I went to the grocery store last night in order to get ingredients for some homemade brownies I made last night for my roommate's farewell thing a ma jig at work and to pick up some veggies for the eight pounds of cold side salads I'm making for my party Saturday. (Mike's parents and my mom are throwing Mike and I a little farewll and good luck bbq Saturday with all our friends.)
So I was perusing the onion corner when an older man (70ish) approached me and said something I couldn't quite make out and pointed at my arm. I assumed he was addressing me about my tattoo which is common so I turned my arm to him.
"Is that permanent?"
"Oh no. That looks just awful on a girl."
My mouth fell slightly agape and I was honestly at a loss for words. Never once in the two years I've had my large arm tattoo has someone insulted me or it. It's beautiful work. Very beautiful work and pretty art.
I'd say about ten to fifteen seconds went by where I was just looking at him and he was just looking at me and he decided to break the silence.
"That's just my opinion. Awful, just awful, to have done that."
I still don't know where what I said came from. I was thinking, Yeah, asshole, but you don't need to go around expressing your opinion to young women in the fucking grocery store who aren't bothering you! Jack ass!
Somehow all that came out in a soft, patient sounding, perfectly articulated statement was, "Well, you are entitled to your opinion."
This shocked him. He was on the defense from whatever misconceptions and assumptions he had already had about tattoos or what kind of woman would have one so large. I bashed the stereotype with those seven words.
His mouth fell slightly agape and then whilst turning his head to walk away he turned it back but continued to look at the floor and muttered, "thank you" as he pushed his cart away.
I was pissed. Tattoos aside, you don't insult someone in a grocery store or anywhere else for that matter. You just don't. I couldn't stop thinking about it throughout my whole shopping order.
Then I get to the checkout and there he is in the line directly next to mine in the exact same place in his line as I am in mine. I didn't mind. I hoped him having to acknowledge me again would make him think and possibly even reconsider his actions. My arm was in his face so to speak.
It worked. A few minutes later as I was bagging up my red pepper and spanish onion, he was strolling past me.
"I hope I didn't hurt your feelings."
"You know what, yes, you did hurt my feelings."
"Well that wasn't my intention. This little one here (at this point he actually touched the butterfly on my left arm) is nice, but those big ones are just so unattractive. It looks like you should be in the marine corps."
"Well....I didn't get my tattoos for you. I got them for me and I love them very much."
"But men don't find that attractive."
"It's a different world now, sir, and yes, men do find them attractive."
"I guess so, but really, men like them?"
"My boyfriend loves them."
"Well, I guess it is a different world now."
At that he began to push his cart away toward the exit and I told his back to have a good evening. He half turned and uttered a good evening.
If anything, I hope my patience and soft, short, yet well spoken responses made him think a bit. He was old and so regardless, he deserves a little extra patience. I think he thought I was trashy. I have issues with white trash and never ever do I want to resemble it and I know in my heart I don't. I may have large tattoos but damnit, I was dressed nice (still in my work clothes even) and I had on some nice shoes and a great bag. My hair was up and I was still in make-up.
I don't know what he thought actually. All I know is that whatever it was he thought I was, I proved to him I was the opposite. Maybe next time he'll think before he opens his mouth to insult someone.