Darling, coming up to Easter is a good time to talk of being virtuous.
Be the woman who fixes another woman’s crown without telling the world it was crooked
is such a good motto to live by and far better than the motto so many people seem to live by: always say your opinion when you think someone is making a mistake.
Unless it’s your small child or the person is on fire (in which case, much better to toss water than start a discussion), you must think carefully before offering opinions and advice. Feel free to jump in there with the “No, my sweet pumpkin, we do not attempt to tear the ears off of wombats, leave the nice animal alone” but other than that, proceed with caution.
I was reminded of this by two conversations this week. One was an innocuous chat with a colleague about what we doing over the weekend. “I need to go to the tailors,” I stated and my colleague was off to the races.: “Ohhhhh, I didn’t know you were RICHHHHHHH. I guess I should go shopping this weekend so I can keep up! Are you having a ballgown made?”
Sigh. With practiced aplomb, I shifted the conversation but truth-to-tell, I was going to bring in a linen sheet that had a hole worn through and a piece of fabric I wanted hemmed so I could use it as a tablecloth. Mundane and prosaic. Of course I do have a ballgown (several in fact) but going to a tailors in the Middle East is an everyday sort of affair. I get jeans hemmed and skirts taken in and all sorts of small repairs that make my life easier and save me from hours of needlework.
How lovely that this colleague does their own mending but no need for high horses or virtue signaling.
The second example was at a causal get together. We were talking about how we coped during Covid and one woman mentioned that she would sit in her car after going grocery shopping for a while, drink a soda, listen to the radio and file her nails before going home. Another expat piped up that such behavior was disgusting, nail dust would get all over the woman’s clothes and personal grooming should be done only in the bathroom, over the sink and on and on.
Sigh. Was that necessary? Not in the least, especially as the complainer was new to expat life in the Middle East. Grocery shopping is wearying (pasta sauce in three places and intermixed with salsa, sugar is next to coffee but salt is with the coconut milk, you never know what will be in stock and it was all worse in Covid trying to deal with masks and keeping safe). If Gertrude wanted to de-stress in her car before tackling driving home and putting groceries away – more power to her.
As someone who occasionally sees a stray eyebrow hair when glancing in the rear-view mirror and immediately dispatches it – if you are fully clothed and not driving erratically, what you do in your car is your own business.
If it’s your culture, watch Ben Hur and Easter Parade, dye eggs, eat chocolate bunnies (or bells) and, no matter what your background is, let other people live their lives in peace.
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How and Why to Not Yell at Waitstaff (even when they deserve it)