I’m sitting in my favorite coffee shop on Michigan Avenue–– laptop, cappuccino, biscotti. I’m in the corner and can hear the whole joint from here, can see the whole joint from here. I may or may not be typing conversations verbatim…
Oh, Jill, he’s an asshole for saying you’ve gained weight. You look great, honey. You’ll get rid of the baby weight eventually. It’s perfectly normal for it to take a year or more to lose it. He needs to get a grip. Ugh… men!
… a 10-month-old and a toddler with the woman whose husband is apparently an asshole.
… a spread of five different Italian pastries and two very large foofy espresso drinks. With whipped cream. Not judgment, just astute observation of the enabling to paint the scene.
Dude, you can’t not get her a birthday gift! Just because she said she didn’t want anything when you asked her what she wanted, doesn’t mean you get her nothing!
But if I get her nothing–since that’s what she said– she won’t ever DO that again.
Dude, you are gonna get your ass beat down when you come home with nothing tonite. I’m telling you. They say they don’t want anything, but they mean they don’t want anything crazy. Women are nuts, man.
… two 30-something-year-old men, in suits, having a quick lunch. IntelliGents. Well, one of them is, anyway.
… the boyfriend perfectly content with his decision to buy nothing, and his friend completely panic-stricken and distraught at the mere thought that his buddy would even contemplate such a thing,
Are you kidding me with this?! This is NOT what I ordered. [Yes it is, ma’am. It’s a cafe au lait. Would you like something different?] What I’d like is for you to un-der-stand what I asked for. I want another cafe au lait, and this time, try not to fuck it up. Can you do that? [Yes, ma’am. No charge.] You bet your ass you’re not charging me. This is ridiculous.
… a hispanic girl at the coffee counter (I always hope to get her because she’s an amazing barista!) who has a smile on her face.
… the yelling woman: in a tattered fur coat, imposter Louboutin boots, a faux Gucci bag, and gobs of make-up. She is obviously very important and wishes for everyone around her to be aware that a very important person has just reprimanded a less important person. She should have an entourage and a sign proclaiming her importance. Maybe a bullhorn.
What’s the point of this?
Simple. In each of these examples, someone is placating someone else:
Jill & Co.
The friend was telling Jill it was her husband being an asshole for commenting on how much weight she’s gained/hasn’t lost since giving birth. Is it such a terrible thing for our spouse (men are guilty of the weight gain/haven’t lost it issue as well) to comment that we’re not the size we once were?
It implies that we’re so overweight that our spouse may find it… unattractive. (God forbid anyone makes THAT statement). As long as we’re not asking our spouse or S.O. to be unhealthfully thin, why do we freak out when they bring this up? Because we’re embarrassed and ashamed of ourselves, that’s why.
Our spouses generally say these things out of love and concern. Try being less defensive and just talk about it. It’s possible you don’t know how to get rid of the weight and need some help. Maybe the two of you can take the baby for a walk after dinner every night, and do things as a couple to combat the weight gain. Maybe you can encourage your husband/boyfriend to join a football league instead of just watching it from the couch with a 6-pack.
Take responsibility for yourselves, boys and girls, and be supportive of the hard work you’re asking these important people in your lives to do. And remind them how much you love them, and how you know they want to lose the weight and you’ll help them any way you can. And if they never reach the weight they were when you met, who cares! Be healthy and happy. That’s what matters.
This conversation was classic! It was actually difficult for me not to interject into their conversation: my ex-husband had once posed that very question to me: what do you want for your birthday? Any guesses what my reply was? Oh, nothing. Guess what I got for my birthday? A BIG, FAT FREAKIN’ NOTHING.
The friend here was placating the girlfriend by saying what she says and what she means are two different things. Ain’t that the truth?! Guys, I feel a need to apologize for my gender and the things we sometimes do.
I’ll tell you, I certainly never said “nothing” again. I would say “nothing expensive” or “something cute” but never nothing. Saying you don’t want anything takes the showing of affection by a material gift away from the other person. That’s just not right!
So who was right? The friend saying he has to get her something, or the guy who said “she said she doesn’t want anything.” Perhaps neither are right. The friend brings up a valid point, but that just encourages the vague and sort of manipulative behavior of the girlfriend.
The boyfriend needs to sit with his girlfriend and say, “Darling, I am not giving you nothing for your birthday, nor am I a mind-reader for what you really mean. If you want something simple, just say that.” Problem: solved. Girls, don’t go and wig out on me: you know we do these things from time to time, and some of us are more guilty than others. Give the poor slob a break! He’s trying really, really hard.
This is my least favorite person: the belligerent, loud-mouthed, foul-mouthed, blow hard that makes everyone around them feel like peons just to elevate (in their own mind) their status and stature. What these imbeciles fail to realize is that everyone around them sees them for what they are: a pathetic excuse for a human being.
Was it wrong for my favorite barista in Chicago to placate this Neanderthal of a woman and give her another cup of coffee, free of charge? Hell no, it wasn’t wrong. She was professional and courteous and defused the scene as quickly and quietly as possible.
So why am I including this story? People like Furzilla have been placated their entire lives. I often refer to them as Veruka Salts. These people, and they begin at a young age, realize they can get whatever they want, whenever they want, by being so obnoxious that the adults around them give in to them as quickly as possible just to shut them up. Great job. Excellent. Way to go. Another gem added to society.
These are the grease-getters of squeaky wheel fame. The problem with placating people with these personality traits is that eventually they completely lose touch with reality and with humanity, and will steamroll people for no reason… you guessed it… just because they can.
Are you a furzilla? An IntelliGent? A Jill & Co.? Sometimes we forget to listen with our eyes. What I’m saying is you have to take it all in to see the full story. And do you really want to be an enabler for these folks?
My brother has a saying which I will pass along to you: we don’t condone bad behavior.
No, we certainly do not.
Will you continue to enable those around you? I didn’t think so.