What I Should Have Said To The Man Who Thought He Complimented My Booty

June 26, 2014  |  

My sister and I just came back from Turks and Caicos, celebrating her birthday, about a week ago. And the experience was all together lovely. People who follow us on Instagram say my sister and I pretty much advertised the island for a week. It was just the break we needed from all the shenanigans that take place in New York City on any given day.

There was just one dark spot.

The night before my sister’s birthday we decided to go to this sport’s bar where there was dancing in the evening. After the first DJ spent entirely too much time playing Britney Spears, the second one stepped up and started playing R&B, Hip Hop, Reggae, everything I go to the club to hear. At first it was just me and my sister dancing hard, sweating, laughing and enjoying ourselves. Then gradually we  watched as the demographics of the dance floor changed. The large group of black folk that had traveled from Louisiana and Texas ran to floor and even the island-born employees took to the dance floor to shake something. It was a good time. After about another 30 minutes, with sweat rolling down our backs, we realized it was time to hydrate. We made it to the bar to ask for bottled water. There, one of the men from Louisiana stopped and talked to us, telling us he had been watching us.

Ugh. I was already irritated. Here was yet another thirsty dude trying to employ some type of warped Stella Got Her Groove Back type of mack game. I wasn’t with it. But my sister, always the nicer, more patient one when it comes to interacting with strange, flirty men, entertained him.  And while his opening line was a little weird, the rest of his conversation wasn’t too bad. The guy turned out to be a pretty decent dude, respectful and charming and, I noticed later, attractive.

After our water, we went to the bathroom to wipe off some of the sweat. Did I mention the dance floor was outdoors?

By the time we returned to the party the Nice Man at the bar and some other southern black folks were Wobbling. My sister and I ran to catch up. The Nice Man was hollering out instructions for those who were slow to catch on and ki-ki-ing with another man dressed similarly to him in all white linen, saying “Show dem how dem Q Dawgs do!” I assumed they were frat brothers. After the line dance ended the Nice Man started dancing with my sister and his shorter, less attractive friend started dancing with me.

After already having misjudged one character for the evening, I decided to just be nice. I danced with Shorter Dude for maybe a song and a half when all of sudden, he started getting chatty. Let me just break to say, I absolutely loathe talking to an unfamiliar man on the dance floor. You can’t hear, they have to lean in (And I already told y’all how hot it was…i.e. Funk had indeed hit the fan.) and the likelihood that they’ll accidentally spit on you in the process is heightened.

Shorter Dude leans in to ask me the standard traveler/flirty questions. “Is it just you and your sister here?” “What hotel are you staying at?” “How old are you?” “Where do you live?”  You know all the questions that are probably too invasive. I was giving vague answers like “The one down the road…” (There were at least four.) “I live on the East Coast.”  etc.

And then after “getting to know me” he decided it was time for confession.

“You know I just have to be honest. For a woman as thin as you are, you have a really nice…” 

My face dropped, disgusted knowing what he was going to say before he finished his sentence.

“…behind.” 

I rolled my eyes and looked off into the distance. Seeing my reaction he threw both of his hands up in an “I meant no offense” gesture and said, “I hope I didn’t offend you.” 

I looked back at him for a second, unamused and then turned to stare off in the distance, watching my little sister, until he got the memo to walk away.

This certainly wasn’t the first time I’d been the recipient of a comment like this. This was actually one of the more polite ways in which it had been delivered. But even still I didn’t like it. And initially, I didn’t exactly know why. Then I put my finger on it. Some obvious things are so…obvious, stating them is not only unnecessary but extremely annoying. Particularly when it comes to body parts. It would be the equivalent of him saying you know the sky was blue earlier today or your skin is black. It’s like a “yeah…and?” And the more I thought about it, the more irritated I became.

I realized that Shorter Dude thought him telling me this was supposed to be some type of compliment. It reminded me of the notion that far too many men are under the impression that we women live our lives for their pleasure. And since he found my behind pleasing, he thought he’d share. What the hell?! Not only does my body not exist for you, commenting on shapes and portions, as a complete stranger, is rude right?! I thought we learned those things around the pre-K age, during the manners lesson.

I could not shake my annoyance. And I spent far too much time wondering if I reacted strongly enough. Over a week later, I’m obviously still thinking about it, as evidenced by this post. And during this time I’ve had the chance to think of all the things I coulda, shoulda, woulda said if I were as ballsy and brazen in real life as I am in my own mind. Want to hear them? Here they go.

“Yes. And water is wet.” 

“Thanks, now how about you whip your d*ck out and show the club so we can all discuss it and share our thoughts with you.” 

Or maybe a more classy approach that may or may not have lead to an educational conversation.

“Why would you tell me that?” 

Or

“So.” 

Or maybe the perfect blend of nice/nasty: “I’d appreciate it if you’d keep your thoughts and comments about my body to yourself.” 

But I didn’t say any of that. I just hit him with a stank face and avoided eye contact and any further conversation until he got the message to step off.

Hmm… maybe that wasn’t such a bad response after all.

Ladies, have you ever been in a similar situation where a man thought he was being “respectful” in the way he commented on your body parts? Were you even offended? How did you handle the situation?

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