Last week, I wrote about my newly silver hair and how it brings plenty of looks and comments, and that I invite them because I want to start the conversation about female aging and its ridiculousness. That being said, having something this out of the ordinary on your head tends to make people stare, which is MY NUMBER ONE PET PEEVE. Just because someone or something is different from what you’ve known before doesn’t give your ass the right to do two takes, poke your friend’s arm, whisper to them, and then have THEM do two takes, then you fill the rest of the table in so THEY can all stare. Yeah, I notice it. Yep, my brother and his wife notice it when they’re pushing Ari, their adopted beauty of a daughter who is clearly not the same color as them, notice when you gape at them in the grocery store. Y’all AREN’T. THAT. SLICK. If you stare at someone, 9 times out of 10 they know it, whether you realize it or not. They’re just generally too polite to let you know. Unlike me. I take great joy in looking straight back at them unblinkingly until they get embarrassed and break eye contact with me, because STARING IS AWKWARD!
Look, we’ve all been the *different* one in the room, some of us more than others, due to our inherent qualities like sex, physical & mental issues, sexual orientation, color, and/or creed, or perhaps because of something more situational like your clothes, what you say or how you act, or one of the countless other ways that one can be considered ‘different’. Call them a lone reed, a standout, a pariah, a sore thumb, someone who ‘dances to the beat of their own drum’, or just someone who has a birthmark, someone in a wheelchair, two men holding hands because they love each other, a woman who’s been ‘blessed’ with large breasts, or the one person at the party who didn’t get the memo that it wasn’t a costumed affair,
call them what you must to make yourself comfortable (an entirely different issue I’ll get to at some point beyond this post), but don’t stare. Don’t call them out. Do your best to keep on living your life without having to draw attention to whatever it is that is drawing your eye, because more often than not, you, the starer, are making the stare-ee RIDICULOUSLY uncomfortable.
I often hear the argument, “Hey, you’re the one with the tattoos/crazy hair/planet pants, why WEAR them if you don’t want people to notice? Isn’t that the POINT? What are you complaining about?!” and I get it. To the average Josephine, any one of these things just SCREAMS out for you to stare, and I don’t totally disagree with you – I’m making a statement with my hair, and even if I wasn’t and I was just doing it for fun, it invites attention. But that doesn’t mean STARING. It doesn’t mean trying to TOUCH my hair (or the hair of my friends of color, the worst) or grilling me about my choices well past the point of me being comfortable. The ACCEPTABLE way to show interest would be to glance, make quick eye contact with me and smile, maybe even a compliment or a question if I seem amenable to it, and DASSIT. Move on. Because as my mama and Thumper taught me, I’ll teach you: IF YOU CAN’T SAY NOTHIN NICE, DON’T SAY NOTHIN AT ALL.
And dammit, QUIT STARING.