I called a man a Palestine the other day. Well, I almost did. I actually wanted to call him a philistine which, turns out, wasn’t even the right word anyway.
It got me thinking though, about the reason that I wanted to shout at him at all, especially as I’m really not one to shout at people in the street.
I was walking to Tesco with my young colleague at lunchtime. A gentleman walked passed us, looked my colleague up and down and said, “mmm nice shape, yeah!” with a big grin on his face.
Feeling she’d been Weinstein’d, I became incensed and said “excuse me?!” as he passed. He then repeated it, eager to ensure the compliment was received, missing my tone completely.
I said “That’s not acceptable anymore you know… it never really was!”, if I was quicker off the mark, I’d have said “’Time’s up’ buster!” Honestly though, he looked bewildered. That’s when “you Palestine!” popped into my head.
But was it so wrong, what he said? People admire people all the time. If people tell me they like my hair I’m not offended.
But to comment on someone’s body, with such a sexual overtone (the “yeah!” punctuating his desire) It’s just not on. I wouldn’t go “corrrr, nice arse!” to a passing cyclist. I might think it (and I’m not going to lie, I regularly do), but I wouldn’t say it. Also, it did make my colleague feel uncomfortable, but was it my place to make the comment? Not really.
If I’m being really honest, I think I may have been annoyed because the gentleman concerned seemed more like someone who would be in my limited fan base. So maybe I was just put out that he complimented her and not me. This, my friend, is hard to admit.
So whilst I conclude that he didn’t behave well and was a bit of a Neanderthal (finally, the right word), I find that I’m more at fault than him.
Thank goodness though that I didn’t call him a Palestine, or a philistine! Being judgemental and passive aggressive is one thing (actually, it’s two), but incorrect use of English is unforgivable.