Gentleman or Pushover?

March 31, 2010


Today someone said to me, “the definition of a gentleman or lady is to make everyone feel comfortable at all times.” I wasn’t sure which definition of gentleman she was reading, so I looked up certain keywords and came across this essay: The Definition of a Gentleman

The jist is that a “Gentleman” avoids conflict by being open-minded enough to see all sides of arguments, and respect others opinions. They’re mindful of all people and socially experienced enough to be kind towards shy people and accepting of annoying people.

And yes, someone who’s educated and experienced enough to smooth out a rough situation is always nice. But I think more and more weak people are using this definition as an excuse to sit and bitch about the injustices that have been done to them without taking initiative to do something about it. People who merely pander towards everyone and avoid arguments are just afraid of conflict and unable to stand up for themselves. They call themselves “gentlemen” because it’s a good excuse to continue being weak and never formulating specific opinions for themselves. You can be kind and observant of the people around you without losing yourself in the process. Someone who’s constantly worrying about how OTHER people feel seems so unempowered to me.

The worst part about it is that I feel like that road is taken, not out of some higher-road type shit but because people genuinely have no idea what stance to take. I’d rather risk making someone feel uncomfortable than be a pushover.

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So I had my 90-day review at work, and it was fucking awful. At the end of the day my boss hands me a list of grievances which included (among other things): I’m constantly late, I’m irresponsible with confidential information, I’m belligerent towards co-workers, and I do poor design work. It just seemed so over the top, so blown out of proportion that it felt farcical, it didn’t even hit me until later that night when I realized I had to have a follow-up meeting about it the next day.

So the next morning I come in early with a list of responses, dressed in a nice sweater and slacks, hair and makeup all ready, and a smile on my face. I had no intention of causing a ruckus, I just wanted to let him know that there are two sides to every story. The minute I walk into his office, I say “hi Jon, how are you?” and he immediately snaps, “First of all, you have to stop calling me Jon. Nobody else does that.” (His name is Jonathan).

That knocked my confidence down a little, so I decided not to even mention my list of responses. I signed the list of grievances and said I’d work to be better. Then he says, “there were also some things that I didn’t put on the list, because they’re hard to put into words (read: hard to get past HR). When you fake cheerfulness, it makes everything weird. When you smile and have contempt underneath, people can tell. People aren’t STUPID.”

I was completely taken aback. I don’t have contempt for anybody. Um, I was trying to have a good attitude? I try to make the best out of a corporate job? I make smalltalk with co-workers and it feels pretty normal to me, I’ve never sensed any awkwardness from ANYONE except him. I went back to my desk and totally couldn’t hold in the tears, it was really embarrassing.

What sucks the most is that we’re supposed to be a team, and back each other up and support each other. But now I don’t trust him at all, I can’t go to him if I’m having troubles or anything, and I’d feel so weird asking his design advice. I know I should just suck it up and power through it, but I can’t stop thinking about the words he used. BELLIGERENT? CONTEMPT? His perception of me is so radically different than how I see myself, it makes me wonder if I’m crazy.

Pickup Line

December 8, 2009


Here’s my pickup line for my last boyfriend: I smacked his ass and told him that i loved redheads. Then, after we hung out drinking 40’s, i said “a gentleman would invite me to his room.”

I pushed my way into his life and made him think that it was his idea

hahaahahahaha oh man

Things

November 10, 2009

I was surrounded by black women on the work shuttle bus this morning, and when Anita Baker’s “caught up in the rapture” started playing on the radio, the woman behind me started humming. Then another started humming. Another started snapping. And all of a sudden, very very suddenly, they were all singing in chorus. It was great. When we got off the bus, one of them concluded pertly, “CAUGHT UP!” and the driver grunted.

Last night, I was having drinks with a friend at Beauty Bar, and she brought her good buddy, who wore a gold chain and called himself a prettyboy. He said, “I can dance and I teach dance, but I know kung fu, too, and people don’t expect that cause I’m kind of a prettyboy. People just think I’m a prettyboy.”
I sipped my wine and thought, “nope.” But other than that, he was nice. I guess.

Sweet costume, bro

October 21, 2009

petergriffinlikeness

I grew up in a suburb, and one Halloween our doorbell rang and we opened the door expecting to see trickortreater—but what was in front of our open door—was another door! Like, a full-on wooden door, that had a sign that said “Please knock.” So we did, and the door swung open to reveal a bunch of college dudes dressed as really old grandmothers, curlers in their hair, etc, who proceeded to coo over our “costumes” and tell us we were “such cute trick or treaters!” One even pinched my cheek. Then THEY gave US candy, closed their door, picked it up and walked to the next house.

Avoidance

October 17, 2009

"get away from me"

"get away from me"

I was sitting on the train today listening to my ipod and making a list of things that make me uncomfortable when a small Asian man wearing stone-washed pants with an elasticized waist chose to sit down next to me, in a nearly empty car. This happens to me a lot, not necessarily that particular model of weirdo, but something about me appears to be so compelling that people (often those with questionable hygiene) choose to sit next to me in public settings. I have a tactic I’ve developed in response to these repeated attempts, which is actually not a tactic but a course of action. I play rap music on my ipod really loudly, and rap along until the perpetrator leaves. Today I chose Petey Pablo, often it’s Lil’ Kim. I am proud to boast that this strategy has about a 65 percent success rate.

Now, I have a limited amount of friends, and I’m pretty sure none of them like me. That and my lack of any intellectually, economically, or artistically viable pursuits leave me with an incredible amount of free time. Often I go on long walks where I spend the duration of my time reliving childhood humiliations or thinking about possible life pursuits that I don’t feel I’ve already sabotaged (i.e. becoming an R&B video girl). Usually the bonus is that I get to play with lots of dogs, dogs (not unlike people on public transit) really like me, which I find disconcerting. I mean it must be my scent, and dogs also like the scent of other dog’s excrement, and people’s crotches. Anyhow, recently this dog ran up to me and started playing with me, I looked up to see his 50+ punk rock owner and jokingly said “Are you training your dog to pick up girls for you?” He looked offended at what he considered to be a sincere suggestion and responded that he was already married. My response was to be offended that he was incapable of discerning what was obviously a joke and I replied “Whatever, i like bigger dogs anyway.” This also didn’t amuse him. I’m a constant failure.

Crushes.

October 8, 2009

450flappertoon

I love and hate having crushes. Flashbacks arise to one of my earlier crushes, lets call him, I don’t know, Rob. Actually his name was Rob. Later on I found out that his middle name was Thomas and couldn’t stop making jokes about it, further alienating him. He had a hearing aid and his eyes were set sort of like a hammerhead shark’s, I could have loved him. After a series of failed attempts at initiating, I somehow through a stuttering phone call asked him if he’d like to get a drink. Shockingly, he agreed. I was nervous and reticent with my conversation at a nearby bar.

He attempted to engage in conversation:
“On the count of ten tell me the most embarrassing thing about yourself you can think of.”
I replied with exactly the worst response that could be ushered forth from my mouth:
“I had a UTI last year.”
Immediately I cringed, I’m not sure that I had even had one. You see, I have this nearly demonic voice that makes me say the worst thing possible during situations where I have my personal dignity laid out on the line. Dates and interviews tend to bring this voice out, it was responsible for me spouting out an anecdote related to my urinary tract. It has also been responsible for me being yelled at for trying to touch the artwork in museums. He replied with his most embarrassing moment after a moment’s hesitation.
“I used to be a dj on college radio”
Needless to say I never spoke with him again. I would not be surprised to find out that he has a restraining order against me.