passive aggressive

If You’re Pleased Then I’m Pleased

“If you’re pleased, then I’m pleased,” sounds like a warm, fuzzy response doesn’t it? But hold on, southern women have the ability to elevate passive/aggressive to an art form.

Don’t be fooled. This innocent sounding phrase ranks right up there with “Bless your heart.” A “Wow” or “Okay” response marks its user as a rank amateur in southern speak.

As a sixth generation Texan I can claim to be somewhat of an expert in deciphering southern speak, but it took me a while to get there.

As a teen, in the land before time,  no one who considered herself cool would be caught dead without at least three crinoline petticoats swishing under a poodle skirt.

When I asked my mother if she agreed an extra crinoline added the tour de force to my ensemble, she responded:”If you’re pleased, then I’m pleased.” She picked her battles and chose to ignore my struggle to keep my balance while supporting four crinolines. She refrained from asking my plan for survival should I become airborne.

My next foray into the fashion scene was an attempt to copy the Audrey Hepburn pixie haircut. An article in one of the magazines said she cut her hair herself with manicure scissors. It was beautiful.

Mine, not so much. I looked like a reject from a head lice cure. My hope of receiving a modicum of support, faded, as the response was, “If you’re pleased, then I’m pleased.”

I was a late bloomer. I didn’t figure out the passive/aggressive non-answer until the peroxide-gone-bad streak down the center of my hair.

This tidbit of knowledge re-emerged in the workplace. Co-workers and managers hear what they want to hear. Besides, one appears to be a diplomatic team player when refraining from what you really want to say.

The beauty of this comment is one could assume they are receiving support or a compliment, especially if a smile accompanies the delivery.

There is a caveat here. If there is a slight nod of the head you may assume, you’ve been snookered by southern speak.


A No-count Day

No-count – a word southerners use to describe a person, who has a shortage of desirable qualities. A slur that is more politically correct than the other passive/aggressive phrase we are famous for and proud of.

No-count covers anything from good-for-nothing to shiftless to borderline dishonesty.

The phrase covers a multitude of sins. My grandmother used it to describe a family member she didn’t like, most often male. I can’t recall hearing her refer to a female as no-count.  She never elaborated on what manner of sins cast a person into the no-count category.

I expanded its usage to cover the days I don’t want to do ANYTHING, but read –  maybe nap and not answer the door. Considering my appearance on a no-count day, it’s probably best I don’t answer the door.

It’s Friday; a slow drizzling rain is falling; I don’t have to go anywhere. I think I hear a no-count day beckoning me.

After a long, hot morning shower, I tug on my saggy, baggy sweats and that is the extent of my personal grooming for the day

Best not to text me when I’m having a no-count day, I probably won’t respond. I don’t watch television; the listings are awful; they are no-count too.

Trashy food is a definite go. We stopped buying Cheetos because they remind us of you-know-who (another huge reason to dislike him.) My junk food of choice is demoted and I am stuck with pretzels.

Anyone who expects dinner would be well advised to hit home delivery for take-out. Home cooked meals rarely turn out to be appetizing on no-count days.

I’ve decided to forego watching the news today. No need to mess up a perfect no-count day.


Been Marginalized?

So you’ve been marginalized and are confused and hurt, because your family or circle of friends has excluded you from the loop. Unless you are an out and out ogre, or never shower, attempting to discover the reason is self defeating. If you are downgraded to a fringe membership in the group, maybe it’s time to shake things up a bit.

Sociologist will disagree, but I believe this situation has many benefits. It presents an opportunity to create your own unique niche.

Suddenly you are liberated. You no longer are required to endure the company of those who do not value you. For the holidays instead of being miserable and feeling like a schlub, take trips to places you want to go.

Get caller ID and use it. Better yet, get an unlisted phone number. You will find yourself included when people require assistance for crap you don’t want to do.

When an occasion arises that requires a gift, however diminished your position, you will receive an invitation. Ignore it. Spend the money on yourself. Buy more shoes.

Do what you want to do. Get that tattoo; pierce a body part. Wear caftans with cowboy boots. Give up wearing underwear.

Make new friends. Chat up the unusual looking person, with the magenta and green hair standing by the fennel at the organic supermarket. You could discover a whole new group of interesting people. You may decide you want to BE that person with the magenta and green hair.

Host a dinner for people who have nothing in common. It has the potential to be a lively evening and the beginning of new friendships. If it proves to be a dud, mark it off your bucket list.

Eventually those who excluded you will realize your “give a damn is busted” and you may find yourself on their “in” list again. Proceed slowly and remember Maya Angelou’s suggestion, “When people show you who they are, believe them the first time”.

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