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23 October 2010

What's one common misconception about you? [More:]People sometimes assume I am spontaneous- and I'm really not, so much. I'm much more of a planner.

What about you?
Oh god so many....

I'm white so I don't speak or understand Japanese (even if I'm speaking it to the person).

I smell weird because I'm white and I eat too much meat (I am actually mostly vegetarian and only eat meat once a month if that).

I'm white so I'm American.

I'm white but I can use chopsticks well.

etc etc etc you can see the pattern here. Grates on my nerves to be misjudged so often on a daily basis.
posted by gomichild 23 October | 17:41
People often think I'm Belgian.

If they know I'm American, they often think I've been to Europe.
posted by Hugh Janus 23 October | 17:42
People assume that I'm thick because I speak with flat East Midland vowels.
posted by Senyar 23 October | 17:44
Like gomichild, I get the "Hey, you can use chopsticks!" thing here on a daily basis. I heard one of my more outspoke colleagues responded to this, "Hey! You can use a fork pretty well!" They don't talk about his chopstick skills anymore.

In high school, everyone thought I'd do something "with computers." This always annoyed the hell out of me. I couldn't program and I had no interest in computer science. Of course, I went and showed all of them by going and selling computers for Apple.

posted by gc 23 October | 18:05
If people recognize my name, they tend to assume I'm a huge Tolkien fan.
posted by galadriel 23 October | 18:07
Some people at work think I'm mean or bitchy because my work emails are concise and straightforward. I'm really just too busy to be social with everyone, I only have time to tell them what I need in order to move forward with my projects.
posted by youngergirl44 23 October | 18:09
Well, people don't seem to think I'd make a good girlfriend. But I would.
posted by Melismata 23 October | 18:16
I've lived all of my 31 years in Oklahoma and Texas, but I often get accused of being from the upper midwest or even Canada (even by natives of those places). Best I can tell, it's because I tend to talk quickly and use "proper" english, even though I throw "reckon" or "y'all" around freely.

More into my personality, people seem to take the fact that I'm really laid-back as being indifferent to an almost snobby level. That kind of annoys me. No, I don't get bent out of shape easily, but that doesn't mean I'm a robot. It just means I'm laid the fuck back.
posted by ufez 23 October | 19:04
I suspect that many assumptions people make about are not accurate, because I can't quite figure out who I am myself. But most often it's stereotypes about being obese, although a couple of them are totally accurate (but I'm not telling which ones).

Also, I know I have come across as mean sometimes, when it's just the fact that I enjoy playing with words so much, without consideration for how people may react. (Here's a tip: if I make a bad pun that is insulting to you, I did it for the pun, not the insult)
posted by oneswellfoop 23 October | 19:19
People think I am nice and sweet and innocent, especially at work, when really I am more of a mercenary.
posted by Twiggy 23 October | 19:25
That I'm a woman, apparently. (At least on Mefi.)
posted by Rhaomi 23 October | 19:40
Melismata ):
posted by serazin 23 October | 20:28
That my values and politics are like this, if they know or find out what I do for a living without knowing me. Conversely, they think my values and politics are like that, until such a time as they discover what I do for a living.

Both groups are wrong. :)
posted by tortillathehun 23 October | 20:46
This one I get coming and going: some people assume that I must not be a feminist because I so obviously embrace traditionally female domestic tasks; some people assume that I must not enjoy traditionally female domestic tasks because I'm so obviously and loudly a feminist.

And some people understand that feminism is about CHOICES, and that I'm happy with mine.
posted by Elsa 23 October | 20:51
Wow, I'm pretty clueless to assumptions people make about me, other than the obvious ones to do with my skin color (esp. that I'm Dominican. Nope! Don't really speak Spanish either).
posted by Eideteker 23 October | 21:13
They assume I have my shit together. Nope, all fucked up, thanks for asking!
posted by deborah 23 October | 21:38
Lots of folks assume that I no speak English so good. Just today I had someone ENUNCIATE SOMETHING CLEARLY AND TOO LOUDLY SO THAT I WOULD UNDERSTAND SPEAKY ENGLISH, and I just gotta laugh. English ain't my first language, but it is one of my best, dammit, I don't care what I look like. The US is a freaking melting pot, why wouldn't I look like I speak English?!? (obvs I'm in Amreeka, if that hadn't been clear up to this point)
posted by msali 23 October | 21:41
If I knew what people thought about me I might be able to answer that one. I really don't, though. Maybe I'm utterly transparent?
posted by tangerine 23 October | 21:54
I accept that the common assumptions about me are, while not exactly true, at least justifiable and with a grain of truth. I seem bitchy because I am shy and defensive, but what's the difference, if I seem bitchy - then I'm bitchy. For example.

I had this cocktail party conversation last week with a woman who I like and respect, although we are not close, we certainly have been floating around for years.

Her: "So how many kids you got now?"
Me: "One dog."
Her: "Whaaaat? I thought you guys had kids!"
Me: "No, we never wanted kids."
Her: "I know what it is, I'm confusing you with B___ Y____ in my mind." You know B."
Me: "No."
Her: "Whaaaat? She's about your age, looks kinda similar, went to State U with you. . ."
Me: "I didn't go to State U."
Her: "Well just fuck me!"
Me: "How is YOUR kid?"

Her: goes on about kid

It was kind of awesome how she handled it all so breezily.
posted by rainbaby 23 October | 22:06
They assume I have my shit together. Nope, all fucked up, thanks for asking!

Ahahaha! Come to think of this, people used to say that about me, too. No one seems to make that mistake anymore.

posted by Elsa 23 October | 22:18
That I'm a woman, apparently. (At least on Mefi.)

Here and on Mefi they tend to assume I'm a man.

In-real-life assumptions: that I'm rich and that I know everything about every area of law.
posted by amro 23 October | 22:23
That I'm a really nice, warmhearted person at heart.

That I'm pretty innocent and sunny.

That I'm Northeastern American through and through, a fairly privileged woman from a professional family background, who had the benefit of an upper-middle-class upbringing and education, comes from an affluent community and as a result has had everything pretty easy. (Pretty wrong picture and a big contributor to my imposter syndrome).
posted by Miko 23 October | 22:34
I like absurdity and fun, and sometimes I think when I try to steer conversation towards that, I come across as by turns clownish because the other person is giving me nothing so I try too hard, or cruel because I've tried to riff of something someone else said and they think I'm mocking it when I'm just trying to build on it. I'm not very good with people, so maybe these are fair reactions. I just try to find people with similar senses of humor and stick with them.
posted by fleacircus 23 October | 23:19
Hrm. I have no idea how people perceive me, so I don't know what misconceptions they may have.
posted by gaspode 23 October | 23:39
What gaspode said.
posted by BoringPostcards 24 October | 00:43
For the record, I perceive gaspode and BoPo as unassailably awesome.
posted by mudpuppie 24 October | 01:22
Oh Miko, yeah I didn't want to say it, but people tend to think I'm from a much loftier background then I am.

Also I've had tap few people claim they knew me at Princeton. I did not go to Princeton.
posted by The Whelk 24 October | 01:36
That the pronunciation is similar to 'joke'. While it's 'yowkah'. Well, it's my own fault really for choosing a handle like that. Thankfully I changed to 'joost' on metafilter. Hint: the pronunciation has nothing to do with juice.

I don't know exactly what misconceptions people have about me. But one that has bitten me at work is that my natural choice of words is rather learned I guess. That creates a distance when working with some people. Of course I try to change my register to deal with people.
My upper middle class accent doesn't help very much either in IT I guess.

Btw that's a thing that's hard to convey in online dating. While it's quite important I guess.

Hey, Hugh, why would people assume you're Belgian of all nationalities? American English is your native language, right?
posted by jouke 24 October | 06:31
Well, some Spanish speakers think I'm from Spain when I speak. Not as much recently because my spanish is rather rustier than it used to be, but inevitably I used to get this NO WAY reaction when I'd say I was from the US. When I lived in Spain I was taken for Swedish a lot. I tricked some Madrileños into thinking I was Catalán, since my accent was really really thickly tied to that region.

Someone told me recently that they envied my social life. They clearly don't know how non-social my life really tends to be. I go through social spurts, but most weekends I'm home alone. I know tons of people, but I'm really horribly bad at keeping close friendships up unless there's a natural way to connect. My two closest friends I met at past jobs, and though we're still close I rarely see them. Life gets in the way.
posted by Stewriffic 24 October | 06:44
Men assume I know nothing about sports.
posted by JanetLand 24 October | 07:52
People at work would be shocked to see me in makeup, false eyelashes, or goth clothes. People I know socially would be shocked to see me in business casual.

Some people at work think I'm mean or bitchy because my work emails are concise and straightforward.

I just found out this is an issue for me at work as well. I'm a tech writer, dammit. I'm supposed to be to the point. Do I need to use smileys and cute HTML stationary so you don't feel so put upon when people ask you to do something related to your job?
posted by JoanArkham 24 October | 08:13
It's true, jouke, I'm a native American English speaker; I get the Belgian thing in my neighborhood, from Spanish-speakers, guys behind counters at my regular haunts.

At first I wondered if I had a hint of a Baltimore accent that was throwing them off, but that's only there when I call it forth. Perhaps the fact that I'm a friendly white guy who not only recognizes their existence, but doesn't condescend to them, convinces them that I couldn't possibly be American, and for some reason Belgian is the go-to nationality.

Also, I like to bullshit about international soccer. That's unamerican. Downright Belgian, I say!
posted by Hugh Janus 24 October | 08:49
Hugh, you don't happen to have a mustache, do you?
posted by JoanArkham 24 October | 08:52
No, I don't, but I usually wear a beret with my smock and clogs. Maybe that's it.
posted by Hugh Janus 24 October | 09:18
That I'm like them.
posted by Obscure Reference 24 October | 09:20
I usually wear a beret with my smock and clogs.

Picture please?
posted by JanetLand 24 October | 10:32
Henceforth he shall be known as Hercule Janus.
posted by jouke 24 October | 11:30
I guess these Spanish speakers probably haven't met a lot of Belgians. So I can't make any suggestions what their thinking is from my experience with Belgians.
Although, here's an idea; Belgians are rather soft spoken when compared to the Dutch. And US americans can stereotypically be rather loud. So maybe you're an uncharacteristically soft-spoken american?
posted by jouke 24 October | 11:36
I'm a little loud, actually. But I pay attention and speak politely to strangers, and I'm not nervous or superior around people who look or speak differently from me; I was raised to treat everybody the same way. My egalitarian approach may strike them as not very American.

The Belgian guess may just be a process of elimination: my interlocutor may well have encountered people from other European countries and recognizes what I'm not rather than what I am. It does mystify me that they always choose Belgian.

Unfortunately there is only one picture of me in smock, clogs, and beret. It's currently in the boudoir of a mischievous Huguenot; the less said, the better.
posted by Hugh Janus 24 October | 12:50
I don't usually know what people assume about me, but I was thrown for a loop when more than one person just assumed that I drank white wine - not in the context of offering it to me, it was explicitly stated.

White wine?
posted by dilettante 24 October | 13:15
People assume that I am a vegetarian because I wear Birkenstocks. They assume I am popular [i.e. have stuff to do all the time] because I have a lot of connections on social networky things. They assume I don't flip out before I give talks because I don't look like I'm freaking out.
posted by jessamyn 24 October | 13:40
I guess it's that because I'm pasty-white, long-time married, and Christian, that I must be conservative. Compared to some folks, maybe I am, but I'm probably the most liberal pasty-white Christian monogamist I know.
posted by Doohickie 24 October | 13:55
Well, some Spanish speakers think I'm from Spain when I speak.

I was told by a guy from Nueavo Laredo, Mexico, that I speak the thirteen or so Spanish words I know with an aristocratic Mexico City accent.
posted by Doohickie 24 October | 14:01
People apparently think I'm snooty and above myself. I'm not, actually, I'm just shy and I have a little bit of prosopagnosia - I'm really not good at recognizing faces, particularly out of context. When I was little I used to worry that I might not recognize my parents, that's how bad it is. Anyway, given this and the fact that I'm often in some kind of foggy mental daydreaming state the result is that I have been known to sail right by people on the street or at parties or whatever without saying hello. My good friends think it's funny but other people get pissed off. Look, it's not that I'm cutting you dead, it's that I'm usually orbiting Planet 9 and thus totally oblivious.
posted by mygothlaundry 24 October | 14:28
That I'm a Democrat. (Actually a solid Independent here.)

That I'm anything but Jewish. I get taken for French, Italian, and of course Xian all the time.

That I frown on bad language. No one seems to know what a potty mouth I am, except my beloved.

That all my reading is classy and highbrow.

That I like NPR.

That I don't secretly wish Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, and Samuel Alito would all take a plane ride together on a jet that crashes into a mountain, leaving no survivors. (I have other passengers I'd like to add to my doomed airplane, but those folks are the permanent invitees.)
posted by bearwife 24 October | 14:35
That I have a husband, not a wife.

That I'm stupid b/c I have a southern accent.

Other than those two, I have no idea.
posted by chewatadistance 24 October | 15:03
Oh and yes, I have sort of the opposite problem from chewie in that people think I'm gay and I'm not. It's because I have a close girlfriend I hang out with all the time and, this being Asheville (as the bumper sticker says, 10,000 lesbians can't be wrong) I have heard that the general public assumes we are a couple. I need to get a t-shirt or something - SINGLE HETERO NO SERIOUSLY I SWEAR perhaps that would be good - to wear to the bars.
posted by mygothlaundry 24 October | 16:05
I have no idea. I'm usually so oblivious to social clues that I don't really have any sense of how people perceive me.
posted by dg 24 October | 17:21
That I have more money than I do.

Conversation with a client a few years ago:
Her: That building around the corner me is for sale, they're asking only about $700,000, you should put in a bid.
Me: *guh?* No bank will loan me that much money.
Her: Oh, didn't your parents leave you anything?

A couple of other people have indicated they think I'm rolling in money, due to what my hourly fee is. They must think rent is free and I don't have any expenses.
posted by goshling 24 October | 23:04
more than one person just assumed that I drank white wine

Are you female? It's a fairly widespread caterer/waiter/host assumption that women are only going to drink white wine.

I need to get a t-shirt or something - SINGLE HETERO NO SERIOUSLY I SWEAR

I took a cross-country road trip with a platonic male friend once. We realized we were treated as a couple, if not a married couple, everywhere we went. We talked about getting WE'RE NOT TOGETHER t-shirts.
posted by Miko 25 October | 08:33
I go out to do stuff with my sister from time to time and, yes, we are always treated as a couple.
posted by Wolfdog 25 October | 08:39
Oh, I thought of one.

Because I will happily tell people that I'm an atheist if they ask, a couple of people have subsequently expressed great surprise that quite a few of my good friends are devout practitioners of their religion. No, I don't hate all religious people. sigh.
posted by gaspode 25 October | 09:51
People who don't know me well sometimes hear what I do for a living and assume I'm:

* An airhead
* Lacking in ethics (ditto)
* Very outgoing / chatty / comfortable in social situations (I fake it for work, but am actually pretty introverted.

Or they hear me say "I'm a publicist" and assume that has something to do with publishing.

On the parenting side, a *bunch* of people have seen me with my kids and assumed I'm way out of my depth. Sometimes I am. Sometimes not. :)
posted by zarq 25 October | 10:25
That I'm mad when I'm only thinking. I'm always being asked "are you mad?"

Then when I really am mad they get surprised.
posted by lysdexic 25 October | 15:36
Europe 1890 || The inimitable William Elliott Whitmore doing "Don't Pray On Me".