Coming out of my last class at university, I was stopped by a young man holding a stack of papers. He pulled me to the side and put one of the papers in front of me, asking me to read the title of the poem he had written (entitled “You’re Beautiful), and told me to “read this whenever you’re having a bad day”. I looked it over, feeling pretty uncomfortable at his insistence that I read it, simply by his body language. He stood in front of me, watching my reaction as I finished it. Upon reading it all, he said “so, what do you think?”
What I wanted to say was: “First of all, as a woman, I don’t need ANYONE to tell me I am beautiful, nor do I NEED to be beautiful, or at least YOUR shitty standard of beautiful. If I am to be considered beautiful, it will be on my terms. Secondly, the fact that you would automatically equate what you think my bad day is with not feeling beautiful/pretty/attractive (because that’s every woman’s goal in life, right?) proves to me that you are just another sexist, entitled ass that thinks he is doing me a FAVOR by “complimenting” me.
Of course, as a woman, I gave the answer I have been conditioned to give to strangers’ “compliments”. “It’s sweet. Thank you.”
I immediately regretted this reaction, and as he walked away pridefully, I took out a pen and scribbled what I really wanted to say on the back of the paper. I found him in the hallway a couple minutes later, in the process of handing another unsuspecting woman a copy of his bullshit.
At first chance, I handed it to him, gave him a look, and went on my way. I truly hope he got the message.