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Employees At Fancy Hotels Divulge Their Best Secrets

Reddit user akumamatata8080 asked: 'People who work at super fancy hotels, what kind of stuff happens that management doesn’t want people to know about?'

Gold chandeliers at hotel
Photo by Rodrigo Curi on Unsplash

Most of us who have not worked in hospitality have dreamed of having a nice getaway for a weekend, or staying in a top-rated hotel, and relaxing in one of its best suites.

But those who have worked in hospitality are ready to point out some of the unexpected features and oddities that circulate around these fancier accommodations.


Redditor akumamatata8080 asked:

"People who work at super fancy hotels, what kind of stuff happens that management doesn't want people to know about?"

Cross-Contamination

"During housekeeping, hotels use different colored cloths to wipe your drinking glasses, cutlery, toilets, and sinks to avoid contamination. They just didn’t bother separating these cloths after wiping and moving to the next room."

- curry-sauce

The Secret Lives of Guests

"I did valet at an upscale hotel in Southern Florida, and the number of times I parked luxury vehicles with drugs haphazardly or precariously stowed in obvious places always blew me away."

"Not surprisingly, those guests were great tippers as they learned who to trust."

- lazerayfraser

Attention to Detail

"We take notes on your reservation profile. Everything from anniversary information to favorite cocktails and foods. We add notes to pass along to other staff."

- dez_navi

Four-Legged Stowaways

"$2k per night and this place has a serious rat problem."

- prof_dynamite

"Could be worse. My hotel has silly rats."

- snapwillow

What in the Mortuary

"It's pretty common to have a dead guest. There's a standard procedure for it and we take care of it quietly."

- Why_am_I_here033

Casino Funds

"I have a pretty interesting one. We know criminal enterprises have funded casinos in the past. I worked at Revel Casino (now Ocean) in Atlantic City before and after its opening."

"One thing they kept mentioning in our onboarding was that the triads were funding the casino. I thought it was super strange that these execs were just openly telling brand new hires."

- hornet_Critical

Like-New Beds

"I only work as a housekeeper at a regular four-star Hotel, but probably about 25% of people either bleed or leave s**t stains on the beds. It's truly atrocious how disgusting people are, especially when they know someone else is cleaning it up. Even the wealthier guests."

"And the best tippers are the cleanest people."

"If someone fully s**t on the bed and used towels to wipe, drank heavily and puked on the carpet in multiple places, and clogged the toilet, that person will not tip at all."

"But the person who barely used the full bed and didn't use the shower at all and was super clean and polite, now that's a good tipper."

- kpo987

Endless Supply of Gossip

"We turn a blind eye to drug dealers more often than you think. They hardly complain and usually pre-pay huge bonds happily. Also, we don't give a s**t if you're having an affair."

- NotTheGary_JustGary

Odd Celebrity Stories

"I worked cooking at an ultra-exclusive resort in Utah ($3k-$12k/night)."

"Nothing that exciting happened in my year there. I found a bottle in the tallboy (large fridge) labeled 'Kristen Belle's Breastmilk. DO NOT USE.'"

"I had put in my two weeks' notice and was really drunk on a day off, and made a post on Facebook about how Gordon Ramsay was coming and I hoped he wasn't filming 'Kitchen Nightmares' with us. I was fired within 24 hours, lol (laughing out loud). I did get to cook fish tacos for him and his family, though, and I heard he complimented the dinner kitchen crew directly (partially open kitchen), which is cool."

- OM3N1R

Poor Cruise Care

"A good friend of mine is a pilot. It's his first professional job. He flies an air ambulance. It's not typically picking up unstable patients in need of urgent care. More like repositioning stable patients."

"The vast majority of people he flies come from the cruise ship industry. If you get sick or injured on a cruise ship, they will dump you at the next port. It doesn't matter if the port doesn't have the kind of medical help you need. They just need you off the ship."

"It very well is up to you to arrange a private flight with medical crew to reposition you from Tobago to Tampa to get the medical help you really need."

- DoctFaustus

Collecting Stories

"We had an entire wing of the hotel infested with bedbugs. They just move through the walls from one room to the next. We waged a war of attrition that took years, and cost a lot of money, but we never stopped renting the rooms."

"We had one old guy though who was rich, divorced several times over, he just retired in the hotel. He had a room on the ground level right around the corner from the hotel bar. I don't know what he paid for it, but it wasn't cheap, and he furnished his own room."

"Everyone on staff knew his habits, knew his drink, knew when to leave him alone or when he wanted to chat. The funniest thing was, after he passed, he'd pre-booked his memorial at a totally different hotel. He liked his privacy, I guess. RIP, Hal."

- machuitzil

Bed Bug Horror Stories

"I worked cheap hotels and this is super common; even heat treating rooms professionally and quarantining nearby rooms they would always pop up somewhere weeks later through an air duct."

"When I check in to any motel or hotel, the first thing I do before bringing my bag in is lift the mattress and check the seams for bed bugs or blood spots. You can learn how from Youtube if you don't get first-hand experience."

"The crazy thing is if they spent a few thousand to bag every mattress they'd cut down on it significantly."

- galkasmash

Wild Stories

"I worked in room service at a very chic hotel in Miami. One guest requested that a specific waitress (not a room service worker) always deliver him food. Not exactly sure what went on in there, but he tipped her with a big bag of weed each time, which she would promptly bring back to share with the room service staff."

"I can confirm that the concierge will get you WHATEVER you want..."

"We had a local couple, who were staying with us to avoid being served for a lawsuit. We weren't allowed to say that they were staying there. The police eventually showed up for them."

"There were several times when guests would come to the front desk claiming the maids had stolen something from their room. They would be irate, demanding we call the police. Every. Single. Time. They found the item either in their luggage or car or their travel companions had moved/packed the item."

"One gentleman claimed that he forgot his very expensive camera in his room. My manager pulled up a video that showed him packing up his car, placing the camera on top of the car, and driving off without realizing it."

- SnarkyVamp

Questionable Christmas Bonus

"I used to work in accounts receivable for a couple of luxury hotels that were owned by the same LLC. We would open blocks of rooms for GENERIC SPORTS SEASON about eight months in advance."

"Due to high demand, these reservations had to be a two-day FRI, SAT stay. The payment was made in full (450-800 depending on room type). Refunds were available only if you canceled a month before the arrival date."

"When I first started in the position, I discovered $63,000 worth of reservations that had been canceled on time but were never refunded."

"I showed it to my manager, an absolutely incompetent woman who couldn't check in a guest if she needed to, she got back to me after discussing it with one of the owners."

"I can't remember how exactly she put it but I was told to just forget the matter and not to mention it to anyone. I got a $500 dollar cash Christmas bonus that year."

- Weirda**mustache

Secret Security

"Not a hotel employee, but associated with a popular convention that everyone would recognize."

"The convention attendees get so out of control that the hotel will only host the convention if they have a private security force."

"Since the private security isn't law enforcement or licensed, they do pretty much whatever it takes to keep trouble out of the public eye. Mostly it's locking people up in rooms or escorting them out of town, but they can get rough at times."

"But none of the convention attendees know they are there and the hotel staff pretends they don't see them. Even those who run afoul of them don't know exactly who it was that grabbed them."

- rusty0123

While everyone might think that staying at a fancy hotel would be great fun, it may not be such an enjoyable experience for those who work there. With all kinds of questionable behaviors performed by guests, not to mention the messes that need to be cleaned up, that fancy hotel may not feel so fancy for very long.

Surprisingly Sexy: Things Guys Do That They Don't Realize Are A Turn-On

Reddit user finnjakefionnacake asked: 'What things do men do that are sexy that they don't realize are sexy?'

More often than not, when men try to do something "sexy" in an effort to impress a woman, it tends to backfire on them.

Perhaps it is the visible amount of effort behind what they're doing or the fact that they don't do it as well as the movie star they took inspiration from.

Either way, despite their best efforts, women tend to find this sort of behavior anything but sexy.

In fact, more often than not, men have a way of turning people on without them even realizing it.

As it's often the little things that can make someone blush, anything from opening a door or slicing into a ripe tomato.

Redditor finnjakefionnacake was eager to hear all the sexy things men do without their even realizing it, leading them to ask:

"What things do men do that are sexy that they don't realize are sexy?"

When They Don't Even Know Their Own Strength

"Was getting busy with a girl one time and her head was too close to the headboard, trying to save her a potential concussion, I moved backwards and grabbed her under her hips and pulled / lifted her about two feet down the bed towards me."

"The sound she made and the look she gave me is still in my head lol."

"Afterwards she brought it up and said it was incredibly sexy how I could just handle and move her around so easily with so little effort."- Mage2177

So, So, Hot...

"I once changed a radiator in my house and that, without doubt, got me more attention and flattery from the women in my life than anything else I've ever done."- Jasper-Packlemerton

It's The NOT Knowing...

"It’s a trap fellas, just live in ignorant bliss."

"Once you realize something is sexy, you will become a self-conscious dork about it and it will no longer be sexy."- PMMeUrHopesNDreams

What Just Happened Wtf GIF by SomeGoodNewsGiphy

Magic Fingers

"My bf and I went to eat at this restaurant before we knew we had feelings for each other."

"While I would talk he would either laugh or smile and once while doing so he circled the rim of his glass with his finger."

"I later found out that he did it unconditionally but I short-circuited while he did it."- AsasLowkey

To Each Their Own...

"An ex of mine once got turned on when I told her I put a hand on the wall when I pee."

"I’m not sure I fully understand that one."- PaleAleDale

One Hand, One Heart...

"My wife has told me taking my shirt off with one hand is a thing."

"That kind of blew my mind."- trugrav

"One- handed steering wheel grip, reverse parking with their arm resting behind the passenger seat."- getupandstudy

motor oil shot GIFGiphy

Doing It For The Thrills... And Then Some...

"My girlfriend was locked out of her apartment and I picked her lock."

"I picked the hell out of that lock."- paulo39Atati

Hits The Spot...

"My heart does a little flip each time my significant other, ever so slightly puts his hand on my back when we’re walking (to guide me), or if he’s trying to squeeze by behind me."

" I don’t know why that gets me fired up lol."- princess19977

Knowledge Is Power!

"Being booksmart."

"If I ask my boyfriend a history question and he randomly knows the answer to it or if I ask about a math problem and watching him figure it out is the hottest thing, like yea you divide those numbers baby."- maneaterlex

Matt Damon Math GIF by MIRAMAXGiphy

Nice And Oily...

"An ex said it was hot watching me change her car's oil."- SafeAndSane04

Compassion Is Always The Answer

"Caring for helpless things."- Maleficent_Scale_296

Speed Can Be A Turn On...

"There was a study done in Japan to see what school-aged ladies saw as attractive in their male counterparts and 'running fast' was like number one or two for elementary and middle schoolers."- Embershot89

Run Fast Running Man GIF by TRTGiphy

There's Someone Out There For Everyone

"I heard one million power in 'Rise of Kingdoms' gets you any girl you want."- Key_Vermicelli_3138

Strong And Efficient...

"Carrying as many folding chairs as you can at once."- KbossDPT2019

Most of the time, the sexiest things are also the most unexpected.

That being said, any good boyfriend knows that a wet t-shirt now and then can't hurt...

Most people think that by the time they're in their 30s, they'll have their life together.

It's only when they get to that point that they realize that's not totally true.

Maybe those in their 30s have a job, are in a serious relationship, and have a home. Perhaps they're married or have kids.

However, that doesn't mean they don't make mistakes.

According to Reddit, people in their 30s make all kinds of mistakes, and Redditors are ready to share what those mistakes are.

It all started when Redditor cthulhu34 asked:

"What’s a common mistake people make in their 30s?"

Toxicity

"Stay in unhealthy toxic relationships."

– Lavenderplatte

"Alternatively, leaving healthy relationships because you’re bored and want to have fun."

– numenik

Too Scary

"Romanticizing your 20s and fearing your 40s. (live where you are)."

– theresites

"This is so good. So easy to romanticize the past and fear the future. Life is organic and so are we. We will keep changing and often times in a good way (stronger, wiser, more confident etc.). I'm so happy to be who I am at 37."

– iamnottheuser

Compare and Contrast

"Comparing their lifestyle to other 30-somethings."

– Affectionate_Item_51

"This is a good one. Your peer’s success can seem perfect from afar and make you feel inadequate."

"But if you sit down and talk with them you will learn all sorts of shortcomings and difficulties in their life that will make you appreciate something about yourself and your situation."

"In other words we all just out here tryna function."

– ThunderBobMajerle

It's Never Too Late

"Thinking they are too old. Never too late to switch career paths or look for a new relationship or start taking care of your health."

– Mans_Got_Cheaks

"Almost 40, just started my MBA. Never too old!"

– AbsoluteCP

"It's absolutely never too late. I'm 42 and honestly feel like everything is getting better, ESPECIALLY dating and relationships in general. It's a relief to finally know myself and what I want."

"Also, I'm returning to study next year and looking forward to a career change. Having a beginner's mindset, always curious and learning. My dad is an inspiration, her had a stroke in his 60's and changed his life. After he recovered, he got a divorce, moved countries and decided to study medicine. He's now in his 70's living this dream and working as a doctor. It's never too late!"

"I feel and look younger than when I was 30! I know many people well into their 60's and 80's with this growth mindset and I'm determined to be like that until I die."

– Tank_Grill

Healthy Living

"Not exercising enough and eating a crappy diet. You can't get away with those things anymore like you did in your 20's."

– DeathSpiral321

"My doc told me at the end of last year that I'm not 16 anymore and now is the time in my life where I get to decide whether I want to see my daughters grow up or whether I wanna die of a heart attack in my 50s. Sh*t cut deep but I got the message lol."

"Dropped 40 pounds since January and might be in the best shape of my life tbh."

– Misdirected_Colors

Friends Forever

"Your 30s is when you are really in the thick of "adulting". It's easy to loose focus on what is really important to you among all the demands and responsibilities."

"Not Fostering Friendships: As you enter your 30s, maintaining and nurturing friendships becomes more challenging. It's a time when connections can fade, and forming new ones becomes harder. It's very important to invest effort in the friendships you currently have. Edit: A few people have commented about what to do when people don't reciprocate? My advise - keep trying! Everyone is under water in their 30's, they likely won't be able to make every attempt at outreach you make. But over time as things become less hectic they will remember you kept trying (without guilt) and will appreciate it and come back to you. But toxic people, yeah cut those out!"

– hyperside89

Romance

"Not Nurturing Your Romantic Relationship: Responsibilities increase in your 30s like careers, parenthood, and caregiving for aging parents. It's common for the most crucial relationship – your romantic partnership – to be inadvertently neglected. Avoid taking your partner for granted, assuming they'll always be around, or treating them as an outlet for your worst moments."

– hyperside89

Be Who You Are

"Not Preserving Your Identity: Similar to the previous points, your 30s come with a whirlwind of conflicting priorities that can lead you to lose touch with your identity. It's easy to forget what truly brings you joy and satisfaction. Maintain a hobby that gives your life purpose and regularly reflect on whether your job still fulfills your needs in terms of purpose, financial stability, and overall satisfaction."

– hyperside89

"I'm 33 and in the process of rediscovering who I am, what I like doing beyond just 'filling in time' and how I like to present myself. It's scary to be caught off guard by the realisation that you don't know you and just as scary trying to start down a path to change that."

"I'm happy with my job and my role as a mother. But as an individual... I just feel like a crusty 90's kid, wearing 00's fashion and focusing on everyone else's needs because it's hard to find a direction for me that will 'spark joy'. I want my wonder and whimsy back!"

– Makasaurus

Change Always Happens

"Thinking you're a finished product, not likely to change all that much."

– kat_Folland

"Have you tried not moving in the ocean? It’s damn impossible. You can’t be stagnant in the turmoil of this world."

– quanoey

NOT Forever Young

"Biggest mistake I made in my 30's was not enjoying them more."

"Young enough to party, still play some sports, and perfectly in place in any bar. You have energy, you have a circle of friends (that will get smaller, trust me)."

"Try to carpe a diem every once in a while, the decade passes VERY quickly."

– hockeynoticehockey

"Do whatever you can while you are young. 30s is a peak time. I'm 64 now, forced into early retirement, and I can't do half the things I "thought" I would be able to do in "retirement". Can't bend to do gardening, can't climb the ladder to get into the pool, can't handle a walk for more than a few minutes due to arthritis and more. I'm mentally "still young" but my body is telling me otherwise."

– saywhat1206

Life Is Tough

"Got laid off at 32? Just said F it, got 2 degrees in different fields (37 now). But I kept expenses really low and saved/invested a lot of money when I did work. I went from medical research, to analytics, to education, to computer science now."

"30's...uhhh not starting investing by 35, because that's the last stop on the compounding train."

"Also, I see people get wrecked by bad marriages/relationships. That's probably one of the biggest wealth and happiness destroyers I've seen."

"Also, waiting over the fertility window. People tried to have kids later on and it looks like an absolutely expensive brutal experience with the OBGYN visits and the $15k USD IVF rounds (multiples). Then dating over your thirties seems like a hopeless market from what I can see. I never really tried so I dunno (data analyst in me looked over the stats as a 5'7 East Asian male in North America, I'm out!)..."

"Oh yeah!!! Health! Working out is crucial. After 40 it gets super tough to achieve any exceptional fitness goals. That's the best case scenario. Some people come down with nasty metabolic diseases like diabetes, and the CVDs - hypertension, cholesterol, and heart disease - these are very difficult to reverse and they kind of stick to you with more aggressively the longer they persist."

"Also, daily brushing/flossing, apparently dentists are expensive in older age. Brushing avoids cavities, flossing avoids gum disease and cavities."

"Also, not constantly learning about economics and economic/social/technological/political trends, because the pace of technology will wipe out people's economic opportunities faster than their head can spin. I see a lot of people get broad sided by economic malaise because they didn't get their financial house in order before a crisis hit. Life can be rough!"

– Deleted User

I'm not 30 yet, but I sure will learn from these stories!

A young man bounces backwards on a trampoline while holding a lit sparkler
Photo by Flavius Les

When people are out in public, it's sort of implied that we all stay on our best behavior.

But walk down any street on a New York day, and you quickly realize most of the world missed the memo on this matter.

Or they got it and just crumpled it up and tossed it in the garbage.

This makes us all spectators to some serious nonsense.

Oh the things we can never unsee!

Redditor Defaultuser9148 wanted to hear about the most messed up things they've witnessed others do, so they asked:

"What is the most f**ked up thing you saw someone do in a public place?"

I try not to look at people in public too much.

I've already witnessed more than my fair share of crazy.

WHAT THE ACTUAL F??!!!

Oh My God Wow GIF by The Roku ChannelGiphy

"Saw a coworker take off his shoe and sock, pull up his foot, and bite his toenails DURING A WORK MEETING AT THE OFFICE."

hyteck9

"Covid is over, they said. Return to the office, they said. The exposure to corporate culture will be good for you, they said."

johnwalkersbeard

Look Away

"I used to deliver janitorial supplies to businesses. Part of my route was in the Kensington section of Philadelphia it's basically zombie land there and the whole neighborhood is filthy, idk how people can even live there. Needless to say, I've seen A LOT. But the one thing I saw that really stuck with me was seeing a naked man covered in his own excrement... He was clearly very disturbed. No one paid him any mind either. It was surreal."

Jawnson765

Rinse and Repeat

"I once saw a homeless man rinse his mouth out with water from the windshield cleaning 'bucket' at a gas station."

theAdvancedBeginner

"Just saw something similar here in San Diego on Friday. Pumping gas and a homeless guy in a trench coat in 90-degree heat asked me about my dog in the car as he dunked his head in the windshield bucket. Asked me for a dollar right after too while dripping."

H3rrPie

Rough

"I was waiting for a bus in the ‘rough’ part of town when I heard two men having a full-blown argument on the other side of the bus stop… one was being extremely aggressive whilst the other sounded confused at the verbal lashing he was receiving. It went on for a couple of minutes and the meeker one was nearly in tears, so I decided to walk around the other side of the bus stop to take a look at what was going on."

"When I poked my head around the corner the poor guy was crying but his aggressor was nowhere to be seen, I asked if he was okay to which he said 'Yeah, don’t worry about him, he’s all talk.' I nodded and turned around just as the nastier man re-emerged to berate his victim… only it wasn’t another person, it was the same guy shouting at himself with an alternate personality. Until you see these things up close you don’t realize how disturbing it must be to suffer from such mental health issues."

BarraDoner

It's heartbreaking to see people like that.

The Disturbed

Scared Kermit The Frog GIFGiphy

"Saw a kid follow around a toad at a state park for a bit, pick it up, and ground it against a tree, eviscerating it in an instant. An adult immediately grabbed them and took them off yelling as the kid didn't look bothered by the interaction at all. It was surreal and disturbing."

Capn_Yoaz

Disgusting

"A scary a** woman was yelling at people in a store. The manager told her to leave. She screamed insults at him as security escorted her out. When I left the store, she was still screaming at him. He was blocking her from going back into the store."

"Then she did something I never thought I'd see in my entire life: She reached into her pants, pulled out a bloody tampon, and threw it at the manager. She missed but it stuck to the glass door. She laughed as she ran off. I wanted to vomit. I never want to see anything like that again."

RiffRandellsBF

All is Well

"21st B-Day at a Festival in FL called Langerado. Was incredibly drunk but I'll never forget this... unfortunately."

"So, we're listening to a band called Umphrey's McGee and everyone is having a good time. All is well. Heaven on Earth. Until I turn around."

"There's a guy, late 30s or early 40s by himself and he was having quite a time."

"He kept shoving his hand [in his pants] and licking his fingers afterward. At some point, he started chasing people and then some poor souls working security had to deal with him. Ewwww."

DylanV1969

In the Bathroom

"A woman at my old retail job I used to work at came in dry heaving to our restroom. It sounded like she was about to give birth. Nope, much worse. She goes into our restroom and shi*s all over the stalls, the floor is coated. It became a complete swamp. This woman proceeds to take off all her clothes and leave them there. She walks out of the store nude, screaming."

AdReady528

Stop It!

"Woman recording a mother and her two children after the mother collapsed and was unresponsive in a Costco. Asked her to stop, but she looked at me and scowled, so I amplified my request which was 'Stop recording, you completely demented, witch!' and the immediate unfavorable attention that got her compelled her to stop. The woman who collapsed, and her small children were terrified, screaming and crying, and it was awful. Can't imagine why you would want footage of such a thing. Just remembering makes me sad and hope that everything turns out alright."

Freechickenpeople

When you gotta go, you gotta go!!

Peeing Ladies Night GIF by Saturday Night LiveGiphy

"In my hometown, I was using the mall food court bathroom which is usually a bad idea... but I had to. While I was taking the worst poop of my life, the people in the stall next to me were getting on the whole time. I can't image someone being that horny next to me in my worst time."

​Breze

Some people will do it anywhere.

I would run to another restroom if I could make it!

Do you have any wild stories for us, let us know in the comments below.

Epic Clapbacks
Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

The only thing more satisfying than wiping the smirk off the face of some mean girl, mansplainer, or smarmy smarty pants is reading about it. And although some say revenge is a dish best-served cold, these Quora clap backs are comin’ in very hot. In fact, you may want to pop an Ozempic before diving into all of this sweet, sweet revenge.

Unwarranted

man in grey crew-neck t-shirt smiling to woman on counterPhoto by Clay Banks on Unsplash

This happened a few years ago when my wife and I were buying an iPad for our teenage daughter. We went to a UK computer chain called “iStore”. They aren’t part of Apple, they just picked a name that made it obvious what they specialized in. My daughter and wife had picked out the model and a case and headed to the register.

The idiot at the register, however, decided that what iStore really needed was the revenue from an extra warranty. My wife told him, “No, thanks”. He persisted and again, she said, “No, thanks”. I was standing pretty far away from them—very much NOT at the till with them. Then the sales guy turned to me, and said, “Are you sure she doesn’t need an extended warranty”? I wasn't having any of it.

I ignored him and turned to my wife. “Do you want to go? We can just buy it on Amazon”. My wife agreed with me. The sales guy looked at me open-mouthed, and I said, “You’ve lost the sale. She was the customer”. I can only hope that he learned about assuming that the woman could be overruled that day.

Right Back At Ya

It was my freshman year of high school and my parents had recently divorced. My mom, siblings, and I moved to a small town in upstate Pennsylvania. It was difficult enough dealing with family dynamics, let alone moving to a new town. During my first week at my new high school, I was trying to find my way around the school and get familiar with the teachers.

Most of the kids there had known one other for years. They had grown up together. I was an outsider with a weird accent and a different style. Some kids were very kind and welcoming. Others were cruel, unkind, and very stuck-up. In English class, I just so happened to sit in front of a girl who was one of the stuck-up kind.

The teacher asked me to introduce myself and share where I was from. So, I did. After I finished, we were told that there would be a pop quiz. The teacher asked me to take it so she could gauge my skills. As the teacher was handing out the quiz papers, the girl sitting behind me tapped me on the shoulder. I turned around to look at her.

She leaned in and said with a smirk, “Special ed is down the hall”. I just looked at her for a second, blinked, and then turned around. I was slightly irritated. This girl had no idea who I was, and yet she had already made up her mind about who I was…and wasn’t. Yep, I was fully irritated at that point. I filled out the quiz and handed it in for immediate grading.

As the teacher handed all the quizzes back she said, “There was only one student in the whole class who got a 100% on the quiz. Do you want to know who that is? It’s the new student”. She looked at me and said, “Congratulations! If only everyone else would do that well on the next quiz”. I turned around and looked at the girl behind me.

I gave her a big smile and said, “Remember, special ed is down the hall”. The smirk on her face disappeared in a flash. She didn’t say a word.

Nice One!

I met this guy at a party who thought he was really special because was a corporate lawyer. When he asked me what I did for a living, I told him that I was a computer programmer. “Oh yeah”, he said with a sneer. I could tell he was about to try me. “You’re one of those guys who take perfectly clear requests and turn them into some obscure language that only other people in your profession understand”. “That’s right”, I replied. “Just like a corporate lawyer”.

A Truth-Or-Dare Tip

woman in gray crew neck t-shirt standing beside woman in black and gray long sleevePhoto by Adam Winger on Unsplash

A few months ago, I was at a sleepover with some of my friends and we decided to play truth or dare. I didn’t exactly get along with one of the girls there—let’s call her “M”. Anyway, I chose “dare” and M decided to dare me to jump out of the window. This was especially cruel of her because she knew I had a friend who ended her life that way.

I jumped out of the ground floor window and then it was M’s turn. She also chose to dare. I dared her to go home—and her next move took me by surprise. She did go home. It was absolutely, hands down the best feeling in the world to see that petty smirk get wiped off her face. She couldn’t exactly refuse because the other girls, who were also angry about the window dare, peer pressured her into leaving.

You’re Not The Boss Of Me

I had the unfortunate experience of coming face-to-face with my old school tormentor at, of all places, work. We had gone to school together all the way from kindergarten to graduation. I was dismayed to learn that he had just been hired as an entry-level shipping clerk and was leaving the HR office on his way back out to the warehouse.

He proceeded to tell me how wonderful his life was, how successful he was, how much money he had, and so on. He then asked me in a very snide way: “So what have you done with your life”? Like I had accomplished nothing in the 10 years since we last saw each other in high school. My simple reply: “Well, you are standing in my office, please shut the door on your way out.”

I’m not normally one to pull rank on someone, but this guy deserved it. The look on his face was priceless, and, yes, he did shut the door on his way out.

Respect The Hustle

I was 21 and my younger brother Kenneth was 11. It was a Friday, and I took him to the lake because I was off work. At about 12:30, we went to a burger place to get some lunch. They had one pool table there, and Kenneth was watching four college kids play. Back then it was 25 cents to play and they were playing for a dollar a game and the challenger paid for the game.

My brother said, “Gimme a buck and a quarter”. All right, sure. I had an idea of what was coming. He walked over and said he wanted to play. The guy who had won the last game said he didn’t want to take a kid’s money, so I said, “It’s my money. Don’t worry about it, just let him have a game”. OK. There were four guys, about 20, shaking their heads and grinning.

Kenneth breaks hard and sinks a ball. He ran four more after that and then barely missed a bank shot. Those guys’ grins were gone. The other guy took his shot, missed, and then Kenneth ran the rest of the table. It was hilarious. Now all those guys were drinking and laughing every time he sunk a tough shot—saying things like, “No way”! and “Jeezus Christ!”

Kenneth picked up the two bucks and said, “Anybody wants to play”? They all did. One after another, they all lost, along with the waiter and two more guys who came in. We were there for hours. He made about twenty bucks. It was the funniest buck and a quarter I ever spent. The kid had been standing on a box and playing pool in our garage since he was four.

And Not A Moment Too Soon

woman in white spaghetti strap top standing on the seashorePhoto by Ryan Moreno on Unsplash

One day my first husband had his friends over and was trying to be the big man by poking fun at me and generally being a jerk. His friends were asking why I didn’t have much in the flat and he said that I only cared about my clothes. Then came the fat jokes followed by orders to feed him and his mates. One of his friends tried to shut him up by telling him he shouldn’t speak to me or anyone like that. His reaction was blood-boiling.

He just laughed it off. Another friend tried warning him by saying that if I left my husband would be in trouble because I had the money. As I walked into the room, my husband looked at me and said, “Nah, she won’t leave me, she loves me too much, don’t ya”? I replied, “Actually, Paul, I filed for divorce a week ago and since you won’t leave, I will”.

He didn’t know I’d already packed a suitcase. Just like that, I left, but not before enjoying seeing him sit there with his mouth open wide like a basking shark, but nowhere near as cute or intelligent.

Put Up Your Dukes

I’m a boxer, and this one time the kid I was supposed to be fighting came to my changing room and told me that he’d stab me if I won our match. He was a little taller than me but he was VERY skinny and I’m quite toned. When we touched gloves he had a huge smirk and looked oh so very confident. We walked out on the first bell and had a pretty even round.

After the second bell, he boldly stormed out and straight into my body shot—and he COLLAPSED. He went into the neutral corner and promptly threw up everywhere. Needless to say, he didn’t stab me and I never had to see his indulgent smirk ever again.

Horrifying Teachable Moment

When I was a cop, I worked in CSI but I was also part of the special victims unit. One of my frequent assignments was to go talk to community college classes about serious offenses. Invariably as I began, there would always be a few males leaning back in their chairs and smirking. I started by quietly discussing a recent atrocity in our town…

A woman had been in the hall putting clothes in the washer when she had been jumped. The aftermath was appalling—the assailant used a blade to pierce her more than 70 times. The medical examiner and I tried to count the wounds by laying a sheet of paper over the body and marking each one. But in some places, they ran together. She had tried to crawl down the hall to her bedroom, trying to reach the phone.

The assailant followed her down the hall and watched her perish. As I was speaking, the young men would slowly sit up straight, the smirks would leave their faces, and they would pay close attention to the rest of my talk.

Touché

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I was with my friend and our respective partners, discussing wedding plans. Since we were good mates, it went without saying that we would be each other’s best man. At least until my friend’s other half took us by surprise: “Can you even be the best man? Isn’t the best man supposed to be single”? To which I replied, “I don’t know. Isn’t the bride supposed to be a virgin”?

Do You Know Who I Am?

I am an old, 60-plus white lady, and I don’t really look the part for some of my pastimes. One time I went to an opera that featured whirling dervishes as part of the performance. During the intermission, I was commenting on the form of some of the whirlers and the finer points of whirling to my companion. A man standing nearby must have been listening.

After eavesdropping for a while, he turned to me and said rather snarkily: “Oh, because you’re such an expert on whirling”? I calmly replied, “Well, kind of, since I’m their teacher and I trained them”. The look of surprise on his face was priceless. I enjoyed watching him whirl around and quickly scamper away without another word!

Satisfaction Guaranteed

I was working the register on a very busy Saturday. There was a constant flow of customers, but this wasn’t my first rodeo. I’m especially good at making change. I rang up a customer and gave her the total. She pulled out $50 and began digging in her purse for coins. I rang up the next customer, took their payment, and was about to start on the third customer.

I was watching customer number one, as she dug for change. She then put her $50 back in her wallet and stood there expectantly with her 15 cents, waiting for her change on the $50. I patiently explained that I still needed the $50. I had seen her put the cash back in her wallet and so had my co-worker who was standing beside me. This customer is now holding up the line.

Her husband came to see what the holdup was. She told him, “I gave her $50, but she doesn’t remember taking it”. Of course, she said this loud enough for the 20 people waiting in line to hear. Now I point to the camera that is watching my every move. She smugly asks to review the footage—a request she'd soon regret. I took her $50, and she can’t wait to prove it.

The owner came down to talk to her and review the footage. The customer was indeed wrong and got back in line to pay. She couldn’t look me in the eye. “I guess I was wrong”, she said. That was her apology. I took her money and told her to have a nice day. I’m good at three things. Being a mother, standing my ground, and not taking flak when I know I’m right.

Pitch Perfect

two people playing Sony PS4 game consolePhoto by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

I was at the mall with a friend and as we got to the food court, I noticed that there were two small TVs where people were lining up to play FIFA 20. While my friend was ordering food, I decided to play seeing as it had been a while. I left her and went over. There were only guys in line and they all gave me the most annoying look. One of them asked, “You wanna play”?

I said that I did and he responded, “Aw, that’s cute. You’ll play next”. When my turn came, I beat him. Now, I’m not good at FIFA. I just happen to have brothers who ARE good. They are so good that when I play against other people, I feel like a legend because I’ve played with the best. I can literally count the number of times I’ve beat my brothers in any match, on one hand.

The guy I beat went off about how he’d gone easy on me because I was a girl. He had a lot of excuses. I didn’t care though. Then the next guy came—and he was something else. He was so arrogant. He started making those chauvinistic comments about how I might be cute, but he was going to “show me how the game is played”. By halftime, I was leading with a score of 1–0. The match ended at 2–1. I won.

He was a sore loser and he asked for a rematch but I had to leave so we agreed we’d only play the first half. By the time it was halftime, I was sitting on a score of 2–0. I beat him. Twice. He was so embarrassed and I may have been a bit smug about it. When I left, I was tempted to say something about the final score being cute, but I decided to let it go.

Very Mean Girl

As a teen, I remember being out of class for a parent, student, and teacher meeting to discuss my progress. When I returned to class, I noticed that the girl I was sitting next to was smirking. Before I could sit back down, she said, “Can you go get me some coloring pencils”? I said no as I found her behavior suspicious.

She sighed and got up. I pulled out my chair and I saw it was COVERED in glue. So I switched the chairs and sat down. She returned and sat down while looking at me laughing. I decided to play dumb. “What’s so funny”? I asked completely poker-faced. “I glued your chair”! She could hardly get out her words because she was laughing so hard.

I smirked and laughed with her and said, ”I’ve just swapped it with yours”! I was really trying not to laugh. Her face fell. It was absolutely priceless! She soon changed her tune and refused to speak to me for the rest of the class.

Drive-Thru Rain Man

I hit the drive-thru late one night after school and handed the cashier a $20 for my $6 meal. She handed me $4 and closed her window, expecting me to move on. But I didn’t. I knocked on the window, ignoring the honking behind me, until she opened it and asked me what was wrong. I said in an even tone, “The change should be $14, not $4”.

She told me that I gave her a $10 bill and was fairly adamant about it. When she began to close her window, I asked if I could speak to her manager. It was late and it was possible that I could have handed her a $10 rather than a $20, but I have a habit that I’ve fallen into because of a similar situation. I now memorize the serial numbers on large bills before I hand them over…

The manager listened to my request for the extra $10, looked at the receipt, and then pointed out that the girl had put in $10 as the money was submitted. The girl is looking annoyed and has the classic “I told you so” look on her face. I asked the manager to look at the top $20 bill in her drawer and proceeded to recite the serial number.

The cashier’s face was stuck in shock and awe when the manager asked me to do that again and I repeated the numbers for her. I was given my correct change and an apology before driving on to the next window for my meal.

A Daughter-In-Law Strikes Back

woman lying on sofaPhoto by Inside Weather on Unsplash

My mother-in-law is a well-practiced shrew. I wear a size 12 but I consistently get 3X and 4X tops from her for Christmas. One time she even told my husband that I wanted to buy a house in the woods so I would have a place to bury him after I butchered him. There are so many crazy comments, smirks, and insults that I could write a book.

When my husband and I moved into our new house, I rented a moving truck for the day and my mother-in-law and my husband’s stepdad showed up, presumably to help, as did his dad. My hubby and his stepdad were taking forever to decide which way to take things in for the upstairs and downstairs, and at that rate, I was going to need to rent the truck for a week. I just knew something was coming.

My father-in-law had just had four toes amputated and I didn’t expect him to be able to do anything, but I had managed to wrangle our sofa off the truck and he looked at me and said, “Can you get that end”? I grabbed it and we headed to the house with it. Hubby’s mom called out and said “Oh Cindy, you’re more of a man than me”!

As I went by her, I stared into that evil face and said, “Yup, and more of a woman too”. Her face flushed and she looked like she wanted to kill me. She was only married to my father-in-law for 10 months and she got even madder when he dropped the sofa and was rolling on the ground laughing like a hyena. Ah, good times!

Read The Room

When I was eight, I loved reading books. At the time, my favorite was Jane Eyre. At the time, I understood about half of the words, and even if I didn’t understand what they meant, I could sound them out. One day, I was reading this book at a relative’s house. Everyone was so chatty, and being a quiet child back then, I just sat there and read.

One of my cousins, whom we’ll call Belle, was really, really annoying. When she saw that I was reading Jane Eyre at that age, she pointed to me gleefully and exclaimed, “Look! Look, everyone! She’s reading Jane Eyre at age eight! As if she can even understand it”! Correction: I was quiet but sassy. I stood up and asked, “What’s it to you?”

I guess rudeness ran in their family because Belle’s mother rolled her eyes at me and said, “If you’re so smart, why don’t you read a part for us”? I gave her a wry smile, cleared my throat, and began to read. Somehow, even though I didn’t understand half the words in the paragraph, I was able to sound them out all right.

After I successfully read a few paragraphs, Belle’s mother cleared her throat and cut me off. Her eyes were glassy, scared, and ashamed. They were cast to the floor as her face slowly turned a beautiful beetroot red. Belle huffed and ran into her room, slamming the door. I just sat there, smirked for a brief moment, and went back to reading—silently this time.

Birthday Beef

Roll back more than 40 years ago to my very first job out of college—an engineer at a car manufacturer. I had been on the job for a month, and it was quite low-level. At one point, I was assigned to deliver some hot reports to the plant manager’s office. I walked into a birthday party. I asked who was having a birthday and was directed to the assistant plant manager.

I politely wished him a happy birthday. He gave me a flirty look, popped out his chest, and told me he just turned 43. Everyone was telling him how good he looked. Obviously, I had the scent of fresh meat in what would be considered a poisonous workplace today. They didn't expect it when I deadpanned: “Why, you’re just a year older than my Dad, his birthday is next week”. He deflated like a balloon.

And for the record, my dad is way younger-looking.

Best Parting Shot Ever

woman facing on white counterPhoto by Christiann Koepke on Unsplash

I was counting my change as I left the checkout when I noticed that the cashier made a mistake. I started to tell her this, but she cut me off and said, “I NEVER make mistakes”! I shrugged and started to head toward the door, but as I walked away, I dropped the mic: “OK then. Just remember that tonight, when your till is $10 short”!

That’s Just Like, Uh, Your Opinion, Man

I met my husband at work. We had a colleague who didn’t like me. I’m not sure why but, you know, it happens. My now-husband mentioned to this colleague that he liked me (this was before we got together), and her response was, “I’m surprised. Wouldn’t you want to go out with someone who is classier and less straightforward”? This had no effect on me—because I was about to shove it in her face.

I guess he didn’t agree with her because a few weeks later he and I were an item. One night, we went to the pub with a few work people, including this woman, and I kissed my husband, turned to her, and smiled winningly. All I can say is that her expression was very pleasing.

Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind?

Shortly after my now-husband and I started dating, he took me to his hometown to meet his friends Brant and Tommy. While we were there, my then-boyfriend was sitting on the floor in front of me and I was massaging his shoulders. After a few minutes, Tommy looked at me and asked, “When do I get a massage”? I smiled sweetly—then I dropped the hammer: “When you get a girlfriend”.

The look on both Brant's and Tommy’s faces, not to mention my boyfriend’s, was utter, priceless astonishment. After we left, my boyfriend explained that I was the first girl he had ever known to turn down Tommy for any attention. He said that more than one of his previous girlfriends had given Tommy any and all of the attention he requested.

Years later, my husband admitted to me that the moment I turned down Tommy was the moment he knew that I was “the one”. To me, it wasn’t even a difficult decision because Tommy kinda gave me the creeps.

Pole Position

three people sitting in front of table laughing togetherPhoto by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

When I was in college, the cancer-stick area was the place to relax during breaks between classes. Everyone would gather, smoker or not, to talk and hang out. I met tons of new people every day. We would get a lot of different personalities shining through, some of which screamed “entitled”. Now, I’m Polish. However, due to my very British accent, you’d never guess it in a million years.

I’d hear talk about politics, immigration, and the sorts almost daily. On this particular day, I was with a bunch of friends who were talking about said topics. I wasn’t chiming in, but rather just quietly listening to their opinions. Then a very entitled person entered the conversation and instantly started bashing the Poles. Things were about to get interesting.

My friends took one look at me, and I just tried not to laugh. I think they realized it would be best not to say anything just yet. This entitled person was ranting about how immigrants should “go back to their own country” and how “lazy” Polish people are. He went on and on without anyone else interrupting.

Mr. Entitled decided to chime in with one more comment. “I’ve never met a Pole who bothers to speak English and actually does something productive”. To which I finally responded, “Well, today’s your lucky day. Here I am”. His face went through a few phases of confusion, realization, shock, and embarrassment. My friends began laughing and I just stood there smirking.

Been There, Done That

My paternal grandfather worked with a bunch of guys who in the early days of paintball would go every weekend and crow about how good they were. They kept asking my grandfather if he would like to go but he always politely declined. One day, one of the more obnoxious guys said he knew why my grandfather didn’t want to go.

He announced loudly that it was because my grandfather was afraid. He messed with the wrong man. My grandfather quietly replied that he had done something similar for five years in the early 1940s in Africa, Italy, and Germany.

Always Treat Your Servers Well

This happened while I was working as a roaming drink vendor at a local sports venue. A young man waved me over to purchase a brew. He looked a little on the young side to me, and since my employer had been giving the drink vendors a whole lot of grief about making sure our customers were of drinking age, I asked the guy to show some ID.

This did not seem to sit well with him because he made a huge display in front of his even younger-looking date about how stupid it was that I had to ask for ID and how I was wasting his time…blah, blah, blah. He finally finished his rant and handed me his driver’s license. He was 21—barely. He and his date were treating me like I was a moron for even considering asking for ID. Well, I decided to give them what they deserved.

So, instead of handing him his drink, I flipped his driver’s license back to him and said, “I’m sorry, sir. You not only have to be 21, but you also have to act like it”! And off I went, no worse for the encounter.

The Fabulous Furry What?

a group of people in a room with a projector screenPhoto by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash

The lecture portion of my university biology class was held in an auditorium where I usually chose a seat near the back. There was a guy who sat a couple of seats away from me and seemed contemptuous of me from the get-go. I should note that this prof taught straight from the book. He had slides that were mostly just a synopsis of each paragraph.

Since I learn better by reading than hearing, I didn’t always go to class. When I did go, I would only pay half attention while reading something for fun. On one such occasion, Contemptuous Guy barked, “Why do you even come if you’re just going to read some dumb comic book”? I replied, “The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers isn’t just any comic book. Besides, I want to get next week’s assignments”.

I skipped the class after a big exam. When I came back, I got my paper, 65 points. I flipped until I realized it wasn’t 65%, it was raw points. So I asked the guy, “Do you have the grading scale for the exam”? He smugly said, “You need at least a 52 to get a C”. I said, “OK, so is the cutoff for an A above 65”? His eyes narrowed…

“YOU’RE the one who wrecked the curve”? he hissed, angry and shocked. On the rare occasion, I’m able to think of the perfect comeback right on the spot. This was one of those occasions. “Hmm, maybe you should read more comic books,” I said nonchalantly.

How Do You Say “Boom! Roasted” In French?

Some years back, I was taking the train to work when an enormous group of French foreign exchange students boarded. They were mostly in their mid-teens with a few adult supervisors. They took up virtually every seat and most of the standing room. There were only about a dozen people in the car who were not at the party.

I could see that some of the kids were practicing small phrases in English with the regular commuters. They were really excited and clearly had a great time. Some of the commuters were even enjoying responding and it was quite a beautiful scene—or at least it was until the supervisor totally ruined it.

She proclaimed to her students in French that there was no point speaking to any of us because British people are too stupid (her words) to speak English properly, let alone another language. Well, my stop was coming up and my blood was boiling, so I stood up and, in the most strongly projected voice I have ever managed, spoke to everyone in perfect French…

I wished the students a lovely trip and told them that I hoped they would think before judging other people in the future. The supervisor turned the exact shade of a boiled beetroot and did not utter a sound. The coup de grace, however, was when a little old lady piped up: “I bet you weren’t expecting that then, were you”?

Maybe She Was Flirting?

I was sitting beside my sister-in-law’s pool watching my kids swim, having a drink, and talking with my brother-in-law. One of his neighbors got in the pool and swam a half dozen lengths in about three minutes. After that, she got out of the pool, walked over to us, and haughtily proclaimed, “Some of us like to get some exercise”.

I looked back at her and threw her some attitude back: “I ran 11 miles this morning”. She stood there for about 15 seconds trying to come up with a retort, and then finally just turned and walked away. My brother-in-law managed to wait until she was out of earshot before he burst out laughing.

As One Does…

two handsPhoto by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

I’m Jewish and my wife is Armenian. I used to sit next to a Turkish guy at work. Occasionally he and I would have arguments about the Armenian genocide. He, in keeping with official Turkish policy, insisted that it a) never happened and b) was blown way out of proportion. He also claimed that the Armenians were the ones actually doing the slaughtering.

I told him, that I disagreed with him and that the Turks knew exactly what they were doing and it was intensely personal. He smirked and said, “How do you know that”? My response shut him up completely. “My wife’s grandmother was in her house in Chomaklou when a package arrived from the post office. She opened it. Inside it was her husband’s head.”

Well, Allow Me To Retort

I went to a house party many years back, and there was a guy there who was a total loser. He was making rude comments, insulting people, and irritating everyone. We weren’t even sure who he was or how he was invited. Anyway, I grabbed a drink and started playing with Newton’s cradle that was on the host’s living room table.

Out of the corner of my eye, I see the jerk walk over toward me. “Small things amuse small minds”, he chuckled. I replied, without skipping a beat: “In that case, maybe you should take your hands out of your pockets”. The people around us burst out laughing, and, of course, he had no comeback. He just slithered away and I never saw him again for the rest of the evening.

Cold Call

Back in 1988, I took a job delivering wholesale ice in the Washington, DC area. Despite the frigid temperatures one winter, we were very busy with commercial orders for the local sports arenas. We would also occasionally get orders from the larger hotels and convention centers when their own ice machines couldn’t keep up with the demand. I will never forget this moment.

On one particularly cold Sunday morning, I was awakened very early at home by a frantic general manager whose ice machine had failed overnight when the pipes froze. He pleaded with me to rush a pallet of crushed ice to his hotel by 10:00 am for a huge political charity event—the kind where the participants pay $25,000 per plate to hobnob with celebrities.

I hurried out there. While waiting to get paid after unloading, I noticed the kitchen staff all laughing and smirking. When the chef returned with my check I said, “What’s so funny”? He replied, “No offense, but you must be the dumbest person on the planet, driving around with three feet of snow on the ground in the middle of winter trying to sell ice”.

As I took the check, I said, “Nah, I’m not the one buying it”. You could hear a pin drop. As I left, I heard everyone bust out laughing even harder, and the chef yelling at them all to shut the F up.

Ready, Set, Gah!

black traffic light with red lightPhoto by Luke Thornton on Unsplash

I was at a red light and some dude in a modified compact car pulled up next to me and revved the engine while looking over at me with a cocky smirk. This stretch of road was a pretty popular place for people to drag race, and what I could just barely see that my new friend could not see was a cop hiding behind a shrub.

So, I revved my engine back at him. This caused him to laugh and rev his engine even more—but I wanted to really get him going. I started to just barely creep up an inch or so. As soon as the light turned green, I stayed put for a few seconds while he popped the clutch and laid rubber the entire length of the intersection. He was immediately pulled over. I smiled and waved as I slowly drove past.

Judge Not…

When I was in college, I was talking amongst a group of peers about Japanese, Chinese, and Middle Eastern cuisines, which I am extremely passionate about. A woman in the group said, “What would you know about those cultures? You’re just a blond-haired, privileged white man”. I thought, What? But I kept my mouth shut.

A few moments later, we were looking at my photo of a recent family gathering. What do you know? My brother-in-law is Moroccan and was wearing his traditional clothing. He cooked Moroccan food for us daily while living with us. And, oh no, my two brothers are dating girls from Japan who are like sisters to me. The humanity! Wait, two of my cousins are from the Philippines?

You get the picture. Someone in the group said, “Wow [person who insulted me]! You must feel pretty dumb right now”. And I could tell that they did feel pretty dumb. I love my family and I wish we could all stop judging others based on appearance. That’s just extremely shallow. It’s 2020! We’re a huge melting pot. C’mon, folks.

Twists And Turns

A guy was hitting on me in a restaurant bar as my husband Tom and I were waiting for a table. Tom was chatting with the guy next to him, all hunched over and speaking sotto voce, as he often does. I was idly stirring my drink, when this fellow wandered over and started hitting on me. Now, ordinarily, I love to flirt, even with strangers…

This guy, however, reeked of booze and started by putting a hand on my thigh. It wasn’t even a grope; more like an attempt to get his balance. And, yes, he smirked as he said, “So, lovey, wanna go to my place? I’ll show you a good time”. It was too much. WAY too much. I can only hope his friends put him up to it, as a bet, or something.

“Tom”? I said in a sort of panicky voice like I’d spotted a spider or something. Now, you have to understand that my husband, bless his heart, looks like Neanderthal. Seriously. Except he’s 198 cm (six foot six), weighs 127 kg (280 pounds), and he’s built like a Bulgarian weightlifter. He has deep-set eyes, a thick nose, a sloping forehead, and some tattoos.

He would definitely be typecast as a Russian Mafia. And Tom, who is normally a baritone, can reach all the way down to basso profundo. So when he’s hamming it up, and trying to look intimidating, even Batman would think twice. “Yes, my little dumpling”? he rumbled as he turned around and straightened up, putting one hand on my shoulder.

And that was the end of that man’s smirk. Yeah, I was flirting, but Tom adores me, and he loves to do chivalrous things like that. We had a good giggle over it later.

Time To Tap Out

woman in white suitPhoto by Thao LEE on Unsplash

I am a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. As a woman, I often get paired with new students who try to tell me how to do a technique. I’ve noticed that this never happens to the guys, by the way. Usually, I’ll just let them talk and then show them what’s up when it’s time to roll (training against a resisting opponent).

Typically, one roll will put an end to their patronizing behavior, but this one guy wasn’t getting it. He kept trying to correct me but he was consistently wrong when describing the techniques. Our head instructor even heard him on several occasions and told him to stop trying to correct me because he doesn’t know what he was talking about.

On this particular day, we were drilling the double-leg takedown. I should mention that I have been coaching the kids' classes for about six years, and this is one of the main takedowns the kids do. I gently took him down, because we were just drilling—and he tried to tell me I did it wrong. I told him it wasn’t wrong, and he argued. So I decided to shut him down.

I looked him straight in the eyes, then looked down at his white belt, and then I looked at my belt, and back to his eyes. I simply said, “Huh”, and I took him down hard, using the same technique that he said was wrong. Let’s just say he never tried to correct me again.

If It Pleases The Court

My now ex-wife and I were trying to do an amicable dissolution. It didn’t end well. So, we drew up a plan and I took it to a lawyer just to have her look at it. This lawyer wasn’t six months out of school. She was inexperienced, cheap, and kind of dumb, but she was good enough to look over our document. She had concerns. I spoke to my wife to address them.

The wifey wanted changes. Then she wanted more. Then she hired the best attorney in our small town. Basically, this guy is a pitbull and everyone knows it. There is nobody who can beat him in court—at least not in our town. Who can beat him? A guy from about 70 km (45 miles) away who is more than willing to take him on.

“I’ve dominated him more than once, already” he proudly told me. Fast forward to the first court date. No one was aware that I had hired him, and it just so happened that my first lawyer had a case the same day, so she was at the courthouse. I saw my ex and her lawyer pointing at my old lawyer and already celebrating. Then our case was called…

They beamed at my first lawyer, but she sat still. My new lawyer, however, joined me at the front of the courtroom. I could see the blood drain from her lawyer’s face when he recognized my attorney. Her lawyer whispered something to her, she shook her head as if she didn’t understand. They had a brief discussion and my wife became 100 percent more reasonable.

Macho, Macho, Man

I am a stay-at-home father, among other jobs. Once a year, my wife’s company holds a meal at a nice restaurant, and the spouses are expected to attend. There’s free food and some of my wife’s coworkers aren’t idiots, so I don’t mind it. All night, one of her coworkers, unfortunately, one of the non-idiots, is doing the “I earn this much, I am SO manly” routine.

Meanwhile, I am actually sharing some of my recipes with her other coworkers. The idiot then makes a joke about me being a “good wife”. I just stare at him. He is in his 30s, short, mostly bald, not quite fit but not actually sloppy, and desperate to make everyone else in the room look less manly than him. “So what do YOU do”? He asks.

This an annoying question because I know he’s been listening to me talk about making sure dinner is on and all my duties as the stay-at-home parent, but unbeknownst to him I have another profession. “I’m a blacksmith” I state proudly. My wife’s wannabe uber-macho coworker deflates like a soufflé in an earthquake.

Username Checks Out

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I was at the gym where I worked and there was a group of guys in their early 20s who thought they were the greatest things to walk the earth. They maybe had 50 kg (115 pounds) on the squat rack and they were arrogant, rude, loud, and just generally annoying other members. So, I figured a little competition wouldn’t hurt anyone.

I set up the squat rack next to them and began repping 155 kg (345 lbs). I’m also built pretty small, so their jaws instantly dropped, and no joke, they packed up their stuff and walked off super defeated.

Born To Be Wild

As background, I make my living teaching people how to ride motorcycles. A long time ago, I used to do this in the New York area. The battery on my personal motorcycle had drained, and I had a new one on order. In the meantime, I was commuting by car. When the new battery came in, I picked it up after work and put it in my trunk.

On my drive home, I encountered a group of riders on the side of the road. They were clustered around a motorcycle that had clearly broken down. This was back before everyone had a cell phone, so I stopped to see if they could use some help. I know a thing or two about how motorcycles work and generally travel with tools. Little did I know I would get myself into a little kerfuffle.

Now these were a bunch of gnarly biker dudes. Wearing leather, chains, and tattoos…they ticked all the biker stereotype boxes. I’m sure they were amused that a lady pulled over to help. I asked, “Do you guys need any help”? One replied snarkily, “Not unless you have a motorcycle battery in your trunk” and the group shared a laugh.

You can see where this is going. I replied sweetly, “As a matter of fact, I DO have a motorcycle battery in my trunk”. Between my new battery and tools and skinny girl fingers that extracted the old battery from a tight spot, I got them on their way. They ended up being a friendly bunch and I hope they will give a warmer response when the next person offers help.

Know Your Worth

Every five years our contracts are rebid at my government job and there are not many positions like these in this area, so I am somewhat beholden to whichever new contractor comes in. One day, the new contracting company manager came in and wanted to talk to me. I only had a short time to talk because of an appointment I had about an hour later.

The manager for the new company started off by saying, “You are overcompensated for your age and experience. You are making as much as people who have been here for 30 years. In order to bring you over to the new contract, we will have to reduce your pay by $10,000”. He smirked in that “I’ve got you and there is not much you can do about it” way.

I responded and said, “That’s unfortunate”. He did not realize it at that moment, but it was unfortunate for them. I ended him with my next response: “Well I need to get going to my interview appointment and from what you just told me, I don’t want to miss that.” His smirk was wiped from his face and he stuttered a bit, and asked if I was going to be in tomorrow or on Friday.

I told him, “No, I’m sorry, [the contractor I was currently with] was flying me out to Maryland to interview with another group out there because they wanted to keep me on their payroll”. We said our goodbyes at that time and the following day I had an offer in my e-mail with a slight raise from the new contracting company.

A Pleasure Doing Business

a man sitting at a table with a laptop in front of himPhoto by Adetola Afolabi on Unsplash

This story has it all: an international setting, payola, corruption, and, of course, some smirk-wiping. This story is about a friend of mine named Richard. We worked together at The Economist. He was in Hong Kong and I was in New York City. When I’d travel to HK for work, I’d stay with him and his wife. And when we were both stationed in London, I rented their attic.

Richard is an American and was about 35 in the story, which takes place at the turn of the millennium. His wife, Jyoti, was a bit younger and from India. After his stints in HK and London, he moved with his wife to her home region in India, and he started a business building sewers. Richard looked a bit like Michael T. Weiss, star of the late 1990s series The Pretender.

To win contracts and get the permits to install sewers, he often had to meet with local and regional government officials. At the time, India’s officials were notoriously open to, ahem, “gifts”. After discussing the permits, the bureaucrats would switch to Hindi and talk amongst themselves about the “gifts” they would demand in order to move Richard’s paperwork along. This worked perfectly in Richard's favor.

The bureaucrats would then switch back to English and tell him their requirements. They were never called bribes, of course, but it was clear that that’s what they were. At that moment, my friend would switch to fluent Hindi. Hindi is so good that, apparently, if you were on the phone with him you would not know he wasn’t Indian.

Indeed, he told me he went to these meetings in person so the bureaucrats would take him for a sucker. When he turned the tables on them, they would be so embarrassed that they would grant him the permits at the correct rate. His business wound up being the only one that didn’t have to pay extra.

Chivalry Is Alive And Well

My wife didn’t know how to drive when we got married. I encouraged her to learn, and she did. Now she is a very decent driver—very cautious and focused on safety.

We were at a party where there was this guy she dated back before we started dating. I think he’s sort of an idiot, but since I had no beef with him, we were speaking in a friendly way.

Then, my wife started mentioning that she had finally gotten her driver’s license. She was so proud of herself. This guy was like, “Wow! I wonder how that works. Man, you must be nervous when she drives with you in the car”. I really felt like breaking his face. Nobody makes fun of my wife. Instead, I decided to take a different approach.

I looked him straight in the face, and told him, “No, I don’t feel nervous at all. She happens to be a great driver, and I feel totally comfortable with her at the steering wheel”. The idiotic smile on the guy’s face immediately disappeared, and everybody within earshot smiled and looked at the guy like the idiot he was.

I’m sure my wife appreciated my answer better than if I had gotten physical with the guy. I still wanted to punch his face, though.

How Rude!

Many years ago, my husband and I attended an Independence Day celebration at a large stadium as are both Vietnam veterans. We weren’t stationed in combat zones, but we served during the conflict. During the event, the emcee asked active duty personnel and veterans to stand up and be recognized. We both rose to our feet.

A man behind me jerked on the back of my T-shirt so hard that I almost fell back into his lap. “Sit down”, he hissed. “They said veterans, NOT their wives”. My husband immediately put on a sinister smile. He looked at him calmly and said, “My wife is a veteran,” Thankfully, we did not hear a peep from the guy for the rest of the show.

Sharpshooter

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Over 30 years ago, I was a deputy sheriff. I’d been one for a year or two when I met this lady who was a paramedic in the same county. We dated for a few years. One weekend, I was at her house and had just purchased a Beretta 21 semi-auto in .22 cal. because I was getting tired of lugging a .38 around on my ankle as a last-resort weapon.

I went into the backyard with my girlfriend and tossed an empty tuna can onto the ground, loaded a magazine, and aimed. The first shot missed. Well, it’s a new piece, let’s try again. At the end of that magazine, I still hadn’t hit that tuna can. The second magazine’s the charm, right? NOT! I still hadn’t hit the can. I was really angry at this point.

Suddenly I heard my girlfriend say sweetly behind me, “Honey, do you think I could try”? I loaded up a magazine and showed her what to do and said, “You won’t shoot any better with it than I did, but go for it”. She took it, aimed, and fired. TING! The can went flipping into the air. TING, TING, TING, TING, TING, TING. She hit the can six more times.

Seven shots and the smirk was definitely wiped off my face! I had foolishly forgotten that her father was a WW2 and Korea vet AND an avid collector and instructor who had taught both his girls how to shoot and obviously how to shoot well. We will soon celebrate our 31st wedding anniversary. I’m so lucky that she agreed to marry me!

Mother Knows Best?

My brother stopped by our home one afternoon with his new girlfriend in tow. She was a tall, big-boned, top-heavy blonde. He introduced her to our mother who took him aside moments later. With a smug, self-satisfied smirk my mother informed him: “You know she’s not going to be able to keep her figure, don’t you”? My brother replied, “So…Did you”?

Mansplaining Mishap

When I was in my early 20s, I went clubbing with some friends who brought along some other friends. One guy was trying to impress me with his “intelligence”. At the club, there was a screen where they projected various images. At this particular time, it was astronomical stuff. He asked me if I knew what it was. I just kinda smiled and asked him to tell me what it was.

He said that it was a close-up of Jupiter, and went on and on about it for a while. He then asked me what I thought it was. This is when I had some fun. So I told him that is Orion’s Nebula. He paused and replied incredulously, “Wait, do you know about this stuff”? I just smiled and stated that I was going into my final year of astrophysics at the U of T.

Wedding Crasher

woman in white and pink off-shoulder top standing beside wallPhoto by Olivier Rule on Unsplash

I was at a distant cousin’s wedding a couple of months back. Since my grandmother was invited, I decided to tag along. On the day of the wedding, I could tell that everyone had done their best to get glam and gorgeous. Thankfully, some of my cousins were there, too, so I wasn’t totally bored. About halfway through the function, was approached by a woman I didn’t know.

I was standing beside six of my male cousins, just talking and laughing, when this lady, who was just a couple of years older than me and so thin that she looked like she’d never eaten anything, came up to me and said, “You just have to start exercising. You’re so fat, look, I can see your fat through your dress. Haven’t your parents taught you anything”? That was bad enough, but she kept taking it further.

I admit that I’m chubby, but my fat could definitely not be seen through my clothes. This woman went on ranting some more, just insulting me and saying that no one would marry me because I was fat, and that I’d never have kids. I was listening calmly. When she was done, she looked at me, smirked, and asked “Don’t you agree”?

I very calmly replied, “There is a disadvantage to you being thin. A small head means you can only fit a small brain in there. It makes you a narrow-minded person. As for me, I can proudly say I have an open mind as well as a big heart”. The lady’s face turned bright red as she sputtered and tried to think of a response. She ended up just turning and stalking away.

The Doctor Is In

When I mentioned that I have a Ph.D. in physical chemistry, a software engineer smirked and said, “What are ya gonna do with that”? I had spent several years as a professional research scientist, but I skipped over that in my answer. Instead, I kept my slayage simple: “Well, I taught myself to code, so nowadays I’m an IT consultant. I did all the math for a huge database merger project at Microsoft".

“Oh,” was all he said. And, yes, his smirk was gone.

Fast And Soon-To-Be-Furious

I was driving a muscle car and pulled up to a stoplight with my girlfriend at my side. A couple of guys in a Porsche pulled up beside us and tried to get me to race. I shook my head. We were on a date and I was trying to be on my best behavior. To provoke me, they started yelling some very hurtful things about my girlfriend. Obviously, this infuriated me—and I knew I had to get payback.

When the light changed, I gunned it and my car leaped out ahead of them. I then quickly backed off just in time for them to blow through the speed trap I had passed on the way to pick her up. We laughed all the way to dinner.

Sir, Yes, Sir

men's black and red topPhoto by Chichi Onyekanne on Unsplash

Many years ago, I was an army wife and was in my car in a shopping center parking lot, when someone hit my car from behind. The other driver, who was wearing his shiny new army uniform, pulled rank on me. He aggressively said that he was in law enforcement, that I was in trouble, and that he hoped I was well insured.

I sat quietly until he asked for my insurance. Then I suggested he call my husband for the details, as my husband was his new boss—and obviously outranked him substantially. Needless to say, it was very amusing to watch him deflate. But the best part? He then got called into the office and reprimanded for pulling rank on a civilian.

Comin’ In Hot

My stepfather used to love to make my life miserable. One of the ways he did this was to walk through the kitchen while I was washing dishes, plunge his hand into the dishwater and yell, “This dishwater is ice cold! You can’t get dishes clean in cold water. Now empty that out, make some hot dishwater, and wash all these over again”!

Since I detested washing dishes, this would always make me cry and feel defeated. Then he would smirk and walk out of the kitchen feeling very proud of himself. It didn’t matter how hot the dishwater was, he always did the same thing. So one night I had enough. I put a stockpot on the stove to boil, then poured the boiling water into the sink with some dish soap.

I loaded the sink with dishes and then stirred them around a bit with a wooden spoon to make it sound like I was doing dishes. Sure enough, I soon heard him coming my way. As he walked into the kitchen, I took a step back so he could easily reach the sink. He plunged his hand into the boiling hot dishwater! His hand came out of that sink so fast, it was a blur.

He said nothing and gave no indication that he had just stuck his hand in boiling water. He just looked at me with mingled hatred and respect and walked out of the kitchen without a word. That was the last time he ever tested my dishwater.