Hello everybody. I hope you are all doing well and enjoying this frosty December weather. If you were to ask me how I was doing I would probably say, “not well bitch”.
If you don't get the Real Housewives of New York reference, then we definitely cannot be friends.
I am being dramatic anyway. I'm not doing too badly. But I am very fucking hungry,
I've been on a mad diet and all I seem to be eating is soup and drinking green tea and it's making me feel a little bit snarky- so apologies in advance.
Some of you might already be aware of this, but I work as a Barista in a very nice café/ bar in one of the surrounding areas of Manchester. Is it my dream job? No. But it is very flexible which works for me when I have other things going on outside of work. It also pays pretty well so I can't moan too much.
Because I have worked in the same café for as long as I have, there's a lot of customers who know me by name and are very interested in what I am doing with my life, relationships etc. and so I always try to reciprocate the same interests in their lives too. My day passes a lot quicker when it just feels like you're floating from friend to friend.
So imagine greeting a customer – a regular customer, who recognises you and always asks after you when you're not in and jokingly calls you her “boyfriend” to the rest of the team and have her reply by saying, “where have you been hiding? You've put on weight, haven't you?”.
Well in that moment I swear my jeans got tighter. My t-shirt might as well have been Lycra. My chin multiplied by 3. And I just wanted to fall in to a big black hoodie.
“Yep I have, thank you for noticing” I said (most likely with cake crumbs all around my chubby little face).
Now I have a lot of time for this particular lady who made this comment. She is very eccentric and amusing and has disclosed to all of us at work that she has dementia and often jokes about the amount of times she has left somewhere without paying. So when she makes this remark to me I know full-well that she isn't meaning it to offend me. She is of a completely different generation to me and strikes me as the kind of lady who says whatever is on her mind no matter who is watching or listening.
But it did get me thinking... when is being honest with somebody, too honest?
This isn't the first time I've been at work and a customer has passed remark on my appearance and it always tends to be the customers who you go the extra mile for and make feel welcome. Perhaps a bit too welcome welcome. Yes, I am friendly to you at work, I make jokes and we laugh until I can no longer fake it, but that doesn't authorise you to make comments which then lead me to feel self-conscious- it's almost like you give them an inch and they take a mile.
On one occasion, a customer who comes to where I work regularly told me I looked “really tired”. Well... chances are I was feeling tired babe, but I guess I'll run downstairs and pop some concealer on if it makes your tea taste nicer? This particular customer in question happens to have a face that resembles a screwed up plastic bag, but I wouldn't dream of asking them why they have so many wrinkles or if they have had a hard life.
I can also recall being told I looked “really pale” whilst at work which is another one of my pet peeves. Obviously from time to time I like to layer on a little bit of fake tan and I guess a select few have noticed this. Now I will be honest with you; do I feel better with it on? Abso-fucking-lutely! Do I have the energy to make this a daily/ weekly ritual? Abso-fucking-lutely not! And I will tell you why:
1. It's expensive.
2. It dries my skin out if I do it too much.
3. The whole process takes at least an hour and I simply cannot be arsed with that.
Now, if you pop in to where I work on a Saturday morning, you have more chance of seeing me looking bronzed than you will on a Wednesday morning, do you follow? I'm no longer a student so mid-week nights out are a rarity these days. So if I don't fancy layering on the Bondi Sans on a Tuesday night just so I can serve you your Flat White with a summer glow, then please refrain from telling me how pale I look. Cheers.
Being told I look pale has always bothered me. Occasionally my own mother would tell me I was looking pale, especially when I hadn't been back to the Lakes for a while and chances are, if I hadn't been on a night out the night before, I would look pale. My Mum is also very anti-sunbeds so unless she wants me to hammer those regularly, she's going to have to deal with her son resembling Casper the Friendly Ghost from time to time.
Often people comment on things that you are already aware/ conscious of so when they do voice their opinion masked as concern, it can come across very insulting. I know when I am looking tired, pale and fat, so I don't understand why you wouldn't just go and tell your Daughter/ Nephew/ Dog about how I looked behind my back rather than making me feel conscious of it for the rest of the day/ week.
You could probably ask anyone close to me and they would tell you that I am quite an honest friend. If somebody is doing something I don't agree with – I will tell them. If somebody is wrong in a situation- I will tell them. If I don't like somebody's outfit – I will wait to see if they ask me.
And that's the difference.
When it comes to personal appearance, I think we need to tread carefully. Offer an opinion if asked. How is telling somebody they look pale/ fat/ tired meant to come across like concern, when as human beings we are programmed to feel like all three of those things are negative? And due to the stigma attached to those comments, it instantly it comes across like an attack.
And for the record, I don't think that any of the people who passed comment on my appearance meant it from a place of malice, but I do think they should perhaps reconsider their delivery when it comes to sharing “concern”.
And apologies for the general tone of this blog post. I'm on some crazy ass diet and have only been eating soup so perhaps that explains why I am feeling so snarky.
GIVE ME A PIZZA!!!