A completely different person ago and in a city far away, I worked in a men's clothing store that only hired girls and we all worked for commission and tips. This store prided itself on hiring only big booty bitches and 17 year old me was thrilled about working there.
As much as I wanted to be one of the cool girls at my job--the girls who got $100 tips and got customers to go buy them shoes and purses during work hours--I just didn't have the flirt gene in me. I was an awful flirt, and an even worse sales girl. & one day, one of my coworkers decided to bring this fact up in front of everyone. I fired off and immediately regretted it; this girl was really from the hood and she could have torn my ass to shreds right then and there without ever breaking one of her long, acrylic nails. "Hey listen, I don't have to know how to flirt; this isn't about to be my livelihood. I'm going to college in a couple of months & you're still going to be here, living off commission and handouts." There was a lump in my throat the size of a golf ball. I wanted to cry because I realized what I'd just done; I'd just given her an invitation to beat my ass in front of all the world and God. She gave me this look and I knew I was done for, I wanted to run, I wanted to cry, I wanted to pee... I wanted to run away, peeing and crying. But instead I held it together and fortunately, she didn't kill me.
Needless to say, every shift I had with her from that point forward became unbearable and the point came where I was ready to move on from the whole thing but to no avail.
On break one day, I asked another girl who worked with me what I should do, should I apologize?
What happened next has stayed with me my whole life.
"I say, pour sugar in her tank. It'll ruin her engine."
& I said, "You mean, like, be nice to her until everything blows over?"
& she said, "Bitch, what is you talking about? I said, pour some goddamn sugar in her gas tank. She drives that green honda civic with the 'bama girl decal."
It was one of those moments where the curtain was pulled back and I could hear God laughing.
In my actual life, I've always found this advice to be true; be kind, even when someone doesn't deserve it (which is sometimes the hardest thing in the world to do) and watch as they come undone. But from a gentler perspective, I've heard that we should cultivate kindness and forgiveness not for others, but for ourselves, because those who harbor anger hurt themselves more.
My coworker didn't realize it, but she had just given me not only the only really good street advice I've ever gotten, but some of the best advice I've gotten, in general.
Hood advice is good advice.
& also: I can still totally write about things besides men. So yay.