You Can’t Handle the Truth

A woman and her son were entering the Subway as my daughter and I were getting out of the car.  My daughter uttered, “Hoochie Mama” under her breath.  I chastised her for being inappropriate.  Her response to me was, “Well she is.”  Granted the woman was probably in her late forties, had on 5 inch heels, booty shorts and next to nothing for a top with her adolescent son in tote.  Sadly, my daughter was right.

During our meal, a couple came in with their child and a friend.  The couple was a little punk rock meets hippie.  They finished their meal and walked out, but the friend and child headed back to refill a drink.  My mother was with us and commented on the baby being cute.  My daughter said something derogatory about the parents being weird.  This time my mother chastised her, noting that their friend may overhear her.

At that point my daughter dropped some wisdom, “If people can’t handle the truth, they should fix the problem.”  Her view point is that if people make choices in life that others may criticize they have few options.

1. Handle the truth. (Ignore the criticism)
2. Fix the problem. (Change what is being criticized)

However, it seems most people would rather choose a third option which is to get offended.  While I don’t condone her tact, I am glad to say that at a young age she has come to the realization that if the truth hurts do something about it.  If it’s not the truth, ignore it!


  1. This is quite easy to say in theory. However in practice, spite leads to hate and hate opens the gateway to violence. Bad social attitudes towards groups of people can become enablers for people to feel justified to resort to ‘correcting the problem’ for themselves. What if a gay man came in and your daughter said “faggot”, or a trans person came in? what then? Should the minority just ignore the sentiment knowing the very real danger of violence that exists?

  2. @Jasper,

    I believe what Derek is advocating is not allowing a 3rd party to “fix the problem,” but that it needs to come from within. If what someone says or thinks about you disturbs you because you are not comfortable with your own reality, then it may be something you need to change inside you. Otherwise, if you are secure in your “being,” ignore them and remove yourself from the situation.

    I do not condone violence or hate in any way, and there is always the potential for a situation like that to escalate into violence. If someone is actively looking to perpetrate violence, unfortunately there is not much you can do to prevent it other than try to remove yourself as quickly as possible.

  3. reminder: act on direct, carefully delivered criticism from at least a respected peer and ignore the teenage girls talking about you behind your back.

  4. The problem with this binary thinking is that either 1) Everyone else’s POV is invalid or 2) Your POV is always subordinate to someone else’s. Either option stifles dialog.

    I have been known to voice a dissenting opinion simply so it gets voiced. Too often the dissenting opinion is ignored just because everyone present is in agreement. This leads to gaps in knowledge and sometimes catastrophic decision making.

    A thing being thought should not necessarily lead to a thing being said. Taking life (and the people in it) with a healthy grain of salt is a good skill to cultivate, but not at the cost of empathy. No one is ever right all the time, no one is wrong all the time either.

  5. I feel the need to post a comment in defense of the five inch heels. Although I can’t comment on the style of the shoe in question, I do want to point out that five inch heels, at any age, do not signify “hootchie mama.” Although I can’t argue with you (or your daughter’s) assessment based on the other articles of clothing that you described, I’d like to offer a friendly and gentle reminder that the five inch heel is often an integral component of a very classy ensemble.

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