Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Foot in mouth

As I was getting off the tube last night, a man approached me. An aging surfer type.

Man: I just had to say I love your feet.
Me: ?
Man: I don’t mean to embarrass you but I love your shoes, your feet and your shoes. They are lovely. But I don’t want to embarrass you.
Me: Thank you.

I didn’t want to be embarrassed. I really didn’t but my checks were burning up by the end of this exchange. I didn’t know what to say. What is the correct response in these situations? I thought about telling him where the shoes were from and how little they cost (Peacocks £12), but I don’t think he wanted to buy a pair.

Instead I said thank you and then pretended I was in a bigger hurry to catch my train than I really was.


M said...

How very strange and unnerving. Don't you wish you had a hip pocket, snappy something to come back with in a situation lke that? I never do.

Once I was in the airport in Atlanta changing planes. A man walked by me, turned around, came back and asked me what sort of stockings (panty hose) I was wearing. He said I had beautiful legs, and he wanted to buy some for his girlfriend. I had no idea what to say. It was unnerving, really.

SandDancer said...

Its awful, isn't it? I like to think of myself as pretty easy-going, but really I can't see how to deal with this other than be embarrassed or rude and I don't think it calls for rudenss really.

The French have a phrase which I can't remember how to spell that means thinking of the ideal thing to say when its too late - it translates as something like wit of the staircase. But in this situation a day later, I still can't think of a good response.

M said...

There isn't one. It wasn't a proper comment, so there is no proper response.

In my younger days, I tended to be a bit snappier with things.

Case in point: As a small child, I suffered a burn on my neck, and some of the scarring is still visible, although it has faded greatly over the years. But earlier in my life, I was so amazed that sometimes a perfect stranger would ask me 'what happened to your neck'? I was so appalled, I would look at them with a straight face, not bat an eye and respond, "I was born a Siamese twin, joined at the neck. The other one didn't make it." Straight face, no smirk. They'd be speechless after that.

Payback is hell. :)

SandDancer said...

That is a brilliant response - although you've hit a nerve with me as I have a phobia of Siamese twins (I know it isn't their fault but I'm terrified of them).

M said...

I think I hit a nerve with a lot of people with that response, and I bet they weren't so quick to ask 'those' types of questions after that. :)

Anonymous said...

that is just to bizarre - I'd be just the smae, starign confused then hours later coem up with a witty response, at the time tho I never think of anything

Miss Forthright said...

That feet comment is very unnerving. Yuck.

Random people ask what happened to my arm a lot. I usually change the subject. It's bloody cheeky to ask such questions.