Friday, October 29, 2010

"Nice haircut"

Even cock-eyed optimists get hit with reality some days.

Over on the chip aisle, I passed a couple of store employees loading tortilla chips on the shelf.  "Nice haircut," one muttered snidely* under his breath.

Now, my children could have told him that not only do I have excellent hearing, but when it comes to snide remarks muttered under one's breath, my bionic bat sonar ear clicks on.

I didn't turn back, I just said clearly, "I shaved it for charity."

Immediate backpedaling.  "Oh, I, uh, think it's really a great look."  I turned back (because I needed tortilla chips) and he gave me an ingratiating smile.  My glance went over him and I perused the chips, expressionless.  "I can help you with anything you need," he said weakly.

I went back to my shopping.

What sort of meaning do I draw from this, I wondered.  Well, on one hand, maybe I'll make him think twice before muttering in public again. Hey, I can take it, it's no hair off my ... elbow.  If it means that when he runs into a cancer survivor whose hair is growing in, he holds his tongue, or better yet, smiles at her ... terrific.

All in all, though, I would handle it differently next time.  Let's not be disingenuous.  My hair has grown out enough that, as a friend of mine remarked, it looks like a choice now.  Out here in the burbs, a buzz-cut woman in jeans and a tshirt is probably seen as lesbian.  So my explaining that I shaved my head for charity put me in the "acceptable" box.  Straight woman do-gooder. Wrong message.

Next time?  Well, if it happens again, I'll turn around and turn on that big megawatt smile that all we Southern women are endowed with and just sweet as sugar, I'll say, "Really?  Do you like it?  You think it's a good look?"

And when he stammers out "Yes," I'll say, "Aww, bless your heart.**  Thank yew."

*It was snide.  And no, I wasn't walking around with a chip on my shoulder.  Between all the kindness and love from my seminary, church, and friends, I'm walking around thinking I'm the bees-knees.  This startled me.

**Which all Southern women, lesbian, straight, bi, and questioning, know to mean, "Screw you and the horse you rode in on."  What can I say.  I'm a work in progress.


TK Kenyon said...

Lizard Eater sayeth, in translating "Bless your heart," from Southern into Generic English:

"Which all Southern women, lesbian, straight, bi, and questioning, know to mean, 'Screw you and the horse you rode in on.' "

"Bless (possessive pronoun) heart" can also be used to nullify the inherent nastiness of any backstabbing comment. It is a vehicle for the ultimate truth.

Such as, "When Sylvia wears blue jeans, her butt cheeks look like two raccoons flighting in a garbage bag; bless her heart."

In this fashion, Southern women can say absolutely anything, providing it is followed by heart-blessing.

Just so as the Northerners don't misunderstand us.

TK Kenyon

Earthbound Spirit said...

What TK said, I learned from a seminary classmate who hailed from Texas. God, I miss her!

Br. Jay said...

Hahahah! Gotta love living in the south some times.

Ms. M said...

my beautiful best friend was a southern belle as you describe, and taught me early on about "bless her heart." She died a year and a half ago, and your beauty and spirit remind me of that power, poise and kickassness that the world needs more of!

ms. kitty said...

I guess my West Coast persona would laugh heartily, grab him and hug him or touch him on the shoulder, and say "THANK YOU! I like it too!" with a huge smile like yours. Ah, these cultural differences. Humor helps me keep from taking offense and throws the other person for a loop. I like your method too.