Post # 1
I know the thread title is weird, but I’ve been noticing something lately and wanted to know if other bees have had similar experiences. If you have something about you that is distinctive from the majority, such as a certain accent, very tall, very short or an otherwise unique “look,” do you find that people feel the need to point it out and comment extensively about it even upon first meeting you?
(if you’ve seen me around the board, then you know I definitely have a little story to share, so here goes:)
I’m new to the area where I live, so my husband and I have been going out of our way to attend stuff to get to know people. I was at a gathering recently. I knew some folks there, but many I was meeting for the first time. So I joined a convo with a group of new acquaintances who were sharing tips about what nail and hair salons they frequent. I nodded along politely and inserted a few “oh reallys” and “how interestings” to demonstrate my active listening. However, being new to the area, I didn’t really have anything of substance to contribute. One of the ladies hushes the rest of them, turns attention to me and says, “Wait. How are you ever going to find anyone to do YOUR hair?!” Full disclosure: my unique characteristic is my big kinky/curly hair. I replied that I do my own hair, everbody gave me a half-hearted “oh, really/how interesting” and we moved along. The same lady once again turned everyone’s attention back to me to say “you do your own hair? It must be so much work. What all do you do to it? Wait, do you even get haircuts? Or do you just let it…” (she trailed off). I just replied that everything she gets done in a salon, I do at home. Then she just KEEPS asking questions about “well how do you wash it? what styles do you put it in? etc.” And I explained that, like everyone, I wash, condition and occasionally trim my hair. I also style my hair according to how I feel. Again, the conversation picked up steam and moved in another direction. And then yep, you guessed it, she shushed everyone again to mention that there are some African immigrants in a certain part of town and that maybe I should go there and ask around if anyone will be able to do my hair. I thanked her for the half-baked suggestion but reminded her that I do my own hair and that that wouldn’t be necessary. The conversation moved along for good that time, but I was just amazed at the lengths to which this person was willing to go JUST to point out how “different” I am because of my hair (and it’s just hair. I don’t have, like, ivy growing out of my scalp or anything). I mean, we can all see me. Yes, I look a little different from most of you. But calling that much attention to it is weird to me.
I wasn’t offended, but became slightly uncomfortable with all this attention being heaped on me for something that I see in the mirror everyday. Have you ever had someone highlight your “otherness” to a point that it made you feel uncomfortable or it made you question the asker’s intentions?
Post # 2
Ugh, that would make me feel uncomfortable too.
I’m unusually short for a caucasian woman, 5’0″. Depending on where I am, I get loads of attention about it. People give me stupid nicknames (In my office, coworkers are calling me the “Elf on a Shelf” right now), ask me questions about how I survive (uncomfortably and incoveniently, that’s for sure), and try be “helpful”… like, “Do you need me to reach that for you?” and “I saw this pixie-sized chair/footrest/stool over in ergonomics and I thought of you…” It’s annoying but it usually comes from a good place, so I let it go.
Post # 3
Overjoyed: that is seriously obnoxious.
I have really little feet. Actually, they’re not as tiny as they look but they are small – I’m 5’4 and wear a size 6 but they tend to look smaller. People comment on it all the time.
I’ve had people ask how I walk, how I can stand, why don’t I tip over….it’s so strange.
Post # 4
is_a_belle: I’m so sorry, but I chuckled at “elf on a shelf.” But yeah, I can imagine it’s so annoying people asking how you “survive.” I mean, I’m here, right. I’m making it. Don’t really care to discuss it any further, though.
Post # 5
- Wedding: May 2018 - City, State
Ugh annoying! I have very pronounced dimples and everyone new I meet comments on them and tells me how adorable they are. Seemingly not a problem, but part of my job is to meet new contacts at networking events, it gets weird when these people would rather talk about my adorable dimples than the work I do…
Post # 6
Wow! I would be so annoyed with that lady. People will often interrupt me when I’m talking to ask me how my teeth are so white. I use crest white strips (they really work, if anyone is wondering). Sometimes we’ll go through the whole crest white strip conversation, like how many times did I have to whiten to get them so white and how I maintain the whiteness…omg who cares?
Eta: I whiten to make up for the fact that my teeth are crooked and my family couldn’t afford for me to get braces when I was younger.
Post # 7
Yeah, people seem to think I look weird too -_-” I have dark brown hair, brown eyes and and white skin, and am of Eastern European background.
1. Everywhere I go, people stare. Last week I even had someone on a train blatantly gawking at me, his facial features arranged into an expression of what looked like fear and disturbance. It was as if he were looking at an alien.
2. People constantly refer to me as “ethnic” or “exotic”. This really irritates me because I was born and raised in the country in which I live, and English is my first language. I’ve also never said anything about my culture, as for the most part I live like anyone else in my country. There is nothing ethnic or exotic about me. It really annoys me when I talk about my past as a dancer (for example) and the person interjects to say, “You mean ethnic dancing, right?” Ugh, this boils my blood. Not to mention the fact that people assume I only eat food from my culture, and they say things like, “Why would you go to a Chinese restaurant? Don’t you only eat ___ food?” What a stupid assumption. I eat like anyone else.
Sorry, this became a personal rant. I’m glad to have gotten that out. Hair questions annoy me too, but that’s a whole other thing. For some reason I’ve spent a *lot* of time researching natural kinky/curly hair, but most people find it this weird thing that they can’t comprehend, sadly. It makes them act pretty rude.
Post # 8
Overjoyed: Well, I thought it was pretty funny at first, too… but now I can’t unsee it. I kind of do look like the Elf on a Shelf. :-/
Post # 9
I would be annoyed because you were making it clear that you didn’t want to discuss or need any of their input. However, if I were there, I would be completely fascinated to know and would probably drill you on everything you do. This would be more to help with my nieces hair because she also has that kind of hair and for the first 5 years of her life, we would ask anyone about advice.
I am also a question asker because I’m very curious about things…and some people take it as being judgmental. I like to hear WHY someone made x decision or something like that…it really drove my Darling Husband nuts at first..”why aren’t you hungry..”, “why do you like this game…”. He now says why to me as a greeting.
Post # 10
I’m all leg. Seriously, they are freaking long and don’t match my body due to a short torso. Most of my life people ask me if i play basketball. Uh, no. Just because I’m an amazon doesn’t meant I shoot hoops. I used to be self conscious about my height and legs, but eh, i don’t have time for that now. People could stop staring though, if they only knew that I haven’t shaved my legs in over a month. Bet that would make them stop looking real fast.
Post # 11
SweetShe: lol @ “why” as a greeting! That’s hilarious. And it wasn’t that I didn’t want to talk about it, it was that focusing on my hair because it’s different (to her; It’s normal to me and to my friends/family). That’s why I was eager to re-direct the conversation away from me and back to its original subject. If she had said “Listen, I have a half-hispanic niece and I’m looking for advice on how to care for her hair, can you recommend anything?” I wouldn’t have been able to shut up about products and technique and blogs and my hair routine. But in a conversation in which a half dozen straight-haired white women are discussing beauty (in general, not specifically talking about their own hair issues), her going out of her way to point out my otherness and what issues she perceives I “must” have with my own hair felt a little obnoxious.
ETA: also, “oh, just go wander around the refugee neighborhood. I’m sure someone there will be able to help you with your utterly unimaginable and exotic hair needs.” Can you be anymore insensitive/ignorant?
Post # 12
mrsfiddlesticks: I hear ya! I’m very tall as well and at least once per day from ages 9-29, someone asked me if I play basketball. The only reason I don’t hear it as much anymore is because I no longer live in the U.S.
Post # 13
I’m pretty short, people seem to like to point that out. Usually it doesn’t bother me but sometimes it’s annoying- “Wow, you’re short!” “Umm….yes?”.
Sometimes it’s pretty funny though. I hung out with a friend and her new boyfriend a few times, usually at her house and always sitting around. The first time we went out somewhere that involved standing, he was like “Whoa! I didn
t realize you were so short- were usually sitting down when we hang out!”
Post # 14
i am 5 feet and wear size 4.5 shoe. people comment on my height and how tiny my feet are all the time. i say i’m just proportional. and i should add i look much younger than my age, so that gets a lot of comments as well.
when i first moved into my house, i had a man over to give me an estimate on some work. it was around 2:30 and he looks at his watch and asks when the kids are coming home. i asked him what kids, i didn’t have any. he kept insisting about what time the kids were coming home. then he said, well there are so many little shoes outside. i said those are mine.
i did not hire this guy.
Post # 15
Overjoyed: I’m quite tall (5’10”) and it used to get a lot of attention, but doesn’t seem to any longer. I wonder if it’s because the next generation of young women is even taller, so now I’m just “tallish”? But being tall isn’t exactly controversial, so it’s not something that’s ever bothered me either way. It’s sort of nice to have a way to stand out, actually.
While I completely understand seeing kinky hair as a fascinating wonder I think it’s best to just google your questions and not needle someone you hardly know for all the details.