Think rules don’t apply to them. Because this individual believes they are more important than everyone else, they will disregard any rules that hinder them getting what they want. They won’t follow directions on how to complete jobs, will disregard waiting their turn, and will ignore any other rules. These same people, however, are quick to point out when others don’t follow rules and inconvenience them.
This morning I swam laps as I usually do on Friday mornings. Then I spent some time in the hot tub. One of my favorite ways to treat myself after swimming is a few minutes in the hot tub. I stretch, let the jets massage my back, thighs and the arches of my feet. It’s lovely.
Today, when I lowered myself into the warm water, there was a man in the corner on his cell phone. He was in a chatty conversation with someone and there was no sign he was going to end his call. I tried to figure out how to ask him to use his phone somewhere else without sounding as annoyed as I was. Then another woman entered the hot tub and asked if I had said anything to him yet. When I told her no, she asked him if he could take his phone call outside of the hot tub. He became verbally abusive, arguing with her about his right to use his phone, telling her she was rude and that he was going to report her, arguing that there were no signs anywhere saying he could not use his phone.
Most people might have said, “I’m so sorry, let me wrap this up,” or just done as she asked and moved his conversation elsewhere, but this man was instead furious that anyone had dared to comment on his behavior.
And I believe he was angry that a woman had the audacity to suggest he was not being sensitive to the rest of us. I can almost guarantee that if a man had asked him the same question, his response would have been, “sure, dude.”
Another swimmer joined us in the hot tub and he continued to carry on with his phone call. We talked about this man’s seeming feelings of entitlement and lack of concern for other members of the gym. Our voices were loud. It felt wonderful.
He eventually got out of the hot tub and went to speak with a lifeguard complaining about the rudeness of being asked to take his conversation elsewhere. I was leaving at the same time, so I walked over and joined the conversation.
When I told the lifeguard that the woman he was complaining about had not been rude, he began to yell at me saying “this is none of your business, I have no issue with you, stay out of it.” I said, “wait a minute, I was there so it is my business.” He talked over me which made something in me snap. How dare he try to silence me? How dare he try to silence any of us?
I did not stop stop talking.
I felt empowered. The women I had met in the hot tub had courage that I decided to borrow. No one is going to tell me to shut up, especially someone like that. I had not said anything when it was just me because I worried he might respond this way. But the awareness that I wasn’t being ‘too sensitive’ as I’ve been chastised when younger, was exhilarating!
Later, as I told my husband about this incident, I felt proud. For once, I had found the courage to stand up to an entitled man. Even better, I think I made two new friends.
I have always found it easier to speak out when I see someone else being mistreated. It is harder when it’s my own comfort being neglected.
Witnessing another woman take charge and not back down was inspiring and gave me strength to speak up.
Speaking out is not easy. In today’s world, civility feels rare. But we must find the courage to speak out when appropriate. We must find the courage because if we don’t, we give voice to the jerks among us. Their voice becomes the only one heard.
We are all entitled to our own opinions, but we are not entitled to be nasty to others. What I had most feared (nastiness) was exactly what my new friend got when she spoke up. But she did it anyway. Bravo!
I believe most people are kind and respectful. We cannot give up using our voices because of the small percentage of loud and rude human beings.
I walked away feeling stronger. Yes, it was uncomfortable, but the experience reminded me of the value of speaking up.
Instead of leaving a situation feeling annoyed, I felt strong. I felt powerful.