So I just got this cool flashlight. (see avatar.) It was $250. The price is not what I need perspective on (so says I, anyway), but I don't want it distracting from the issue. It's two days' pay for me. I was showing it to one of the guys at work today, listing off stuff like how bright it is, how it has user-selectable high/low settings, how it's hand-calibrated by the guy who builds them so they're all the same brightness (which is an issue with LEDs, apparently), etc. He hands it back and says "that thing will last the rest of your life -- if you don't lose it." I agree. He points out that a cellphone costs as much and only lasts a few years. I agree, and respond "yeah, it's a lot of money, and the guy who makes these used to make other ones that weren't as bright, but this one is good enough that in 10 years, it'll still be a damn good flashlight." Out of nowhere, the quiet Chinese girl sitting across the walkway from the guy I was talking to says "you know why you're always explaining things to people?" ...why. "Because you do crazy things like buying $250 flashlights." What's your point. "Just trying to help you deal with your problem, that's all." I don't have a problem. "You know what they say about admitting you have a problem..." I'm not sure it would've stung more if she'd walked up and slapped me across the face. I had absolutely no idea what to say, and I didn't talk to anyone for the rest of the day. (no idea if she picked up on that.) So what I need perspective on is, how big of a deal was this, and how should I handle it? I'm too sensitive to offhanded insults from people I like to be able to think clearly on this one. You know that one kid in every class who everyone picks on? I was the kid those kids picked on to make themselves feel better. I wasn't at the bottom of the barrel, I was the bottom of the barrel. Hell, even teachers laughed on occasion when someone made a particularly zinging remark about me. (this happened more than once.) A great many of those insults specifically targeted my intelligence -- or as they liked to put it, "my freakishly large head." Over time I have learned to deal with the oneupmanship that goes along with being a guy around other guys, but occasionally I'll still get broadsided by something like this. Reasons why: 1. She's smart and attractive; the only other person in the office, in fact, whose brain moves as fast as mine does. I'm not trying to kiss my own ass; even in work-related matters she says things on a regular basis that I haven't had time to predict and formulate an answer to yet, and she's the only one who can (or does, anyway) do that. 2. She turned my intelligence into a bad thing, which is for me the equivalent of taking a shit in my high school football trophy -- it took one of my strongest natural abilities, one which more/less dictates the kind of person I am, and slammed it. I'm immensely proud of my intelligence, not for no reason, either, because it pays my bills if nothing else. (side note: I explain things to people for a living, writing user manuals and design documents.) If I extrapolate from her comment, she basically said I do stupid things and then try to rationalize them to hide their stupidity, that I don't put any thought into whether something makes sense before I do it. I spent months (not constantly) picking out that flashlight, based on its features, and that's the status quo for pretty much everything I do when I have the time to do it. So rationally speaking, she's flat-out wrong, but it's not a rational part of my mind that's reacting to this. Everyone has a few chinks in their armor, and she stuck that comment right between my ribs and twisted. Had she said "you're nuts to spend that much money on a flashlight", it would've rolled off my back like water, no big deal. But the way she worded it, bringing my intelligence into question and casting it in a negative light, homed right in on the sorest nerve I have and stabbed it. So I can tell she's perceptive, perhaps moreso than she realizes. (come to think of it, she did get a degree in psychology -- that's going to be fun to work around.) The biggest problem, aside from my bruised ego, is it happened at work and I need to be careful how I deal with it. Thoughts?