What Should I Do?4
November 18, 2012 by lucieromarin
The speaker: someone I no longer think of as a good friend, but with whom I am still on polite speaking terms; a husband and a father of a parcel of children; someone who likes to give advice, whether it has been solicited or not.
The words: “We’re expecting another baby! It’s her fifth baby after the age of forty, so there’s hope for you yet!”
This wasn’t just the accidental awkward slip that happens to everyone sometimes. (The same gentleman replied to a friend’s comment about looking forward to body-boarding with, “Oh, so you’re living the selfish single life? You should be out looking for your vocation.” “Perhaps her husband will be on the beach,” his wife suggested. “She should be meeting him in church!” he exclaimed.)
Well, I’m bound to run into him again, so, I’m trying to decide what to do next time I see him. I think these are the options:
1) Greet him with a happy smile, ask about his family, treat him with kindness etc etc Pro: Very saintly. I get lots of grace. Con: No vengeance. Also he never learns his lesson, and presumably, keeps annoying women thus.
2) Nod, smile, keep going, avoid indefinitely. Pro: I don’t have to be saintly and I don’t cause conflict. Con: Neither grace nor vengeance, and no lesson for him.
3) Nod, smile, greet, speak calmly to him about why he ought not speak to women this way. Pro: I get to be truthful, but he does not get hurt. Con: I have no idea how to do this; my instinct as a choleric is to explode with rage, while my training as a traddie is to ‘put up and shut up.’ There is no middle ground.
4) See him, stride over to him, deliver a tongue-lashing so vicious that he never speaks to another woman again, other than his wife or mother. Pro: It would be easy and fun. Con: It would be wicked. I lose lots of grace and spend an extra decade in purgatory.
So, which should I chose?
I think (3) is what I’d like to think I’d do, given the right moment. But in reality I’d be more likely to oscillate between (1) and (2) while working up the courage for (3). The end result would either be so confusing and vague as to render it ineffectual or so studied and controlled that (4) would seem kinder! And now that I’ve analysed this plan of attack, the hypothetical self would then give up and something illogical like acting extra nice to the guy.
Oh please, as if people should spend their days on the beach or in a church looking for their future spouse!
Handsome beach stranger: Hey! What’s up?
Single person: I’m seeking my vocation so that I, too, can have babies into my forties and this become a beacon of hope for the single girls in my community.
This man is clueless…you don’t go out looking for your vocation and as for ‘there’s hope for you yet’… he’s presumptuous…maybe getting married and having children isn’t your particular vocation. He sounds presumptuous and imposing, feel free to correct me…i wouldn’t really know how to respond as it would make me a tad angry… Is there a tactful way to say ‘mind your own business’…???
Thank you – I think tact is the key. If tactful words can be found, they should used (I think!). If not…