Wednesday, June 08, 2005

A Compliment Gone Bad

Michele Agnew http://www.micheleagnew.com posed an interesting question today, asking people to recount the backhanded compliments they had received. I told one or two of mine, and decided I should elaborate here.

Shortly after my husband and I married, I had to travel to DC to take a certification exam in Cytotechnology. Hubby had gone to school in DC, and many of his friends were still based there, so we made plans to meet some of them for lunch after my test. There was one couple whom I had not met. When we pulled up in front of the restaurant, and I got out of the car, their faces broke out in huge smiles, and so I thought to myself.....you are approved......they like what they see. (Back then I cared about such things; now I am a bit more laid back about approval!).
We had a very nice luncheon, full of talk about getting together again and perhaps vacationing together. I left for the rest room and of course, you know she went with me, since young women can never manage to go to the rest room alone. While freshening our make-up, she said to me, "We were so happy to see that you were not pregnant. Since you are from West Virginia, we thought you might be". After 'picking myself up off the floor', I regained enough of my voice to ask "Why would you think that?" She answered that the only girls she had ever known from WV had been unmarried and pregnant. At that point I knew she didn't merit any further conversation, but to be polite, I continued on as though she had a brain.
Over the years, we saw this couple at school reunions, but while I remained polite, I could never quite warm up to her again. When I heard that they were separating, my comment was....."What took him so long?".

10 comments:

Angie said...

I am sure over the years you have thought of several witty replies. I can't help but to look at some people and wonder how they managed to get to a certain point in life without help.

OldHorsetailSnake said...

I don't get it, Judge. What did she say that offended you? Sure made sense to me.

(Bwwwwaaaaaah!!)

colleenR said...

The gall!!

Brighton said...

Oh. My. Gawd. I would have dropped my jaw too.

vicki said...

Hoss is a goat isn't he?
I'm not sure this qualifies as a backhanded compliment, Judy. Sounds like outright insult to me. Dope.

Melissa said...

I would have told her that you weren't pregnant, but that your grandmother is a voodoo lady and put a hex on him and he had to marry you.

Carmi said...

That you bit your tongue and maintained the moral high ground for the rest of that encounter says a lot about your character. Good for you.

People like that ultimately get what they deserve. Good souls, on the other hand, continue to be rewarded.

Susie said...

Just shakin' my head.

During pregnancy with my daughter, I put on about 15 pounds of fluid in the last 10 days before her birth, very alarming and disfiguring. By the second day after her birth, much, though not all, of the fluid was gone. My MIL visited me in the hospital and said, "You don't look nearly as grotesque as you did yesterday." Flatterer!

Zee said...

OMG, this was SO funny. SO rude, SO ridiculous, SO absurd, but so funny to read. :)

Weary Hag said...

I'm not sure I could have maintained my composure on such a comment. Kudos to you Judy!
I've often gotten backhanded compliments from people through the years but mostly having to do with the city of my birth.
I had applied for a job in Las Vegas once and while sitting before the HR person and having a nice chat, she suddenly looked me dead in the eye and said, "oh wow, I can't believe how eloquently you speak, being from New York City, what a surprise."
What I SHOULD have said was "yes, and I can't believe you're not running a brothel, being from LV and such."
I enjoyed this post very much!