6 Men Explain The Comments Most Likely To Tear Them Up Inside
There are many things people say that can insult others, even if it's in an offhand or joking way. And when it comes to men, some may not be as open about letting people know they are offended. These include comments about their height, weight, job status, and even parenting skills — though you might not know it by how they react.
Thanks to the way we define masculinity in our society, it can be easy to assume men won't be as affected by the things people say to them. Generally, society conditions men to be stoic people who, as a result, can't be easily hurt by others. And yet nothing could be further from the truth.
"You never know if you are talking to a man for whom criticism in these areas cuts deep," Joshua Klapow, PhD, clinical psychologist and host of The Kurre and Klapow Show, tells Bustle. "He may not show it but your words may indeed cut to the bone."
And that's why it's important to bear in mind that, regardless of someone's gender, it's always a good idea to think twice about how a comment may be received. "We have this false belief that words can’t do damage," Dr. Klapow says. "They can. They do. You never know how badly you may hurt someone."
Here, eight men share the comments that have affected them the most.
1. "How's The Weather Up There?" — Aaron, 23
"As a 6’4” guy [...] people always made comments about my height, asking me how the weather is up there, requesting that I give them a few inches of my height, or comment that I drink too much milk. While I enjoy and embrace being tall, I often find it rude that people assume being tall is all glamorous and that I live a different lifestyle than everybody else because of it."
2. "Do You Play Basketball?" — Ty, 27
"I’m 6’5 and African American and I always find it rude when people meet me and ask, 'Do you play basketball? You’re so tall!' I understand the correlation, but not all tall black men play basketball. We’re in 2019 so you’d think by now that people would make the mental note that tall black men do other things besides play sports but here we are."
3. "You're So Young" — Rob, 29
"I ran as a candidate in the 2018 election. I spent many days and nights out campaigning, meeting voters from all walks of life. More often than not, after introducing myself to a voter they would say 'You're so young.' Hearing this was very discouraging because it was said in a tone of voice that implied I was too young to hold office or make positive change. [...] I self-funded my campaign because I want to make our community a better place for all, [and] having others dismiss my public service entirely based on my age was frustrating."
4. "Why Are You So Fat?" — Wayne, 50
"This happens to me all the time, sadly. From my boss, to my doctor asking me why I am so fat, and that I need to lose weight. I am not 300 pounds. I am only a few pounds overweight but at my last physical a doctor asked me 'why you so fat?' When did that become OK?"
5. "You've Put On Weight" — Andrew, 32
"As a guy who’s struggled with body image issues since his early teens, I’ve become upset when someone makes a reference to my weight or physical appearance. Often times these comments are not [malicious], but they conjure up memories of being told by mom that she was 'concerned about my weight' and that she 'didn’t want to shop in the husky section for me.' The hurt stemming from this experience remains with me, albeit to a lesser extent thanks to working with a therapist and changing my internal narrative via CrossFit. I feel it’s a misconception that men don’t care when others comment on their bodies; I think a lot of us do but are too afraid to admit we struggle with self-esteem issues."
6. "You're Such A Great Babysitter!" — Chad, 39
"Babysitters watch kids. Dads raise their kids. I don't get paid to take care of my children. It really speaks to the culture when someone assumes dads are incapable. Look at most sitcoms. The dad is always a clumsy idiot who depends on the wife for everything. That's offensive. I'm a good father. Why can't that be your first assumption?"
It's easy to make comments like these either out of concern, as a joke, or simply as a way to start a conversation. But they really can cut deep and hurt a man's feelings way more than someone would ever realize.
This piece was updated on April 25, 2019.