Tuesday, August 6, 2013

She's a Lady

"Well, if I had been on a date with such a _________, I would have said _________, then I would have _________, and marched out of there!" 


I have had a number of dates with cads in my time (as I have detailed beforehand, and shall continue after-hand). Besides for my genetic terror of confrontation, which is further enhanced by a need for a ride home, I have other motivations for rarely taking the bait and snapping my fingers in a jerk's face. 

It was as Ma always told me: Don't lower yourself to their level. 
To illustrate: A while back, Jon Stewart got into a tiff with Chris Wallace. Now, no matter how poor Chris tried, he was never able to yank the rug beneath Jon. He threw line after line but Jon breazily lifted a hand and froze every dart that came his way in midair.

Because Jon doesn't take himself seriously, and is always ready and willing to flagellate himself, Chris didn't have a chance. He tried doing what Jon does for a living, except he flailed for snappy retorts, something obviously missing that prevented each and every point from driving home. He just ain't Jon Stewart. 
Chris would have been able to get at least one zinger in if he stayed on his own turf and played to his own strengths. As political analyst David Corn said regarding this "debate": "Never try to outwit a true wit . . . it was like two worlds colliding, and Chris didn't have a foot in either one." Chris was trying to be something he's not, and late night talk show host he ain't. Then he lost on more than one front.

Nigel Lithgow, inventor of and judge on So You Think You Can Dance, once advised the competitors that when they frantically free-style for votes, stick to their own genre. If you can't pop-and-lock, he said, don't do it. Stick to what you can do.

I like to think of myself as a nice person, and I try to get nicer every day. If I want a guy to realize how badly he's behaving, wouldn't it make more sense for me to take the high road, and then he can have an "Ooooooh" moment by comparison? It doesn't mean I am a sucker. It just means I respect myself too much, and frankly don't care that much about him, that I should lose it. 

Even if I made much more of an effort than him, well, bud, I'll sleep the sleep of the just tonight. I was the bigger person. 

Like that episode of Everybody Loves Raymond. You know that episode, "Baggage"? No? I'll fill in quick: 

Ray and Debra take a trip, and when they come home a suitcase is left on the stairwell landing. Each refuses to move it, since each insist that it is the other's job. It stays there for weeks. Ray even puts a piece of stinky cheese in there to blackmail Debra into action. 

Finally, matters come to a head.

Debra: Okay, Ray, you know what? I'm getting it.
Ray: What's that supposed to mean? 
Debra: It means I'll get it. I'll be the one who got it.
Ray: Oh no no no no no! (lunges and grabs hold of the suitcase)
Debra: Let the record show that I got it. Let go of the suitcase. 
Ray: You let go! 

They wrestle over the right to "get it." Look, look, I'm the one who moved it! No, I'm still holding it. You aren't going to hold that over me! Eventually Ray is trying to pry Debra off the bag by picking her up bodily and shaking her, at which point Robert walks in.

No one can stand being outshown by the better person. 

A woman wrote into Social Qs, asking what would be the best retort to ill-mannered remarks regarding her wardrobe. 
Now, as for the compliments you want, the best way to get ’em is to give ’em. Tell her she looks great the next time you see her. I bet she returns the favor. Happily, this is also the best revenge . . . your sweetest payback is on the high road, complimenting her even in the face of subtle (and not so subtle) digs. It will make you look and feel generous. 
I have a fond memory from one date, many many years ago. 

Firmus Piett did not treat me well. I waited on a street corner for twenty minutes after rendezvous time until he showed up. He couldn't make up his mind where he was willing to feed me. He made back-patting remarks about going to shul late; apparently I was supposed to be impressed by his unique skill of sleeping in. 

I maintained a dignified appearance. I did not twitch or protest volubly at each impolite remark; I coolly neutralized them, with decency, not crudity. I refused to become as petty and childish as he. 

As the evening progressed, he sat a little straighter. His tone became more respectful. He was even chivalrous. When I left him two hours later, he was obviously chastened and shame-faced. I brought attention to his bad behavior not by matching it, but by bringing myself above it. 

As I recall, he wed soon after. I decided to take credit for that. I like to think I reminded him how to be a mensch, by staying a mensch/lady myself.  



Wondering Minds said...

Had never seen the FNS and Stewart video before, was a fun watch!

Albeit the lip-sync kinda drove me bonkers...

Princess Lea said...

That got on my nerves too.