Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Praying Mantis

We went to the pool the other day and there was a dad there with 2 girls who looked around the same age. I'm guessing the girls were probably 12-13 and I believe he may have been their step-dad. They all jumped in the pool and soon he was tossing the girls from his shoulders. I thought it was fun they were all playing together.

Then I heard him say, "You are light as a feather! It's so different from having your sister on my shoulders, it's like having a wild buck up there when she's jumping. You are so light it's like nothing!" and I thought it was kind of a dickish thing to say, but that he probably hadn't realized how it sounded.

I looked up to glance at the heavy one and was surprised to see that I couldn't tell which one would be heavier. The girls were right around the same height and body shape, they may have even been twins. So I watched behind my sunglasses as they continued jumping to see if one was especially clumsy, and I could find no difference in the two girls except that he continued to complain how heavy the one was and even suggested that she start swimming laps daily.

"Have you ever seen a Praying Mantis?" he asked the one he liked. She hadn't. "It's a type of bug, really tall and thin and willowy. Super light! You remind me of one, so skinny."

I hopped in the pool and swam over to Mr. Ashley. "Do you hear this guy?"

"Yes. What the hell is his problem? They're the same size!" he whispered.

I was floating near them again and was trying to think of a way to laughingly say "You're crazy! They're both in great shape!" next time he complained, but I could tell that he was a tough guy who wouldn't have taken it well and that it may have led to additional torture for "the fat one". His wife and her mother eventually showed up and I thought for sure it would stop once they were present, but nope, several more remarks about the size of this perfectly average pre-teen.

After 10 minutes of hearing him insist that he was the only person he knew that couldn't float (because of the size of his muscles--*insert ginormous eye roll here*) and a declaration that only "shit floats" (whispered conspiratorially to the "skinny girl"), Mr. Ashley and I had to leave early because I could no longer control myself from openly glaring at him and snorting in derision.

Interestingly, his wife was wearing a bathing suit she had NO BUSINESS wearing. Maybe homeboy should try suggesting that she swim some laps.


PaperCourt said...

Sadly, that girl will probably forever have body image issues. What an ass!

Anonymous said...

That makes me so sad :( He apparently has no idea that when we are young - what the men in our lives say about us stick with us for a long time. That poor girl is forever going to be looking for approval from him. If you see them again maybe you can randomly say something to her about how wonderful she is.

Jennifer said...

I don't understand people that do stuff like this at all. The other girl probably gets that crap at home all the time and her self esteem will be in the toilet.

Bren said...

I am not sure I would have been able to hold my tongue. I KNOW I would have said things under my breath - though loud enough to hear. What a jerk! It's one thing to be compared to a sibling but then to be ragged on constantly is just horrible!

Unknown said...

I wish I had said something early on. People at our pool are very friendly/talkative so it wouldn't have been too out of bounds to jokingly tell him he was nuts and they were both beautiful, but by the time I thought to do it I was so riled up that I knew I wouldn't pull off the light-hearted tone that would be necessary to avoid a confrontation.

When I see them again, if I can even figure out which one was the heavy one (they looked so similar!), I plan on asking where she got her bikini and mentioning that it looks great on her and I wish I could pull off something so cute.

Poor girl, the whole thing was so cruel and kind of creepy.

Preppy Pink Crocodile said...

That's beyond sad! And sort of makes me think he might be far too interested in that little girl.

Sara said...

I actually do know what that asswipe is talking about. My 6 yr old and his 5 yr old (only 5 months younger than mine) cousin are the same size. Stand them side by side and they could seriously be twins. But boy, when you lift my kiddo up, it's like lifting a bag of bricks. Pick up his cousin and it's nothing. My boy is just built thicker or something-more muscle? Who knows. But I do know what the asswipe is talking about. But there is no way in hell that I would repeatedly throw that in the other one's face like he did.

bootsie q. mcgromblestein said...

worse than that...

what if the one girl had previously been a little heavier and he had made her feel so shitty that she now has some kind of eating disorder or just tortures herself into being thinner? if that were the case, he's probably still being a jerk thinking it will keep her from reverting back to her old chunkier self. regardless, he's being a dick and that girl is probably deeply insecure, which no one should ever be, much less at that age. like she doesn't have enough weird emotional/hormonal things going on!

i AM the sort of person who would have snapped at him and never cared what anyone thought about it.

i hope you see them again so you can have the opportunity to compliment her and possibly punch him in his balls.

It's the wife said...

How were the girls reacting to his comments? Did either one seem bothered by it? I also think he sounds a little too interested in the "thinner" one.

SkitzoLeezra said...

Ashley, as a sister of the loud mouth cotillion, I'm a bit surprised with your non-reaction but understand because when I am shocked, I am usually quiet, a rarity.
I'm like Bootsie Q. McGromblestein up there, big mouth and don't care. Am I scared of an ass kickin'? Sure. Worth it? Yep.
Your redeeming moment is sharing this story and riling up all your wonderful readers. We'll be better prepared when confronted by such asshole-ry and have our reactions at the ready.
Thanks for sharing with us!

Paige said...

of course he should not do that--but is it better to talk about mama and her need to not wear a swim suit?

I am a fat chick who realizes she is not going to look good no matter what--and people are going to talk--so why in the hell should I not be comfortable in the swimsuit I want to wear?

now granted, I will wear a tank top in public, but why should I have to do that?

so I can avoid the stares.

Why dont people think its good that I am ok with my body instead of fearing them laughing at me?

Living by example is stronger than telling a little girl its ok, and then hiding yourself.

Live it, dont tell it

Anonymous said...

This would have been a perfect opportunity to tell little kid that the guy in the pool was a bad guy:). I'm kidding, but ugh what a jerk!

Unknown said...

Paige, I normally wouldn't even notice the mom (okay, maybe I'd notice because it was one of those weird little one pieces with the sides cut out and I think they're odd, especially if you aren't 15 and/or 6' tall and 100lbs), it was more that I know his punk ass wouldn't harass someone closer to his own size, age and station in life. I personally don't think you should wear a tank top over your bathing suit and at least where I live, no one would be staring or caring enough to bother (unless you were with an emotionally abusive jerk that was calling attention to you both).

The girls didn't laugh but didn't seem upset either, they just completely ignored it each time and continued jumping--so maybe they don't care or are used to it, just the frequency of the comments was bizarre. I never heard either one even respond to it.

It didn't seem worth jeopardizing my future pool enjoyment over (only a handful of families use the pool, so I will see them again). He was one of those muscle-y guys that walks with a swagger and thinks he's tough and I also got the feeling that if I embarrassed him, he'd take it out on her later.

Unknown said...

What a prick! I also agree that his comments toward the "skinny" girl were highly inappropriate and quite creepy. Ew.

Julie H said...

10 bucks says that later on in life she WILL be heavier. That's what that kind of talk does to you.