Back in 2016, an Instagram user uploaded a video of a kid being mocked by some random guy driving past.
This kid was just walking down the street, minding his own business. A car slowed down. The driver called him over and asked him what was up with his hair. The kid had bald patches.
What followed was a confrontation that had the internet doubling over with laughter.
Even though the driver kept harassing him and threatening to get out of the car, the kid kept his cool. “Don’t disrespect me like that, dawg,” he shot back.
For some reason, the driver had his phone in hand, filming the entire encounter. He put it on Instagram, even though it made him look like a total jerk (and the kid look like a hero). The video went viral.
Memes took up the joke:
- “When you want to eat Mexican food and someone says, ‘Let’s go to Taco Bell.’ Don’t disrespect me like that.”
- “When you graduated college five years ago and someone asks when you’re gonna get a ‘real job.’ Don’t disrespect me like that.”
- “When the Thai restaurant gives you zero spice when you asked for five stars. Don’t disrespect me like that.”
Why did that boy’s reaction captivate the internet?
And what could it possibly have to do with dating?
In a world of Instagram influencers and reality TV stars who look perfect in every shot, it’s hard to feel completely confident in your looks.
Maybe you don’t have bald patches, but maybe you’ve got something else like eczema or breakouts.
Imagine the humiliation if you were walking down the street and a driver pulled up alongside you, asking you what happened to your face.
That’s just plain awful.
It’s rude. It’s cruel. And it’s juvenile.
Which is why the internet applauded the boy who refused to get sucked in. We love the underdog who won’t be put in his place. It’s like he was saying, “You gonna try to humiliate me? I’m not going to bite.”
You have nothing to apologize to anyone for, especially when it comes to how you look.
But the dating world can be full of drive-by critics.
Like the guy who thinks it’s funny to make snarky jokes about your online dating profile. Where’s his sense of respect?
It takes a lot of courage to put yourself out there. It takes a lot of courage to show up.
So when guys disrespect you by making incredibly rude and thoughtless comments, you might take a tip from that meme and say:
Baby, don’t disrespect me like that.”
Here’s why it works.
It’s assertive. You’re not going to allow yourself to get sucked in. You’re naming his comment for what it is: disrespectful to you and not worthy of your relationship.
In fact, you could create your very own meme on the topic:
- “When you tell your guy you’ve had the toughest day ever and he says, ‘Where we going out tonight?’ Baby, don’t disrespect me like that.”
- “When a 200-lb couch potato tells you ‘you’d be pretty if only you lost weight.’ Baby, don’t disrespect me like that.”
- “When he comes home with a handful of cheap carnations on Valentine’s Day. Baby, don’t disrespect me like that.”
Done with affectionate tongue-in-cheek humor, it can be a gentle reminder to bring your A-game to communication.
But what a meme can’t capture is nuance.
Maybe the guy was trying to make a joke as a way of opening up a conversation with you, but his social skills were so poor that he ended up offending you instead.
Maybe he thought he was teasing you in an affectionate way, never realizing you were sensitive about that particular issue.
Or maybe he sees sarcasm as his superpower and never misses an opportunity to display his comic prowess.
He may have hoped to impress you, not hurt you.
That’s why responding to a guy’s disrespect with anger and accusation rarely moves the conversation forward.
Sure, it’s tempting to lash out. Maybe you’ve thought: “Well, if he made ME feel bad, then I’m gonna make HIM feel bad.”
If he says something rude about your appearance, you say something rude about HIS appearance. You don’t want to be a pushover, so you give as good as you get.
All that does is keep the cycle of disrespect going. It doesn’t heal the relationship.
It takes incredible control to refuse to engage when someone says something disrespectful to you. You don’t have to bite back. You just have to assert your boundaries.
Have any situations happened to you where you wish you’d have thought to have said, “Baby, don’t disrespect me like that”? Suggest your own meme in the comments!