Men, I’ll say this again: you guys have it easy.
In school, in college, even in offices, male bullies stand up and practically announce that they’re bullies. They shove you on the playground, trip you in front of the girls, tell everybody how you got shit-faced and threw up in the boss’s cabin at the last office party.
Girl bullies are different. Tina Fey got that bang on in Mean Girls. Girl bullies play mind-games, pretend to be your friends and then, when you’ve let your guard down, they swoop down and crush your self-esteem with one quick barb.
I don’t even mind the overtly bitchy type. Like male bullies, they broadcast their pettiness and that’s easily taken care of.
She: “Wow, that top is NOT looking good on you.”
You: “Funny, your boyfriend didn’t seem to think so…”
Badambambhish. It’s that easy. But the underhanded bitches, ooh, them I can’t stand. Because their bitchiness is disguised. Sometimes as well-meaning concern, perhaps even as jollity or small talk, it’s all fun and games till the claws come out.
She: “You’re looking SO nice! Is that a new top?”
You: “Thanks, but I’ve had it for ages…”
She: “Oh. Well, it’s looking different on you. Have you put on weight?”
To which there isn’t a quick enough, bitchy enough comeback that’ll strike you at that moment. And then, like Meg Ryan in You’ve Got Mail, you’ll replay the conversation in your head over and over again till you find that perfect retort that would’ve flambéed her ass, but by then, of course, it’s too late to do anything about it.
Or maybe that’s just me.
What’s even worse is, if confronted, these women get all indignant – as if they meant it as a compliment, as if it didn’t strike them, god promise, that comparing you to a blimp could be construed as anything except pure flattery.
Oh shit me not, ladies, you KNOW what you’re doing. But if you’re going to pretend otherwise, well, two can play that game. So the next time you are uncomplimentary about my weight, my clothes, my hair, my name, my work, my talent, my life – I’m just going to look surprised and ask in a stage whisper that will carry through the room: “Hey, is that… is your fly open?”