If You Can’t Say Something Nice

Have you ever heard the expression, restraint of pen and tongue?


How bout, if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.

My personal favorite?

If you can’t find something nice to say, then shut the fuck up.

What am I all riled about? Loraine Grossman, who I ran into on the avenue.  Now I wish I really did run into her, like a runaway Buick careening around a corner.

I hadn’t seen her in ages, about to tool into her 8th decade, still with a mouth that my mother would have heartily washed out with soap.

Always felt we were friends, but as Oscar Wilde said…true friends stab you in the front.

There she was, with her attendant, Amelia, who she’s treating like a house slave, a face lifted so many times she resembles a cold cut platter, but still has the nerve to say to me, who greets her warmly, “Look at you…don’t you eat anymore Susannah? I mean look at you, really…you remind me of a chicken bone.”


Let me just say, she herself is very thin, comfortably nesting on a branch if you will.   Legs like toothpicks, arms matchsticks, yet here she is taking potshots at me.

Restraint of pen and tongue? Indeed…easy does it..consider the source.


She’s not worth going to the slammer for. 

So what did the thin girl ultimately say?

“You know Loraine, maybe what you need is a nice long nap, what do ya think?  Then I could treat Amelia here to a nice long lunch, for taking such good care of you.  And just think, we’ll both be eating.”

Have you ever seen a platter suddenly fall off a shelf?





About Susannah Bianchi

I'm just a girl who likes to write slightly on slant. I've had a career in fashion, dabbled in film and to be honest, I don't like talking about myself. Now my posts are another matter so I will let them speak for themselves. My eBooks, A New York Diary, Model Behavior: Friends For Life and Notes From A Working Cat can be found on Amazon.com. Thanks.
This entry was posted in humor, New York City, women and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to If You Can’t Say Something Nice

  1. joanneolson says:

    As a slender, fit woman, this post reminds me of the many times I have been chided about “being too thin”, by obese persons who would take great umbrage if I were to mention or comment on their extra pounds, which, of course I never do.

    Glad to get that off my chest.

    Glad you were so quick on your feet with your response.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Usually it’s a Fatty who makes a crack, like the woman who got off the bus a stop early to tell me I was much too thin. I remember how swollen her ankles were, like two giant sausages. This latest critic, however was so thin. Like a wren in a pantsuit. 🙂


  2. You are brilliant! What a zinger! I rarely have the perfect reply instantly.

    Once I did. I was visiting my parents after I married and lived far away. Mom and I met a busybody, sharp-tongued teacher in the grocery store. She said to me, “You’ve gotten FAT!”

    I replied sweetly, “I’d rather be fat than rude.”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Just laughed out loud at this wee hour thinking about good ole bologna face. No doubt she went back to her lair without a clue that she just dodged a bullet.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. skinnyuz2b says:

    Susannah, what a perfect, yet ladylike comeback! I always think of the perfect thing to say when it’s too late. I think we’ve all been stung by comments like Loraine’s. I once heard an elderly (about my current age) neighbor tell my cousin’s wife, “You certainly are a wonderful cook. You inherited that from your mother, and your sister inherited her beauty.” The weird thing was that the two sisters were both beautiful.
    I think some people just have nasty venom in them that they like to sting people with. I have a sister-in-law like that and I try to stay away from her as much as possible.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. micklively says:

    Very funny Susannah. I can only say, I wish I reminded someone of a chicken bone, instead of a walrus.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. If you did go the slammer, I’d visit you, but it’s best not to. 🙂 I like your response.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I don’t know why people comment about weight at all. People know what they look like. I especially don’t understand why someone who is thin would say such a thing about someone else who is thin. Boggles the mind.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Criticism. It’s viral, or haven’t you heard. It’s a type of sport for wealthy women on the Upper Eastside.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s all over. I remember one “friend” who criticized my landscaping. It wasn’t completed yet but she was quick with the criticism. I wanted to smack her. I could have dished it back but something held me back. I should have let it fling. I would have felt better.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I love, that you wanted to smack her. You have to wonder, what’s up with that. Call me crazy and from the Nutmeg state, but…if I can’t say something nice, I say nothing at all. It’s good you didn’t fling. Best to be dignified than sink to their level. Of course, you could suggest she needs more fiber in her diet…:)

        Liked by 1 person

      • She probably did. I could write a whole book about my experiences with her but it wouldn’t be funny. Basically she was just a woman I worked with. We had similar interests so occasionally (very seldom) we did things outside of work. She moved out of the area and took her friendship with her. Not a problem at all.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I see. Good riddance then.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I like you! Now, I have another reason.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Gail Kaufman says:

    When I was at my thinnest, I was insulted regularly. Somehow, people think it’s OK to ridicule thin people though they find restraint for those who struggle to be thin. Criticizing someone’s body shape at any end of the spectrum is just wrong. I like the way you handled it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve often thought, remarking on someone’s thinness is the same as making a crack to a heavy person. I never say anything unkind. If you had two heads, I’d just talk to both of them. I’ll never understand other people and their propensity to criticize, like a contact sport.

      Oh well…thanks.

      Liked by 1 person

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