They say hurt people hurt people. Basically this means that if you come from a place of pain, like childhood trauma for example, you can sometimes inflict similar agony on someone else. It's not an excuse for bad behavior, but it does explain it. With that in mind, it could be nice to defend yourself against such an attack using insults that are open to interpretation.
That's why I've turned to Ryan, aka @zxmbieboi on TikTok, who is providing playfully offensive responses for men who simply cannot keep their opinions to themselves. These are definitely for the faint of heart because you won't lose sleep over what you said, but they will get the job done.
It's "okay" plus "specific body part."
As a lady on the internet and in the world, I've been insulted by strangers more times than I can count. These people were usually men and they alway default to one or all three of the same insult.
I am either called a sl--, c---, old, or a combination of all three. First and foremost, none of these bother me because I don't respect the person saying them. Secondly, these are not insults. They are facts.
We all know that to these men, any woman who has had sex at all is automatically a sl-- in their minds. Check! I have never minded the 'c word,' because I have one, and it does a lot for me. As far as being old goes, aging is the great equalizer, and we should all be so lucky.
I rarely engage with these men because most of the time that's exactly what they want, which is the last thing I want to do. On the rare occasions I do, my tactic is to willfully misunderstand what they meant and respond as if it's positive. For those who haven't nailed down a style, Ryan has a great suggestion.
"Just say 'OK, specific part of their body,'" they said. Ryan then throws out a couple of examples. "OK, teeth. OK, bald," they explained while pointing out you don't actually have to be insulting.
The thing about the human brain is that it will always fill in the blanks. Unrelated but related, whenever I meet a new person and they tell me their full name I always say, "Any relation?" I then watch as they search their mind for who I could be referring to. Is it a famous actor or perhaps someone with whom we are both acquainted? Their brain is just plugging in what it thinks I know. It's super fun.
The comments section was filled with people adding their own versions of this hilarious mad libs. "Got written up at work once for saying 'What's up, hat,'" said @petenpenny. One brave man jumped in to confirm that "OK, bald," would definitely work. "As a man who’s been bald for 14 years ... I can confirm that this works," he said.
Here are some actual insults men cannot stand.
In the Ask Reddit Subreddit, one man wanted to know, "What is the worst insult a man can receive?" The results were interesting. "You are not one of the bois, and you never will be," said one Reddit user, demonstrating how much friendship matters to men.
Another fella who is as lost in the patriarchy as the rest of the world admitted that being called "beta" would be the worst for him. In a heartbreaking turn, one dude said his father not being proud of him would be devastating.
Of course, nothing works better than an old classic, which is ignoring a bully. Nothing wounds a person up more than not engaging in their awfulness. Some folks thrive on being a troll, so don't feed them!