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I was having a casual tête-à-tête with an extended family member, until the conversation came to a grinding halt.
Why? Well, this family member said a personally much-loathed phrase: “Because I did it like this.”
And deep inside the recesses and crevices of my brain, I screamed silently:
So what? Who gives a flying f*ck what you did?
While I can’t get into the details of the conversation that led me to hunker down and write this piece, this was not the first time someone had said a version of this extremely annoying phrase to me. And it gets my goat every single time.
You might be asking yourself, “Much ado about nothing, Roopa?”
Fret not, y’all. Let me back up a little and give you some context from three different instances. Then all of my f*ck yous will make sense.
1. A friend and I went out shopping during the days when we could. (Remember them? They seem so long ago!) I was looking for a matching pair of lingerie, as in, I like for my undergarments to match. We were at Victoria’s Secret and there was a massive sale going on. I found a few undies easily. But when it came to bras, I could not find them in the same color. If the size was right, the color was off. And if the color was right, the size was off. You know?
As I kept rummaging through the mounds of undergarments, my friend kept pulling out one black bra and saying, “Buy this. So what if it doesn’t match your undies? This will work great as a contrast.”
I told her that I like my undies to match. No offense to her; that’s just my jam. But she kept telling me, “So what? I wear mismatched undies all the time and I’m okay.”
I shook my head and said, again, “No, I like my inner garments to match. That’s just my thing.” To that, she said, “Sh*t Roopa. You wear it on the inside. Who’s even going to see? I do it all the time.” The implication being that because it worked for her, it should work for me too.
I tried to get her to understand that I wasn’t arguing whether the bra could do its job. And yes, I know it goes on the inside. And sure, it works for her. Hurray and clap clap for her for being so open-minded. But just because “she did it like this” doesn’t mean it would work for me.
Because I. Like. My. Undies. To. Match.
2. The second incident was when I was looking through a bunch of options for my annual philanthropic donations. This year, I wanted to up my donation and instead of the usual two organizations I give money to, I wanted to add a third. I asked friends for recommendations and made it clear that I was looking for an organization that helped women and children. A few of them gave me some options, but then came a suggestion from a family member: “Well, I donate money to…” And it was a pet shelter.
Now, I don’t have anything against animal shelters. When I can, I absolutely give money to them. But I’d made it very clear that my priority for this third organization had to benefit women and children. Instead, this person insisted that I give money to this animal shelter because, “Animals need your help as much as humans do, Roopa. So go ahead and give your money to them. I do it all the time.”
Again, no offense, but f*ck off. I’m not going to give money to any organization just because it’s a cause that you like. Right now, my priority is to give money to programs that benefit women and children. When I want to widen that horizon, I will.
3. The third incident isn’t one that happened to me personally but I was privy to it, and it is part of the reason I even thought about writing this story. This happened to one of my close friends who is in the middle of finding school admission for her younger daughter. My friend and her husband work hard and earn good money. And a huge part of why they work so hard is so they can send their children to private schools.
So, when she was looking through the admission requirements of some of these fancy private schools, a mutual friend jumped in and said, “But why do you want to enroll her in an expensive private school? I send my children to public school and they’re fine.”
My friend tried to explain—repeatedly—that wanting her kids to go to private school was not a judgment on our mutual friend’s children going to public school. She wants her kids to go to private school because it’s her choice. But mutual friend kept bringing up how public school worked for her kids and that she couldn’t understand why my friend was so adamant about sending her kids to private school. She ended her tirade with, “But it works for me!” After she left, my friend and I just sat there with our mouths open.
Just because it works for mutual friend doesn’t mean my friend should opt for the same choice. Whether mutual friend approves or not, whether she thinks it’s extravagant or not, is not the issue. My friend wants her kids to go to private school. That’s it.
Honestly, this is my biggest pet peeve. What is it about folks who always feel the need to tell you to do something not because it’s right for you or because it’s the best option but because they do it that way? And if they do it and they’re okay with it, does that automatically mean we should be too?
This isn’t about scenarios where the options are between something absolutely right and something absolutely wrong. Then, someone else’s opinions and choices might matter or shed light on the situation.
But matching underwear? Donating to a cause of your choice? Sending your kids to private school? These are pretty straightforward, no? If I have clearly told you what I like and don’t like, in an effort to receive some support, and you still press your choice on me only because “you did it like that,” well that’s clearly a big f*ck off from me.
What do you think? Agree with me? Or am I “much ado(ing) about nothing?” Let me know in the comments section below!