I don’t take teasing. Time and self-exploration have not eradicated the immediate reaction I get when I am being teased. Despite all consciousness, the mildest ribbing takes me immediately back to my youth. Then, I was teased, a lot, and it was neither mild nor amusing. So I am always on guard, not for teasing but for my reactions to it. After the button is pushed, I take a deep pause, shake out the past, and try to keep calm and adult like.

I wish I had a tougher skin. In ‘real life’ I’ve learned to simply state “I want you to stop this, for you are hurting me.” This is said in a serious tone and with direct eye contact. This normally stops it. After all, the vast majority of teasers are not malicious but unaware. They often apologize and the misunderstanding is over. Once in a while, some tactless (or clueless) person lights up and teases further. Then, my inner Hannibal Lector comes out (after all, there is a bit of Dr. Lector in all of us shrinks). I say a few choice statements guaranteed to hurt – and deeply so. Lest you think me a monster, I always feel badly afterwards.

I am writing this as I’ve received some recent jabs. These few remarks were manifestly humorous but felt to be slaps in the face. I kept calm and I didn’t become nasty.  I am ready to tell them to stop, for this hurts.