Monday, April 23, 2007

I am just plain mean

Saturday night we went to the house of two really nice people and had dinner. These were not people that i know, although i have met them once before. The Mister and i had a great meal, good wine and pleasant conversation.

Of course, i can't let it go at just that. I feel badly about that, but these are my real thoughts.

The man mentioned at least 5 times how expensive the bottle of wine that we had with dinner was. Not the actual price, just how expensive it was. (Don't tell, but i liked the first bottle we had better.)

These two people are really nice. And really earnest. Call me a bitch (i do) but i like a little bit of irony/sarcasm/satire with my conversation. The woman, while she was showing me her crystals, said "I am really into energy." (And really who isn't? But what does that mean? I did ask her to tell me about it, but the answer was vague enough that i don't remember it. )

There were many compliments about physical traits of the Mister and i. You can guess which one for me. For the Mister it was hair. The Mister has really nice hair, and what that means at his age (49) is that he HAS hair. The Mister and i talked on the way home about these comments and why it's okay to talk about some things and not others, and why it made me, in retrospect, very slightly uncomfortable. I believe it's because it felt obsequious.

I feel badly that i can't just go over and have a nice dinner without thinking my mean thoughts. I don't do this with everyone, but i am sensitive to odd nuances. Do you do this too? Or am i just plain mean?

62 comments:

Toni said...

You are just plain mean. Nah! our not! I hate people like that, they are so eager for YOU to like them, and apparently an expensive bottle of wine can make someone want to be your friend.

As for being sensitive about your height- I would be thrilled! Then again I am 5'4"- I hate being short! They probably didn't realize they were being rude or offending you. They are just stupid.

Go have a cocktail- it's after 9am, right??

thailandchani said...

No, I don't think you're just mean. I've noticed over the years that my tolerance for obsequious talk, for small talk and transparent attempts to impress me is very low. Those things are just irritating now.

So.. nope.. not meanness.. just maturity. :)


Peace,


~Chani

Dick said...

obsequious. I had to grab my dictionary for that one. It isn't in my usual conversation patterns.

I don't know the connection you have with them but you might give them another chance. Maybe they are just trying to hard to impress you. Perhaps another visit will show for sure if they are or are not people you want to be with very often.

Gordo The Geek said...

I learned obsequious from Bloom County many moons ago .. :-D

Irony and snark are the salt and pepper of a good conversation. Nice, earnest people drive me around the bend.

Mona Buonanotte said...

I also like to order irony/sarcasm/satire with my dinner. People who are "too nice" scare me.

QT said...

Ditto on the "too nice" deal. HOWEVER, keep in mind that perhaps one of them might be sarcastic in real life, and the other said "PLEASE tone it down this time, okay? You are always scaring people off!"

Not that I have EVER had a significant other say that to me before...or anything.

patches said...

I can empathize with you. I tend to be the most abrasive participant in the conversation, but I prefer to test the waters before I say what I really mean....I find dinners like that to be stressful. I'm guarded about myself that way. I also have a difficult time accepting compliments, but when you are just getting to know someone it's difficult to be complimentary beyond a person's surface characteristics, because you don't know them well enough.

Lucia said...

On some days, I would tell you I don't like people. And by people I would actually mean the bunch that live by the rules and with whom I don't have shared values. Price of a bottle o' wine? I don't give a damn. Your height? The mister's hair? Ditto. Whatever. Those conversations that have me saying whatever over and over in my head bore me. And geez louise, there are a lot of really boring people in the world. Think mean thoughts. It makes you more interesting.

lu said...

Have you ever noticed that glassy eyed vacancy of those who dabble in crystals? It brings to mind the pod people, so placid, and pleasant, but maliciously absent.

I don't trust people who don't have a few sharp edges.

meno said...

toni, well, sometimes a bottle of wine will make me be your friend, but it doesn't have to be expensive. Just so you know, i am not sensitive about my height. I just think it's amazing (and funny) how often other people bring it up.

chani, i hadn't thought of it like that. Thanks for that. :)

dick, i will certainly see them again, we owe them a dinner now. :) Maybe you are right and they will calm down.

gordo, i feel the same about nice people, but sometimes i feel badly about it. I mean, they made me a lovely dinner and all.

mona, oh good, it's not just me.

qt, i have never been told to "tone it down" either. Really. I swear.

Tink said...

I just posted an award for you! Bring tissues. ;)

Marsha said...

I always notice all the quirks and annoying traits of people I am just getting to know. Once I have spent a bit of time with a person or a couple and developed a bond I no longer really notice those things anymore. Except when I am pissed at them, then all their annoying traits are all I can seem to notice.

deb said...

People who are too nice tend to irritate me, probably because it shows up my tendency towards sarcasm. But I am what I am, I like sarcasm, irony, puns, innuendo, for me it's like verbal acrobatics. It's fun.

As for "energy", people who talk like that tend to repel me. Maybe it's their "energy".

And no I don't think yor're mean, I do the same thing. Some people ya like and some ya don't.

biodtl said...

You're most certainly not mean. For one thing, we can't police our thoughts - you weren't saying those things to them, just thinking them to yourself.

Although I'd give you a pass if you did make a sarcastic remark, because expensive wine guy sounds like a bit of an asshat (albeit a nice asshat).

Jocelyn said...

I'm completely like you. And when I'm stuck in a situation where I can't at least roll my eyes at someone else, it becomes torture.

liv said...

This reminds me of the scene in My Fair Lady where Eliza is taught about small talk. You come to realize how insipid it is when you witness it from the outside. Being in it? Hell on earth.

By the way darling, you are magnificently statuesque!

Mignon said...

That's why we don't have couple friends. Either the woman is funny and sarcastic and the man isn't or the other way around. Holy shit, if both were earnest and nice and into crystals? What, did you lose a bet?

Lynn said...

I don't think that you are mean. When someone is acting pompous it's hard to carry on a meaningful conversation, and it's also hard to trust someone like that with anything important.

TTQ said...

Beee-yotch! Just kidding. I seemed to have annyoed everytone this weekend (or in my pea brain I did). I'm still having trouble with what I said..or how I should have reacted (two seperate issues) But you'll have to wait till I blog it out. All I can say is I think I was wrong about one thing and the other well not sure it's an ongoing theme..

And this is why I hate when my husband tells me daily how perfect I am... I tell him not to do put that on me, because one day he WILL be dissappointed.

Caro said...

Oh. Yes. I can relate. I can be as sarcastic as they come. I don't like myself when I act that way though. Really messes up my energy...

Now I just down the expensive wine and chat about the evening on the way back with L.P. Man the laughs we've had. I'll bet anything our friends talk about us behind our backs too!

Lisa said...

It sounds like you were just comparing notes with the mister, and you both agreed that you didn't really "click" as friends. There was no chemistry there. I think, as we get older, we just get more honest about these things. You cut down on the bullshit and hang out with people who are worth your time. No offense intended to this couple, but they are not your kind of people. That's okay. I know people like that, too. I would feel so nervous around them, like I was just about to say something really inappropriate, or accidentally insult them in some way that they wouldn't laugh off. The older I get, the more I treasure the friends who have been able to put up with me for this long.

meno said...

patches, i am always the one willing to go that one step further in the conversation, as it descends into meanness. You are right about taking the time to get to know someone....it takes....time! :)

lucia, i find blind conventionality beyond my ability to understand as well. It's so boring to have someone else decide how you will live your life. In all fairness though, these two only seemed that way, i am fully prepared to be wrong. I just didn't see any signs of cynicism/humor on Saturday. I am also easily bored, so i take that into account.

lu, well, i do have pre-conceived notions about crystals and energy, but i can TRY and act like i get it. I MIGHT be wrong. (But i don't think so.)

tink, tissues are obtained. And really, thank you. It's so odd to do this random writing about whatever catches my mind that day, and have people appreciate it.

marsha, i had never thought of it that way. It's like how people get better looking to me the more i like them.

deb, i always want to break through that niceness to find the real person underneath. I wonder if there is a person there.

biodtl, he was proud, and a bit pompous. He was trying to impress the Mister with his wine knowledge. I never get in pissing contests over wine, i just drink it.

jocelyn, the suppresion of eyerolls causes migraines! that's my working theory.

liv, ha ha, i love that scene. And thank you, i am very vertical!

mignon, no bet, kind of a work thing for the Mister. And they were VERY NICE. ZZZZZzzzzzz. God, i am so mean! It is hard to have couple friends. For me it's usually the woman that i find incomprehensible.

lynn, he was pompous, but in a nice way. Maybe he'll settle down.

ttq, if the shoe fits..... I look forward to the posts. I think you have hit on why i don't like compliments.

caro, ha ha! Nice. Yeah, the "re-cap" on the way home is great fun. We often have the same impressions, but we can't talk until we are alone.

Anonymous said...

If it bothers you to feel that you are mean, some time you might try this--just pretend you are from another galaxy--and in this case, it doesn't sound too far, far away from wrong--and you are being the exploring team's anthropologist. You are observing and noting values of the locals.
Now (maybe) you won't feel mean, and (maybe) it will be a lot more fun.
Anne

Maggie said...

I've had to think a lot about commenting on this. Mainly because I think I fall into both categories at times. I am cynical and need humor and sarcasm and liveliness for fun. Conversations where people are overly nice or overly concerned about impressing make me suspicious. Like they are working too hard to either hide something or get in with you which means they maybe want something? Then on the other hand I wonder if (especially lately) I try too hard myself, then I go home and over analyze and worry about how I said this or that. Ugh ugh ugh.

But about you, as I rambled long enough on me, I don't think you're mean. It's natural, human, a necessary part of getting to know people.

sari said...

I'm with Chani...it seems the older I get, the less tolerance I have for meaningless mumblings.

And, being in the working world for a long time (in both retail and the sales environment, though THANK THE GOOD LORD I never actually sold anything, I was support) I just can spot phony baloney right off the bat. It drives me crazy - I mean, if you can't say anything nice to me and mean it, than just smile nicely and sit over there.

So. In closing, you're not the only meanie, if you want to look at it that way. I don't necessarily look at it that way.

;-)

Joan said...

Life is far too short to be spending time with people who seem to have so little to offer you in terms of their company...and "no" you are not being mean.

Bobealia... said...

One time a couple tried to get my husband into a threesome and it sounded a bit like that...

meno said...

lisa, you have said that very well. They are not bad people, and they don't deserve me making fun of them. But i do anyway.

anne, that is how i approach these things in spirit. I check out the "energy" of the house and then proceed as that dictates. Cute idea though. I wonder if i should take notes while i'm there.

maggie, I like what you said about it as a necessary part of getting to know people. I still don't think we'll be great friends though.

sari, chani is pretty smart. I also like having meanie company, or at least people that know what i mean.

joan, good point. I just don't need to spend time pretending that i am interested when i am not.

meno said...

bo, eww. just eww. Um. you would need to see these folks. Oh ewww.

Schmoopie said...

Stucco and I have a difficult time with the whole "polite-social-getting-to-know-you" thing. Stucco is very vulgar (in an intelligent, humorous way.) I am honest and inquisitive about people in general, so we tend to make people uncomfortable, if they are used to people who bullshit about themselves. We joke about the 2 types of friends: Ones you can be totally honest with, and those you have to obsessively clean your house for. Guess which ones we invite over more often?!

ellie bee said...

It would be interesting to know what they thought about the evening. It sounds like they were just as uncomfortable as you were, and trying to be pleasant. How/why on earth did you wind up having dinner with them?

Mother of Invention said...

I'd mind comments about physical traits if I didn't feel all that complimented. I don't mind very sincere compliments although they always surprise me and I tend to want to play them down and disagree instead of just saying Thanks.

Seem like an odd couple for you to be spending quality time with.Have you ever had them over for dinner?

urban-urchin said...

They sound lonely. I always feel sorry for people that have to try this hard.

There are some people in my husband's family that are like this (the expensive thing) drives me nuts but I've learned to just let it go and recognize it as a trait of insecurity (and roll my eyes later and crack a joke with my husband later). But would I choose to hang out with them all the time? nope.

Nancy Dancehall said...

I don't think you're mean. Mean would be if you always went into these situations LOOKING for something to pick on.

There are some people I can't help but pick on. And then when they turn around and do something genuinely nice for me, I always feel like an asshole. Unless I REALLY don't like them. Then I just get angry.

Jenn said...

What does obsequious mean? I looked it up in the dictionary, but it didn't really make sense.

Thanks

Jenn

meno said...

schmoopie, i have been called vulgar myself, usually by my mother. I love having friends that are willing and comfortable coming to visit in the middle of a remodel when there is one bathroom for 7 people. Yes, that has happened.

ellie bee, i can only guess. I think they were happy. And i don't mean to make it sound like it was unpleasant. It was very pleasant, just kind of...monotone. This is a man that works with the Mister.

moi, i am the same way with compliments, but i am trying to get cured of that response. We have never had them over, but i suppose we will one of these days. We have a much less formal entertaining style.

u-u, you may be on to something with the lonely thing. And they were really VERY NICE. Just a few odd things, like the $ wine. And the crystals. Yikes! But it was fun eye rolling about it later.

nancy, that's the issue, they did something nice for me, and i am sneering, ever so slightly, about it. But i am not everyone's cup of tea and everyone is not mine.

jenn, let's see, fawning, servile, falling over oneself to be helpful, apologizing for things that are not in your control. I guess i would sum it up as submissive behavior.

d-man said...

You're just plain human. So, in other words, mean.

:D

GEWELS said...

You're not mean at all! They seemd to be trying a bit too hard to impress you- what with making sure you knew that they splurged on you guys with the wine.
Sounds like they may have been the uncomfortable ones.
Returning the favor and having them over might not be a bad idea, but throw some of your friends into the mix to make things interesting. I love getting totally unkown people together for dinner parties. I just sit back and watch what happens- now that's great conversation when they all go home.

AC said...

I can not bear social occasions anymore. I live on a dead end road in a rural part of the state...for a reason, apparently. Its hard to find the way in or out.

I wasn't always like this, but the prospect of a party now gives me ginders.

Sanjay said...

Meno.. you are not mean. I cringe..literally cringe when people talk about how much money they threw at that bottle of wine that you just had.
To me it is purely about enjoying the company of friends.
The energy comment would not bother me too much, maybe I am just different in that I love to hear what makes people tick and what ticks them off. :)

jen said...

tall and mean. wow.

Josephine said...

I perfer for people to notice my bullshit and insecurities, and then still like me after that. And if they don't, then I'd prefer it that way, too. As opposed to being around someone who is oblivious to the subtleties of human nature.

Lee said...

I'm really into inertness.

meno said...

d-man, I think you are right. Nice people are mean people who are hiding the mean. That scares me.

gewels, i like hving diverse people around too. But almost everyone i know is a smart ass, at the least, 'cause that's how i like 'em.

ac, i do spens lots of time alone, but not all of it. Parties really suck for me. I always wonder if anyone likes them.

sanjay, i know, like what else, something positive, could they have done with that money?

jen, that's me. Be afraid, be very afraid..... No?

josephine, everyone has bullshit and insecurities. It's knowing it and being able to laugh about it that makes people fun. Oblivious is just too homogeneous. Boring.

lee, inerta is all the rage, i hear.

Dana said...

It drives me crazy when people can't just be themselves. If people would do that and not try so hard to impress others, just maybe the world would be a better place.

mrschili said...

Depending on my mood, and what's happening in other parts of my life, I can do exactly what you've described here. I often catch myself THINKING horrible things about people I know nothing about ("My GOD - what possessed her to wear THAT in public?!" that sort of thing). It's entirely contrary to the kind of person I WANT to be, and the kind I person I like to think I usually am, but the occasional bitchy, terribly unempathetic thought does leap from my mind now and again.

capacious said...

I guess this means you don't want to come over and see my crystals.

Thanks a lot, now my energy is all messed up because of you.

I guess I'll open this very expensive bottle of wine and guzzle it. Your fault.

meno said...

hi dana, well THAT's a true statement, unless they are mean, like me.

mrs.chili, a frequent thought of mine "Dear god, does she/he not own a mirror?" I can pretend i don't think these things, but it would just be pretending.

capacious, i take full responsibility for your messed up energy and drunken state. I think i'll join you.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

It's in really poor taste to refer to the price of anything your guests are eating or drinking at your house. Ditto your artwork, automobile, clothing, or anything else. It just reeks of insecurity.

Bestowing compliments as you've described seems like the desperate attempts of those with nothing important to say to gain attention and approval.

The crystal lady sounds like a bornagain New Ager who wants to be cooler than thou but really has no clue.

You keep referring to them, despite all this, as nice people. They sound like rather empty people who are "nice" only in that they didn't stab anyone with their fork at dinner.

You think YOU'RE mean -- I must be the queen of bitches.

So, when are you having them to dinner at YOUR house?

Abyss of Silence said...

Yay, another mean person! I actually hate parties unless they are small groups of people I know well. Otherwise I find small/gettin-to-know-you talk painful. And if they don't get the snark... forget it.

meno said...

hearts, i think it's in poor taste too, but i don't like black socks with brown shoes and i don't expect other people to conform to my bad-taste-o-meter. I mean, i do expect them to conform, but i feel judgmental about that expectation. Was that confusing enough? You have out-bitched me. I bow before you, as soon as i stop laughing.

abyss, Welcome fellow meanie. I don't care for parties at all. Do you think anyone does or are they faking it? (Your cat is so damned cute i may have to squeal.)

Pickled Olives said...

You are not mean, and I do it too. I dislike dinner parties where the conversation isn't genuine and the topics are too polite and correct.

Antonia said...

Now that I have a reduced social life, and I can't drink or smoke pot, I really notice the quality of social interaction at the parties I go to. I'm fascinated by the disappearing art of conversation. I'm no good at it, but I'd love to be.

It does seem daft to go to the expense of opening a frightfully expensive wine, cooking a meal and having a load of people over if one doesn't have a great deal of substance to say to them.

In an ideal world, I think a dinner party ought to be the prelude to a. dancing on the table, b. climbing trees, c. skinny dipping, d. a spontaneous Arctic adventure or e. a sudden political revolution.

Tracy said...

I am with Bobealia, I was thinking swingers the whole time you were describing them. Complimenting you, trying to impress you, not showing any strong opinions or sarcasm that might turn you and the mister off.

Food for thought, Meno, food for thought.

furiousBall said...

I think that's completely normal for a creative mind to play devil's advocate with your own reality. Lots of times, I ponder to myself, "what's the most horrible thing I could do right now?" Especially during business meetings. Like if someone is drowning on about mission statements, I wonder how they would like it if I dropped trou and did a dance on the meeting table?

egan said...

Thank you Meno for dinner this past weekend. It was a treat meeting such a tall person. I see your husband and I have much in common hair wise. It really was a treat and I thank you for the positive "energy". Let's do this again sometime when it's not a full moon.

-Fawning One

meno said...

pickled olives, and you don't feel a bit mean making fun of them later? Good for you! Polite conversation is boring.

antonia, you can't drink???? At all or to excess? Oh yeah, breast feeding, never mind. I am with you on the skinny dipping.

tracy, i don't want to say anything meaner than i already have about their physical traits, but NO! just NO. *Shudders* Ew.

furious, if you ever do decide to do it, PLEASE make sure there is a video camera in the room. I am smiling at that image because i've been in those meetings.

egan, (heh heh heh) You forgot to mention that my nails were fabulous!

egan said...

P.S. I love the energy your nails possess. They are quite fabulous.

Tracy said...

Well, I didn't think YOU were going for them, but maybe THEY were going for you and the mister. Even unattractive people may be interested in such things:)

Didn't you ever see the episode of All in the Family where Edith and Archie unknowingly got together with a couple of swingers? The woman was attractive but the man-Eeww!

PS I don't think you are mean. I am also a bit pickier about who I hang out with these days. It might be interesting though, to hang out with the woman without her husband and see if maybe you like her better. Maybe she (and they) were nervous.

Ortizzle said...

You're not mean. You're honest.

luckyzmom said...

I can not believe there are soooooo many comments here.

I too am sensitive that way. I quickly and easily pick up things about people that others don't notice or ignor. I notice people rolling their eyes or making intimate eye contact or angry eye contact. I don't know if I developed this talent through practice as a mother or if it came to me as a result of childhood trauma. Whatever, I am very aware of my surroundings as you seem to be and I think we should be proud of our special talent!!!

I'm going to go read the other 60 comments on this post now!!!

luckyzmom said...

After reading all the comments I see that I have gotten it all wrong. You feel mean because of the thoughts you had about this couple?