Monday, November 09, 2009

crack is wack yo

so i was at work today, innocently sterilizing bloody instruments in the lab, when our product rep came by for his weekly visit. this middle aged gentlemen has known me on a very impersonal level for about a year at both dental offices in which i have worked. after scrutinizing me for a moment he suddenly asked apropos of nothing "how much do you weigh?" which caught me off guard to such an extent that i actually answered him truthfully instead of sidestepping such a question as i normally would. (i weigh around 110 pounds, everybody, just so we are all on the same damn page, okay?) he replied that i was "very thin" and had i ever considered trying to gain more weight. at this point, two other members of the office staff joined in and agreed that i was "much too thin" and i would look "so much better with an extra 10 or even 20 pounds" of weight.

my point in relating this little incident is this - why do people seem to feel it is perfectly acceptable to tell you are not fat enough, but these same people would bristle in righteous indignation if they were told they are too fat? are these not opposite sides of the same personal coin? if it is "wrong" or "rude" to talk about someone's weight, doesn't this extend to their lack of weight just as much as to their excess of it? it is not that i was particularly offended by the preceding conversation, it is just that it seemed so outside the realm of polite office interaction. i truthfully only care for one person's opinion on my appearance outside my own, and he told me only yesterday how good my slender frame is looking these days.

i am thin, my mother is thin, it has a great deal to do with genetics and something to do with lifestyle. i avoid processed foods, never drink soda, and eat mostly lean meats, pasta, or vegetables - because they taste good to me, not because i am trying to stay skinny. that is just a side benefit. i cannot even tell you how many times i have had the word "skinny" hurled at me as a personal insult. what? i though people want to be skinny - isn't that the selling point of every fashion rag, movie poster, men's magazine, and television commercial trying to sell you anything from juice to dog food? i have even been called a "crack whore" as a derogatory slur on my appearance quite a few times as well. dude, i have never even seen crack! how wild an accusation is that? makes me almost wish i had cancer or something so i could feebly shake my fist at the insulter and say "it's the chemo you fat bitch!"

Saturday, November 07, 2009

coffee AND spanking?? yes please!

sociological experimentation, or how to confound the general public

for my current sociology course i was required to perform an experimental "day of deviance" and write about the results and my conclusions. deviance is defined in a sociological sense as "any violation of norms", norms being further defined as "expectations or rules of behaviour, that reflect and enforce values". i figured since i haven't had time to blog lately and this essay is at least mildly entertaining i would throw it out there for my followers to peruse...


Being “deviant” for one day, or as I prefer to phrase it “being an individual”, was hardly a stretch for me. As a matter of fact I didn’t really need to defer much from my standard daily behavior to provide the necessary research for this project. In addition to the fact that I am covered in Asian inspired tattoos from my arms to my back which despite my obvious intelligence and carriage have gotten me negatively stereotyped for years, I also routinely give non-expected answers to innocent questions from store clerks or friendly strangers. I am simply the sort of person who inadvertently befuddles people both with my behavior, my appearance, and my conversation.

For this project I consciously increased my unusual responses to questions in order to try to provide some fodder to write about. When asked by convenience store clerks “How are you today?” I replied with “Do you really want to know how I am, or are you just following a mental script that you feel fits your role as ‘friendly store clerk’?” I then proceeded to lean on the counter at Go Mart and launch into a monologue explaining Sartre’s concept of “bad faith” from his book Being and Nothingness as exemplified by his classic take on the waiter, in which people routinely define themselves by playing the part of whatever role they identify themselves as.

The clerk at Go Mart was completely dumbstruck after my longwinded answer to her thoughtless standardized question, and merely handed me my receipt and my coffee while avoiding eye contact (a classic nonverbal defensive posturing) and said “Have a nice day”, to which I cheerfully replied “Please don’t tell me what to do ma’am” and then smiled at the customers in line behind me who were openly staring at me as I left the store. I suspect that my conversation did not actually offend anyone, since I perceived no ill will from anyone. It is my best guess, since I was unable to draw any real reactions from people other than wide-eyed uncomfortable stares, that I was probably simply not understood. Not many people are even familiar with the name Jean Paul Sartre, let alone avid readers of his existential philosophical writings. I may even have been perceived as slightly unbalanced and best left alone as opposed to conversed with.

My feelings during this “day of deviance” were twofold: I was amused to basically be experimenting on the unsuspecting public, and I was filled with pity that simply carrying on unusual conversations could fill people with so much uneasiness. Humans find comfort in routines, safety in standardization, and a sense of belonging by not deviating from the herd. I, however, am the exact opposite. When I censor myself to fit in with the masses or behave in ways that are untrue to who I really am to not rock the proverbial social boat, I am left feeling like a prop or a paper doll, a shell of my true self, who I actually think is a pretty cool chick. Even if I do purposefully confuse minimum wage slaves who are simply trying to be polite and sell me a cup of coffee….