By Terrah Baker
The Waffle House is a place of laughter and semi-digestable food that may or may not sit well on a drunken or just awoken stomach. It’s a place where people sit across from one another and tell stories, bond with new friends, and discuss world affairs. But last weekend, the conversation at the Waffle House on Dickson took an ugly turn.
A young girl with long brown, neatly curled, lightly hair-sprayed hair, a new, high-end outfit made of short shorts, a flowy shirt and high heeled shoes sat at a table with two of her male friends. As nice as her clothing and outer appearance seemed, it was masking an ugly truth — her immature and uneducated attitude towards her fellow human.
While I made a quick trip to the bathroom, my friend witnessed her jeering, pointing and laughing at a lesbian couple across the isle who were casually hanging out, eating waffles and minding their own business.
My friend couldn’t imagine why this “adult” girl would be publicly and openly mocking fellow citizens also living their life on a Thursday night in Fayetteville. Was it because the girls’ hair was short and one leaned towards the other and lovingly kissed her face? Was it because her baggy pants didn’t match the short shorts the jeerer sported that so nicely showed off her sculpted legs? Or was it just that this well-kept girl was bored and needed some entertainment that took the form of innocent bystanders that obviously did not match her ideal of what a person should look or act like?
When flowy-shirt girl was confronted with her actions by my friend, the girl became abrasive and aggressive. “Do you have a problem,” she asked. My friend did have a problem. My brave friend quickly let her know that this type of discrepancy doesn’t fly in a civilized human society where people live connected to one another, living the life that makes them most happy while not harming others.
When the confrontation was over, the jeering girl never admitted to wrongdoing. She didn’t apologize. She didn’t look at the people she had been mocking and tell them how sorry she was for interrupting their meal. She simply turned her head and went back to talking with her friends.
The real victory of that night may not have been a willing apology from the wrongdoer, but the girls that were being made fun of, who sat up after the confrontation was over and thanked my friend for her braveness.
“Sorry for being such an ass hole,” my friend said in regard to her yelling throughout the restaurant.
“You’re the kind of ass hole we like,” the girl said. “We get this all of the time, and I just want to say ‘thank you.’”
Considering the tight quarters of the Waffle House, I know the jeering girl heard this. Hopefully now she knows that her words actually affect real people with real feelings who suffer from social injustice on a daily basis for nothing more than being themselves. And most importantly, I hope that others will learn from this experience. Because it doesn’t matter where you are, behavior like the short-shorts girl exhibited is unacceptable, and will not be tolerated in the new age of acceptance and equality for chosen, healthy lifestyles.
Thanks to my brave friend. Thanks to the brave girls who live their lives the way they want every day in the face of social injustice and disrespect. Thanks to the people who stand up for what’s right, fight what’s wrong and can see how this behavior must be eliminated if we are to move forward in our society. And to the girl who jeered: I hope you’ve learned your lesson. You don’t choose how people live their lives. You don’t set a standard that everyone should live by. And when you mess with our community, someone’s always watching, and it doesn’t look pretty.