You know, it’s beginning to occur to me that I’m not sensitive enough. This is quite a revelation since I spent a goodly amount of my life being told that I was too sensitive. As a child, Mama said I got my feelings hurt too easily and I needed to snap out of it.
“Stop wearing your heart on your sleeve,” she’d lecture. “Be tough. Let things roll off your back.”
So, I tried. And, apparently, I have done an incredibly good job at tackling my sensitivity. Now, things that seem to bother other people in this politically correct world of ours don’t bother me at all. Being as I’m a writer and sensitivity is a requirement not an elective, this might not be a good change. Nonetheless, I appear to have outgrown a great deal of my sensitivity.
Mama would be proud; I just don’t get riled up over things that upset some women so much.
Take for instance, the use of the word “girl.” The other day, in an important business meeting that included three men and two women, one of the guys asked, “What do you girls think?”
I opened my mouth to answer and he quickly corrected himself. “Oh I’m sorry! Please forgive me for calling y’all girls!”
She and I looked at each other and burst out laughing. “Personally,” I shot back, “I don’t mind being called a girl at all. I rather like the youthfulness in the sound of it.”
Now, some folks in this ridiculously politically correct world think I should be sensitive to being called a girl. Sorry, but I’m not.
On a flight to Seattle, a corporate executive sat next to me and we chatted like old friends. At the end of the flight, he asked,
“Please forgive me if what I’m about to say offends you but I have to say it.”
I smiled nervously. That didn’t sound too good. “OK,” I warily replied. “What is it?”
“You have the most beautiful eyes I have ever seen,” he said, then hurried on to add another apology. “I’m sorry if that offends you.”
Nope. Sorry. I’m just not that sensitive.
“Now, why on earth would I ever be offended by such a lovely compliment?” I asked. “I’m thrilled. Thank you very much.”
He sighed woefully. “In today’s world, people get offended easily. It seems like you just can’t be complimentary to others anymore.”
Not me. I’m not that sensitive.
As I headed into an office building, a gentleman hurried in front of me, opened the door and stood back to let me pass. I smiled and thanked him graciously.
He followed me in the door and said, “I did that for a woman the other day and I thought she was going to haul off and hit me. She snapped angrily, ‘I am quite capable of opening my own door. I don’t need you to open the door for me.’ I couldn’t believe it, but it’s just natural manners for me. My father always told me, ‘Never let a lady open her own door.’”
He chuckled. “As soon as I opened it for you, I panicked. I thought, ‘What if she chews me out for opening her door?’ Thank you for being gracious.”
“Thank you,” I replied cheerfully. “Just keep minding your manners like your father taught you. There’s a lot of women like me out here.”
See? I’m just not that sensitive.
I was starting to get worried about my lack of sensitivity until a young man saw me working out one day and commented, “You’ve got really good stamina and strength for your age.”
“My age?” I was not smiling.
His face flushed red. “Well, well, it’s just that usually women at your age usually aren’t so fit and energetic.”
Wait a minute. Maybe I am more sensitive than I thought.
Ronda Rich is the Gainesville-based author of several books, including “What Southern Women Know About Faith.” Sign up for her newsletter at www.rondarich.com.