I’m pretty open about the fact that I can be judgmental at times, even though I make a conscious effort not to be. As I’ve mentioned before, I think all of us make judgments when someone’s spending, choices, or behaviors clash with our personal values. For me, though, the dividing line is between thinking judgmentally and actually speaking those judgments out loud.
I have this frenemy in real life – I’ll call her Hazel. (I love giving people goofy made-up names.) To look at her Facebook profile, you’d think she was the queen of frugality. She’s always posting pictures of the crap she buys for 22 cents with coupons or ranting about all the evils of “blind consumerism” she sees in other people’s posts. When someone buys a new car or goes on a vacation, she’s the first one spouting off rude comments like, “That money could have been used to feed a family in Ethiopia for 17.47 years.” She volunteers, she makes her own salsa, and I’m pretty sure she would bathe in saliva if she could find a way to do it.
Except Hazel doesn’t actually do any of those things. She just says she does.
The Truth Comes Out
Awhile back, Hazel posted a picture of her latest coupon haul, and I remember thinking, Did she repaint her kitchen? I started looking through her photos and realized that nearly every single one of them came from DIFFERENT HOUSES. She took care to crop out as much of the background as possible, but I could plainly see different countertops, cabinet hardware, and even wall colors behind all the discount toothpaste and baby wipes. They were very similar but not identical.
Because I’m totally nosy, I ran a few of the pictures through TinEye. Guess what? They all came from various profiles on Pinterest. None of which belong to Hazel.
I called a mutual friend of ours, Tina, to discuss this development. (I did that thing where I tried to ask in a roundabout way without actually disclosing what I knew, just in case Tina and Hazel had joined forces. Don’t act like you haven’t done it.) At first she acted like she had no idea what I was talking about, but as soon as Tina realized I was suspicious of Hazel the Great, she had all the good gossip.
Apparently, not only does Hazel not coupon, but she also doesn’t do any of the other crap she talks about online. A few weeks ago when her grandmother was having surgery and she was absent from Facebook? Yeah, she and her husband were actually in Florida. Her homemade salsa? Store-bought and dumped into a bowl for photo ops. THE BITCH DOESN’T EVEN RECYCLE.
I am stunned - stunned – that I just now discovered all this. I’ve spent years since we graduated from high school thinking this girl was Superwoman. And I’m a little hurt that no one filled me in until I recognized her fakery for myself. More than that, though, I am mad as hell.
When Do You Call Someone Out?
Hazel is one of the most judgmental people I’ve ever seen, and she crosses that line from thinking things to saying them. All. The. Time. I barely even post anything personal on Facebook anymore because I don’t want to hear how many llamas I could have saved from avalanches or whatever.
You have NO IDEA how much I want to expose her for the complete liar she is. I want to take screenshots of all those coupon photos in their rightful place on Pinterest, make a collage, and post it on her wall while tagging every person from our graduating class. I want to rent a billboard that says FYI, HAZEL USES NAME BRAND SHAMPOO AND CONDITIONER. I want to steal her garbage and photograph the empty salsa jars, then throw them at her the next time she makes me feel like crap for buying a t-shirt.
But remember when I said I try not to judge? And remember that I’m a licensed therapist, even though that isn’t what I do anymore? Sigh.
Obviously Hazel has major issues if she’s spending this much time creating a fabricated life of frugality and perfection. I won’t go into all the psychological stuff because it would require way too much detail, but this honestly makes me look at her in a completely new way. I almost want to hug her because people do not act this crazy unless they’re dealing with serious trauma.
At the same time, however, she isn’t just doing this stuff in a harmless way. She insults and berates other people for doing the same things that she (according to Tina) is secretly doing. She is attacking people under the guise of “Look at me; I can live without all those material things,” and it’s not even TRUE!
For now I’m not doing anything about this situation. I’m just simmering. But I have to know the answers to these burning questions:
Would you call Hazel out publicly for being a lying liar who lies? Or would you assume she’s criminally insane and let it go? Do you know anyone who is perpetuating a double standard like this? Is it assault if you throw a salsa jar at someone’s face?