Why would anybody ever want to learn how to be a “b”? You’re most likely asking. Or maybe you’re not asking this. Maybe you actually really would like to have some direction in this social arena– especially if you’re anything like me or the women in my family or the majority of my friends. Being a “b!#ch” is very unnatural to me. I don’t like being mean. I don’t like when people are mean to me. I don’t have any idea why anybody would choose to be degrading, pushy or plain “b!tchy.” However, the reality (as most of us know) is that many of the people around us are born with natural talent to be a “b.” As a result, sometimes these b’s do get the best of us and get their ways while they’re at it. Dig around your memory bank for a minute and reflect on the last time someone was b!tchy to you.
When I look back, I see myself freezing like ice, confounded, completely unsure how to respond. In my youth, I was so naïve, I sometimes didn’t even realize when sarcasm was being used in a b!tchy way against me. As I got older, I began to recognize the bites, but still, my tendency typically was to hand over my dignity, to let some pre-teen meanie mock my imitation-Sketcher-high heel sneakers. After all, she had the real ones; I had the Payless ones. My solution was to cower, sort of like how my dog cowers around an aggressive dog she knows could kick her a$s. Sure, she looks a little afraid, but she is raising her chances of not getting bit by the bully poochie. I guess this is what I did too. I would cower to save myself (but certainly not my dignity).
As an adult, I have learned that no matter how nice we are to everyone, there is no guarantee that someone won’t act b!tchy towards us. Sometimes, the only way to fight off a b!tchy person is by being an even bigger b!tch back. It does sound infantile, and it is. I may be wrong, but it seems to me, in my thirty years of living, that a ruthless ego maniac with a taste for making others feel like crap, needs to be put in his/her place.
As we age, we see the value of our efforts, our savings and our selves grow. When a person seeks a result by cutting you down and making you feel like crap, it usually (especially for the naturally non-b!tchy), does end up making you feel like crap. It’s taken me a long time to give myself the “go ahead” on reciprocating b!tchy behavior, but when I finally tried my hand against another, I earned some beneficial results.
For example, take this wedding stuff I’m all tangled up in right now. Many Miami vendors and dress designers are trained (basically by the urban competitive environment) to utilize this b!tchy behavior in order to manipulate potential clientele. It’s very strange and illogical, but alas, it’s big city customer service. To reschedule an appointment at a “fancy schmancy” bridal boutique was like asking a teenager to hand over the booze. There was even some whining involved. There was also the recognizable attitude I’m talking about. The attendant asked me if I knew any of the local designers, emphasizing that this was an “exclusive” boutique. Before officially rescheduling my appointment, she snootily then inquired, “Well, what’s your budget?” I knew this tactic. By behaving more exclusively, this business strategizes that more clients will submit to its “Kim/Kanye” attitude simply because they want to be included. I guess it sometimes works.
I rose above it all (or did I?). I answered in an appalled tone, “Do we really want to talk about that on the phone?” (I mean they don’t show the prices of their dresses online, so why should I flash them my wallet?) I felt like such a b!tch. However, she immediately changed her tune, sounding more accommodating and respectful. I got a great appointment time, and I hung up the phone not confused by subtle feelings of inadequacy (as I would have years ago), but in control and empowered, almost looking forward to my appointment in this “appalling” place. This attendant won’t talk to me in a b!tchy tone again, but if she does, I know which tool to reach for.
Of course you can always cower, but you might want to try feeling empowered.
How to Be a B!tch: A Beginner’s Guide
When faced with a b!tchy situation, you may find the only solution is to dish out more attitude. Once you are sure that this person is purposefully trying to manipulate your behaviors, decisions or feelings with b!tchiness, this guide will come in handy. Or you may want to read it over before heading into a b!tchy baby shower or cocktail party or even a b!tchy fitness class.
1. Remain calm.
2. Don’t envision that girl that used to make fun of your generic gummy snacks, envision a pitiful, sad creature like that little dog next door with the bald spot that barks too much.
3. Always try to be as intellectual and polite as possible. Being plain rude doesn’t cut it. You have to maintain your elegant composure and your wits.
4. Ask yourself, what is this b!tch’s aim? Does the b want something of yours, like that desk with a new computer that supposed to be yours? Does the b want a free ride? Does the b just have lots of personality issues or a skewed sense of reality and simply wants to ruin someone’s self-esteem (just like his/her mother used to do).
5. Once you’ve established the said “aim,” hypothesize an Achilles (aka weak spot). In the example above, I knew these bridal boutique people were really into sounding rich, “uppity” and elitist. So, I fathomed a weak point could be within this postured obsession. By pointing out that inquiring about one’s budget over the phone is an inappropriate (basically tacky) thing to do, I demonstrated my social authority and highlighted the inadequacy of hers.
Now remember, b!tchiness is applicable to any gender, so hypothetically, a male supervisor at work could be as b!tchy as the female co-worker who introduces you as in-the-middle-of-a-divorce any chance she gets. So, for example if a male co-worker says something totally b!tchy like, “I know it’s not officially your job to stack the fliers nicely, but would you mind? You were a waitress before right? How’d you manage to make enough tips to live?” Think…What’s this guy’s angle? Superiority complex? Is he threatened by my recent promotion? Is he just a total snake that gets off on dominance?
I’m going to guess he wants to showcase my blue collar work experience to chop a few inches off my legs, in other words, attempt to devalue me in a social or professional arena. However, his Achilles is that he’s never had a laborious job. He wouldn’t last one day in a kitchen. You, however, thanks to the publicity of his b!tchy comment, have demonstrated solid work ethic for over a decade, working your way through college.
You could of course just ignore the guy and forget about it, but chances are, with a person like this, he’ll come back sooner or later to try and ruffle your feathers. A b!tchy response might be necessary here, in order to ensure he doesn’t make a jab like that again. A potential shut-him-up response could be, “Easily. I have great people skills. I can see how making good tips could be challenging for you.” Or the very basic, “Let’s see you give it a shot,” could take the wind right out from under his wings. Or you could be subtly b!tchy and say, “I’ll let the boss know you need some help with stacking fliers.” Chances are, he’ll step right up to the task himself.
6. But…the truth is most of the time we have no idea why a person is acting like a b!tch. So, to overcome these nonsensical social mysteries, keep a stack of very basic, easy to remember, standard responses in your head. When I smell b!tchiness, I know I can always look inside my response to b!tches basket.
A few I carry around for emergencies:
“Well, that’s very rude to say.”
“Interesting.” (by responding with contemplation, the b!tchy person begins to wonder…)
“I can see you’re struggling today.”
“I’m sorry; what’s that?” (Simply making a person repeat themselves can both dilute the initial jerky tone and make the person think twice about what he/she is saying)
“I’m pretty sure you mean to rephrase that last thing you said.”
Of course, I don’t always remember to pull a phrase from my little stack of responses. Plenty of times, I stumble over my words or simply sit there, flabbergasted, while the b walks away. But when I do remember some of these strategies, it’s always a preferred outcome. The point is, for some of us, dealing with b!tchiness is not easy. I hope this helps!
What do you do when someone acts b!tchy to you? Do you have some practical responses that might come in handy when faced with a b!tchy situation?
I’m so pleased to announce that three of my poems, “Slots,” “Scraping” and “Make a Decision” have been published in Barking Sycamores Literary Magazine Issue 13. Barking Sycamores is dedicated to neurodivergent literature and its craft. I’m so honored to be a part of this project. Barking Sycamores Issue 13
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