So, today I went to get a new suit. This has been on my "to do" list for about two and a half years. Ever since I lost a 133 pounds and went from fat me to thin me (still weird to think that way and be referred to that). The last time I wore a suit I was in a size 40 at the time (in suit pants, anyway. I was still in 36 with jeans).
That suit can't possibly fit me anymore, so I went down to where I grabbed this suit in the first place -- the store is in a new building now, and it's run by different people, but it still has a great selection of suits at rather modest prices.
Upon entering the store, I was greeted by the sales guy, and I promptly explained to him that I had no idea what I was doing as far suits were concerned. We tried on jackets first, just to determine what looked good, and I told him what was suggested to me and what I was looking for.
I really, really wanted to grab something like this, just because it'd be awesome to have it.
Sure, pinstripes were suggested as something I shouldn't get, but David Tennant pulled it off and, blast it, I think I can too. We weren't able to find a suit that quite looked like that or the blue one that Tennant always wore, but we were able to come up with a silvery one with pinstripes that I really, really took to.
I spent nearly two hours trying on suits, trying to decide what style I liked and what things I wanted.
But the most interesting part of this adventure wasn't getting the suit, but the older gentlemen that was getting his suit tailored. The gentlemen, upon seeing me try on many suits and asking many questions, offered his hand and introduced himself.
His name was George and, upon shaking his hand, George told me this. "I can tell by your handshake that women take advantage of you and men push you around." He smiled at me and then added, "But I can also tell you have a lot of integrity and a vitality for life. You just need to push back a bit, toughen up."
Not an introduction you get very often, right? George is in his late 50s, is a Navy veteran, and just recently lost 82 pounds thanks to karate. George and I hit it off (even if I was a bit stunned by his proclamations about me). I told him that I lost over 100 pounds about two years ago, and he was super-pleased by that.
George was a big fan of fist bumping; he did that a lot.
Anyway, George advised that I take karate from his instructor and told me that I just needed to be less kind; that it was okay to push back, it was good for people and good for me. I countered that I wasn't a push-over (at least I didn't think so), and that I was accommodating, but George was adamant that it was the same thing.
George was impressed that I had a job (even if it was Target, he told me it was good that I was working and not unemployed -- any job is better than no job), that I had lost over 100 pounds, and he told me he looked forward to seeing the change in me a year from now. We exchanged phone numbers (because when a random stranger introduces himself and reads you from a handshake you just do that, right?) but I don't expect to actually hear from him again.
But his words were strange to me. I was there to buy two suits, things that looked good (or at least decent), hopefully to use at events in the future. Hell, maybe even to wear on a nice date (holding breath ... now).
George's words made me think, though. Am I too accommodating? Is George right and I need to "toughen up" and "push back"? I'm not sure. It's never been in my nature to be the "bad guy". I'm not a hardass. Do I stress about things? Sure. But I try to make sure the people around me are good and taken care of.
I don't see this as a bad thing. I don't necessarily think that being "nice" is a bad thing. I've never gotten the impression that "women take advantage of me" and "men push me around". I can be a stubborn SOB when I want to be.
I wonder, though, if I should be tougher. Would me being tougher be more attractive to women? I don't know. Me being me worked for about a week in November with a pretty girl I liked. It ended, but it ended on good terms, but me being me worked.
I think George made some sweeping assumptions. I don't see my kindness as a weakness or something that is lacking. But it's interesting to know what someone else thinks from the outside, even if it is a bit unflattering.