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Help me find this story or tell me to walk on.
January 27, 2014 5:00 PM   Subscribe

There's a short story in which a woman tells her new lover that she has had a mastectomy and he abandons her. Or at least I think there is.

It was provided to me by a "well meaning" woman when I was being treated for breast cancer. With good humor, may I add. She gave it to me with all "good" intentions when I was telling a funny story about a man who had been pestering me for EVER and I finally got him to leave me alone by saying, "My boyfriend has been so great, even after I had disfiguring surgery, that I think it's important to honor his request for monogamy." I mean, he was tagging along beside me on the street and he SWERVED away from me at the word "disfiguring."

So I'm telling this funny story, right, and this person says, oh here, and gives me (electronically) this short story in which a woman is abandoned pretty cruelly because of her own breast cancer surgery.

So now this person has cancer, and I would like to provide her with the comfort of the same story, since she's asking (in another venue) for comedic assistance. Problem is, as far as I know, she could've just written it all on her own to hand to me, because she is that vile.

Yes, it's mean, but that woman could not have been more calculated in her offer of "help."
posted by janey47 to Media & Arts (14 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
A Story about the Body By Robert Haas?
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:16 PM on January 27


Perfect, thank you so much.
posted by janey47 at 5:17 PM on January 27


I suggest you just put an end to the bitterness, be the bigger person, and either provide her with the kind of assistance she failed to provide you, or just move on in dignified silence.
posted by The Monkey at 5:18 PM on January 27 [7 favorites]


You need to walk on. Leave the nasty person alone and leave your own nastiness alone.
posted by Specklet at 5:49 PM on January 27 [6 favorites]


Please don't do this. It lessens you, and the universe. Be the bigger person, send her something kind and sensitive...that would be more shocking and more edifying in the long run.
posted by taff at 6:01 PM on January 27 [4 favorites]


Since you specifically asked in your question whether or not you should walk on, I will answer that piece.

I think you should. What this woman did to you was not very thoughtful, but I don't think that returning the "favor" is going to make you feel much better.
posted by lalex at 6:32 PM on January 27 [1 favorite]


Oh God, give it to her. With a jar of honey.
posted by DarlingBri at 7:18 PM on January 27 [4 favorites]


Obviously I know nothing about this woman other than what you've related here. Maybe she's exactly the way you think she is. I'd just like to say that based on your description of this incident, I could see myself doing something like what she did, and absolutely, 100 percent, not intending to be cruel. For one thing, the point of the short story seems to be the same as the point of the anecdote you were telling: that some men are jerks whose "love" for women is contingent on their unscathed bodies. If I sent you this story, it would be my attempt to validate your own point and to contribute something to the conversation I thought we were having.

After a few mortifying incidents where I've learned that people have taken offense to things I've said that I completely didn't intend the way they took them, I've basically accepted that I'm fairly tone-deaf and really need to think hard before I say anything in situations that are even remotely sensitive. Maybe this woman hasn't learned that yet?
posted by Mila at 7:22 PM on January 27 [13 favorites]


To further explain my would-be thought process: the short story is told at the expense of the man, who receives his come-uppance from the woman. If I were trying to take a swipe at you, I'd have to send a story that in some way exulted in the woman's humiliation. This just seems like an odd choice of an insult.
posted by Mila at 7:49 PM on January 27 [2 favorites]


2nding Mila: For one thing, the point of the short story seems to be the same as the point of the anecdote you were telling: that some men are jerks whose "love" for women is contingent on their unscathed bodies. If I sent you this story, it would be my attempt to validate your own point and to contribute something to the conversation I thought we were having.

She was agreeing with you and sending you a lovely little piece that captures the same sentiment you felt wih that guy in your own story.

Her unsaid tag line: "Give 'em dead bees, honey. Fuck those guys."
posted by amaire at 9:06 PM on January 27 [2 favorites]


After actually reading the story, I have to agree with the above commenters that she meant it in a supportive way. It wasn't a story about a women getting rejected because of her mastectomy, it was a story about an asshole getting called out.

Still, leave her alone.
posted by Specklet at 9:48 PM on January 27 [4 favorites]


Unless you are actually going to derive some ghoulish pleasure from making someone dealing with cancer feel bad, you should definitely walk on. Walk hard.
posted by joelhunt at 6:29 AM on January 28 [2 favorites]


I think you should send it to her, but know that she probably see this as an act of kindness/friendship, not as a slap in the face or any other meanness that you may want to project to her.

Either:

a.) she originally meant it to be supportive of you, and so you sending it back will be taken by her as you offering the same support; or

b.) she originally meant it to be mean, and so you sending it back (right when she's asking for some comedy) will be seen as a funny ribbing, a private joke between the two of you frenemies.

I really think that a.) is more likely. I haven't read the story yet, but based on the other answerers, it seems like the kind of thing that someone who hasn't been through an illness like cancer could be clueless enough to think is a helpful story, when it really can be seen as hurtful. It's like people who tell you to "smile more" and "improve your attitude" so you can get better from cancer faster. Those people are idiots, but they don't mean to be as cruel as they are.
posted by sparklemotion at 7:15 AM on January 28


Yeah, I love that story, and would totally have sincerely given it in all good meaning. It's quite possible she did so as well. "Fuck them, they are vile underneath while you are beautiful" is a not-impossible reading of that.
posted by corb at 8:22 AM on January 28


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