Thursday, November 09, 2006

In which i am wrong, II

Reading the comments to yesterday’s post started me thinking. (ALERT THE MEDIA!) You all make such valuable and thoughtful comments. And i am thinking that one of the reasons that we all listen so carefully to each another is because we can’t see each other and make judgments based on what we see. What do you think?

One blogger that i read regularly and admire posted a picture recently. She is really quite beautiful. I was taken aback. She is not someone that i would normally feel comfortable talking with because, why would she want to talk to me? Assumption: She is pretty and young; therefore she has lots of friends. She won’t be interested in anything i have to offer. And i am wrong. I know this because of her blog. She's sometimes lonely and struggling with the same issues that i have or do struggle with. And i have things to learn from people too. People who don’t necessarily look like “people that i would talk with.”

One of you (sorry, i can’t remember who) recently talked about camaraderie in the women’s locker room. I think there are some similarities between that situation and the internet. There are fewer of the trappings (clothes, makeup, jewelry) that allow us to make snap judgments about each other.

And once we get to know each other, without the extraneous noise, we find that we have lots in common and actually like one another. After that the other stuff isn’t so important. Kind of like falling in love with a pen pal.

I wonder how many people i don’t talk to around here because of stupid assumptions on my part. Need to think about that i do. (Yoda speak.)

I assign myself the homework of talking to someone this week with whom i normally would not talk. (My inner introvert is going “Oh, shit!”)

I’ll report back.


Anonymous said...

This is a huge issue for me. I am the most willingly anti-social human being I know in person, for reasons I really can't fathom. People scare me and wear me out, all at the same time. Mostly because I'm worried about what they are assuming about ME. Which is so stupid, I'm embarrassed typing it out. It's true, though, and the saddest part of it is once forced out of my self-protective shell, it's never ends up being the way I've drawn it up in my imagination.

Anonymous said...

Your observations are spot on. I feel a little bit guilty that someone else wrote about my "dirty little secret" before I did....Beautiful people intimidate me, but so do people with good vocabularies, in-laws, successful women, gate agents, and junior league-ers....Sometimes it's difficult for me to see real people past my own insecurities...

Anonymous said...

I don't congregate with my similars. I foresake facile understanding for surprise. I'm a plain, queer, and brainy artist, so my buddies are stunning women and straight businessmen and anyone unlike me. My unsimilar friends stretch me like taffy, but I don't dare gather them in one room, for the only thing they'd have in common would be me.

They'd all whisper to me, one at a time: "What do you see in her/him?"

Meno, thanks for the love in the last thread. Back at ya!

Anonymous said...

Truer words were never spoken.

Mother of Invention said...

You are right on with all of this, especially the age thing. I wouldn't normally think that people a lot younger than me would have any interest in what I say but the reality is that we all have something to say to veryone regardless of age. That is really very cool. We all listen "quietly" (HA!)and can take time to mull over what people write, and then offer our honest and caring thoughts.

I think you'll find this is true with people in your real life too. It's just that we're hesitant to initiate for the reasons you've stated.

What hang-ups and assumptions, eh?

Go for it. Find a new friend with a different perspective!

Karen Jacobs said...

Yikes! You nailed me! Love your blog, but I seldom comment because there are already a jillion other comments and I figure (as usual) that I'm not needed in the mix. Just know I'm reading, though from a distant corner... KJ

amusing said...

I'm watching "Ugly Betty" right now. Isn't that what it's all about?

I am scared to talk to the kids at school because I imagine they wouldn't want to talk to me. I am scared to talk to the blonde moms at the kids' school because I'm scared they don't want to talk to me.

I grew up with guys not asking me out because they were scared of me. I grew up always being the new kid in school.

I'm a mother of "advanced maternal age" and have experienced the younger moms sliding away at the playground -- even though our kids were the same age, we weren't.

Judging goes on all around us. It's good to be aware of doing it and it being done. And it's good to try to break the habit.

Anonymous said...

Meno, your writing has spawned a little community. Tonight I wonder, if we all gathered in a room, would we somehow recognise one and other? Yeah. We would.

Andrea Frazer said...

It's very hard not to judge based on assumptions, that's why I always wait until the beautiful skinny broad in the designer jeans and perfect nails screams at me in the play yard before I decide she's a bitch. I'm half kidding. Kinda.

Lucia said...

This is so true, both from the outside looking in and the inside looking out. It's true that it allows us to meet in a neutral territority, where we're equals in a way because we all write, and only know a limited amount about each other.

I am also very aware that blogging is where my essence comes through, irregardless of whether people would connect with me on my appearance or behavior. In one way, it's a mask. In another, it's the core without the covering.

This post is going to stick with me for a while. I need to mull it over. BTW, your assignment to yourself would make my inner introvert say "Oh, shit!" too!

Girlplustwo said...

men, SO true. i sometimes wonder who'd be in our lives if we were all blind... this world gives us a glimpse of that in a way. and then there are even assumptions here....

and how we choose to let all of that affect us, and how we have the power to make it a different place. really good post.

thailandchani said...

Blogging and reading blogs is a wonderful thing because it does allow us to hear the thoughts of others without being distracted by externals. It's colorblind. I do not know what anyone looks like. Furthermore, I don't much care. We all speak from our own comfort zones.

As far as insecurities about others, oh yeah, I have tons, too. As someone who has never fit in, I find it very hard to make contacts. And, as much as it embarrasses me to admit, I make a lot of unfounded assumptions, particularly about those who seem to "fit in" seamlessly.

It is definitely worth challenging that ~ and perhaps I will at some point ~ but I'd be saying a lot more than "oh, shit". I'm not only an extreme introvert but a highly-sensitive person (in the Elaine Aron sense of that).

Thanks for a good post. These are all good things to think about.


Thailand Gal

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't say I judge based on "beauty," but more on how well "put-together" a person is. I can't change what the gene pool gave me, but how I present myself is up to me. I'm a lazy slob and I'm jealous of people with matching clothes and manicures.

SUEB0B said...

You really don't need to be intimidated by my photo, lovely as it is...LOL

Marshamlow said...

I wonder if part of the reason I don't put all that much effort into my appearance is not wanting to become one of those intimidating women, and then no one will like me? It is a catch 22.

urban-urchin said...

You hit the nail on the head...

I admire your goal for the week. It would have me cringing. Let us know how it goes.

I have been on the receiving and giving end of stupid assumptions. I remember hearing from a crew member on a film I did that initially they thought I must have slept my way onto the job as they were used to seeing very unfeminine women in my position. I was mightily offended, because I am smart and good at what I do, and that has nothing to do with what I look like.

I have also assumed people would have no interest in me because:
a. they were more exciting and gregarious b. they're lives seemed more 'together' c. they had better bouncin' and behavin' hair.
That's why I love blogs- we get to know each other without the hooey. And I can read and appreciate women who are all over the map age wise.

Julie Q. said...

I'm not sure you need yet another comment on this post, but I'm going to add my 2 cents anyway because you've obviously struck a chord. I really like what you say here about building relationships with otherwise strangers. Blogging been an eye-opening experience for me personally.

On a strange side-note, I read a post today on a blog I've really enjoyed in the past. I'm beginning to realize this woman is in fact quite judgemental and rude and if I knew her personally we would not likely get along. So it works both ways -- blogs can be very revealing of both the beautiful and the petty parts of us.

Sorry. That was more like 50 cents.

meno said...

Holy mother of Jupiter, you people have lots to say.

jennifer, what you say is true. having been in situations where i was forced to get to know someone (work) i have found friends in unlikely places.

patches, and as jennifer said, isn't that sad. that's why this (blog world) is so cool, because all of that crap is gone.

holly, you know, i don't really know any similars. That's why i feel lonesome sometimes. And as you pointed out, i don't need similars in order to have friends. I've often wondered about a party where all my friends came, they would not like one another. But i treasure them all for various reasons.

hi greent, something for me to work on huh?

MOI, i think with this post, and your responses, i have a new understanding of why i like blogging so much. And now to transfer that more to the rest of my life.

hi kj, your comment amuses me because i read your blog, every post. But i seldom comment, as all those art people have so much relevant stuff to say. But i appreciate what i learn from you. I'm glad to know you are here and i like hearing from you.

amusing, i hear good things about that show, i might have to start watching it. Scared, scared, scared. What a cycle we create. I am of semi-advanced maternal age, so i understand the feeling of being the odd old one out.

caro, your comment has put the most wonderful fantasy into my head. We all gather in a room, no intros, and like an ice breaking game, we have to figure out who everyone is. What fun. I think you are right, we would know one another.

mamap, it not only hard, it's pretty much impossible, because we do make some sort of statement with our bodies. From "i don't give a shit" to "look at me, i spent hours on this." We can deny it, but there is a message. And thus come stereotypes, which are born out of some truth.

lucia, i love your comment "the core without the covering." Yep, that's it.

jen, i sometimes wonder how blind people develop a personal style. I bet if we were all blind, there would be a different set of assumptions to work with. Voice-based maybe.

thailand gal, it's color-style-dress-voice blind. And i don't care here, on the blogs, but how cool would that be to transfer that over to the rest of life. We obviously all treasure communicating, and there's a common ground.

de, some beauty is genetic, and the rest is hard work. It's that hard work that i'm not up for. I am not jealous of the put-together, mostly just puzzled by them.

suebob, Any woman would be intimidated by your beauty and fashion sense. *Huge grin* Thanks for the levity.

marsha, that's an interesting theory. While i want to look reasonable, well, as reasonable as 10 minutes allows, i DO NOT want to look like i spent hours on my appearance, because of what it says about my priorities.

u-u, yeah, but let's see if i can do it. "Bouncin' and behavin' hair" That's a blast from the past. When i was younger, and truly, quite cute, (albeit big) i ran into this attitude (you must be sleeping with someone) a few times. God it's annoying.

julie, i do need another comment, yours. That's an interesting story about the blog entry you read. I would feel a bit of shock, and sadness, if that happened. But as we present only what we think is the best of ourselves, it could take a while for our real person to emerge. But i believe that emerge it will.

Anonymous said...

The on-topic comment I meant to make was that what I like about the blog world is that we can do it at any time. Right now, making time for people other than my kids is really a challenge, so unless it's my children's friends, I don't have a lot to choose from for me.

All the news about people being something other than they are not online runs contrary to what I think we're saying here - that we are MORE ourselves.

karmic said...

Your observations are so astute and I love your blog, regardless of how you look or are in person. But you make a valid point.
I am a fairly quiet person by nature and open up only slowly. I wondered how that would work once I met ppl I know on a blog in person. I also know ppl sometimes find differences like race, religion, accents to be issues that often are hard to get past.This is easier online.
I did get a chance to meet a bunch of people from Eshcaton (a popular liberal blog) that I had gotten to know via comments, and guess what we all got along pretty well. The apperances,mannerisms and quirks were at some point just trappings that were def not impediments, since we had already connected in some ways via our words.
Not sure if that made any sense.

TTQ said...

Awesome Post

Josephine said...

What ttq said...I love your ideas here. I wrote a post about this yesterday, but I removed it because after thinking about it, I felt it would not be something most people could relate to.

I guess I may have been wrong, too :) Foof for thought...

Josephine said...

Food. Not Foof.

sari said...

I spent the morning with a bunch of women the other day getting ready for an art show at my son's school. They all knew each other and of course looked great.

I just figured what the hell, I'll do my thing and talk and if they don't talk to me, I don't care.

Most of them didn't really talk to me. But the one I didn't think would talk to me at all...strangely, did. And she was really nice.

And one out of all of them makes the horrible nasty uncomfortableness of trying to make an effort worth it.

I'm going to make an effort too. I tend to just stay in my shell because I don't figure anyone would want to hear what I have to say. Thanks for the inspiration.

Dick said...

I always find it easy to talk with strangers in an RV park. We do have at least one thing in common that sort of bonds us and that can be a starting point for a conversation. Most of those I have met there are interesting. Some drive RVs that are rather dilapidated while some have million dollar rigs, but we all share a common interest in the RVing lifestyle. I think it is harder to start totally cold with a stranger when you have no idea if you have any common interests. But it is an interesting thought to make the small effort to try. All they can do is ignore you.

egan said...

Truer words have not been spoken. I truly believe this is what makes blogging so great. You can't make quick judgements based on looks. I'm very cool with this. Their writing, thoughts, experiences... these are what attract us to blogger. Great topic.

Lynnea said...

Me too me too! I started blogging because I felt isolated. An isolation I built for myself through fear of speaking a new language. Then I learned that age, region, looks, none of that matters. Because like you said, those things don't get presented here before the actual person's thought. And that is what we get to know and enjoy. And through all that, I found acceptance for myself. *Sob* - this is sounding sappy, even though its true. Sorry.

thailandchani said...

I started blogging in hopes of finding likeminded others. I also hoped to present some alternative views to things. Reading about the lives of others, reading what they think, believe and value brings about a sense of commonality that I don't think we can create in everyday interactions.

Who knows? :)


Thailand Gal

Mignon said...

Nice comment thread, y'all. And an excellent thoughtful post, Meno. It's a perfect foil for what I was saying the other day: the internet leaves me wanting more when I can't communicate or debate properly in a comment thread. But as you so accurately put, it facilitates conversations between people that would never speak in real life. I appreciate this aspect of the net more than I rue its failings.

(I'm not a particularly shy person and have a tendency to blab on and on when I'm in uncomfortable situations - thus the limited space of a comment box is the perfect constraint for me and my thoughts.)

meno said...

de, it's true, socializing, on our schedules, at our pace. It's a great way to move out of the child-centric world that we create when we reproduce. And i agree that we are more ourselves, in many ways. But we aren't 43 year old white men trying to "date" 13 yo girls either.

sanjay, it made sense to me. I think you got along with the people that you "knew" because you already knew some things about them, such as they have similar political leanings, thus you didn't need to form an opinion from scratch.

ttq, why thank you.

josephine, i had some other post planned for this day, but i just started musing about the reaction to the day before and out popped this. I am surprised by the reaction, in a good way. I hope you saved your post, i'd like to read it. And i kind of like foof for thought. :)

sari, good for you! That is a very difficult thing for me to do, break into a pre-existing group. But as you point out, something good might come of it.

dick, yes, it's easier when you have an obvious common interest. Is there no snobbery at all with the RVs and their cost? If so, that's very cool.

hi egan, thank you. It's really just occured to me why i am enjoying the people i meet here so much. There is some pre-selection, you all must at least be literate.

maggie, exactly, i felt isolated too. And it's okay to cry. :)

thailand gal, you certainly present alternate views, and quite nicely too. I don't know about the creation in everyday interactions either. But it's something to think about. For me, it's a reminder to stop being so quick to judge.

mignon, it is nice. and thank you. I never thought about the limits that a comment box presents as i am always struggling to get my communication (typing) to keep up with my thoughts. So i tend to be more terse than i am when i talk.

egan said...

C'est vrai, I can read. Maybe this means I should read your new post instead.

Bobealia... said...

Some of my ol' and loyal blogger friends know what I look like because they knew me before I went anonymous... I like knowing what people look like... but I agree with you... Sorry I don't have anything intellectual to add today.