i think my friends and i are getting better with age

When I was a teenager, I pretty much hated most of my friend’s choices of girlfriends and boyfriends. I didn’t understand what my friends saw in their partners. Some of them were weird, some were gross, some were stupid, some were basket cases; by and large, they sucked.

I was no exception. I attempted to bring some odd ducks into our fold, and it rarely went well. Usually the gang would tolerate my gf until we split up, then they’d tell me what they had thought of her. It wasn’t usually kind.

But you know what? They were right. Most of my gf’s were wack. And I was right when I didn’t like their partners either. Because when we were young, we were dumb, naive, inexperienced. We were easily infatuated, we weren’t critical of the people we dated. If there was even a hint of mutual attraction, that was usually enough. Sometimes one-sided attraction was enough, if we were desperately insecure and just seeking the approval of someone, anyone. Yep, we just had terribly low standards back then, and most of our partners sucked.

I actually believed it would always be like that. I thought the partners of my friends would always be intolerable wedges driven between us, gremlins trying to sabotage the fine machinery of our friendships.

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I loved that gremlin guy when I was a kid. I still think he’s cute.

Thank heavens, I was wrong. Once we hit our 20’s, most of us became a bit more discerning in our choice of partners. Slowly but surely, I began to genuinely like more and more of may pals’ significant others. It was quite a welcomed change. It’s even reached a point now where my friend’s partners are so good that their pals are worth knowing. That opens up entirely new friend circles and social scenes.

I find it all pretty amazing. It makes me proud of how my friends and I have grown as people, and happy that a byproduct of that is meeting even more good people. There are many aspects of aging that suck but becoming smarter, more confident people who attract other smart, confident people isn’t one of them.

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judge a book

yesterday on my way home from work, i saw a giant, shiny, cream-coloured lincoln navigator. it was pulling a giant, shiny wake boat. i thought to myself, “i bet the driver of the navigator is a pudgy, tattooed male, aged 25-40, wearing a ball cap and either aviators or white-rimmed sunglasses.”

i was bang on.

based on these details, i extrapolated that this fella is wealthy (or in a great deal of debt) and likes to flaunt it. and i have found that people who greatly value wealth and enjoy flaunting it are superficial and insecure twats, and insecure people cannot be trusted since they are constantly looking for affirmation wherever they can find it. in the blink of an eye, i had completely written this guy off.

but guess what. i don’t think i’m wrong. i think that probably 95% of the time, you can judge a book by its cover. by noticing small details and looking at what those details most likely indicate, i think it’s pretty easy to get a rough idea of what kind of person you are looking at.

i don’t think that’s being judgemental. i think it’s being analytical and detail-oriented. ok, it’s also being judgemental, but i also don’t give a shit. if i am wrong 5% of the time, that means i’m right often enough to keep a lot of shit rats out of my life, and i’m happy with that. besides, i’ve got enough friends in my life that i don’t have to go sifting through garbage humans in the dire hopes of finding more.

lesson: don’t let your appearance give away any details about who you are. be bland. don’t stand out. disappear into the crowd, never to be heard from again.

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yes, that’s it! now you’ve got it! now no one will know what to make of you.

get real

i think people who live their lives as caricatures are goofy idiots who are inadvertently painting a stupid, unrealistic picture of their whole culture.

for example: 10 years ago, my pal lindsay had a good friend who was a gay man. he was doing online dating on plentyoffish.com at the time. i was also dating on POF (women though, mind you) so lindsay suggested i look up his profile. i said, “yeah, neat. maybe i’ll see hi to your pal.” i switched my POF search parameters to ‘men seeking men,’ and was absolutely shocked by what i saw — all the gay men were not flamboyant, fabulous, limp-wristed queens. 

on the contrary, they were all just normal-looking guys. they looked like any guy i see walking down any street, in any place, at any time. i realized then that gay men are just normal guys too, and that it was asinine that i previously believed i could pick a gay man out of a lineup.

not that i don’t see the stereotypical gay man every now and then too. they certainly exist. but are they being themselves? maybe a few are, but i think the vast majority are just playing a ridiculous role, and i’m not sure why. probably because that’s how gay men are portrayed in films and tv, and some insecure people want to belong to whatever club they can, even if it’s childish and lame. so they start copying the classic hollywood gay man tropes. that’s my bet.

but this concept of people moulding themselves after an image isn’t limited to gay men, of course. it applies to every person who lacks confidence and a sense of personal identity. i mean, military people don’t need to be strict, harsh pricks outside of work. artists don’t need to be gentle, overly sensitive pussycats. jocks don’t need to be beer-swilling boneheads. you get the idea: no one needs to be any stereotype.

but that isn’t what bothers me the most about this topic. what bothers me the most is that by buying into stereotypes and playing those roles, these people are perpetuating myths and misconceptions about whatever group they are associated with. they feed the commonly held belief that a person can be defined by a single aspect, that those people are crude, one-dimensional characters. that’s a real disservice to not only themselves but everyone else who shares that particular aspect with them. it’s a fucking shame that they think they’re being “loud and proud” when they’re really just selling themselves and a lot of other people short.

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get multidimensional, man