Confrontation

One of the two charity shop dresses I got on Saturday.

The origami pleating is a fabulous and unusual touch – more corners than I’m used to, but am hoping it compliments my curves! Either way, there’s nothing like a wiggle dress and heels to make your strut down the street to the station!

Yup, today started really well, with a strut and a wiggle. And then Joe public got involved and this happened:

Does nobody have any manners these days? At the station a young girl was trying to get her bike off the train. She was really struggling , but TWO women pushed past her onto the train, I assume to ensure they got a seat. The rest went in at the next door along and pushed through behind her, leaving myself and another gentleman to help the now panicked girl off the train and jump on ourselves as the doors tried to close. And hey – I still got a seat! Next to one of the rude pushy women who’d forced past her. Well, she’d taken the first window seat – I wasn’t going to let her get the whole double to herself!

This wasn’t the only rudeness I encountered this evening. On the bus home a young man was playing misogynistic gangsta rap as loudly as he could AND singing along. After the 30th (or so) variation on the theme of what he was going to do to the first “shorty” he could get back to “da hood” that evening (sometime violent, sometime sexual, all pretty horrendous) I turned to face him. In the calmest, deepest, steadiest voice I could muster I said:
“I find your music offensive. Please turn it off.”

I suppose I’m lucky he didn’t punch me. He certainly looked the sort (talk about toxic assumptions…). Instead he leaned right across the aisle so that his face was right up close to mine, held my gaze and sang the words right at me. I held his glare for 30 (very long) seconds then tried to turn away.

He sang disgusting words right into my ear until we reached his stop and the bus emptied. No-one said a thing. No-one looked up. No-one offered any support. The whole, packed-out bus-load of people stared at their hands or looked out of the window for the entire journey, while this young man sang obscenities at the top of his tuneless voice. Where were my gentlemen knights? Where were my sisters-in-arms for the feminist cause?

(Probably forcing their way onto a train somewhere…)

Rudeness quite simply makes me cry. Out of frustration, disappointment and plain, simple hurt. It creates loneliness, “every man for himself”, destroys togetherness and community. I can’t remember the last time I felt as alone as I did on that bus, and I arrived home tonight yearning for someone to make me a cup of tea and comfort me. Rudeness makes me wonder what kind of a world we live in.

I wrote this post in pure anger on the train, sitting beside that horrible rude woman. I spent the whole journey to Banbury wondering whether I had the guts to face up to her, to refuse to move when we reached her stop so she’d have to force her way off as she’d forced her way on. Or whether it would be more effective to be extra-especially sickly sweetly polite, to say “Oh, I am so sorry – am I in your way?” as pointedly as I could. In the end I did nothing – I couldn’t face another confrontation. I did nothing but sit, fume, hold back tears and write so hard and fast that my arm ached. And she ended her day oblivious.

Frankly, it’s unfair.

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21 thoughts on “Confrontation

  1. Aw, hun! I’m so sorry about the crappy issues on the bus. I can’t believe some people are so rude. If it makes you feel any better, your dress is just gorgeous. It really is a cool, unique piece. Hopefully tomorrow is a better day and you won’t have to deal with such rudeness.

    • Thanks hon. I got a card through my door today telling me I’d missed post!! I can’t get to the post office to collect until Saturday, but am very excited… πŸ˜€

  2. I am with you 100% on this one… why does everyone have to be so rude? Honestly, it makes me want to scream sometimes, no one treats anyone like a human being!

  3. First of all: that dress is AMAZING. I am so jealous. In fact, it may even replace your green George dress as the first thing I would steal from your wardrobe, I love it so much πŸ™‚

    Secondly, I actually felt myself getting angry on your behalf reading the rest of this post: I feel exactly the same as you do about rudeness (Terry often tells me I have an over-developed rudeness sensor, because it makes me SO angry), and that man on the bus would’ve driven me INSANE. Well done for having the courage to speak up, and it’s so sad and dissapointing that you were the only one to do it. I often wish society would just rise up against these people and teach them that their behaviour just isn’t acceptable, but I suspect that’s just wishful thinking.

    I recommend a glass of something very strong πŸ™‚

    • I’ve cracked open the wine!

      I’m so with you on the heightened rudeness sensor. I had a good cry to my Mum about the fact that no-one supported me this evening and that there was one of him and about 30 of us. She said the likelihood was that at least a handful of people will have gone home and said: “You’ll never guess what happened on the bus today… AND a girl actually stood up to him…” She said of these maybe a couple will feel a bit guilty for not stepping up themselves, and maybe next time will try to do something about it. So maybe I won’t have suffered for nothing… :S

      I think you can probably steal both dresses – this one’s quite a heavy jersey so wouldn’t do for summer, and the other’s far to flimsy for the colder months! πŸ˜‰

  4. I had something very similar a couple of years ago. Except I wasn’t as clever / polite as you. It was on a packed train, and I just said “have you heard of headphones?” and got an earful.

    Again – nobody came to my defense, nobody nodded along. It was only after the offending blokes got off that some man in a suit did a sigh and eye roll and half smiled at me. Unbelievable.

    But I still think good on you for saying something. The more we do it, the less these people will think they can get away with it.

    Also: dress = AMAZING. Wow.

  5. Well done you for speaking out to music man. It’s so disappointing when the rest of the passengers don’t back you up in that situation, especially when he’s being so aggressive towards you. I don’t know what I’d have done in your situation, phoned the police or pretended to perhaps.

    The only time I asked a fellow passenger to stop playing their music so loud was a teenage schoolgirl who was entertaining her friends with the same clip of rap music over and over. After 15 minutes I went over and said as politely as I could muster “could you turn your music down please? I’m trying to read and it’s very intrusive.” They mouthed off at me before deciding they didn’t want to sit in my carriage. As they left a fellow passenger quietly said “thank-you”. Without that thank-you I suspect my blushing and shaking would have been worse.

    • High five for you too lady! Well done for standing your ground.

      Do you know, I’d be more scared by teenage girls than by a solitary lad. I didn’t feel scared of this guy, just deeply furious, whereas girls, particularly groups of them, have the pack mentality going on. You’re braver than I’d be!

  6. That dress is gorgeous!! I’ve been reading your blog for a while now but just realised that I have never left a comment before!

    I used to have a neighbour who used to play loud horrible obnoxious rap music (and dance along to it) all night long, pretty much 7 days a week and it used to drive me insane!! It just couldn’t understand that someone could care so little about anyone else’s feelings/ sanity and be so self involved! Just like you did I stood up to her but luckily our other neighbours backed me up – maybe because it was too close to home to ignore who knows!

    Anyway, I hope you feel a bit better now!

    p.s. I wish I lived in the UK so that I could join your craft group!!
    Sophie

    • Glad you like the dress, and thanks for delurking! πŸ˜€

      Again, well done for standing your ground – lots of high fives going around this evening! And great that your neighbours supported you, I think that’s key to success!

      You’re more than welcome to sign up as an online member of sew make believe! If you want somewhere to share your creations, promote your crafting, take inspiration… We have several onliners already! πŸ™‚

  7. Aw Cie, sorry you got dragged down by people being scummy 😦

    My response (when I’m in a good mood and I remember that this is how I think) to rude people is to remember that it’s far worse to be them, lacking social skills and an inability to connect and empathise with strangers, than it is to be us. I may be overly sensitive and get disproportionately upset by horrible people, but at the same time I can make my own day by doing something small for someone that makes their day better. And perhaps even by making them smile. Fair trade-off, imo.

    • My Mum said that too – that I need to concentrate on the little things I do that make other people smile and not the things other people do to upset me. And the little things that make me smile – like getting a comment from you on my blog! πŸ˜€ xx

  8. Look at all these comments! You’re not alone in your frustrations and good manners and consideration are not a thing of the past in everyones values. Hooray for decency and the courage to maintain it.

  9. Hi Caroline,

    I wandered on to this blog via my friend Alysa’s. Normally, I don’t leave comments on blogs where I don’t know the person. I’m not sure why! However, this post really struck a chord. I’ve been in similar situations, have sometimes screwed up the courage to say things and other times have just fumed – but I think what always bothers me the most is how I get upset and angry whereas whoever is being offensive usually just carries on unperturbed. It feels as if they have “won” in some way. I suppose that’s where having other people back you up would make a difference, especially if it were someone in authority. But I think that’s why you are so spot on with your comments about the blame culture – we should be able to walk away from these encounters feeling like we are good citizens for asserting civic values, not victims.

    Anyway, well done. And Jenny above is right – being sensitive to rudeness does have the positive side that you appreciate the polite gestures when they do happen!

  10. I’m a firm believer in karma: both the man and the woman will get back what they dish out, and then some. You do put yourself at risk whenever you intervene, but it takes real courage to act rather than passively allow such behaviour. Hats off to you, courageous lady!

  11. I know I am late to comment on this post…but you look hot! That dress makes me happy!

    I am sorry you had such a horrible day but please know that you looked awesome even when you were staring down the rude people!

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