Part of being a Oreo in working order is perfecting the time-honored tradition of not speaking up when you want to. No need to get confused for RBP who shout in movie theaters and are too loud on buses.
The truth is though,that whether you’re an RBP, trying desperately not to look like an RBP or are just someone who is alive, no one wants to hear what you have to say anyway. Generally, in life, when people say things to you, they are not looking for your thoughts on their quip in return. They merely want to exercise their ego and have their opinion go unchallenged. Most interactions are just there to prevent silence from killing us all.
For example, imagine two people in an elevator, then consider the following three scenarios and their anticipated outcomes:
Person 1: How are you?
Person 2: I’m just okay. Got some troubling news from home and am really unprepared for this meeting–just not sure if this is the right field for me anymore, but don’t know that I can incur the risks of a career change.
Person 1: (set self on fire)
See how awkward it was when person 1 told the truth. Tsk, tsk.
Person 1: (says nothing)
Person 2: (says nothing)
Person 1 and 2: (set selves on fire)
Ugh. Spending a whole minute next to a human being without admitting that you can both see each other even though neither of you really has anything to say and you’re both hoping to just get off this lift and to the meeting that you spent all weekend preparing for…awkward. Painfully awkward.
Person 1: How are you?
Person 2: Fine, you?
Person 1: I’m good, thanks.
Person 2: (waits for Person 1 to leave the elevator, then sets self on fire…because of circumstances related to an unclear conversation that was had with the spouse over the weekend…but definitely not because of a crap elevator ride…aaaaand, Person 1 didn’t have to get involved in any of that sticky personal business)
See how easy it is to avoid having to deal with someone’s issues.
And it was with that spirit that I held my tongue after Zumba class this week when someone thought it apropos to say to me:
“Love this class! You sisters are so lucky, though! I look ridiculous, but you with those hips–you look like you actually know what you’re doing out there!”
What did I say to her? Something along the lines of: “Hahah..yeah….” as I grabbed my towel and water bottle and headed to the bathroom before the tears started to fall.
What didn’t I say to her? While any number of things would have been perfectly reasonable responses, Oreos do not speak up and make a fuss. Here’s a smattering of what the tiny sassy lady inside of me might have said were she not being squished into oblivion:
- “Sisters? I’m an only child.”
- “Yes, we are lucky. We just flip the switch and the machine in our rears does all the work.”
- “You realize that I am at a gym and a typical ‘problem area’ for women is their bottom, so your attempt at a compliment might actually be reinforcing my own body dysmporphia.”
- “I noticed you were terrible. But don’t worry, it’s not because you’re white. You’re just bad. Very very bad at this.”
- “Thank you so much! By reducing my ability to dance to the amount of melanin I have in my skin, you’re completely ignoring the hours and hours I have spent in dance classes, working with teachers, studying movement, practicing in front of the mirror, consulting with professionals, watching footage of myself and others and working on the self confidence necessary to remove the mental blocks to free physical movement….I figured that stuff was a waste of time!!”
- “Ummm… if you’re so bad at this, maybe you should keep your eyes on your own reflection, creeper.”
- (sets self on fire)
Just think what a ruckus would have been made if I blurted out any of the things I was “actually” “thinking” or “feeling.” More than one relationship has been ruined this way and even though you may be choking back words, as an Oreo, you at least get to choke them down with some lovely creme fraiche.
What’s the last dubious compliment you got? What did or didn’t you say? Let us know in the comments!
For more awkward artsy (non)conversations, click here!
For more awkward conversations where people clearly didn’t notice I was…um…black (shudder).. click here!
For the awkward result of a poorly worded engagement party invitation, click here!