I’m not assertive when it comes to defending myself; when it comes to defending you, I’ll do anything to make sure I stick up for you. But I just can’t seem to demonstrate the same inner strength if I’m by myself and looking out only for myself.
I do, however, have the dirty look perfected. Which is bad, because I’m not prepared to back it up with anything if I happen to give it to the wrong person.
For instance, the other day I walked quickly past 2 women and for some reason they took offense to it and called me a “bony-ass noun” (I can’t remember which noun it was). I turned around and gave them a dirty look, but that only amused them, so they proceeded to call me more names and laugh at me.
It was odd because my butt is not bony, even if I am thin in general.
Anyway, I’m experienced in giving dirty looks. So yesterday, after a long day at work, after a doctor’s appointment, after wandering around SoHo searching unsuccessfully for an under-$15 Secret Santa gift for a 20-something male coworker I knew very little about, I was crossing the street. There was someone on a bike who somehow, as he was getting on it to ride away, ended up kicking me. He knew he did it. He turned around to look at me, probably expecting to see a dirty look. After all, he had just kicked me. After all, I was tired and stressed and wishing the next day was Friday instead of Thursday.
But instead, I just looked at him, with no hint of dirtiness.
And I don’t know, maybe I was imagining it, but it looked like he was confused, like he was questioning whether he had in fact kicked another human being because if so, why wasn’t this human being reacting?
If that’s true–if that’s really what was going through his mind and not simply, Hmm, I wonder what I should have for dinner–then it’s a decent reward for not reacting emotionally to an inadvertent slight. I can’t promise I’ll show more restraint in my dirty looks from now on (it’s the only way a shy person has of communicating with strangers), but I think I’ll try.
Unless you run me over with your car. I will have to give you a pretty dirty look for that.