“I was not calling you an asshole” is something I just had to say to a student. I must explain.
Class ended. My students had mostly left the room, except for one guy (leather jacket guy). He mentioned the professor that teaches in the room before me and how she must love purple. (Honest to goodness, she wears purple clothes, shoes, lipstick, and her hair is even purple!) I explained to him that I could probably do that with hot pink.
He said, “Even the hair?”
“Oh absolutely!” I replied. “I had hot pink hair when I was younger. I was goth and tried out every hair color at least once.”
“You were goth?!?!” He asked, exasperated.
“I sure was, but I acted the same as I do now. I was always happy and chipper.” I explained.
It was at this moment that he was nearly to the door while the other students for the next class were coming in. He made a grand hand gesture and said “I can’t even believe that you chose to dress like that (grand hand gesture) when you act like this! (another grand up and down hand gesture).”
The young lady that entered the room had this insane look on her face and she looked mad. Like how dare he say that to me?! She had fire in her eyes and a look on her face that told the entire story. I said “Oh….no…he was reacting to the information that I used to be goth. He wasn’t being an asshole.”
It was then that I realized if he heard only part of that response, he might take it wrong, so I call after him and say “The girl that came into class only heard your last statement about how I dressed and act and she was very upset. Just to be clear, I defended you and said that you were only reacting to a previous conversation and that you are definitely not an asshole.” He laughed and we chatted for another minute. To end, I reiterated, “Ok, well, I just needed you to know that I was absolutely not calling you an asshole in any way.”
I turned around to use the elevator and saw 3 other professors looking at me like I was absolutely insane.
I took the stairs instead of the elevator.