Monday, September 23, 2013

Lessons on how to be offensive

A friendly piece of advice if you want to offend someone: never start by saying "no offense, but...", and always make sure that what you're going to say is actually offensive.

The 30-something Eastern European looking man, dressed like a North American stock broker, had been watching me from across the bar for an hour before he sat down next to us, Stephanie and me. "Your sadness intrigues me" he said, "I can always tell when a pretty girl is unhappy". His Ballantine's breath formed a rain cloud around me as he silently inspected every inch of my body. "I noticed your designer beret" he said, "and no offense (!), but you need to stop trying to fill that void with meaningless things".

As he pushed play on a five minute monologue about rampant consumerism and saving the world (I'm paraphrasing from the fragments I picked up through the noise) I tried to fake an interest. My mother grew up in a society that had nothing, where people waited in line for hours just to buy bread. When someone calls the luxury that her money can pay for now "meaningless" I automatically start planning over what part of their clothing I'm going to pour my drink, just for the fun of it*.

*I picked the pants.

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