Sunday, March 26, 2017
On Being Short in a World of Rude People
I met someone this weekend. I know, I know. But that's not the shocking part. It's what he said to me that's shocking. (Hint: It wasn't nice.).
In a mood to dance, I took myself to a nearby club. Several local bands played that night. One, among the area's most popular. I'm unclear why. Their music was so annoyingly loud, I had to go outside in the nippy, night air until they finished.
Upon re-entry, I stashed my jacket and purse on a stool. That's when our eyes locked. I recognized him - a musician in the obnoxiously loud, reputable band. I was about to lie and say that I liked the music, when he mouthed something to me. I couldn't hear him.
"What did you say?" I asked.
"I said 'What's up, Shorty?'" I abruptly walked away.
Later, I went to retrieve my jacket and purse. Still there, Rude Man said, "I didn't mean to be rude."
Dude, if you didn't mean to be rude, perhaps you should have, for example, not been rude. "You WERE rude, and I was about to tell you I appreciated your music too."
"I'm sorry," he sounded genuine. Rude Man extended a hand for a start-anew handshake. It felt warm and sincere, not unlike the one I got from Bernie. Unlike with Bernie, though, I didn't fall in love.
Later, I approached a friend sitting with a small group in the back of the club. Guess who was there! No, dangit, not my Bernie. Rude Man. Lynne, a mutual friend, asked if we know each other. In painstakingly regretful synchronicity, we said "We met!" Rude Man explained the scenario to her, though I didn't listen.
"Robyn," Lynne turned to me after hearing him out, "He meant it in an endearing way."
What part of "Shorty?" is endearing? Sh? Ho? Hor? Was he flirting? Sure, it worked with one guy who mocked my height several times on our first date. I ended up marrying him, and we know how that went. (Hint: Not well.)
"It wasn't endearing," I countered.
As I left the club, Rude Man approached to impart yet another seemingly sincere apology.
I don't understand. He isn't bad or mean. Nor are the countless others. I endured hearty helpings of mockery throughout my school years. And now I get told "You're short" on a regular basis. As if I don't know this. I step into an elevator, and someone along for the ride inevitably asks me how tall I am. Why do people freely ask? Why do I freely respond?
Society doesn't ask the fat guy: "How much do you weigh?" We don't call tall people "Tall-ies". We don't inquire of the stupid, "What's your IQ?" So why is it acceptable to insult the littles? (I admit, watching the Little Women of LA get into a fist fights makes me split a gut. But I wouldn't mess with any of them.) Short people are the toughest of all. We would do well to start taking revenge on everyone who mocks us. Perhaps that's the only way they'd learn to shut their big, fat rude mouths.
Annie Bidwell (1839-1918) was my height, 4'8". Photo from 1875.
She and her husband, John, founded my hometown of Chico, California. Annie was a staunch women's rights advocate and a powerful ally of the Mechoopda Native American Indian tribe on whose land we reside. Annie's friends included Susan B. Anthony, President Hayes, and John Muir. Among many other acts of generosity, Annie donated over 2,200 acres of land, including a Children's Park, to our fine city.
So yeah, don't mess with a short person. We might build a city or kick you where it hurts most.
Thank you for letting me air this, dears.
Have a safe, nice, and hopeful new week in the biggest of ways.
Labels: being short, I'm not short just more down to earth than the tall rude people of the world. #tryacomplimentnotaninsultifyouwanttoflirtwithme #ifyoudon'twanttoflirtwithmestfu, rude*ss!, short story