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April 13, 2007



Eeek. I dislike the whole small talk cocktail party thing. Especially when you're stuck talking to insensitive louts.


That is just rude. No matter how old or cultured she is, and how tight your pants. Like you, I'd be respectful, smile, and walk away (then write about it). But in my head, I'd be coming up with a hundred well-deserved comebacks.


"L'enfer, c'est les autres." - Sartre

I'm actually brilliant at small talk, and quite enjoy it. I have low expectations for other peoples' intelligence, and when they meet or fall short of those low expectations, I'm a master of the bail-out.

Potentially useful skills, I'm hoping.

Enjoy the jazz tonight, darlin' ...


Blech. My MIL had a party once, and my SIL was there, and called my MIL (her mother) by her first name...an inside joke in the family. An older woman there proceeded to berate my SIL and tell her that she owes her mother more respect than that, etc., and would not let it go. Evil. I'm glad I never go to those parties when my MIL has them. I might have to take someone out.


I don't have any trouble with small talk because I don't have any trouble being rude to boors like that.

My reply to the "shame you didn't have any daughters" remark: "Shame you never learned the basic rudiments of good manners." And the "Oops, and I really meant it" crack? More of the same: "I hope you didn't raise your daughters to be like you."

Very bad manners on my part, I know. And for people who don't know any better or are really and truly senile, O.K., clearly I would never say anything like that. But those who are still playing with a full deck of cards should know better. They are stupid, boorish, asshats. The only way I can keep from punching them in the face is with a sarcastic retort. Or, if I am lucky and can control myself, just walk away.


Rude people are terrible. Old, rude people are worse. I do not understand the condition I call "the arrogance of the old". The assumption that saying whatever they want is OK. That others should defer to them in all things.

It drives me nuts. I truly respect my elders and I hold my tongue (well, not literally - that would be messy). But sometimes withholding a barbed response is challenging, indeed.


Omigosh, how did you not smack her. And then go 'oops'. Geez!


Bravo, OddMix. Exactly what I wanted to say, but probably more articulately.

In reality, I probably would have said to that woman, "My good breeding prohibits me from saying what I really want to. Excuse me."

Then I would have left and immediately reported the incident to my husband, who would have vowed to beat her up.


Wow. That woman is incredibly rude!!! I think you handled it well, though. I would have done the same, while thinking terrible, evil thoughts the whole time.

(PS: the title of your post made me laugh out loud.)


Actually, Mr. Half was right there when it happened. I've known this woman since before we were married and her son is one of Mr. Half's oldest buddies since childhood. She's not mean and not usually rude at all...she's just very odd. And honestly, the whole time I was talking to her I had to remind myself that she's had terrible tragedy in her life and maybe it's warped her a little. She probably just thinks she's being "up front" with me. My problem is that I'm not confident enough to let it roll off my back without chewing over it and wondering what it all means.


I have very limited social skills (no really, I know it's hard to believe) and absolutely hate gatherings like that one. If there isn't anyone there to talk sports with I usually just keep to myself and drink.

Of course there's always one schmuck who wants to talk politics at these things. Why is that?

Antique Mommy

Oops? What is THAT supposed to mean? Old people and kids say the darndest things.


I don't think I'd have been able to resist asking her what "oops" meant. It might embarrass her to have to explain herself, and I'd really enjoy that. You have to have your fun wherever you find it at cocktail parties.


I am finding that the older I get, the less tolerant I am of pointless chit-chat. Apparently I am regressing.


i have an irresistable urge to push her into the potted plant myself, actually. i like the image of two little pantyhosed legs sticking straight up, and the plant wilting, trying to get away from the diatribe...

other people. so completely incomprehensible. i wonder if she thought she was being charming? or if she thought at all?


Take solace in the fact that before too long, the rude old lady will be stuck playing slow motion bingo in the Old Folks Home night after night and you'll be out there (all foxy looking in your tight pants) cheering for the A&M sports teams.


First -- 'I suck at cocktail talk' seems like the kind of remark that I could get backwards...like 'I sock at cucktail talk' or 'I sack at cocktail tuck' or worse...'I co...' Too many opportunities for error. I'll have to put it on my list. ;)

Second -- I loathe the close-talking-as-smooth-as-a-bag-of-broken-glass people. I was at a funeral at Christmas time and, during the wake that followed, bumped into an old friend's mother who referred to me by my mother's name. Now, you should know that this happens all the time and isn't really a big deal. Normally, I just smooth things out with a 'haha, sorry so and so, but it's canknitian.' This time, though, the response was 'No, you're (your mother)...oh...I guess...SORRY.' Because, of course, she would know better than I. I didn't know what to say.

This is the same smooth talker who, 20 years ago, in response to my mother's comment that she looked 20 lbs heavier in a photo because she'd been sick when it was taken, said 'Well, the camera never lies.'

All that to say that while her lack of tact at Christmas was unsurprising...it was still a bit of a stinger.

Loving Annie

Close-talking creeps me out, unless it's with a guy I'm about to get into kissy-face with !

That woman was a total twit !!! I am impressed with your not biting her head off or walking away in mid-idiocy of hers. People like that need a lesson in tact, snesitivity, intelligence, and, uhmmmm, should I go on ????

I enjoy reading what you write -- added you to my links, and will be back again !

Hope you have a very good weekend.


It never ceases to amaze me how thoughtless people can be sometimes.


Oh, I'd be so tempted to smile at her and say, "I know some people are unhappy with the children they get. I remember when Mr. Half told me all about YOUR mother, how she really wanted a boy--or at least a smart girl with tact. Oh well--you get what you get! With that moustache of yours, you might be able to convince her she had a boy after all! Ha, ha! Time for another drink. Can I get you one as well?"

; D


I am always baffled about what to do in situations like that. The take-no-prisoners honest part of me wants to rip them a new one, but usually my mother wins out - I can hear her voice in my head, whispering "Bless her heart. Be nice, dear." So I just let it slide and then complain about them to all my friends.


Oh, and post script: I was SOOO hoping the title of this was a caption for a photo of Hot S.


i can't small talk. and man do i hate tight pants. but what really gets me is the need to belittle someone else for no reason. it's baffling.

you did good, woman.


You are NOT bad at smalltalk. She is just rude, rude, rude! You have spent way too much time already thinking about this close talking, rude, old and ugly (and in bad need of a shave) woman. She's lucky you didn't knock her block off.


At least she didn't say something she didn't mean.

People like this are a wonder. They live in their own bubbles with no regard for the feelings of others. And you just can't teach them manners, no matter how hard you try. Unfortunately, it isn't limited to small talk. Gritting your teeth was probably a better response than poking her in the eye, no matter how tempting.

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