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Perfectly Awful & Awfully Perfect May 31, 2011

Posted by nrhatch in Exercise & Fitness, Food & Drink, Humor.

I met someone perfectly awful at the potluck last night.

She reminded me of Dale Carnegie . . . if he had an alter-ego or an evil twin.

Her unauthorized biography will be titled, How to Lose Friends and Annoy People.

In her mid-70’s, wearing a skimpy halter-topped dress (which left little of her sun-toasted and roasted skin to the imagination), she referred to her weight throughout the evening . . . as she sneered over her sunglasses at people for eating the buns on burgers, the pasta in salad, and the delectable homemade strawberry ice cream.

Guzzling wine like water, she pronounced with an imperious wave, “I never eat white bread.  Or sugar.  Or pasta.  Or ice cream.”

Hmm . . . I guess she prefers her carbohydrates in liquid form.

Wikipedia ~ Strawberry Sundae (in Public Domain)

Offered a small dish of ice cream, she screeched in horror!

Not mock horror.

Actual horror.

Waving her tanned hands down her trim facade, she shrieked, “I can’t eat THAT if I want to look like THIS.”

No doubt mistaking my gaping mouth as admiration for her will power and self-restraint, she leaned in to share her secrets with a captive, though not entirely captivated, audience.

“I walk.  Every morning.  Eight miles.  And I play tennis.  Every day.  And I volunteer.   Every week.  At six different places.  I believe in giving back.  The world would be a better place if we had more people like me!”

Then, sniffing in my general direction, she lifted her chin in challenge, “WHERE do YOU volunteer?”

“I’m on the mangrove committee.”

“The mangrove committee?  Here?  In the neighborhood?  That doesn’t count.”

“It doesn’t?”

“Of course not.  It’s in the neighborhood.  You NEED to volunteer OUTSIDE the neighborhood if you want to give back.”

“Oh, I didn’t know that.”

170px-alice_par_john_tenniel_30Rolling her eyes at my obvious ineptitude, she said, “You NEED to volunteer at Robinson Preserve.  At least one day a week.  For at least four hours.”

“Really?  Why is that?”

“So you can learn about the native plants in the area.”

“Oh, right.  Plants.  Actually, that’s why I volunteered for the mangrove committee . . . to learn about the plants.”

Ignoring me, “I’ll tell you WHO to contact about volunteering at Robinson.”

“Oh, I know quite a few of the volunteers and rangers at Robinson . . .”

Glaring at me, “YOU?!  WHO?!  Who do YOU know at Robinson?”

“Katharine and Mike, Aiden, Melis . . .”

Scoffing audibly, “Katharine and Mike?!  THEY’VE only volunteered there for THREE years.  I’ve been there for SIX!”

“Well, I guess I better get started if I’m ever going to catch up with you.”

As I said, she was perfectly awful . . . or maybe just awfully perfect.  I wonder if she and Wonder Woman’s Evil Twin are related.

Related post:  Granny’s Sodden Sunday  . . . The Irony of Dying Healthy


1. Richard W Scott - May 31, 2011

My guess is that this woman identifies herself through looks first, and then accomplishments. I know people who are like that. Ask them who they are and they hand you a business card.

A favorite, if relatively unknown philospher, of mine once said, “If who you are is what you do, then when you don’t, who are you?”

nrhatch - May 31, 2011

You are so right, Rik.

She spent a ton of time telling us about her career and how she was sorry that she retired early ~ she wishes she had stayed for another 10 years. Blah. Blah. Blah.

Mostly, she was focused on gaining external approval for her efforts while belittling the efforts of others. At one point, when she disagreed with something I said, she flicked a finger in my direction and said to the man next to her, Who IS this person?!

He smiled and replied, Oh, SHE’S all right, causing me to smile in secret satisfaction. 😉

2. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide - May 31, 2011

Ugh, you just have to feel bad for people who deny themselves carbs. Or at least question their sanity.:)

nrhatch - May 31, 2011

Especially at her age. I mean, seriously, does she really think it still matters what she LOOKS like? 🙂

3. suzicate - May 31, 2011

“perfectly awful” NOT “awfully perfect”…people who toot their own horns (esp when the music is out of tune!)and try to tell others how to live totally annoy me, but that’s just me. I think you were way too kind not to slide in a smart aleck remark to one of her sneers…sorry, I’m not feeling very tolerant at the moment!

nrhatch - May 31, 2011

Well, this is the “condensed version.” 😉

I did manage to slip in at some point: We can’t ALL be Mother Teresa. That was her job.

4. Linda - May 31, 2011

LOL! This sounds like such a funny encounter from the outside. I would have been guffawing as my daughter likes to say if I had been standing to the side of that conversation. I could never have been as nice as you. And a halter at 70! ewwwwwwwwww. Thin or not thats just gross.

nrhatch - May 31, 2011

I wish you had been there, Linda. You would not have been able to keep a straight face. She’s such a walking parody ~ almost as if her lines had been scripted and rehearsed.

5. Vixter2010 - May 31, 2011

Yawn, how dull! You wonder what she’s trying to cover up with her beating of her own drum, her husbands prob seeing a younger woman or something 🙂

nrhatch - May 31, 2011

Her husband seemed quite pleasant . . . not so sold on himself as she appeared to be.

They seemed an odd combo to tell the truth. 🙂

6. kateshrewsday - May 31, 2011

You sound as if you handled this so beautifully, Nancy. I would have been knocking over furniture to get out of the room!

nrhatch - May 31, 2011

Indoors, I would have been tempted to do just that, Kate. Sitting poolside, under the setting sun, relaxed me enough that it was easier to let her trumpet away.

That said, BFF got an earful after the party disbanded. 😉

7. Woman Wielding Words - May 31, 2011

What a perfectly awful yet truly wonderful in the ridiculousness of it all way character. 😉

nrhatch - May 31, 2011

Exactly why I felt compelled to share her ridiculosity. 😉

8. Tilly Bud - May 31, 2011

She sounds deeply insecure to me. Something’s eating at her, that’s for sure.

nrhatch - May 31, 2011

I expect you’re right.

Rather sad to spend so much time trying to impress others ~ constantly looking over your shoulder to make sure others are watching.

9. Maggie - May 31, 2011

Unbelievable! Maybe it was all that wine talking… I hope she’s not like that all the time.

And this: “You NEED to volunteer OUTSIDE the neighborhood if you want to give back.” – Isn’t that a little nonsensical?

nrhatch - May 31, 2011

That thought crossed my mind. She may have had too much to drink . . . without any carbs to soak it up. I’ve never met her before, so I don’t know.

Her point is that SHE volunteers for local agencies . . . therefore, that’s the only volunteerism that’s worth anything. She did agree that the volunteer work I do at the local library counts. 😀

10. jeanne - May 31, 2011

He who lives by the approval of others will die by the absence of the same…Steve Furtick

nrhatch - May 31, 2011

Great quote. She spent the entire evening finding ways to pump herself up . . . and put other people down. I plan to steer clear of her in the future. Life is too short to spend it in “shallow” waters.

11. Cindy - June 1, 2011

Horrible, there must be some deep unhappiness at play. You showed remarkable restraint, I’d have been very rude.

nrhatch - June 1, 2011

For most of the evening, I just listened to her in fascinated horror. Is that rude? 😉

12. therealsharon - June 1, 2011

Ugh, how dreadfully awful! You have amazing tolerance….I think I would have said something I might have later regretted!

nrhatch - June 1, 2011

I did not say anything that I regret . . . but I said a few things that did not please HER.

Among them: We can’t ALL be Mother Teresa. That was her job.

13. jannatwrites - June 1, 2011

I got a little queasy at the “skimpy halter top dress” but I continued reading. It’s a shame she passed on everything that makes a party (and life) fun. Doesn’t she know that a little fat under the skin as we age smooths out some of the wrinkles? It could really help her out, with the toasted skin and all.

I’m glad the evening wasn’t totally wasted, since she gave you an entertaining blog post.

nrhatch - June 1, 2011

She ended up being the “highlight” (or maybe the lowlight) of the evening for me. I found her fascinating to watch . . . a character worth including in a future story perhaps?

A life of constant deprivation (even at parties) is not nearly as much FUN as the occasional indulgence! 😀

14. granny1947 - June 1, 2011

I could feel the hair rising on my neck just reading about her!!!

nrhatch - June 1, 2011

It’s funny, Granny. When I first sat down at the table and tuned in to what she was saying, I thought, She must be acting.

Sadly, no. 😉

15. Piglet in Portugal - June 1, 2011

She made me laugh…I know just the sort of woman you mean. Grrrr

You were very reserved with you reponses.I tend to be passive agressive. I will listen so long to her sort of nonsense and then they get both barrels. Unfortunately, that’s one of my faults 😳 I am trying to address…however, my fuse IS getting longer with Age and I don’t explode so often now.

nrhatch - June 1, 2011

For the most part, I prefer to let people dig their own graves. At one point, I did say, No. I don’t NEED to do anything just because YOU think I SHOULD.

That annoyed her enough that she left the table for a bit.

I didn’t miss her. 😉

16. eof737 - June 1, 2011

I laughed out loud when I read this post… Oh, we all know her; or someone like her… all righteous indignation. lol!
I wonder if she smokes extra strong cigarettes late at night? I knew someone like her who did. So shocking or maybe not! 🙂

nrhatch - June 1, 2011

Hahaha! Cruella DeVille . . . cigarette holder and all! 😀

17. Loreen Lee - June 1, 2011

Dear Time Out box:

The term ‘comedy of manners’ is generally used in the literary history and criticism and more specifically applied to the restoration dramatists such as William Congreve and William Wycherley. This type of comedy continues to appear in the works of Richard Brinsley Sheridan and Oscar Wilde.

The form of restoration comedy owes to the powerful dramas of the French writer Moliere. It deals with the intrigues and relations of men and women of sophisticated upper class society. It makes fun of social groups and their fashionable manners. It is often satirical but in a good-natured way!

The dialogue of such comedy consists of witty conversations and repartee as if fencing match! The depiction of jealous husband, conniving rivals, and foppish dandies all catches attention.

The comedy of manners failed in the early nineteenth century, but was revived again by many skillful dramatists like A. W. Pinero, Oscar Wilde, G. B. Shaw, Noel Coward, Neil Simpson and many other writers of the present era. It is an artificial form of drama which is full of verbal wit and therefore, it is sometimes considered as cynical.

nrhatch - June 1, 2011

Jane Austen’s “comedy of manners” is what I like best about her writing. She pokes fun at buffoons and boorish behavior . . . while seeming to congratulate it. 😉

18. flyinggma - June 1, 2011

Wow….is about all I can say and not in a good way. I’ve run into people like her at various functions. I prefer to people watch and listen dig their own graves in deed and words. It does give you more stories to tell.

nrhatch - June 1, 2011

BFF and I usually just roll our eyes and laugh about the bad behavior later . . . out of earshot of the offending party.

Laughter keeps me sane when faced with inane chatter.

19. Joanne - June 1, 2011

Every encounter is an opportunity… In this case, I would have seized the opportunity to ask her if she’d mind being the model for a character in a novel I’m writing…

I’m sure you can think of a great name for this one, Nancy… Maybe I would have had to have been there, but seriously…? How can anyone take a person like that seriously…?

nrhatch - June 1, 2011

That’s perfect, Joanne!

Maybe I’ll ask her that next time I am forced into her company . . . she’d probably be flattered by the attention. 😀

20. oldancestor - June 2, 2011

Sometimes I’m glad I’m unsociable.

nrhatch - June 2, 2011

The more I bump into folks like this . . . the more unsociable I become. Ack!

21. Judson - June 3, 2011

I’ll bet she “never watches TV” either …

Just a hunch.

nrhatch - June 3, 2011

You see her enjoying classical music and wine . . . not beer and Reality TV? 😎

22. Sandra Bell Kirchman - June 3, 2011

I see her as a terribly insecure person because she doesn’t know who she really is. The quote that jeanne gave describes it pretty well. People like that can’t take any kind of criticism or competition because their view of themselves is built on quicksand. Anything can bring it down to an (to them) intolerable level.

That’s one part of me that can see all this. The other part of me is like PiP – you were very tolerant, Nancy, and I’m sure I would have brought her self-opinion down a few notches because of an occasional short fuse. I’m hoping that some day I will have more of the first part and less of the second part of me to deal with 😛

nrhatch - June 3, 2011

The more comfortable we become with who we are . . . the less concerned we are with what others think of us (or what we think of them).

We learn to roll with the flow instead of fighting the current. 😀

Sandra Bell Kirchman - June 3, 2011

A wise man said, “What you think of me is none of my business.” 🙂

nrhatch - June 3, 2011
23. Tokeloshe - June 7, 2011


nrhatch - June 7, 2011

Having never seen her before, I’ve now seen her “out and about” 4x in one week.

The first 3x, she avoided me or ignored me. The last time, when I remained “friendly” despite her repeated rebuffs, she deigned to speak to me. 😎

24. sufilight - October 13, 2011

LOL! This is one reason I am not exactly sociable nowadays. 🙂

nrhatch - October 13, 2011

As Roo would say . . . Me too! 😉

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