Ain’t No Skin and Bones

Are my academic experiences just totally idiosyncratic or does shit like this happen to anyone else?

I’m walking back from class into the building that houses my office. Through the glass of the front door, I see some students–three young women–walking toward me. So like the gentleman that I am, I open the door for them, and the first two file through, thanking me in turn. The third, whom I don’t know and have never met, thanks me as well, then conspicuously looks me up and down and says: “Wow, you have lost some serious weight! You look good! Keep it up!” Then insouciantly walks away.

What do you do with fulsome flattery when it’s transparently false? (I haven’t lost a pound in months.) Do you accept it and hope that others are deceived by it as well? Or do you suspect that you’re subtly being made fun of? Or do you just walk away in bemused consternation and wait for the next thing?

5 thoughts on “Ain’t No Skin and Bones

  1. Turns out she sincerely meant it. I met the same student in the hall of my building the other day, and lo and behold, she repeated herself on the same subject, elaborating a bit: “Wow, you look great. I had you freshman year, and…you’ve lost so much weight since then. Seriously, you look good, keep it up!”

    Apparently, there’s an inverse causal relationship between weight loss and memory loss in my case, since–though she looks awfully familiar–I don’t remember having this student in class. (This seems to be happening to me a lot lately, which, I suppose, testifies to the amount of weight I’ve recently lost.)

    I’ve inserted an ellipsis at the point in her statement where she briefly seemed at a loss for the right way of putting things. I guess she deserves credit for that, as it seems hard to believe that she could possibly have learned the virtues of tact from me.


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