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11 February 2012

True tales of email misadventure: So here's an odd story[More:] I've been emailing this kid who is in my class who was in my class last summer. I thought he was into neuroscience and was hoping to have someone to talk about stuff with. I thought he was young and awkward with possible geeky, smart tendencies. My mom saw him once and thought he was really cute, which hadn't really occurred to me because he looks 12.
So he says all this stuff about liking comedy and being cynical and sarcastic, and we've been emailing regularly. I've been dealing with a lot of stuff and said I was going into superjudgmental mode one night, and ever since then have been writing these extremely satiric, hyperbolic emails, about classmates and professors and what have you, in this middle school mean girl voice, like, "Ohmigod, Natalie is so mean! She is a total bitch to Sarah all the time! She thinks she's so much better than everyone. Whatever" kind of thing.
Turns out he never got that it was a joke.
The reason he was okay with this is he turns out to be really judgmental, which he mentioned once but I thought it was a joke. He doesn't believe in giving the time of day to anyone he doesn't think is attractive and cool, and thinks this is an excellent strategy so far.
At first I was just kind of shocked and questioned him about it. This is when I realized he was serious and had admitted this to me because he had misinterpreted my emails about 100 emails back.
My reaction was to totally judge him for being so judgmental and he did not get that at all.
He's only into cool people, likes to be chill and doesn't believe in emotions.

He is so not cool. I reached out to him because he seemed to need help and be a bit lost. I actually got him a research position. It turns out he is not even a hipster wannabe, but a watered down hipster wannabe. I don't think he even knows what an actual hipster is. He seems to think it has something to do with flannel. When he pointed out the girl he really likes, because she is so sweet and pretty and likes all the right bands, I ask if he would still like her if she shaved her head or gained weight. Of course not, she would have issues and no self respect. When I point out the Jersey Shore quotes and Nicki Minaj on her facebook page, he says I'm being mean.
Then I totally go over the top judgmental on his ass.

Now, I am not cool. I care about things and want to have emotions and do not give a rat's ass about what people think of my clothes. I don't particularly like my clothes. I certainly am not judging other people on their clothes. I was not judging him on his clothes, but I do not think they say what he thinks they say. He has no idea what cool actually is. He's a leg up because he believes in evolution and knows gay people.

What the fuck.
This is the Midwest. Everything is at least 5-8 years behind. I wear clothes from 10 years ago and people think I came from the future. He doesn't want actual cool, he wants the mainstream version of hipster custom made for his demographic.

Crap, he just wrote me back.
Well....I dunno. Sounds dramatic, if it were me I would just avoid. It's always risky joking over email, especially as a character or an implied tone, because it doesn't carry and doesn't sound in others' heads like it sounds in your head. Especially for someone with so little life experience. It's tricky interacting with much younger people - I'm not sure how much younger he is - but remember you have kind of an advantage in the situation in understanding a little more about the way life works. He won't be right there with you no matter what.

As far as his strategy, I don't know that it's a big problem. If he's an introvert, it makes sense to be selective and only make room for people that you really want to spend time with. But as for everything else - well, sounds like he's just immature. To be expected.

posted by Miko 11 February | 22:28
It's so not "dramatic." Wow, I'm really learning to hate that word.
I went from sober terminology and definitions to vapid. Pretty hard to miss.
They are pretty funny. Comedy is all about the straight man. I wonder how much of it works if I don't copy his parts. Just all this talk about hipsters with no concept of irony even when it's so over the top in your face irony, and then no concept of hipsters.

I just find it profoundly disappointing when people use words without knowing their definitions at all. It happens all the time. They use these words in the proper context, so you just assume they know what they are taking about, until it becomes painfully clear they have no idea what that word means.

I'm surrounded by people in their 20s. I'm trying to figure out if it's this place, this generation or what. They are just so fucking boring. When I was 16, I was hanging out with people so much older than me and holding my own just fine. I'm not teaching right now, so I'm not obligated to alleviate the ignorance, but the other day I actually had to say, "You don't know what a Darfur is, do you." I really hope that kid just looked it up, but I know he didn't. I bet you Monday, he's expecting me to explain genocide. They have google, they just don't bother to use it. You don't even have to be able to spell. This spoonfeeding thing is all true, damn their eyes. I hate it when things live up to a stereotype.
posted by ethylene 12 February | 01:32
I would avoid if I could avoid, but I really can't unless I just told him point blank to fuck off and never talk to me again. That would just confuse him and be pointlessly cruel.
But there is no way he is getting into grad school.

I just learned I am mean because I don't smile all the time at people I actively dislike. I'm a big, awful meanie. When in fact, I am a nightmare.
posted by ethylene 12 February | 01:59
I currently work with a mix of people. The Security front desk staff is younger than I am, the nursing supervisors are older than me. There are some who are "with it" enough to get my references and my sense of humor, and there are those who aren't experienced enough to know when not to say something.

Like a guy I worked with said that he didn't think he could do the jobs I was doing because "women are better at tedious work." I said, "Excuse me? Did I really just hear you say when I thought you said while we are inside in the Human Resources office?" and proceeded to explain the difference in using a word like "tedious" when you really meant to say "detail-oriented" as well as the dangers of using all-inclusive phrases like "all women" or "all men."

I'm willing to educate the people around me who don't get it (whatever "it" is) because I do have to deal with them on a day to day basis. It's the only way I'll be able to stay sane.
posted by TrishaLynn 12 February | 10:32
Ah, youth. After decades of it, I'm pretty burned out. I like teaching, but pay me.
Apparently Homeland Security or US involvement in dictatorships and assassinations is all crazy conspiracy talk. I think they think the Johnson administration and Iran-Contra are things I made up. They couldn't give a shit. It's not Teen Mom or Tosh.0.
I have to listen to kids who "know all about politics" and how they know exactly what to do in the Middle East. They sit right behind me and talk loudly so everyone can share their wisdom. I pretty much have not talked to them since the day they announced how oppressed they were.

It's not really about age, it's about people. None of the older people deal with anything contemporary besides some movies and tv shows. They might know more about mortgages and taxes, but not the internet or philosophy or whatever. I know some people into politics but they don't know about history either, they just couldn't possibly be Republicans.

Unless I want to sound like a didactic bore, mostly I just stick to talking to people about stuff they are into. This works great. The kids aren't even into the things they say they are into. So I make recommendations.

Ranty ranty rant rant.
posted by ethylene 12 February | 11:19
Yeah, well, some people are just young, some people are just not that bright, some are both, some are neither.
posted by Miko 12 February | 15:32
He thinks beliefs are not a choice.
People are fascinating.
posted by ethylene 12 February | 17:37
I'm waiting to see if he thinks Scientologists are "born that way."
posted by ethylene 12 February | 17:58
≡ Click to see image ≡

I just had to post that somewhere.
posted by ethylene 13 February | 12:48
Hehehe, I love that meme. Never gets old.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 13 February | 14:44
Oh, god, so it hit me tonight: there is something odd about this kid. His ideas are a bit too odd. His misspellings and grammar. The way he reads people and word meanings. It's a bit off in theory of mind. I knew there was something going on, I was just hoping it was geekery.
Well, now I'm a bit stumped.
I suppose I could do nothing and wait to see if it's a precursor to something. From what I know of his family, it does sound like it.
Why does this keep happening.
posted by ethylene 19 February | 00:49
Whitney Houston passed away... || Bunny! OMG!