Errr ... uh ... ahhh ... yo momma!
January 30, 2008 8:19 PM   Subscribe

Mefites, help me be clever yet immature on the playground of our lives. I need to know how to more effectively tell someone he's a boogerhead.

Scenario: stranger does something annoying and I choose to let it go and move on, or comment. 95% of the time, I let it go. 5% of the time, I comment, and perhaps 3% of the time, it escalates to a brief exchange of words.

At the moment, I'm morbidly obese. I've lost almost 20 pounds from my highest weight. It obviously ain't gonna happen overnight, but in the meantime, it's just what I'm wearing, not me (without going into a whole Stuart Smalley routine) and it doesn't bug me that much.

But in the meantime, it's the first thing the other person reaches for. I'm actually not insulted anymore; it might've bothered me once, but nowadays I actually kind of chuckle at how unoriginal it is to grab something so obvious. [Guy's thoughts: Errrr ... he's fat! So ... "Shut up, fatass!"] But what does bug me is that, because I'm not good at the whole "yo momma!" come-up-with-insult-quickly thing, I end up kind of going at the moment "urrrrrr ... ".

So I'm looking for some clever comebacks to the "debate opponent" hauling out the "fatass" or "fattie" remark. (The comeback doesn't necessarily have to involve fat, though — just anything that's fairly universal, and good. The kind that'd have a crowd going "Oooooooooooooooooo!")

At the moment, if I have the presence of mind, I usually unbotheredly chuckle and say, "Verrrrrrrrrrrrry creative."

It lacks something. The "yo momma" vibe, I suppose. And it does have that sort of "I'm insulted but laughing it off" vibe. Given that I'm not insulted but just trying to make fun of the unoriginality, that's not the desired vibe to project.

So ... how can I more effectively do the "U-G-L-Y, you ain't got no alibi, you ugly"1 thing?

Two minor preferences for responses.

First, it would be good if the comeback can be fairly universal, and doesn't need to be tailored to something specific about the person. That way there's not a pause that would be needed for the "examination of opponent - thought - integration of response into insult template" process.

Second, yes, name-calling is kiddie playground stuff. But you can't tell me that you've never found yourself wanting a handy comeback in a situation akin to this. So doing a whole "childish" riff or the whole "it's better if you avoid disputes like this by doing procedure x" — *nod* understood, and I agree with you. But this is for rare, not constant usage: I don't plan to use these except once in a blue moon, but I'd like it handy in order to more adroitly slap 'em down when they go for the obvious.

1Annoying, evil, chipmunk-y but nonetheless funny song.
posted by WCityMike to Grab Bag (62 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
 
"I may be fat but at least I'm not an asshole."
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 8:22 PM on January 30, 2008 [3 favorites]


I think you should laugh and exclaim, "You're fatter'n I am! You gotta be the fattest man in the world!"

Done right, it could be intensely surreal.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 8:24 PM on January 30, 2008 [2 favorites]


"At least I can diet--dickwad is permanent!"
posted by nasreddin at 8:24 PM on January 30, 2008 [6 favorites]


"Is that why you have a hard-on?"

It's not the perfect, shrivel-your-opponent-up kind of zing, as those usually involve specific information, but it will likely fluster him. Then, you laugh at him!
posted by ignignokt at 8:26 PM on January 30, 2008 [5 favorites]


I was going to suggest pretty much the same thing as nasreddin (you can also substitute "ugly" for "dickwad.")

If you're comfortable with it, threaten to sit on him.
posted by Metroid Baby at 8:29 PM on January 30, 2008


Yeah, nasreddin's on the best comeback for that sort of thing: "Hey, I'm losing the weight, but you'll still be a douchebag/semi-literate/wearing outdated pants/living in your mom's basement/etc."

After Roger Ebert's scathing review of the original cut of "The Brown Bunny" (he called it the worst movie in the history of the Cannes film festival), Vincent Gallo made some juvenile "fat guy" quip about Ebert. Ebert's response was "One day I will be thin, but Vincent Gallo will always be the director of The Brown Bunny."

Ebert lost the weight.
posted by middleclasstool at 8:30 PM on January 30, 2008 [2 favorites]


MORE LIKE WFATTYMIKE, AMIRITE

But seriously, if you want to rebutt* childish humor with childish humor, just go with the old standard.

"Whatever you say fatass!"

"I'm fat? You seen your mamma lately? She makes [COMICALLY LARGE THING] look like [COMICALLY SMALL THING]!"

Etc.


* lol butts
posted by Rhaomi at 8:31 PM on January 30, 2008


"Fat is just what I'm wearing. You're ugly down to the bone"
posted by 5MeoCMP at 8:32 PM on January 30, 2008 [2 favorites]


"So, I see you're learning a lot at tard school!"
posted by ignignokt at 8:33 PM on January 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


"Fuck off"?
posted by unknowncommand at 8:35 PM on January 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


"What can I say? Your wife makes a damn good breakfast."
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 8:39 PM on January 30, 2008 [56 favorites]


"Oh my God, I THOUGHT I knew you from somewhere! It was the 2005 Chubby Chaser convention in Rosemont! Remember that night at the Hilton? You were great, but I wish you'd told me you had the clap."
posted by Metroid Baby at 8:41 PM on January 30, 2008 [2 favorites]


Just stare at them, laugh a bit and wait... (for as long as you can - just staring at them, smiling patiently):

"What? That's it? That's all you have?" Laugh twice as loudly, shaking your head at them as you walk away.

And/or:

"Geez, if you're not even going to try, I'm not going to put any effort into making you look any more stupid than you are already doing. Come on! At least give me a challenge!*"


*downside: If they have decent witty skills (and you say you don't) this could backfire.

In which case fall back on the old faithful, kick them in the nuts and say:

"I put all my weight behind it. I thought you'd appreciate that" as they lie crying on the floor in a strangely high pitched manner.
posted by Brockles at 8:48 PM on January 30, 2008


I have, just the once, done the following to a friend of a friend (whom I loathed) at earsplitting volume in a crowded place;

Them: Yada yada yada, fat-ass.

Me (hysterical, at earsplitting volume): Fat ass? I'm fat? Oh my god, I'm FAT! WHY DID NO ONE TELL ME BEFORE? OH MY GOD - THAT EXPLAINS SO MUCH! OH JESUS, HOW COULD I HAVE MISSED SOMETHING SO OBVIOUS!! etcetcetc

Them: *turned red, stormed off past chuckling bystanders, never to be heard from again*

Use with caution.

(Also, I am chuckling at you, ignignokt & Inspector Gadget)
posted by ninazer0 at 9:00 PM on January 30, 2008 [4 favorites]


I love Mr. President's idea. I'm a big fan of using nonsense to confuse and thus disorient your opponent.
posted by PostIronyIsNotaMyth at 9:13 PM on January 30, 2008


My last name is a girl's first name. Whenever somebody makes a joke about that, I usually react by saying something like, "wow, you are actually the first person to ever have made that connection. Nobody has ever thought of that joke before. That is very, very clever." And so on. But obviously, that is not in the context of a random exchange.

Personally, I think these brief exchanges of words with strangers are a waste of time anyway, because nobody is going to convince anyone of anything, and you just walk away pissed, and maybe afterwards you replay it in your mind over and over for the next 24 hours. I just don't get myself into those things.

It's very rare that the other person just feels totally burned by your witty comment and walks away hanging their heads in shame.
posted by kosmonaut at 9:27 PM on January 30, 2008


You could just point (at them) and laugh.
posted by zia at 10:00 PM on January 30, 2008


"For shame! Didn't your mother teach you any manners?"
Be upset with their behaviour, not what they said to you.

When people I meet socially point out " Oh wow, did you know that you are really short?"
I look as shocked as I can, and say "Holy Jesus, that explains so much. No one has ever mentioned my height before! Thank you!"
Leaves them speechless.
posted by idiotfactory at 10:07 PM on January 30, 2008


I can lose weight, can you get rid of your stupidity?
posted by sien at 10:22 PM on January 30, 2008


For whatever an uninvolved 3rd party opinion is worth Inspector.Gadget's response was the first of the bunch to actually make me laugh.

After Roger Ebert's scathing review of the original cut of "The Brown Bunny" (he called it the worst movie in the history of the Cannes film festival), Vincent Gallo made some juvenile "fat guy" quip about Ebert. Ebert's response was "One day I will be thin, but Vincent Gallo will always be the director of The Brown Bunny.

Yeah, but didn't Gallo also wish cancer on Ebert, followed fairly shortly by Ebert actually getting cancer (though technically not the exact type of cancer Gallo hexed him with)? That's some freaky shit.
posted by The Gooch at 10:32 PM on January 30, 2008


My universal insult come-back is "your pants are!" or "so are your pants!". Pants make everything funny.
posted by indienial at 10:41 PM on January 30, 2008


"And?"
posted by divabat at 10:46 PM on January 30, 2008 [2 favorites]


The Australian version is "so's your face", which confused me when I first heard it (from a friend being silly) because I couldn't work out what she was trying to say. "So's my face what?"
posted by divabat at 10:48 PM on January 30, 2008


"I'm fat. You're ugly. I can diet."

"I beat anorexia."

"Why don't you slip into something more comfortable...like a coma?"
posted by C17H19NO3 at 11:07 PM on January 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Since part of the stated goal here is to use a more creative insult than the cliche "You're fat" joke, it's probably worth pointing out that variations on the "I may be fat, but I can lose weight but you'll always be _______" is arguably just as unoriginal.
posted by The Gooch at 11:16 PM on January 30, 2008 [2 favorites]


"And yet so much prettier than you. You must feel like shit."
posted by Foam Pants at 11:23 PM on January 30, 2008 [3 favorites]


After seeing Steve Carrell's brilliant turn in Anchorman, I've been trying to use his line "Oh yeah? Where'd you get your clothes...the Toilet Store?" on someone. Which is kind of like your situation, except no one ever insults me anymore...I'm just too lovable, I guess.

Back to the matter at hand, in the past whenever someone did make the occasional insulting comment, I found it useful to reply:

"Thank You for that penetrating insight" in a tone that implied that the insight given was, in fact, much less than penetrating. Think Dr. House, or David Letterman, only much drier. It usually worked, too, unless the recipient was a lot more clever than I, and came back with something even wittier. Fortunately, that didn't happen often.
posted by motown missile at 11:41 PM on January 30, 2008


Being a lifelong fattie, I've had some practice with this. One guy walked up beside me - himself rather obese - and muttered "fatass!" To which I responded, "Yes, but unlike you, I'm actually attractive!" (I don't buy the fat = ugly thing. That's just laziness in its own right.)

Other simple zingers: "Kid, you're not that important."

"Yes. I'm fat. Can you count to 3?" If person actually does so. "Well huh, I guess you're not one of those special needs students."

"Is this a state the obvious contest?" (thank you, writers on House M.D.)

"Thank God I'm fat, because you are just too ugly to fuck."

Most of the time a well cultivated "as if" look works in nearly all circumstances. In some cases, one look has been enough to get the creep to take a step back and apologize.
posted by medea42 at 12:21 AM on January 31, 2008


"What can I say? Your wife makes a damn good breakfast."

This is really the best. Anything saying "I'm fat but at least I'm not X Permanent State of Being" can only come off as defensive as hell, and was mass-produced on a lunch box made for fat kids in the 80's. Which I know because fat kids at my summer camp had it. So, no.

Same for "That's so creative, you're a genius!" stuff. Lame lame lame. Just because everyone hears the Steve Miller song in their head when they hear the name Bobbie Sue doesn't mean I don't immediately start singing it in my head whenever I encounter, or am related a story about, someone named Bobbie Sue. I don't feel bad about being uncreative, I'm enjoying the song.
posted by birdie birdington at 12:49 AM on January 31, 2008 [3 favorites]


Im fat because everytime I f**k your mum she gives me a biscuit.
posted by Neonshock at 1:13 AM on January 31, 2008 [1 favorite]


Your mama's so skinny she has to use a toothpick for a buttplug.
posted by rhizome at 1:23 AM on January 31, 2008


Neonshock's got there first but this really was cricket sledging's finest hour:

Glenn McGrath (to Otto Brandes, tubby South African no. 11, after a 85 mph delivery whistles past OB's chin) : Why are you so fat?
OB : Because every time I fuck your wife, she gives me a biscuit.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:47 AM on January 31, 2008 [2 favorites]


As in most matters of comedy, your inspiration should come from Better off Dead. At the New Years's dance Stalin, the bad guy, asks Lane if he is going to kiss his date at midnight, and if he is going to shave her first, implying that Charles, Lane's male friend who he is sitting with, is his date. Before Lane can reply, or not, Charles starts laughing, un-ironically, as if it is the funniest, most surprising, cleverest quip he has ever heard. If you can pull off that attitude I don't think there is a way to defend against it.
posted by dirtdirt at 3:30 AM on January 31, 2008


Note: the Better Off Dead approach does not contain obvious sarcasm - just genuine, almost co-conspiratorial laughter.
Another note: if you have a line, or selection of lines, waiting to be deployed, you are going to struggle with the phrasing in an actual situation. Nobody will say the specific words "Why are you so fat?", particularly when you have a good answer, so let your response be one of attitude and demeanor.
posted by dirtdirt at 3:41 AM on January 31, 2008


This is a surreal approach, courtesy of my then 14-year-old niece:

Kid at school: "You're weird."

Niece: "And you, sir, are a wombat."

Kid at school: "Huh?"


I wish I could have been as cool as my niece when I was in school. My best comeback to a bully was, "Next time you try to beat me up, wear deodorant first." Oh, then again, that has some potential charm:

Idiot: "You're fat."

Me (delivered with all seriousness while moving away): "Oh, dear, I think your deodorant has failed you."
posted by lleachie at 6:02 AM on January 31, 2008 [1 favorite]


Used with great results:

1. Appear non-nonplussed, assume a slight frown, do a quick sniff, look at offender and in a suitable manner say "You stink." Only really works if you're in close proximity.

2. "Awwwww....what's the matter? Ya mama didn't breastfeed ya?"

3. Scoff and say "what are you, nine?!?"
posted by SoulOnIce at 6:39 AM on January 31, 2008


@kosmonaut: Whenever somebody makes a joke about that, I usually react by saying something like, "wow, you are actually the first person to ever have made that connection.

My last name is the same as a famous technology tycoon (no, not Jobs). I get asked at least once a month if I'm related to him (especially at tech expos, where once a stranger actually put his arm around my shoulder when he asked that). My response has been similar to yours: I usually say "I bet you think you're the first person to have ever asked me that."

My case is not as serious as WCityMike's. But it might be a good putdown without really inciting the other person.

Good luck on your weight loss!! And congrats for the lost 20 pounds!
posted by Taken Outtacontext at 7:12 AM on January 31, 2008


"Yo mama is so fat" jokes aren't really insulting anymore. It's more a game between friends these days than The Ultimate Insult, as it was previously. The exception being joking about fucking someone's mother or something grossly sexual about someone's mother (None of this "village bicycle" stuff). To be truly insulting, you have to be:

1. Succinct. No elaborate setup. Short sentences.
2. Preferably have some physical basis that's easily noticed by bystanders (i.e. complexion, teeth, nose size, clothes, etc.)
3. If you want it to be about mothers, remember, grossly sexual. Like you being fat because his mama's vagina leaks gravy.

So far the only good comebacks posted have been:

"What can I say? Your wife makes a damn good breakfast."

and

"Im fat because everytime I f**k your mum she gives me a biscuit."

Everything else so far has sucked.
posted by electroboy at 7:13 AM on January 31, 2008 [4 favorites]


All of the "I have sex with your mother/wife" responses are deeply vulgar and insulting to women. Don't. Just don't.

Why not be a person? Just say "I saw you litter, and littering is particularly vile." and when Litterer says "Hey, you're a big fat jerk!" just walk on. The fact that you called the person on their bad behavior does the job of social enforcement of behavior standards. You won't win any pissing matches, but they'll think twice next time, even though they believe they are unaffected by you. Result: you win!
posted by theora55 at 8:00 AM on January 31, 2008 [1 favorite]


As per usual, "Tell me how to do 'x'" is not best answered by saying "Don't do 'x'".

"I have sex with your mother/wife" responses are deeply vulgar and insulting to women.

To women? Really? Not to the person it is said to? Surely it is just offensive to all (don't make this a sexist thing when it isn't appropriate) but that is kind of the whole point. The person here wants a comeback. Not a moral wrist slapping.

I dare say they know that sometimes ignoring people is a better solution. But also, sometimes, it isn't; sometimes, it can make you feel a bit better about getting insulted by someone else. Walking away doesn't do anything to stop the barbs hurting. Responding, in the right circumstances, can.

Why not be a person?

People insult each other. It doesn't stop you being 'a person'.
posted by Brockles at 8:24 AM on January 31, 2008


All of the "I have sex with your mother/wife" responses are deeply vulgar and insulting...

Exactly.
posted by electroboy at 8:57 AM on January 31, 2008 [1 favorite]


Seriously -- I think "boogerhead" is perfect. Think how great that would be! You: Could you turn down that music, please? Them: I'll get right on it, fatso. You: Boogerhead!

Come on, you have to!
posted by wryly at 9:21 AM on January 31, 2008


> Why not be a person? Just say "I saw you litter, and littering is particularly vile." and when Litterer says "Hey, you're a big fat jerk!" just walk on.

Really didn't ready almost anything in the original post, right?
posted by WCityMike at 9:26 AM on January 31, 2008


"Im fat because everytime I f**k your mum she gives me a biscuit."
Yes... GOD yes.
posted by crunch buttsteak at 9:32 AM on January 31, 2008


I had a friend who would respond, not only to insults, but to anything he didn't quite hear or might not of understood with an exagerated:

"No thanks...I had a banana on the train"

..another example of not witty, but a confusing causing response.
posted by BozoBurgerBonanza at 9:38 AM on January 31, 2008 [4 favorites]


Oooh, actually on the random element, my mate used to (when he didn't hear, but it would work for insults) just say

"Sorry? Oh..." and then look at his watch and tell them (usually a fictional version of) the time.

He often (for reasons unknown to me) picked "Ten past nine".
posted by Brockles at 9:45 AM on January 31, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hmmm, Well I laughed at the 'your wife makes good breakfast / gives me a biscuit lines'.

Without knowing what the thing that this person is doing to annoy you is, but assuming you are right to be annoyed by it, maybe you shouldn't try to be too clever. Instead go to downright hostile: "Yeah? Kiss my fat ass, cocksucker."

[not cocksuckerist]
posted by Reverend John at 9:56 AM on January 31, 2008


"Oh, I get it. You must be one of those Autistic people who has to say everything that's on their mind."
(depending on the circumstances, this might work well.)
posted by proj08 at 10:07 AM on January 31, 2008


There's this famous quote of Churchills
Lady Astor, aghast at a party. "Mr. Churchill you're drunk!"
Mr. Churchill: "And you, Lady Astor, are ugly. As for my condition, it will pass by the morning.
You, however, will still be ugly.


Combining that example with the first suggested comeback results in
"... Yes, I'm fat. I will be fat for the next half year. You however will still be an asshole."
To be delivered in a neutral explaining voice.
posted by jouke at 10:15 AM on January 31, 2008


Another approach is to use the general abstract observation response.

"Hey fat ass"
"Sometimes people try to make others feel bad by saying unkind things about their appearance"

To be said in an observant tone with a little bit of gravitas.

You'll have to tune the statement to enhance the inevitable conclusion to all who hear this that only an asshole would do such a thing as described in the observation.
This only works with insults that are slipped within a supposedly friendly "only joking" kind of context. Then it can expose the hidden meaning very clearly and normal social rules work their effect on all involved.
In an openly hostile atmosphere this doesn't work.
posted by jouke at 10:23 AM on January 31, 2008 [2 favorites]


Brockles: Oooh, actually on the random element, my mate used to (when he didn't hear, but it would work for insults) just say

"Sorry? Oh..." and then look at his watch and tell them (usually a fictional version of) the time.


I actually really like this, less for the random element and more for just willfully and obviously pretending to misunderstand them and responding with something polite. "Oh, that's the Embarcadero stop." Or "Oh, sorry, I don't have any change."

In the unlikely event they say, "No, fatass, I said you were a FATASS," you say, "Yeah I know, I was just trying to spare you the embarrassment of looking like an asshole."

Hmm, might work better in theory.
posted by granted at 11:09 AM on January 31, 2008 [5 favorites]


Dude: "Fuck you, fatass"

[Said very loudly in a jocular tone, ignoring previous comment] "Hey, don't you work at [ADULT BOOKSTORE]? I thought I recognized you!"
posted by desjardins at 1:27 PM on January 31, 2008


All of the "I have sex with your mother/wife" responses are deeply vulgar and insulting to women.

Well, only to some women - I'm a woman and I'm not even remotely insulted. Those responses cracked me up. I think Inspector.Gadget's & Neonshock's responses were the funniest - juvenile and crass and everything a retort to an asshole should be. You can use those lines as a guy or girl, and I always have thought they were especially funny delivered by a girl who usually doesn't say things like that.

I do have to say though that in most cases, especially if you aren't up for coming up with lots of witty comebacks on the fly, it's best to just be dismissive towards them. Laugh at them for being so obvious and uncreative, and keep laughing as you walk away. Nothing is more infuriating than cracking someone up when you're trying to make them cry.
posted by tastybrains at 1:50 PM on January 31, 2008


"No shit, Sherlock."
posted by cairnish at 2:14 PM on January 31, 2008


"'Fat.' Man, what I can say to that? Now I wish I hadn't left all my comeback in your wife."
posted by Iridic at 2:20 PM on January 31, 2008 [4 favorites]


Oh, and another fine retort, from the movie, "Vacation:"

"Excuse me, can you tell me how to get back onto the expressway?"
"Fuck yo mama!"

You'd have to watch the movie to get the right intonation, which is critical.
posted by rhizome at 2:40 PM on January 31, 2008


Get all Cyrano on 'em!
posted by Addlepated at 8:00 PM on January 31, 2008


How exactly are the wife/mother jokes offensive...could somebody please break it down? Logically. I just don't get it. To me, they're only offensive if you assume that the wife/mother was unwilling. Why would we assume that?

Quick story:
I woke up one morning and my cat was run over by a car just before I left for work. It was dreadful. I cleaned it up, called in to work. But then I sat around being depressed and having nothing to do. I called work back and asked if I could come in. We were really busy and I could very much appreciate the distraction.

I was sitting at my desk, in the busy layout area of the newspaper I worked for. We were on deadline and there was a crowd of coworkers directly behind me, arguing about how best to lay out the paper that day. The guy in charge, Dave, was a big tactless oaf who never did or said the right thing, regardless of his awareness or intentions. He was just clumsy all around.

So they're arguing, and Dave slams a ruler down, tantrum antics and everything. He starts yelling, "WAIT! WAIT! WAIT EVERYBODY!!" People pause. "NOW THERE'S MORE THAN ONE WAY TO SKIN A CAT!"

A hush falls over, well, everything. The metaphorical record screeches to a halt. I swear I even think the warming up of the press took a break for a millisecond.

People are staring at Dave in horror. And he looks around and is all "what? what? what did I do?" Somebody whispers to him, and he's all "well christ, I didn't fucking know!" He stepped in a big pile of poo and he's totally in over his head now, unarmed and clueless as to how to proceed.

And then I start laughing. Really laughing. I got tears running down my face and I'm not sure why anymore. I turn around and am like, "C'mon guys! Lighten up. I'm sad, sure, but that was FUCKING FUNNY!"

I had a pretty good day after that. People were real nice to me, and nobody was too worried about saying the wrong thing. So most everything came from the heart. Dave even came up to me later and gave me some kind words, which I didn't even know he was capable of stringing together (not because he lacks empathy, but because he lacks communication skills).

My point is, context matters. Dave made a really inappropriate (and accidental joke) at an unfortunate time, and followed up using language that would otherwise get him in deep trouble at work. I replied in kind. If my poor cat (RIP, Stinkers) hadn't been mercilessly spread over the pavement that morning, his comment wouldn't have been funny or apt or forgivable.

As far as the OPs question...I'm not fat, but I get short jokes all. the. time. Of course, being short is considerably more socially acceptable, but that also means that a bigger majority feel licensed to make short jokes. It doesn't offend me, but it's just so fucking boring and predictable. They are doing it to amuse themselves. Most the time I've already spotted the potential for a cheap joke and dismissed it in my mind. But they walk right into it and take it up. They don't realize that what is original to them is not original to me. I've heard it. I've heard it all. Being short is my reality, as being fat is yours.

Now, every once in a while, somebody will make a really clever short joke that I didn't see coming. When that happens, I'm usually speechless followed by laughter. And I'll give credit where it's due.

Why am I bothering to write all this? Because I think you're giving power where its not due. These fatty insults/comments/jokes are boring, predictable and unoriginal. But you're letting them affect you on some level. I think it's great that you're asking this question and looking for good comebacks. Start using them! There's been some really great suggestions! But I would also keep reminding yourself how dumb and unenlightened these 3rd-graders are being. It'll make dishing out these quips and walking away (mentally or otherwise) easier and more fun.

Gah. On rereading I just dumped half my coffee into my lap. So damn clumsy!
posted by iamkimiam at 11:44 AM on February 1, 2008 [4 favorites]


How exactly are the wife/mother jokes offensive...could somebody please break it down?

I think the reason they could be considered offensive is that the woman is in the role of "property" of the insulted person. The whole intent of the insult is to say that you've violated the other guy's "property." Consent of the woman is irrelevant to the insult. "I did your wife" is analogous to "I stole your car." And since some men believe that adultery "spoils" a woman, it's more analogous to "I stole your car and puked in it, and now you'll always think of me when you drive it."

Please nobody start another sexism MeTa thread.
posted by desjardins at 1:54 PM on February 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Ah, I see your point.

I just figured that the fact that the woman made choices that were autonomous, ie. cooking breakfast, giving blow jobs or whatnot, she already negated the property aspect. Unless there was no consent, which would imply something entirely different, and comes with it's own special set of reactions (since the comment would then cross over from joke- to threat-territory).

I guess the framework for ownership doesn't readily come to my mind, so the whole possibility for offense breaks down before it can even begin. Which is a nice reminder I suppose of how far women have come and how lucky I am that certain oppressive concepts don't even exist in deep frameworks of my thought—because I was fortunate enough to not have to experience them when the ideas of women-as-property were more commonplace and regularly enforced.

Sorry for the derail. I'd share some witty comebacks for the OP, but I don't have any. I think Inspector.Gagdet and Ninazer0 have got the right idea though! Looking forward to more laughs, keep 'em coming people!
posted by iamkimiam at 2:58 PM on February 1, 2008


Well, I see my mum didnt give everyone a sense of humor everytime they did it....Chill out, Im a girl too.
posted by Neonshock at 6:01 PM on February 3, 2008


The whole intent of the insult is to say that you've violated the other guy's "property."

I disagree with this interpretation. I think the intent of the insult is to say something about what the other guy treasures most in life. Granted the man's a married heterosexual and has marginally healthy family relationships, two of the most important things in his life are his wife and his mother. That's the nature of the joke -- your sainted mother likes to have dirty sex, you think you're better than me but your wife's voting with her vagina, etc. Wives and mothers are sacrosanct to many (most?) men.

Hell, I even know a guy who loves his mother so much that he gets insane if someone calls him a son of a bitch, because he takes the insult literally, even though nearly no one means it literally.
posted by middleclasstool at 7:54 PM on February 3, 2008


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