I had the weirdest encounter with a man at a bar in Lubbock the other day. I can't stop thinking about it.

I was hanging out with my friends, laughing and singing along to the jukebox, when an older man, probably in his 70s, walked up to our table. He told me he recognized my voice and asked if I was a local radio personality. I said I was and stood up to shake his hand and thank him for listening to my morning show.

He immediately put his hands up, defensively, and said,

"I'm from the old school. I do NOT shake hands with women."

I was baffled.

I'd never heard anyone say anything like that before. It caught me completely off guard, and for a moment, I thought he was only kidding. I laughed and jokingly tried to coax him into a handshake. Surely he wasn't serious, right?

My second thought was that maybe he just didn't like hearing my stupid voice on the radio. Maybe he just didn't want to shake MY hand. I can understand that. I'm pretty obnoxious. I'm not for everyone. But, no.

He assured me that he didn't shake hands with any women, EVER, and that he never would.

He was completely serious.

Afterward, he walked back to his seat, leaving my table of friends bewildered. We tried to rationalize the encounter. Maybe he was just a germaphobe and it was an excuse not to touch someone he didn't know. That would make sense to me. Honestly, nobody owes anyone a handshake, nor do they truly owe an explanation as to why they won't shake someone's hand. It's just a common courtesy that usually doesn't cause any fuss at all.

This was different, and I have to admit, it hurt my feelings.

A few minutes later, I decided to walk over to where he was sitting with his friends and ask him more about it. I wasn't angry at him. I truly wanted to understand where he was coming from.

That did not go the way I planned. He offered zero explanation, looked up at the bar television, and dismissed me.

That set me off a little bit. I felt my face flush.

Then, the good old liquid courage got the best of me...

I turned to his drinking buddy...

I asked if he shook hands with women. He said he did, and shook mine right away. Then, I went to his other friend and did the same. THEN, I continued around the ENTIRE BAR, shaking hands with every single man in the building, before going back to my table.

I'm not sure if I proved a point or if I just humiliated him. At the time, I didn't care much.

But, when I got home later, I started thinking about that old man. I thought about the kind of life he must have had. Maybe he grew up in a home where women weren't valued or respected. Maybe a woman rubbed him the wrong way. Whatever happened to him, I'm sad for him.

I feel bad for calling him out and for making a public example of him. I don't know if I should, but I do.

What I do know, is that hurt people HURT people.

He hurt my feelings, and I turned around and hurt his right back.

That wasn't the solution. Sometimes, our egos get the best of us.

Maybe we aren't as different as he thinks. 

If you think you might know the man I'm referring to, please tell him that I am sorry for the way I behaved. I could have been kinder.  Instead of making an example of him in front of the entire bar, I should have instead made an example of myself. I should have simply been kind. I should have shown him the best of what this side of the street has to offer, instead of making him feel small, the way he did me.

In any case, I'd like to buy him a beer and have a real conversation with him. We may never see eye to eye, or end up on the same page, and that's okay.

I'll do my best to be part of the solution in the future.

Fueling the fire only pushes us further apart.

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