Love Hurts

I see this one guy around town all the time. We don’t run in the same circles, but we must run in the same Venn diagrams or something because I see him everywhere — on my way to work some mornings, inside a Village Inn at 4am, in the same dive bar on more than a few occasions. (I feel like that Village Inn/dive bar thing made me sound like the kind of person who probably has tetanus. I do not have tetanus, I just like crepes. And dive bars.) I don’t know his name and I’ve only spoken to him once, very briefly and about nothing, but every time we make eye contact he smiles and nods in a friendly way. He’s probably a really nice guy.

I hate his stupid guts.

Ten Things I Hate About You

1. I hate how his awful mustache makes him look like a baseball player from the late 19th century. He’s not a baseball player from the late 19th century. His upper lip is a liar and a fraud.

He is indistinguishable from every member of this team.

He is indistinguishable from every member of this team.

2. I hate his horrible forearm tattoos, which I’ve never actually seen up close. I feel safe assuming they’re horrible. They seem like they would be.

3. I hate his fixed-gear bicycle, and I want to punch him off it.

4. I hate his smug face with its Paul McCartney smirk. Sir Paul is my least-favorite Beatle, including Pete Best.

5. I hate the cutoff jeans he wears regardless of the season. To be honest, I’m not 100% sure he wears cutoffs year-round, or even at all, but my mental image of him does and I call them “jorts” and I hate it.

6. I hate that the first time I ever saw him, he was wearing a hat with a rooster on it that said “cocky”. That would have been bad enough, but you could tell from his dumb face that he was doing it ironically.

7. I hate that the time I saw him at Village Inn, he did that stupid smile-and-nod thing and I was filled with so much uncontrollable rage that I almost didn’t eat all of my crepe. I managed, though. Despite the hardship.

8. I hate that he has never been anything but friendly to me despite my behavior. He must have noticed the bulging eyes and the facial tic and the clenched jaw by now. Maybe he thinks my face is just like that.

9. I hate that he probably thinks my face is just like that.

Poor thing. She probably has tetanus.

“Poor thing. She probably has tetanus.”

10. Most of all, I hate the way that he makes me hate him the way that I hate him. I hate my hatred of him. I HATE IT.

I can’t help it. Something (everything) about this man makes my entire body shake with rage every time I see him. Every time I learn new information about him, I shove it into a mental file labeled, “Damn Good Reasons”. I hate him so much that if this was a Jane Austen novel and not real life, we’d be getting married any day now.

The intensity of the anger I feel towards this clown is particularly dismaying because lately I’ve been trying really, really hard to be a better person. I’m trying to be a kinder, gentler me, both for the people I care about and for my own internal well-being. Patient and cool-tempered. Loving and uncritical. I want to be more of a Bubbles and less of a Buttercup or Blossom.

I'm also trying to shoehorn the Powerpuff Girls into more conversations.

I’m also trying to shoehorn the Powerpuff Girls into more conversations.

Let me tell you something–being nice is the worst. Every single time I open my mouth or even think, I catch myself speaking harshly, or whining or generally being a poop head.

Ten Things Nice People Do

1. Nice people don’t make fun of the choices people make with their upper lips, even if those choices are infuriating.

2. Nice people inquire about others’ tattoos politely. They don’t judge them, particularly if they have not actually seen the tattoos in question.

3. Nice people don’t punch others off of their modes of transportation.

4. Nice people know that no one can help what their face looks like and that Pete Best was the worst Beatle and that they’re probably wrong about Paul.

5. Nice people don’t talk about jorts if they have nothing good to say about them.

6. Nice people probably laugh good-naturedly at distasteful hats with idiotic visual puns — LOOK, EVEN NICE PEOPLE HAVE A BREAKING POINT.

7. Nice people do not feel uncontrollable rage and if they do, they don’t let it affect their crepes.

8. Nice people are friendly in kind.

9. Nice people have accepted and made peace with the fact that their faces might just be like that.

10. Nice people understand that what the world needs now is love, sweet love, and that even the word “hate” shouldn’t be thrown around because we don’t need that negative energy up in here. Nice people might dislike some people, sure, but they reserve their hatred for things like celery and genocide and negative reviews of The Phantom Tollbooth.

Cover of "The Phantom Tollbooth"

Nice people get it.

I was hoping that by the end of this post I would have made peace with all that rage. That I would have had some kind of epiphany and that the next time I see this guy, I wouldn’t be filled with the urge to set his bike on fire. I don’t think that’s going to happen, based on the muscle twitching under my right eye.

I guess the only thing I know right now is what I’ve always known. To paraphrase Kurt Vonnegut, there’s only one rule, babies — you’ve got to be kind. Even to people whose very existence makes your face twitch.


  1. jcantwell2

    The mere thought of that stupid hat makes me cringe, don’t feel bad about that one.

    Glad you are trying to be nice, good thing you don’t live in places like Austin, its much harder to maintain composure when people like your friend here are everywhere.

    • Denise

      Yeah – in Portland too. Everywhere! I’m not sure why no one seems to understand that it’s not a unique look if everyone is doing it.

  2. pensitivity101

    Good post. I know what you mean about hating someone you don’t know (see my post Animosity Unfounded if interested) for no logical reason. We’re all entitled, and it doesn’t mean that you’re not nice!

  3. shenanitim

    1,2,5, and 6 are spot on. Nice people can and should do them. You can’t control what your face looks like, but you can control how you decorate it. Same goes with jorts and clothing adorned with bad puns.

  4. MissJane0511

    Maybe there is a reason for your uncontrollable distaste for this person but you just dont know it yet…… call it a gut feeling? Then you can just roll with it until you are either proved right by fact or have to bite the bullet and admit you are wrong.

    Also thank you for cheering me up after a particularly rubbish day at work!!

  5. maira

    Try to talk to him next time! Get guts, girl! :) You are guessing that he is a nice person, so check your theory :)
    And I honestly think it’s okay not being a nice person.

  6. Little Miss Menopause

    Number three on both lists made me laugh so hard, fell off the counter. She didn’t belong there anyhow. I just love how you can make the cleverest of posts imply out of lists. I made a list post today. They were tips and hints on how to use today’s slang, actually. But my lists never seem to pan out quite like yours do.

  7. herschelian

    Methinks the lady doth protest too much…..secret attraction maybe?
    Also – remember that kissing a man who has not waxed his moustache is like eating a boiled egg without salt.

  8. squeakytina

    I enjoyed this post but I hesitate to “like” it because that implies I agree with or condone this “not nice” behavior. I really hope you talk to mr. Cocky Hat. I feel like this is the beginning of some terrible romcom. Still, I’m invested.

  9. DrFrood

    Even though he was never part of the band, even for a little while, Burt Bacharach was my favourite Beatle after John, Paul, George, Ringo, Billy Preston even if he only sat in with them for a little while and of course Scarab.

  10. emisformaker

    I make a concerted effort on an ongoing basis to reduce judgement of others and to be my best at all times. A big part of that involves not beating myself up for the occasional slip, and never mistaking niceness for doormat-dom. My mantra is to treat others as I would like to be treated, even though it seems that most of the world missed this lesson. One’s efforts must be about keeping oneself and one’s behaviour to a personal standard, and never using the phrase ‘everybody’s doing it’ as justification for doing anything. And that’s why I won’t cheat on my taxes or cut in line, but I will yell at the driver who just drove across the sidewalk without looking and feel no pang of guilt but that I could not do more, like taking away his license and crushing his vehicle into a cube.

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