Why She Slapped Him Part 2: A Happy Ending

This is a follow up to the post about “John” who emailed me asking for advice. John, real name Mark, met a woman, Ericka, at an art opening. They were having a very nice conversation when during a lull in the chat Mark complimented Ericka’s figure. He compared her to Kim Kardashian (as discovered later in an email from Ericka). Well, Ericka, an educated, bright woman, was very offended by his personal comment and felt it sexualized her. She was especially insulted by the comparison to Kim Kardashian – “a bimbo with a shapely backside.”

Mark was flustered and didn’t understand why she was so upset. He tried to explain himself, but not understanding why she was so angry he only made it worse. Ericka walked away, then upon reflection came back and slapped him. Yikes! Mark then wrote me the next day and asked what he’d done wrong.

I explained he had sexualized her, never a good move, and that there was probably no hope for a second chance. I wrote that it would be polite to email her a sincere apology, since he’d gotten her email address. He did and here was her response:

Thank you for the apology but I do think it is best that we not see each other again. It is very inappropriate and highly offensive to “size up” a woman the first time you meet her.  I like to be appreciated for who I am, and not how well I can fill out a skirt.  You crossed an important boundary, yet seemed completely unaware of your offense — hence the slap in the face.  It was quite disappointing too, since we had a nice conversation up to that point.  Anyway, I do accept your apology, and while I don’t wish to continue communication with you, I have no lingering hard feelings.  In fact, I wish you well over the holidays.  Hopefully you can learn from this experience. 

I responded:

You learned an important lesson the hard way. Better luck next time.

He responded:

I agree, I did learn an important lesson.  I was actually impressed with her response.  It was very thorough and classy.

I thought, wow, he too is classy. Too bad it didn’t work out. And then, Mark wrote again:

Just when I thought I was ready to move on, live and learn, etc., I get the note from her below, earlier today.  Completely caught me by surprise, but what the heck, can’t hurt to meet for coffee.  Life is crazy….

From Ericka: Hello again. I’ve been thinking things over.  Having met more than a few womanizers over the years, perhaps I judged you too harshly and you just had a “foot in the mouth” moment. You did have the decency to make a sincere apology. If you’re interested, next week we can meet for coffee and make a fresh start.  It’s a new year and everyone deserves a second chance. 

Ericka then emailed me and stated how impressed she was that Mark sought the advice of an etiquette consultant. She wrote, “very few men would go to those lengths. Despite the shaky start, I think there may be some possibilities here.”

So, Mark and Ericka met for coffee, and according to Mark, they had a great time and have been emailing back and forth.

Mark and Ericka, I wish you the best. Thank you for letting me be a part of your lives as you both figured this out.

Readers, the moral of the story is, never underestimate the power of an apology when it’s sincerely given.

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Arden Clise is founder and president of Clise Etiquette. Her love for business etiquette began in previous jobs when she was frequently asked for etiquette, public speaking and business attire advice by executives and board members. The passion for etiquette took hold and compelled Arden to start a consulting business to help others. Read more >>


  1. Colin on January 7, 2011 at 8:21 am


    Great threads (not your clothes, these conversations)!

    I’d hate to think of the commotion that would ensue had I slapped the woman who asked me to do a 360 – at a business networking event, 5 minutes after she met me – so she could check out my rear end.


  2. Arden Clise on January 7, 2011 at 10:45 am

    Colin, that is unbelievable!!! Again, very rude and very inappropriate on her part. I guess it just goes to show that both men and women can do really stupid things.

    And, you’re right, had you slapped her it would have been a very different story than a woman slapping a man. In either case, it’s never appropriate.

  3. Ericka on January 7, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    I agree that a slap was probably not warranted in this situation and I should have handled it differently. It’s true that I have an hourglass figure (large bust, full hips, etc.) and while I’m completely comfortable with my curves, it can be both a blessing and a curse. I’ve had to deal with many a jerk in the past. When you finally meet a nice guy, who seems genuinely interested in *you* and then then the conversation degenerates into a discussion about the shape of your body, it can be very frustrating. I’m 33, and getting tired of the dating game and my patience has worn a bit thin. So I just wanted to give you the complete context. In any case, I’m ready to start anew with Mark and see where things might go from here.

  4. Arden Clise on January 9, 2011 at 9:24 pm

    Totally understandable Ericka. While I don’t condone slapping it’s interesting it was the thing that actually got Mark to ask me for advice. It got his attention.

    I think in all everything happened for a reason. You got Mark’s attention, he reached out for guidance and learned valuable information. You two are now getting to know each other. I think it’s all good.


  5. Carol on February 8, 2022 at 8:10 pm

    I applaud Erika for having the courage to return for a slap. Since Mark originally, and now Colin, obviously missed the point, there is nothing Erika could have done that would have brought commensurate attention to the faux pas. Face it, Mark’s comment was a slap; Erika merely returned it.. That’s the whole point. To compare this situation with the reverse “if a man did the slapping” is extremely tone deaf and further extension of the problem. Yes, men cannot slap women without serious consequences. (Although too often, women are still seen at fault and not much is done…a discussion for another thread.) Society in general sexualize women CONSTANTLY–in ads, criticism of dress and conduct, grooming (hair, makeup, weight), workplace stature, homemaking–and we’re expected to just let it roll off rather than re-frame it from the feminine point of view. For this reason, I condone the slapping. Nothing much else has worked. Bravo! Encore!

  6. lydia park on June 17, 2022 at 3:41 pm

    To Carol: Perhaps she should have slapped him across the buttocks instead of across the face? That way, he’s both embarrassed and sexualized at the same time. Far more appropriate I think. LOL!

  7. lydia on June 18, 2022 at 4:05 pm

    Of course I was being silly on my last post, but honestly, I think everything worked out for the best here and if she did not respond in the fashion that she did, he may not have gotten the wake-up call he needed. So yeah, I would have to say there was some merit to the slap. Gender double standard notwithstanding, he seems no worse for the wear.

  8. Arden on June 20, 2022 at 11:54 am

    Yes, everything seemed to work out in the end, which is nice.

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