OT: I need a second (or third or more…) opinion

From the decorum and manners corner, I had an “encounter” that is still bugging me about a month after the fact:

I was a member of several choirs during my church’s annual advent concert.  This meant a bit of shuffling about as one choir performed and left the “stage” and the next assembled.  At one point, having just completed the first selection with the Chime Choir,  I was leaving the chancel to sit down while the Handbell Choir performed.  In the process, I breezed past the Christmas tree and whisked one of the ornaments off of it.  I sheepishly retrieved it as it bounced down the chancel steps.  I was no doubt somewhat flushed when I returned to my seat in the 2nd pew.  Here’s where the “encounter” occurred.  When I sat down, a male member of the Vocal Choir, leaned over and remarked,

“You’re pretty red in the face…bit early for menopause isn’t it?”

say what

I was taken aback but I mumbled some noncommittal response and then filed it to ponder later.  For context, this man – let’s call him Bob – is about 15-20 years my senior, and only the most casual of acquaintances.  I’m not overly sensitive about my 40 something age bracket,  but my immediate reaction was that this comment was completely inappropriate – Showbiz Kid (who directed the vocal choir) was aghast when I told him and then we laughingly compared some of the things Bob had recently said to and about him during the choir rehearsals.  We concurred that Bob is substantially deficient in the inapropro filter department.

I have no plans to make a big deal out of it, but I was wondering if this seems like out of line behavior to anyone else.  (My mother, for instance, just shrugged it off to “that’s Bob”)  It leaves me wondering why some people think they should say whatever pops into their head at any given moment, and why I feel that I should just give them a pass on it when they do.  Still pondering…

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51 comments on “OT: I need a second (or third or more…) opinion

  1. cindy says:

    So Bob’s age is approximately late 50s-early 60’s? Early onset dementia/alzheimers? One of the early symptoms can be inappropriate comments, like the person is losing the filter on their mouth (my mom has dementia, so I’ve done some research).

  2. Guylty says:

    That remark is totally off-limits, rude, tactless and ignorant. The menopause is a highly sensitive topic for most women. To have a man comment on it – even if it is only meant as a joke – is inappropriate and not funny at all. He really should have been told off – but like you, I would’ve just brushed it off rather than confront him about it and be told that I can’t take a joke. However, I would liken a comment like that to making a joke about a man of his age “not getting it up anymore” – which he would probably not have appreciated. I think you are absolutely right to be annoyed if not outraged.

    • obscura says:

      hehe…that might have been on my list of mental comebacks..”I found this Viagra prescription…I assumed it was yours” I would never in a million years say something like that – at least not to someone with whom I have a very close relationship. He really annoyed Showbiz when he cast aspersions on his vocal range – no, it’s not falsetto, he really *can* reach E-flat above middle C – never diss a tenor on his range!

  3. zeesmuse says:

    It was definitely crass, but even so, as this is typical of the man, I would just snarl and move on.

    • obscura says:

      LOL…Showbiz, MiniMe and I have an ongoing project on behaviors and words that are crass vs vulgar.

      Yeah, I’m not going to lose sleep over it, but I may well keep a “comeback” at the ready for future reference 🙂

  4. kathrynruthd says:

    Exceedingly rude! I have worked with people who were constantly rude and inappropriate to others and they were allowed to get away with it on the basis of “he’s always like that” and that makes me so mad. If I’d said the same things I’d have been sacked.

    At the moment I find women who are at that stage of life seem to assume that everyone else who gets a bit hot i.e. me, is also at that stage. When I assure them I’m not, it’s like they don’t believe me. I am not in denial! I seethe inside and remain silent. Hard to be offended without offending.

    Here’s hoping Bob has a bald spot he’s sensitive about 😉 I think I’d have been unable to hide my horror at his comment.

  5. wydville says:

    The motto of one of our great old “public” schools here in the UK (Winchester) is “manners maketh man”. This doesn’t just mean saying please and thank you but behaving and speaking in a way that makes the other person feel comfortable and good about themselves. The fact that you are picking at the scab weeks after the event denotes that he did the exact opposite, ergo he has no manners. He was rude.

  6. Teuchter says:

    I honestly gasped out loud when I read this! Absolutely no excuse for such a rude and inappropriate remark – NTM he was in church! I wonder where *he* keeps his brains? Sorry! Now I’m probably being inappropriate!! 😦

  7. It’s completely out of line. Commenting on someone else’s reproductive health always is unless you are their doctor, or a spouse invited to talk about it. And it’s not like the history of men feeling entitled to offer their unsolicited opinions about female bodies and specifically their reproductive health is without ongoing negative consequences. This is absolutely a malevolent practice that needs to stop.

  8. Definitely rude. Men shouldn’t talk about menopause ever!

  9. Servetus says:

    Even for our blunt style around here, that’s out of bounds.

  10. Perry says:

    I’m with KathrynRuthd – I’ve had it up to here with the excuse , ” that’s just how he is.” I’ve been having a similar series of experiences with the president of my Synagogue – really sexist behavior (which also include his very hands-on way of greeting me and other women, if you know what I mean) and when I say something, either to him ( I think I’m more brash and I know that I’m more confrontational than you) or complain to someone else – that’s the answer I get. “Oh – that’s just Schmuck. He doesn’t mean anything.”I usually also get some excuse having to do with his age – that he is of a generation that doesn’t know better. Bull crap. The remark to you was inappropriate and rude. You should have “helped” him hit some higher notes.

    • What Perry and several others said. This guy was totally inappropriate. And since the comment was in the gender specific arena, I would called it sexist and sexual harrassment. He’s a lawsuit waiting to happen at your church. Perhaps he has offended other ladies. Even if you’re the first–which I doubt–perhaps a well placed word to the minister would be in order. The buck stops with the clergy–they are the responsible leader in a faith community. And if, as Cindy suggested, this guy’s comment is the result of a health issue, then that needs to be addressed.

      • Teuchter says:

        May I just add that I had a similar experience except mine was non-verbal. Actually a hand squeezing my thigh under the table in a restaurant while I was with a group of friends after church. It was short-lived and I kept my cool as I didn’t want to embarrass him in front of everyone. I’m a senior and he is a number of years older than I, but I did call him up the next day to say I found his actions totally inappropriate. He apologized profusely saying he didn’t mean anything by it, but he has kept well clear of me since. I think the best way is to deal with things one-to-one first of all, then if nothing changes, then speak to the Pastor or whoever.

        Sorry to be so long-winded!

  11. sparkhouse1 says:

    My brother once commented to me (when we were teenagers) that I must ‘be on the rag’ because I was being so less than nice lets say….he found out in no uncertain terms that he is NEVER, as a man, say anything like that to a woman. A lesson I am sure did him well for the rest of his life. lol

    • Perry says:

      LOL! Brothers! Mine teased me mercilessly when I was a girl, about being “a carpenter’s dream, flat as a board” and they named my boobs, such as they were: Mary and Susan, if anyone is interested.

  12. katie70 says:

    What a very rude man. I also don’t buy that is just how he is, he is that way because no one has told him to stop or put him in the same shoes. At church of all places.

  13. zan, O1C says:

    “Just the way he is …” smh

    That remark was rude, inappropriate and uncalled for. One would think, being in a church environment, that his first thought would have been for your welfare. “Are you OK? You look a bit flushed. Can I get you some water?”

    I would’ve probably been called out for my response to him … “Awww, Bob, did you forget to take your human pill again today?”

  14. Esther says:

    Yep, agree that that was RUDE!
    Of course, I wouldn’t have had a comeback either (or maybe only many hours later when it’s too late to say anything)…

  15. jholland says:

    I concur, it was rude, inappropriate, and unkind. I’m not at all confrontational, so I’d likely never say a word to him, but what I think needs to happen (maybe by the leader of the congregation) is for someone to have a gentle talk with him. It could be that he has some sort of mental deterioration and so I wouldn’t necessarily blast him out of the water, but something along the lines of “You know, in the past few weeks you made some comments, Bob, that bothered one of the families in our congregation. Please try to remember not to make jokes about the physical appearance of others.” Etc.

  16. obscura says:

    Thanks for weighing in everyone – I feel considerably less thin skinned knowing that I’m not the only one who thought the comment was out of bounds. Upon further reflection, I’m 100% sure that Bob was attempting to make a joke…#epicjokefail

    Even so, I will monitor interactions I have with him for any further signs that someone should pull him aside and point out that his comments are upsetting regardless if his intentions were not.

  17. Hariclea says:

    I’m with jholland here, it was so inappropriate and we’ve had a case like this close by and somebody had to have a word in the end as ‘it’s just the way he is’ doesn’t quite work long term if comments are often rude.. Hope it doesn’t happen again or that somebody there can have a word with him.

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