Til Next, Elisa