Not long ago, I was in our local Value Village store, which is a second-hand store selling everything you'd ever want. The things are donated by the public to the store, credit given to charitable groups, and then sold back to the public. It's a good system to keep stuff out of the landfill and I love looking around. It's also where I buy nearly all my reading material and clothing.
This particular day I was looking through the ladies' clothing. I heard a young voice behind me say politely, "Excuse me, do you think I'd look good in this?"
I turned to see a boy of about ten or so, holding a scrunched up article of clothing. I couldn't tell what it was, but there wasn't much of it, which made me think it was either a bathing suit or a small top. It was hot pink with a fringe, that much I could see.
I didn't know if he was seriously asking or trying to get a reaction, so I said the first thing that came to mind, hoping it was ambiguous enough not to offend him if he was serious or make me look foolish if he wasn't. What I said was, "Oh yes, excellent" and he looked a bit surprised and turned and left.
A few minutes later, I heard kids laughing, and saw him with two girls of about his age giggling and darting through the aisles. Later still, I saw him staggering around in ladies' high heeled shoes and laughing.
So, my question to you is:
What would you have said if you had been me?
When you saw him again (and again), would that have changed your response if you could go back in time?
Picture something about this colour, but smaller and with long fringes. Scrunched up in someone's hand, so you can't tell what it actually is.
I would have asked him to hold it out properly so I could see what it was and then said well it's a lovely colour, or something similar.
When you described the scene I thought he must be serious if he wasn't giggling while he asked. And then you describe the next part and I realise he may not be. But he may be. Secretly.
As I read I hope I would have said "why not?" which is non-comittal but also neutral but who knows what I'd ACTUALLY say.
I'd want to wring his neck, to tell the truth
Things that happened 30 years ago feel like yesterday but also a long, long time ago.
I like to eat at 6 but these days I'm rarely ready at that time: the hours from 4-6 just disappear and suddenly it's dinner time and I'm not ready :)
I 'think' I would have asked where he planned to wear it, and if I could have a closer look at it. Well done you.
If he was being honest, I would have been supportive, if he was having you on, how could you tell? I would err on the side of not traumatizing someone genuinely trying to figure themselves out, even if a laugh was had at my expense.
-Doug in Sugar Pine
It seems he was truly poking fun - not so much of you as of the situation in general. I think I'd have said something like: Not my fave, but if you really like it!
Good to hear from you again!
That was an excellent and diplomatic response. I don't know what I would have said as I'm not a quick thinker. I'd like to think I would have said something along the lines of 'Does it suit your colouring?'
I had to laugh at this, little monkey, he was obviously having a bit of fun. I think I would have reacted the same as you with tongue in cheek.
I thought I had left a comment but perhaps I forgot to press 'publish'.
Anyway, I thought your response was excellent and very diplomatic.
I am not a quick thinker so would have been stumped for words. I'd like to think I'd have said something like, 'Do you think the colour is right for you?' but it would have come out wrong and condescending.
I wonder if the boy did it on a dare. I have no idea how I would have reacted, since I've never been in the situation, or anything close to it! ����
It would be a touch one. You did better than I would have.
Kids are something, aren't they? I think your answer was fine. I would have asked him for a better view of what it was and then suggested an accessory to go with it. Either he was joking and wanted to get a rise out of you in which case he didn't, or if he was serious you helped him. 😊
I left a comment, perhaps it is in your spam folder?
It's much easier to know, after the fact, what you "would have said."
If i'd been able to gather my wits fast enough (questionable, under the circumstances), i might have asked to actually see the garment, unrolled, telling him i wasn't quite sure because of how he was holding it. If that gave me an extra moment to think, i might have tried to say something to the effect that, i'm not sure this is your color, maybe something in a bit darker shade, trying to be ambiguous.
The kids were probably just trying to be silly, as kids are at times.
Oh, I think you handled it perfectly. I wonder what he would have done if you had said, "I'll need to see it on you"?
Under the circumstances, you handled that situation the best you could. Sounds like kids just fooling around.
dear Jenny it is truly a joy hearing from you after sometime
well being from a country where taking to strangers as such children and women in public places is not that weird or bad thing my reaction would be to grab that top from his hand look carefully and ask him (if found top inconvenient for a boy) whether he wants to use it as costume or else ?
my eldest son while living in Germany had mentioned that unlike our country talking to strangers is forbidden ,actually he respond to my question if he had talked to children passerby for "by the way " acquaintance .
top looks for girls that makes me curious if boy was serious or having fun
hope you are doing fine dear Jenny .in my thoughts always!
Ha! I think you said absolutely the right thing. Either he was trying to be silly, in which case you'll seem like you were playing along, or he was serious and loves a bit of dress-up, in which case you were being affirming!
I would have said the same thing, jenny_o. I might have added something like don't forget to accessorize with the right handbag. You have nothing to worry about as I think you handled it perfectly.
I thought this comment was lost! No, I posted it on the wrong blog. Sorry about that
I think your response was absolutely perfect. You managed to be both playful and supportive, and the fact that he looked surprised suggests your response affirmed him.
I think you did ok. I am not sure what I would have done, but it would have been wrong and then later I would work out what the correct response was. You really have to be quick thinking in such situations.
However, he was only ten and it seems clear he was testing society in their reactions to what he wanted to do. He sounds like a rather advanced ten year old, ready to challenge the world with his persona.
I think it handled it just fine! Hmm...I wonder if it was like kids just being mischievous. Not sure he was serious.
Yikes! I think my first response would have been, "Seriously?" I think you did just fine!
To everyone who commented: Thank you! I appreciate you taking the time to think about the situation and respond. I get easily flustered - and not many people like to be made to look foolish, including me - so I feel better reading your supportive thoughts :)
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