I was in a thrift store in Brooklyn Park earlier today that I frequent often, browsing the racks, finding some awesome stuff to add to my wardrobe when I witnessed something that just made me angry. Appalled and angry to the point that I had to share the experience here.
As I was looking at some skirts, there was a couple shopping an aisle or two over from where I was. Girl dragging her bored guy along as she looks at clothes, typical. No big deal, everything is normal…..
But then, the woman got a call on her cell phone.
The guy hastily says, “I’ll get that,” and tries to answer her phone-going as far as attempting to snatch it out of her hand- but she beat him to it and answered her own phone. Apparently, whoever had called her was another member of the male species and her boyfriend went into a rage over it. The conversation was maybe 2 minutes tops, a typical call with a friend or a family member, it sounded like. But the boyfriend was livid that she was: 1. Talking to a GUY (oh heavens) and 2. Didn’t allow HIM to answer HER phone (WTF it was HER PHONE!).
Since it was a guy, and she didn’t let him answer her phone for her, he automatically assumes that she is cheating on him with said person and proceeded to loudly argue with her for the rest of the time they were in the store. He began following her so closely he seemed attached to her. The way he spoke to her was like someone chastising a dog. She would try to step away to put distance between them and he would keep getting closer to her, berating her and accusing her of having “another man above him” while she tried to look at clothes, and griping about how she kept moving away from him. “Must be because you’re thinking about HIM,” He said.
Then he started telling her, “Why you getting that dress? You don’t wear dresses! What, you gonna wear dresses for HIM? Is that how it is?” while she pleaded with him not to yell at her, explaining that “it’s not like that, she just thought the dress was pretty”. He kept getting louder and louder, and ever began swearing at her. At one point (I wasn’t sure what she said, because she was speaking so quietly, like a little mouse) she must have requested he go outside for a moment to calm down.
That blew him over the edge
He got even more irate, saying, “You’re telling me to go OUTSIDE?! I will NOT go outside! I’m gonna stay right here. What, you gonna call him back when I’m not around? Are you? Got something to say to him you can’t say with me here?”
The girl pleaded with him to stop, because by this point several people in the vicinity of where they were standing were looking at them, myself included. He calmed down only slightly, still continuing to say awful things to her, just at a more reasonable volume, I guess you could say. For the first time I couldn’t hear every word he said as clearly, if that tells you anything about the difference in the volume of his voice.
I don’t know what happened right after that, but he grabbed her roughly by the arm, told her she didn’t need any clothes, and escorted her out of the store, leaving the cart behind.
The whole thing stunned me for several reasons.
- She didn’t put up much of any fight. She spoke softly and pleaded and tried to explain herself for things she shouldn’t even have to have explanations for. She got a phone call from a guy….big deal! Is she not allowed to associate with any other male on the planet because she’s dating that
- No one said or did ANYTHING, including me. I couldn’t believe it. I honestly think I was too stunned to even properly react to the situation, to be honest, but it killed me once he forced her out of the store that I didn’t speak up. Why didn’t I? Why didn’t any of the other shoppers around me who saw and heard what was going on? Is it fear of getting involved? I know that I personally felt intimidated and tried to make an excuse to mind my own business even when I could hear and see all that happened. When I thought on it, I realized I was afraid I’d do more harm than good, and feared that I could even get myself hurt if I spoke up, but I still wanted to. I cannot tell you how much regret I feel as I write this for just standing idly by while he treated her like a dog.
- I realized that I used to BE that girl. The whole situation left a bad taste in my mouth when I realized that my ex-boyfriend treated me the same way. The whole thing from the way he talked to her, to getting angry she hadn’t let him answer her phone, to accusing her of looking pretty only for someone else, to forcing her to give up something she liked doing because of him….It was all to familiar an experience for me.
I regret very few things in my life, but I honestly strongly regret not saying anything when this whole altercation happened. I can’t go back to that moment, but if I could, I would run to that girl and tell her to leave that guy right then and there. No one deserves to be treated that way, and I know from experience that once a relationship gets to that point, it usually gets worse before it gets better….and it usually doesn’t get better.
Maybe I’m overreacting and it will be a quarrel that this couple will get past. Maybe he will realize he acted horribly to her….but maybe he won’t. I hope that if the latter is the case, she gets away from him before he does more than humiliate her in a store and make her leave without getting any clothes.
Hopefully sharing this story makes a difference for someone.