To The Angry Woman in the IHOP,
If you’re struggling to decide if this is for you or not, allow me to provide some details. You are short, maybe 5’3, with grey short hair, and skinny. All I remember about your eyes is that they were angry. You ordered pancakes and so did I. You stared at me and my boyfriend for half an hour and it made me uncomfortable, but I assumed you were lonely and that’s why. You were alone. I felt bad.
But, then, you came over to me and my boyfriend’s table. You got up and walked over so quickly I didn’t realize you were there until you were practically spitting in my face, “Why don’t you two just get a room?!” I felt my mouth gape open as you continued to rant. I wanted to interrupt and say, “Excuse me, but all he is doing is kissing my cheek, is that not alright? I just have my arm around him, is that too sexual for you?” but I’m dumbstruck by your anger. You spit and hiss and shout, in the middle of a public restaurant. I am burning with embarrassment. I apologize twice to you. You stare at me with such immense hatred, it scares me. I couldn’t tell if it was an age thing, a race thing or simply an anger thing. Why did our small amounts of PDA bother you so? Why did you feel the need to ruin my breakfast and yours? Why did the waitress have to apologize to me on your behalf?
I wish I had said something to you, but I couldn’t find my words. I especially couldn’t find anything nice or appropriate to say. Do you know that my boyfriend and I barely get to see each other? Do you know that you ruined our date completely and after I went home and cried? Do you know that now, five days later, I still can see your hateful eyes and feel ashamed and uncomfortable? Do you know that now I’m scared to go out with my boyfriend, for fear that another crabby lady will find our cheek-kisses too erotic? I hate that I let myself be bothered by this when everyone says, “She’s just some old lady! Ignore her. She was totally in the wrong, even the waitress agreed!” Since I didn’t get to say these things to your face, I hope this letter will settle my soul a little. I wish I had told you that you could move across the restaurant if you didn’t like what you saw. I wish I had told you that after the waitress defending us to you, you would have just kept to yourself. I wish you could remember what it’s like to be young and in love. I wish you had thought about how it feels to be yelled at in public.
For your information, we bought $35 worth of food and we were waiting inside because it was raining. But, of course, you didn’t know these things, because you didn’t ask. You assumed. You know what they say about people who assume, don’t you?
I wish you many more happy breakfasts at IHOP, and I know mine will be happier without you interrupting it.
Love, the Sad Girl in the IHOP