Today, a customer approached me and apologized.
Yesterday, a regular customer came up to me while I was outside having a smoke break. He asked me who a specific person inside my job was. He said he didn’t like her and was certain she didn’t like him since she asked me not to have something in open that was, for the most part, harmless. I understand his frustration. He was doing something he does just about every day and yet, suddenly, he was breaking a rule. His confusion as to why this was suddenly a problem infuriated him. I say infuriated because he referred to the third party as “a fat cow.”
Now, I know when I am upset, I am capable of saying some pretty harsh things. Okay, I’ll be honest – I can say some pretty terrible things. But, when he said it, I felt a sudden sickness in my stomach.
And yes, I am now going to look at this in a very broad way. When a guy does something, call him stupid and you’ve killed him. Because the precedent is that men are smart. When a woman does something wrong, call her fat or ugly and it’s supposed to have the same effect. Because the precedent is that woman either have looks or don’t. This doesn’t sit so well with me. Not that I would have preferred if he’d called her a “fat stupid cow,” but the fact of the matter is, if you’re a woman and not a size 2, you’re a cow. Everything else about you is irrelevant. Regardless of the fact that this woman went to Harvard, has traveled the world and could probably talk this guy under the table in thought provoking conversation, she is a fat cow. Because her weight defines her.
Today, the customer apologized to me. But why? I’m not the one he called a fat cow. I’m just the girl in between. I doubt the third party lost any sleep since he didn’t have the courage to say something like that to her face. I brushed it off, something I’m not proud of. Because I should have said, “no, it’s not okay. You’re being a jerk,” or something along those lines. He is a coward for not saying the comment to her face. And I’m a coward for not telling him what I really thought. Honestly, I’d rather be a fat cow than the prettiest coward.