Inappropriate, maybe.

A stranger actually called me “naughty” yesterday.  “Naughty”!  And not in a good way.

What I did might have been inappropriate, but “naughty”? Come on! What am I, five-years-old?

Espresso MacciatoHere’s the situation.  I’m sitting on a patio with my good friend Venus discussing love, loss and other personal traumas.  You know, topics of interest to well-trained Drama Queens who can always end a good story with a witty self-deprecating twist.  In essence, we were having a good time sitting on a patio and discussing intimate things, when a guy came out of the building next to us and started pacing back and forth talking on his cell phone.

No biggie, obviously he is having his own drama and since he’s brought it to the busy street we figure he’ll wrap it up fairly quickly or walk away.  We glance at him and continue our conversation.

But he doesn’t wrap up or walk away.  In fact, what he does is start talking louder and gesticulating.

Our private and intimate conversation is now being overridden by his conversation. He’s not wrapping up.  He’s getting more engaged.  It’s been going on for minutes now. And he’s starting to get less-than-polite glances from us.  His response?  Turn his back and rest his butt on the patio railing right beside Venus. Seriously!

So, being the polite and patient women we are, we stop talking, sip our coffees and wait for him to finish up and remove himself from our space.  After a couple more minutes, I decide that a polite suggestion to take it elsewhere is the best idea.

I stand up, lean forward and say “Excuse me.”  A little louder “Excuse Me?”.  Once more with a voice that will carry, but hopefully not into his cell, “Excuse ME!”

Not even a twitch of recognition.  So I reach out my hand and touch his shoulder gently with my fingertips and repeat “Excuse Me”.  Leisurely, he lifts himself off the railing and turns, hand over the cell “yes?”

“Could you please go a little further away?”  He looks me up and down, turns, and then starts pacing again.  Luckily, talking more quietly.

Yay! We can go back to our conversation which we did with gusto.  Then, in the midst of over-sharing, he interjects “That was Naughty, what you did!”. 

We look at him incredulously!

“That was naughty, touching me like that. You should have gotten up and moved,” that got him a couple of raised eyebrows.

“You were naughty. You shouldn’t have touched me. You should have walked around the patio and come to talk to me”, OMG, he’s kidding right?  The last time a man called me naughty I did way more than just touch him lightly on the shoulder.

But personal space is personal space, so I responded, “you’re right. I shouldn’t have touched you. I’m sorry for that.”

“Okay, and I was talking too loudly so I’m sorry for that too.”

This guy must have kids, because you don’t talk to adults like that.  “Naughty”, my ass!

Inappropriate, invasive, surprising, disconcerting – perhaps.

But please if you are talking to an adult save “naughty” for something fun, would ya!

Alexa Clark

Alexa is a digital marketer and author with over 20 years in digital & interactive communications in the food and tech industries. Alexa's CheapEats Restaurant Guides, for both Toronto & Ottawa, were Canadian best sellers. She is a recognized authority on social media and has been named one of Canada's 20 Leading Women in Social Media.

5 thoughts on “Inappropriate, maybe.

  • July 12, 2007 at 4:08 pm

    I’m not surprised you got called “naughty” … I’m just surprised you were referred to in this manner in that particular context. 🙂
    The man behaved badly, but he did surprise me with the slipshod apology at the end of his “naughty” rant.
    I’m always a bit shocked when people don’t consider smoke, or noise, in their definition of “personal space”. He spent rather a lot of time invading our space, yet did his haughty naughty number on us. Harrumph, I say.
    Good on you for taking the initiative to stand up for us … I applaud you for that!

  • July 13, 2007 at 4:43 pm

    I agree with Venus, good for you for saying something! The length that people will infringe on the personal space/rights of others with their rudeness is amazing to me.

  • July 16, 2007 at 11:42 am

    Oh, I think this man’s behaviour is completely explicable…by a clinical professional.

  • July 19, 2007 at 8:23 pm

    You were incredibly polite. A similar situation happened to me but I handled it a little differently. A gentleman stood right beside me yakking on his cell phone. He was completely oblivious to the fact his hovering conversation was disrupting our table. Since he had his back turned to me, I twisted my cloth napkin and gave him a gentle snap on the butt. We(a table of women)laughed at him. He moved. After he finished his conversation, he returned to apologise. No harm. No foul.
    Yes, I would have deserved to have been called naughty.

  • July 20, 2007 at 12:45 pm

    Thank you all for your support of my behaviour. It never actually crossed my mind that *I* was rude.
    But, BC, boy, I wish I had you there to snap his butt!


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