Re: Getting Poorer

1

we're all dying.

fade away, or burn out. petites morts all the way down.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 4:31 AM
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hm, subject from this thread, but mood from the playlist of songs that potentially were my 'saddest song ever'


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 4:32 AM
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Years ago I taught a student who had this sort of effect on people, who came something like fifth in a national beauty pageant, somewhat bizarrely, and featured in the tabloid press a bit. She was both terribly nice (because, I think, everyone always did *exactly* what she wanted) and completely oblivious to it, despite being solidly bright in academic terms. I remember at the end of term she advised her classmate that the classmate shouldn't go off and work in a pub for the summer, when with the right contacts, she could just turn up at the launch of a new car for an afternoon and earn ten times as much. The classmate clearly thought that she wasn't going to be paid a fortune by some car company for light conversation, but beyond that didn't really know what to say (nor did I).

It made me wonder, not for the first time, what the half-life of this sort of effect was (both positive and negative). At school we had to work on the most horrible BBC play from the 70s the message of which was basically that working-class men had it rough, because working class women were beautiful for the briefest period and then utterly beyond sexual attractiveness/personhood. As I recall it. Alameida says, if I read it right, that contra the BBC there is not some sudden falling-off-a-cliff yet. I wonder if the effect does ever actually just wear off, or if it continues to work on slightly more circumscribed groups until gibbering dotage.


Posted by: Abelard | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 5:51 AM
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Huh. I think the 'girl on the bus' thing happens well short of extremely attractive. I've always been reasonable looking, in the sense that if someone liked me otherwise, I never worried about my looks as a problem, but I've never been treated as someone who was notably beautiful (probably because I'm not).

But I was always reasonably confident that in a 'girl on the bus' situation, someone would probably step up to bail me out -- I think that's more about coming across as pleasant and harmless (and hapless), than about a reaction to beauty.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 5:54 AM
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(Ooh, and as a class thing. If I don't happen to have the bus fare, it's obviously, from looking at me, an accidental emergency because I've lost my wallet, not about not really having the money. I think people are much more sympathetic to middle-class people in a temporary fix than to poverty. Which sucks, but I think it's how people react.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 5:57 AM
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this is utterly horrible, so please please don't think this is anything but a disgusting comment, but of course if one is correctly beautiful you never get ugly, see Helen Mirren or whatever. (The idea of beauty vs, sex appeal, the idea of beauty alone being intrinsic -ish vs. beauty as something based on not just youth etc all play a part here, and it really is utterly icky to discus this.)

in particular, i think the idea of sex appeal and beauty are different (and of course I have a vested interest in that idea; but still i think you confuse the two. (and i don't mean any hippy notion of beauty based on character or whatever; i think based entirely on visual sense-data type things one can distinguish.))

really, no matter what, this is still not a nice comment, and I shouldn't say it. but i am a bit becksian, so.

(also, #5 lb is right in a way I had 't thought of but very true.)


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 6:10 AM
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Yeah. The sucky thing is, even if you're not distinctly beautiful, age is still going to cause people to treat you radically different than they do now.

I have a few friends who are pretty in that young-innocent-sweet looking way, and it really is shocking how often people are offering to do things for them, giving them money, buying them things, etc. It's bizarre. Even they seem sort of perplexed by it. I think i have always come off as "hard," so that doesn't happen to me, but it makes me squicky when I see it done to others.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 6:23 AM
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I think a forceful personality makes a difference. Very outspoken people can maintain visibility whereas if you're quiet you find yourself fading. People will still help you out on the bus, though. Also I think cops are more likely to give you a break when they stop you for something if you remind them of Mom. Well, unless they have mother issues, of course.

I never felt pretty when I was younger, but recently I was sent a bunch of old photos. Looking at them, I thought, "If only I'd known, I'd have done some damage."

I mean, why a random acquaintance would get obsessed with me and painstakingly photoshop my face onto some Ingres nude and send it to me. (Seriously, dude, what the fuck?)

Possibly this was his little way of suggesting that you'd look better (to him) with another fifty pounds or so on you.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 6:27 AM
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This is a difficult topic to write about. I've started a few different comments and abandoned each of them because I'm not sure how to phrase myself.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 6:43 AM
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I am not stop-in-the-street gorgeous, but attractive enough to get a decent amount of perks.

What I keep starting and stalling around is how integrally tied this is to my early twenties, when I thought it valid to assume that others valued me primarily for my looks. (And possibly I surrounded myself with people who made this a self-fulfilling prophecy, but I actually think I just wasn't giving people enough credit.) Anyway, it was very depressing and created a terribly rigged game where I couldn't ever be sufficient in my own eyes. (Then therapy made me all better! About a year and a half's worth, when I was 24-25.)

Currently I think I'm cute as a button.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 6:49 AM
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I sometimes wonder if aging is going to cause people to treat me radically differently than they do now, and if I'll be able to deal with it.

Well, they certainly treat me worse.

That is, I've always been an attractive person. I've had more than one person tell me that I'm the most beautiful person they've ever seen in real life, rather than in a movie or whatever. I've never been in the position of wanting to have sex with some particular person and thinking he would turn me down. I've never gotten dumped, or even turned down for sex.

Oddly enough, I've gotten hit on a lot, starting when I was 15 or so. But I cannot say that anything you said was true for me, like ever.

And I was going to say that everyone is nice to me, and in a way that's true. I assume that random strangers are going to stop and help me out if I'm having some problem. My friends and I used to call this the girl on the bus situation.

I expect random stranger to spit on me or try and beat the shit out of me.

When I was in my 20s, I was certain that if I had to get on a city bus without any money and a sad story, then either the driver would take pity on me or someone on the bus would pay.

Never ever.

But then, a lot of fucked up stuff has happened to me, too, and maybe it wouldn't have happened if I looked different? But getting raped or having someone stalk you isn't a compliment, and women of every sort have problems with sexual violence, so that's probably wrong.

I've had a lot of fucked up stuff happened to me. I'm sure if my looks were an issue, they were excuse.

Will they treat me way differently? Will it freak me out more than if I'd always just been a normal, averagely attractive person?

I suspect a bit.

This might seem contradicted by the earlier part of this post, but I live in a crazy world in which I oscillate between thinking I look beautiful and thinking I'm repulsively fat and awful with terrible skin.

This is ridiculously common. Ex-person was like that. Personally, I figured I had awful skin and whatnot and never thought about it much.

Anyway, this isn't meant to be all, "I wonder what the poor bunnies are doing this year" in a Bugs Bunny voice, but it is a weird thing to think about.

I didn't take it that way. This stuff happens. There it is.

max
['They like to say people get objectified, but it seems to me, the popular pasttime has always been that humans are commodities to other humans.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 6:56 AM
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|| While we're at it:

Forget everything you've read about vampires so far. The current bloodsucking trend, achieving maximum ferocity in November with the release of the sequel to Twilight, isn't about outsiders or immigrants or religion or even AIDS, as critics and bloggers have argued ad nauseam these past few months. There's a much better, simpler, more obvious explanation: Vampires have overwhelmed pop culture because young straight women want to have sex with gay men.
|>

max
['Woo.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 6:58 AM
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get poorer
please donate and have a good day


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 7:07 AM
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Well, this may not be exactly on topic -- but it made me think that it must be extra gratifying to you, alameida, that you have become such a legend in the blogosphere, where for the most part people don't know what you look like.

Which is another way of saying I don't think you will ever have to worry about making a strong impression.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 7:18 AM
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I never felt pretty when I was younger, but recently I was sent a bunch of old photos. Looking at them, I thought, "If only I'd known, I'd have done some damage."

MCMC, I've seen pictures of you taken relatively recently, and you still set of my hubba hubba alarm. Go out there and do some damage now.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 7:19 AM
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I can't remember how to put things below the fold, but if someone else wants to, then by all means do.

Also, either we see a different interface or you deserve to be mocked for this.

Not that I think this necessarily needs to be placed under a fold, though.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 7:22 AM
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Aw, Chopper--thanks. Look out, old men!


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 7:24 AM
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It's something I wonder about too. There was a time when I had a look that certain girls really went for. In my teens I used to get girls (literally) following me around, never had any problems with girls finding me less attractive than I found them, and so on.

I don't have that reaction now, obviously,* but I can't really remember when it stopped happening. I think it's different for men, though, as looks and age aren't quite so intertwined with men, and even fairly handsome men don't get cut quite as much slack as really beautiful women so the transition [to the extent that it happens] is cushioned.

* somewhat balding, and 30lbs overweight isn't quite as attractive ...


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 7:29 AM
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Currently I think I'm cute as a button.

I believe you have a fashion accessory right now that upstages you at every turn.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 7:30 AM
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It's true. If I've been looking at her, and then I look in a mirror, my face looks impossibly deep and craggy and craterish and bizarre.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 7:32 AM
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Eh. My face is pretty, and at low weights for me I get a lot of attention. I never liked it, though. People giving you attention for looks do it in unpredictable ways, some of which are nice, some of which are startling or yucky. I always felt like I had to give some attention back, so it felt like a constant drain for unpredictable yields. I spent (and spend) a lot of time changing my presentation so that people don't interact with me primarily through my looks. I'd rather they react more predictably, to my cheerfulness or forcefulness or annoyingness. Makes my life easier.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 7:38 AM
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I've recently experienced something similar, in reverse. I was never a particularly handsome fella, but in my younger years during bouts of manic self-confidence, I didn't usually have much trouble making love connections. (Not always connecting with my intendeds, but finding another in short order that fit the bill.) I put on a bit of weight in college, but not enough to keep me from meeting and marrying Mrs. Chopper (who used to have a bit of a thing against fat people, since eliminated).

Anyway, through a combination of sloth, stress eating, depression, &c., I crept up quite a bit in weight. I clocked in around 250 this time last year, on a fairly robustly-framed 5'10". Through a fair amount of self-delusion, I managed to convince myself that I was carrying the weight relatively well (and I thinkI did, but there's only so much "carrying well" can do to offset an extra 80 lbs.).

Since I was laid off a year and 6 days ago (not that anyone's counting), I've been losing weight, mostly from not stress-eating plus eating more veggies/less meat. I'm down to a little over 200 these days, about what I weighed when I graduated from college.

And here's the thing: the looks I used to get have come back. Not that every woman who passes me on the street tries to jump my bones, but I get evaluated. Occasionally, if I glance back over my shoulder, I'll catch someone looking at my ass. It's easier to strike up conversations with strangers.

It went away so gradually that I never really realized it had left. Goddamn. It's nice to have it back (however quickly it disappears again as my hairline creeps ever backwards), but it really has been an eye opener on how appearance affects everything.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 7:39 AM
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It's always been hard for me to get over my resentment of people who can reasonably expect that almost everyone they encounter will like them at first glance.

Even the "more likely to be raped or harassed" factor makes me think "Just think how much MORE likely she would be to be raped or harassed in a pre-feminist society!"

These are all bad thoughts, I know.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 7:46 AM
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I remember once I was hanging out with the friend of a friend. It was one of my few attempts to snowboard, but she was a pretty accomplished skier. She was still attractive, but her face was aged in the way that lots of sun on the slopes can do.

She tried to talk her way into a free lift ticket, and I got the impression that she was accustomed to getting one. It didn't work. No outward distress at the time, but it certainly seemed like she'd have to make some adjustments going forward.


Posted by: Mo MacArbie | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 7:50 AM
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Occasionally, if I glance back over my shoulder, I'll catch someone looking at my ass. It's easier to strike up conversations with strangers.

Sometimes I think, "I'm better looking than my self-image," but then I read something like this and think, "no, evidently not." I can't even put my finger on what's not-handsome about me*, but I'm not aware of ever having been checked out. Discount however much you want for obliviousness, but it's pretty hard to get from zero to a significant number.

* I can identify some flaws, no doubt, but they mostly seem like the kinds of things that the flaw-haver obsesses over while no one else ever notices - like I have a Jimmy Connors nose, which isn't the handsomest one available, but it's proportioned to my face, and I doubt it's the root of my problems


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 8:10 AM
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BTW, 25 was my first comment from my new MacBook Pro. Woot!

I know it's good-looking, and those looks will not fade.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 8:11 AM
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I've gotten a lot out of your posts and comments, Alameida. I have no fucking clue what you look like, and to be honest I don't think I want to know. What I do know is that your openness and willingness to share some pretty raw stuff has given me insights into myself that have really helped me. There's a lot more to you than looks.

The flipside of having impressive looks is that people are much less likely to take your mind seriously. I know I have this unconscious bias, and I try to overcome it, but I still find myself defaulting to the hottie-as -airhead stereotype depressingly often. There's an additional issue related to looks that I find troublesome - I have less sympathy for the suffering of people who have some major social advantage, be it money, looks, whatever. It's instinctive, not really conscious. When I realize I'm doing it I try to compensate, but it's there nonetheless. I suspect I am not alone in this unfortunate bias.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 8:12 AM
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I've always been attractive but somehow in the wrong way for the kind of favors and protectiveness that alameda describes. No matter how skinny I've been, I will ever, ever come across as delicate. And then I do think I've been actively working against or across my looks since I was pretty young: glasses, weird hair, schoolmarmy clothes, blocky shoes, defensive affect. I'm starting to become aware of my fading, though: this last year, I've noticed that in certain lights you can see the beginning of jowls---the lower cheeks drooping down toward the jaws. I want not to care about it, but I do.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 8:14 AM
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Sometimes I think, "I'm better looking than my self-image," but then I read something like this and think, "no, evidently not." I can't even put my finger on what's not-handsome about me*, but I'm not aware of ever having been checked out. Discount however much you want for obliviousness, but it's pretty hard to get from zero to a significant number.

I was going to say this same exact thing, but have said it before. What would it be like to be aware of being "checked out" by a stranger? I don't even know how I'd respond. Part of it is obliviousness to what's going on around me. I don't notice anyone else getting checked out either, unless actual words are exchanged.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 8:15 AM
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To be a bit more responsive to the OP, a similar thought has occurred to me wrt aging and intellect (esp. memory). It's become increasingly clear to me that I am facing a decline sometime soon (I'm 36), and it's freaking me out a bit. I know that it's gradual, and it's not like dementia will hit in 5 years or something, but I rely really heavily on keeping stuff in my brain - the idea of getting fumbly with my thoughts and where-is-that-thing is alarming, for the same reasons alameida outlines. My self-image is tied up in holding all this stuff in my head, and I don't actually have any methods for reinforcement (I basically never took notes in school, I never make to do lists - hell, I used to shop without a grocery list, and not because I didn't need 20 different things).

I know this will probably be fine - it'll be such a long, slow transition that it won't have obvious effects until I've got worse problems than forgetting which pantry ingredients I have extra of - but it's not a happy thing in my head.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 8:18 AM
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It's interesting how you can be really critical of your own appearance and yet also be aware of your attractiveness and the effect it has on people. I've experienced this, too: Although I've never been attractive enough that I'd never get turned down for sex, I'm moderately good looking and have always looked young for my age, which in the gay world is what everyone claims to want. And all through my twenties I could count on getting a certain amount of attention at bars, even if I didn't always get to go home with the guy I wanted, so I developed a certain expectation that at least gay men would treat me a certain way because I was cute. And yet this coexisted with a deep-seated loathing of my body, a total conviction that I'm odd-looking and unattractive and only weirdos would want to have sex with me.

I've been working on this in my thirties on my own and in therapy, and finally I'm starting to see myself as reasonably attractive. But then I come back to the old sense that people should treat me in a special way because I'm especially cute, which in my mid-thirties I'm certainly not anymore. And I get sad that I missed out on really knowing that I was attractive back when I was much more attractive, because I could have had a lot more fun.

I'm reading a book right now about some traditional Buddhist meditations on aging, illness, and death, three things we try to avoid thinking about but that are absolutely unavoidable. As with everything, youth and beauty are impermanent but feel so good to hold onto.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 8:18 AM
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25: If anyone else remembers all the way back to the 'purple flute' conversation, I think a lot of it is personality. I'm on the high side of adequate looking (I think I've managed to hit a phrasing that's both weirdly vain and weirdly self-deprecating there), and I would guess that with a different personality/demeanor, with the same physical appearance (barring dress and grooming), I might have had more of the "what is it like to be an extravagantly pretty person" experience when I was younger. I wouldn't be surprised if you weren't in the same position -- with a more aggressively charismatic personality, you easily might have had a different set of experiences, being-checked-out wise.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 8:19 AM
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I don't notice anyone else getting checked out either, unless actual words are exchanged.

I can't swear I'd notice being checked out, but I'm certainly aware of others - even though I know it's sexist, it still gives me a sort of pleasure to check out a woman (on the sidewalk or whatever), spot another guy checking her out, then make eye contact with the guy. It's just a unique sort of shared experience - "Did you see that?" "Sure did."

I'm sorry, attractive women who just want to walk down the goddamn sidewalk without being leered at by losers.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 8:22 AM
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There's a balancing act to keep self-respect from turning into vanity, or humility into self-hate. For myself, it's pretty easy to ignore other people until I decide they're OK; I try to pay attention anyway, as I do not want to become oblivious.

A benign way to interpret aging vanity is sonnet 62. My favorite, 138, is more accurate though.

The last woman I was involved with who was strangers-follow-her foxy was badly warped by her looks; she was pretty young though, maybe will have improved.

Alameida, new poetry coming anytime soon?


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 8:23 AM
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31: Dude, you're adorable. Remember the first meetup I met you at? My instant reaction (not realizing you were gay until you mentioned it) was to find some single woman to fix you up with, because it was a waste of natural resources for you to be available.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 8:23 AM
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30: I've always had a crappy memory, and it's getting worse. I'm trying to do mental exercises to keep things in at the upper limit of what my biology will support, but it's frustrating to realize you aren't as sharp as you used to be. For me being smart was always a big part of my self image, and losing some of that is profoundly disturbing.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 8:24 AM
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Those of us whose sheer lust for information compels us to read the t-shirt of everyone who walks by suggest that conventional methods of identifying "checking-out" behaviors lead to some false positives.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 8:24 AM
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30: I think you're borrowing trouble on that one -- barring actual Alzheimers or other identifiable disease, age-related cognitive slowdowns are pretty minimal.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 8:24 AM
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27 also works as what I was trying to say in 32.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 8:26 AM
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It's always been hard for me to get over my resentment of people who can reasonably expect that almost everyone they encounter will like them at first glance.

This. I grew up with a seething hatred of the kids who seemed to be consciously using their good looks to their advantage. A lot of this was actually class, as LB so deftly points out, but as I was largely of the same class it didn't occur to me at the time.

A lot of it, I've decided, was also confidence as opposed to physical attractiveness, though that confidence may have initially been the product of their appearance. I arrive at this because by the time I was finally finishing college I was able to pull a lot of the same social engineering stunts and dating success even though I was significantly less physically attractive and it was because I had grown pretty confident in that environment, so confident that I could more effectively assert myself when dealing with authority figures or woo those I admired than the 18-year-olds with whom everyone was used to dealing, even though I was only three or four years older than a standard-track student in the same year of college.

One of the first lessons of social engineering - or sales, for that matter, I assume - is that confidence sells. Even when vulnerable, such as in the 'girl on a bus' scenario, confidence in the expectation that someone will offer assistance probably helps create that outcome by giving others the impression that someone should step forward to help.

I'm not sure that makes any sense or says what I'm thinking, on preview, but I studied performance, not psychology.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 8:26 AM
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with a more aggressively charismatic personality, you easily might have had a different set of experiences, being-checked-out wise.

I've thought that, but I feel as if I developed that kind of personality young enough that it should have worked.

It does occur to me that, in non-social situations, I'm pretty aggressively antisocial (ie, I walk down the sidewalk completely absorbed in either my own head or in my non-people surroundings). My vivacious/gregarious personality only comes out (sometimes*) in actually-social situations, like dinners or (mellow) parties. But I dunno. If my ass were hot, surely people would notice regardless of my charisma.

* I've mentioned here before that I was long an inveterate book-reader at parties. I'm mostly over that.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 8:27 AM
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Even when vulnerable, such as in the 'girl on a bus' scenario, confidence in the expectation that someone will offer assistance probably helps create that outcome by giving others the impression that someone should step forward to help.

Right -- I was thinking about this with Ned's hostile reaction. I would bet that he could pull off depending-on-the-kindness-of-strangers in a fix if he believed he could. Possibly not depending on what he looks like, but I think most people who have the class background to sell themselves as a pleasant middle-class person with a temporary problem would be able to.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 8:29 AM
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re: 30

FWIW, I convinced myself recently, in the way you describe (I'm a year older than you), that I was beginning to tail off mentally, and that my memory/acuteness wasn't what it was. So I bought this book on memory techniques. Chapter 1 was a lengthy test: memorizing 20 digit binary numbers, that sort of thing.

"If you score between 30 and 40 you are average, over 40, congratulations, you have an excellent memory, but with the techniques in this book a trained memory expert can score over 70!"

I scored 78 without even particularly trying. A couple of other similar events at work* have led me to believe that I'm fine, just doing a boring job.

I'd bet youd find the same if you actually tried to quantify it.

* I was helping with some software testing. They gave me a timed task to do. My time was so far out of whack with everyone elses [literally about 20 times as fast] that my colleagues were laughing about it.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 8:30 AM
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What would it be like to be aware of being "checked out" by a stranger?

This happened to me once that I can recall, when someone pointed it out to me. A friend and I were walking down the sidewalk, a third guy walking the opposite direction went by, the friend said to me, "That guy checked you out just then." I was so surprised that I walked in silence for probably thirty full seconds before turning around and yelling, "COME BACK!" No dice.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 8:31 AM
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41: It does occur to me that, in non-social situations, I'm pretty aggressively antisocial (ie, I walk down the sidewalk completely absorbed in either my own head or in my non-people surroundings).

Well, exactly. I'm like you -- I can pull off vivacious with people I know when I'm feeling high energy, but unless I'm actively turning my personality out there, I'm fading into the background. I really think it's not about the quality of the ass alone, as it is about the demeanor of the person with the ass that makes it the sort of ass that gets checked out.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 8:32 AM
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On getting checked out: I'm generally pretty oblivious, but sometimes I'm alert enough to notice it, or maybe I'm just more attractive on some days, and sometimes alert friends are kind enough to point it out. Getting checked out both freaks me out and stokes my vanity; more therapy needed.

35: Aww, thanks!


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 8:33 AM
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"COME BACK!"

Awesome. I've heard the rules of the game are a bit more subtle, though.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 8:34 AM
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I'm eye-catching and devastatingly funny when super, super drunk.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 8:35 AM
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Unless you play Billie Jean. Oh, then it's on.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 8:35 AM
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the demeanor of the person with the ass

And the demeanor of the ass. Perky?


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 8:35 AM
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re: 45

Yeah, we were are a party recently that an acquaintance of my wife's was holding. This acquaintance was the centre of attention -- big glam hair, tiny dress, vivacious, etc -- but it was all in the performance. She wasn't really that attractive -- there were quite a few more attractive looking people in the room, including my wife -- but there was no doubt that she was the central presence. Her self-confidence and desire to be the centre of attention were successful.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 8:36 AM
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52

age-related cognitive slowdowns are pretty minimal.

Have you talked to an old person lately? Loss of acuity is a frequent complaint (I'm talked 65-y.o.s here). But I'm sure it's not as bad as I'm fearing.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 8:37 AM
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I never had amazing looks, but decent looks plus youth still allowed me to actually test the [boy] on the bus theory and get a free ticket back when I was about twenty. To be more exact, boy in the bus station with a lost wallet asking a well dressed middle aged couple for phone money and ending with the fare. Though I suspect that had more to do with some sort of parental instinct than good looks. The big transition for me was going bald. It may be shallow but it really, really bugged me at the time.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 8:40 AM
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52: My mother complains about loss of acuity at 69, but she's always been scattered -- very bright, but not so great with knowing where her keys are. From watching her and talking to her, I don't think she's lost anything significant. (Significant reaction time losses -- at forty she was a very impressive driver, and now she's average. But not straightforward cognitive stuff.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 8:41 AM
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This. I grew up with a seething hatred of the kids who seemed to be consciously using their good looks to their advantage. A lot of this was actually class, as LB so deftly points out, but as I was largely of the same class it didn't occur to me at the time.

Have you ever had the following series of thoughts?
1) [Person X] is super attractive, thus must realize that everyone likes him/her
2) It would be inappropriate to reveal one's interest in [Person X], since he/she already knows one is interested.
3) If [Person X] is interested in anyone, the ball is in his/her court, so to speak, since he/she already knows the interest will be reciprocated.
4) Hmm, [Person X] has never shown any interest in me.
5) Dammit, rejected again!


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 8:43 AM
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re: 53

I used to feel that way about going bald, but my wife has convinced me it's not a big deal. Being overweight sucks, though.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 8:44 AM
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To be more exact, boy in the bus station with a lost wallet asking a well dressed middle aged couple for phone money and ending with the fare.

Wait, is this the boy on the bus theory, or plain old panhandling? (And fraudulent panhandling at that, if I'm understanding right.)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 8:44 AM
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53, 56: Well, bald doesn't interfere with attractiveness at all, if it looks good on you, but it does mess with looking youthful.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 8:46 AM
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I guess it was sort of panhandling but I really had lost my wallet and needed money to call my parents.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 8:47 AM
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I was born putrid & repellent, literally diseased. Growing steadily and naturally worse, after puberty I started putting out full effort. By adulthood, the hare krishnas were crossing the street as they saw me coming.

With Philoctetes, Caliban, and Pigpen for my physical models, I worked to achieve a spiritual state just as hideous. I sought a discontinuity with the world, not as an ethical or aesthetic reproach, but as the world's teleological refutation. Only chaos could contain me, no world with me in it could be coherent or comprehensible.

I became the abyss from which the gaze must be averted in order that existence be endurable.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 8:48 AM
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re: 58

True.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 8:48 AM
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Somewhat related, I still think of myself as an good athlete even though those years are long gone.

But, that is who I am in my head.

If only that darn mirror would cooperate...

At least the adjustment to the loss of something that is an important part of who you are is gradual, not sudden. Over years, you get fewer glances.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 8:48 AM
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Intellectually I know this happens, but I was still shocked this summer to find out a boy I think is so handsome that he makes me addled and tongue-tied had zero sense that he is handsome. It seemed like he MUST know, because of the existence of mirrors, but he didn't. I'm sure that he wouldn't be entering any interactions like 55 with the assumption that anyone is interested in him.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 8:49 AM
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Those of us whose sheer lust for information compels us to read the t-shirt of everyone who walks by suggest that conventional methods of identifying "checking-out" behaviors lead to some false positives.

Heh. I finally learned just how disconcerting things must be on occasion for bustier women when I went to dinner with a couple friends wearing a t-shirt covered in text. It's a pretty complicated shirt, with a variety of fonts, orientations, and sizes that make the text hard to read without concentrating for a while (it's online!). Throughout dinner, as I was talking to them, I'd notice their eyes drifting downward to my chest and staying there. Then, self-consciously, they'd bring them back up to my face, and then... down again...


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 8:50 AM
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In my experience with older people, the age-related cognitive decline really varies from person to person, and as LB suggests, for many people it's just an excuse for being as absent-minded as they've always already been.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 8:51 AM
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You know what else? (I'm getting retrospectively pissed off.) When you look a certain way--blonde hair, slightly unfocused blue eyes (the remains of childhood amblyopia) -- you get approached by people who don't want you to be smart. Say something snarky or even just acute and they act like a toad jumped out of your mouth. Annoying.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 8:51 AM
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53, 56, 58: Ed Harris. Nom.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 8:52 AM
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Have you ever had the following series of thoughts?

CN, it's like you just wrote the script for every major crush I had between the ages of 17 and 27.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 8:54 AM
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I agree with LB's interpretation of the 'lost person on the bus' scenario. Seems like every scene I've been a part of, one of the tropes is '[tkd, ultimate, blogging] people are so nice, and such a community. If I were ever in a bad situation in a place I don't know, I'd go straight to the [studio, field, blogs] and because we're in this community, I know I'd get help.'

I've heard it enough that to think that there are a lot of generous people out there, and if you can show them you're one of them (middle class), they'll help.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 8:57 AM
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All this stuff plays out in my head, but the topic is whether or not I'm sufficiently funny, or if I'm being annoying. Really. Especially Ned's rejection dialogue.

Intellectually I know that no one else evaluates everyone on this, but I really do get hung up on it. "I think they're so funny! Do they think I'm funny? They think I'm annoying, don't they. I could never be that funny."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 8:57 AM
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re: 67

Yes, my wife convinced me balding was OK not by swearing undying fealty to me, but by blatantly lusting after certain baldy movie star types.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 8:58 AM
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You were wearing this shirt, Polymath? Why?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 9:00 AM
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71:

Don Rickles?


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 9:00 AM
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Children, children, all of that "your memory will evaporate as you age" is nonsense. It will all be there, nestled comfortably in your grey matter, twitching through the hippocampus like so many bees. You won't necessarily be able to access it, of course, after all that consumption of mind-altering substances in your youth, but, hell, much of that stuff is embarrassing, anyway.

Just update your Twitter feed regularly.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 9:01 AM
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re: 73

Cultural reference that doesn't cross the Atlantic.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 9:02 AM
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55 Have you ever had the following series of thoughts?
1) [Person X] is super attractive, thus must realize that everyone likes him/her
2) It would be inappropriate to reveal one's interest in [Person X], since he/she already knows one is interested.
3) If [Person X] is interested in anyone, the ball is in his/her court, so to speak, since he/she already knows the interest will be reciprocated.
4) Hmm, [Person X] has never shown any interest in me.
5) Dammit, rejected again!

Holy shit, dude, get out of my head.


Posted by: sam k | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 9:04 AM
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Now that I think about it, that was the same stretch of sidewalk (and the same friend, though probably a year apart) where a guy grabbed my ass as he went by on a bike, then turned around to see my reaction and realized it was a case of mistaken identity. He shouted an apology and after a couple of heartbeats I again yelled, "COME BACK!" Still no dice.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 9:06 AM
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54: I think my mom has fear-of-dementia syndrome -- nearly every time I talk to her she has some other story about something stupid she did followed by asking me if I think she's losing her mind. I reply by telling her a story about something at least equally stupid that I've done recently -- I think that makes her feel better --"well, at least I'm not as dumb as peep, yet" she probably thinks.

To put this in context, my mom in her late 70s has started a new hobby/career translating African-American classics into Hebrew.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 9:09 AM
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Momentum is working against you, Robust McManlyPants.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 9:11 AM
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76 was multiply pwned, but I'm still kind of shocked at how perspicacious 55 is. I feel like I have to go do something with this new knowledge of myself.


Posted by: sam k | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 9:11 AM
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58: 53, 56: Well, bald doesn't interfere with attractiveness at all, if it looks good on you, but it does mess with looking youthful.

It makes you look Not Fluffy. Which is a problem when you started out Not Fluffy.

Fluffiness is the key to getting those free tickets.

max
['Is Hot or Not still around?']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 9:11 AM
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77: The ending of Shane has taken on a whole new meaning. (Or not at all, by Da/vid Ha/l/perin's interpretation.)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 9:12 AM
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It seems like self-image lags quite a bit behind reality. Thus, until college or so, my self-image was based on an awkward, funny looking 7th grader (no, really, even looking back at old pictures with objective and forgiving eyes, I was not at all cute at that stage. In college, I started to embrace a self-image based on my athletic high school years -- but of course, by then I was actually just a slug. Only in very recent years have I come around to the idea that I am pretty, having been made aware of a fair bit of appreciative attention in this period of singleness. But I secretly fear that I am (or will be) hanging on to that happy little self image well beyond any lingering basis in reality. Hell, I know there've been a few occasions where I've strutted about feeling hot and confident only to see pictures after the fact that made me realize, huh, no, not at all. Which leads me to the obvious conclusion that Bob is exactly right in not having been the subject of a photo since the mid 80s.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 9:13 AM
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I've never been beautiful, but I was pretty enough (and with a forceful enough personality) to get pretty much anything or anyone I wanted in my late teens/early twenties. I've avoided the what-will-happen-when-I-get-old bullet by putting on weight and becoming essentially non-threatening and non-sexual in my late twenties. Although it can't all have been a subconscious decision, I actually (secretly) feel very ambivalent about this.


Posted by: Helen | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 9:13 AM
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Is there a recognized phenomenon that everyone believes they have above average looks, or is Unfogged just hott (or are unattractive people put off by this thread)?


Posted by: sam k | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 9:14 AM
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38

I think you're borrowing trouble on that one -- barring actual Alzheimers or other identifiable disease, age-related cognitive slowdowns are pretty minimal.

Not the worst part of getting old (at least yet) but bothersome nevertheless.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 9:15 AM
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When I was a kid, I was pretty socially awkward and shy in non-intellectual settings, so my parents and others would tell me that I was pretty,but I didn't get much attention in school, so I didn't know it.

I have gotten free bus change when I had no money and I had meant to walk one way and take the bus back. I didn't think of myself as very middle class then, since I didn't have the money in my bank account that day to take out.

Once, just after college, I was in NY for a job interview around mid-town. I decided to walk around near central park before getting a cab to LaGuardia. I walked past some fancy hotel at one point looking vaguely lost, and I chatted with the doorman who asked if I was from out of town and what was I doing. He then went out and hailed me a cab. It was very helpful, but I felt very bad, because I assumed that he was expecting a tip, and I couldn't give him one, having no bills that were smaller than what I needed for the cab.

My Dad told me that he was just being nice, and I suppose that this was cute, innocent privilege, but I didn't realize it at the time.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 9:16 AM
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85: Both.


Posted by: Amber | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 9:17 AM
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Although this is an off-putting thread.


Posted by: Amber | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 9:19 AM
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85: I don't have above average looks. Average at best and probably somewhat below that.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 9:20 AM
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85: Well, at least some people have defined themselves as not particularly attractive -- Cryptic Ned, McManus, JRoth sorta-kinda, and ttaM and Chopper have both called themselves out as hot when thinner, not so much when heavier. So not everyone in the thread is a self-described glamorpuss.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 9:20 AM
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That's fair. Although most people probably do overvalue their own looks, along with their intelligence, driving abilities, etc.


Posted by: Amber | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 9:22 AM
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Is there a recognized phenomenon that everyone believes they have above average looks, or is Unfogged just hott (or are unattractive people put off by this thread)?

Also, nearly all 18-24 year olds are good looking. So it's pretty accurate to look back at photos of yourself and think you were hot.

Also I personally find most people somewhat attractive, anyway, at any age. So it's consistent with my take on the Unfogged population for most people to assess themselves as in this thread.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 9:23 AM
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I'm a self-described 'nanerpuss.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 9:24 AM
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75: Ugly ratlike bald comedian.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 9:28 AM
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re: 91

I'm definitely at the upper end of the fat, balding 30-something Scottish not-quite--an-academic demographic though!


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 9:28 AM
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Yeah, I don't think one has to consider oneself "above-average" in order to consider oneself "attractive." Like heebie said -- there's something attractive about almost everyone, and I think there is a happy stage of life where, briefly, fleetingly perhaps, we are actually able to accept that of ourselves.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 9:29 AM
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95: 75: Ugly ratlike bald comedian.

OK! I'm better looking than that! Score!

max
['Lunch!']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 9:31 AM
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I look awesome. I look like a spaceship made of onyx, thrusting nobly towards the sky, bedecked with a porn 'stache the size of delaware. I look like the face of god, if the other face of god was actually an ass. I look like infinity.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 9:31 AM
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Although this is an off-putting thread.

Indeed. Having no desire to reveal to everyone the history of my changing beliefs about my attractiveness, I find myself with not much to contribute.


I will say that I don't think this part of the OP

I've never gotten dumped, or even turned down for sex.

necessarily has much to do with beauty.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 9:33 AM
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Is there a recognized phenomenon that everyone believes they have above average looks

What heebie says in 93 is certainly part of this self-image. Youth is a pretty damn forgiving thing.

I think the other major contributing factor is that there really isn't such a thing as a single hotness scale. There are all kinds of different tastes out there, who all find different types attractive. This is fantastic, because it means that far more than 50% of people can find a partner who believes they're of above-average beauty.

But the natural follow-up is that people will tend to focus more on those who find them attractive. After all, that's who's paying attention to them. Plus, a deliberate focus on people who don't find you attractive is just the way toward craziness, especially when the difference between the two groups is more likely to be idiosyncrasies of taste than DEEP STATEMENTS ABOUT WHO YOU (THEY) ARE.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 9:34 AM
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Blume looks like infinity times a billion.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 9:34 AM
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58, 99: bob v. sifu in the unfogged beauty contest?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 9:37 AM
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I think people are missing an important part of the post: alameide has a sister? Is she single? How are her sestinas?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 9:39 AM
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89, 100: I want to push back a little against calling the thread off-putting. I have the same reaction -- there's nothing I can say about my appearance that doesn't leave wanting to apologize either for vanity or for the double-reverse vanity of being being self-deprecating so as to fish for compliments, or for being honestly but erroneously self-deprecating which means I'm neurotic, or for being accurately self-deprecating, which means I'm embarrassingly ugly. There doesn't seem to be a socially acceptable self-image that doesn't make you either an asshole or emotionally damaged.

But the topic of how looks shape our social experiences and how that changes with age is an interesting one (or I'm interested), and you can't share experiences on that front without including some sort of self-evaluation.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 9:40 AM
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103: 58? I don't think I'm bald.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 9:40 AM
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I want to push back a little against calling the thread off-putting.

If people find the thread off-putting they find it off-putting. Or are you saying that they should keep that to themselves?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 9:41 AM
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I would substitute 55.2 with "It would probably just be an imposition on [Person X] to let my interest be known." Otherwise, spot on.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 9:42 AM
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106: Oops! I meant 103, 60. But you knew that.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 9:42 AM
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"Off-putting" does not preclude its being informative about a particular experience.


Posted by: Amber | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 9:42 AM
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I'm only skimming the thread lightly because Leechblock comes on at 9, but 60 is sublime.

I remember a dinner party from my early twenties with my ex-wife-then-girlfriend. In LA, with a fiftysomething art dealer, in an upscale but not extraordinary home -- certainly impressive to us from-hungers, but tasteful, not lavish.

His wife, or longtime girlfriend, had a certain air of frustrated privilege. She didn't seem particularly smart, and she seemed constantly disappointed in something. Later we proposed that she was suffering the condition of no longer being the prettiest woman in the room.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 9:43 AM
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Also, I probably looked better at 25 than I did at 18, since I knew more about how to dress and I looked makybe 21 or 22.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 9:44 AM
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I don't think I'm bald.

Lucky bastard. (Speaking of attributes that are seen as good-looking or blech subject to individual tastes)


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 9:45 AM
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This discussion might be more entertaining if Ogged had written the post.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 9:47 AM
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If people find the thread off-putting they find it off-putting. Or are you saying that they should keep that to themselves?

I can't speak for LB, but I sort of react to "this thread is off-putting" as suggesting a judgment to the effect of "OMG, you people are so vain that it bugs me." Which may or may not be what Amber and Sam K meant, but does fit in with what LB said in response: There doesn't seem to be a socially acceptable self-image that doesn't make you either an asshole or emotionally damaged. So certainly no one is saying anyone is banned from describing the thread as "off-putting," but it does seem worthwhile to explore that reaction. Does feeling good about the way you look automatically make you vain? An asshole? Why does talking about that put at least some people off?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 9:48 AM
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There doesn't seem to be a socially acceptable self-image that doesn't make you either an asshole or emotionally damaged.

A great truth about the world.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 9:48 AM
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there's nothing I can say about my appearance that doesn't leave wanting to apologize either for vanity or for the double-reverse vanity of being being self-deprecating so as to fish for compliments, or for being honestly but erroneously self-deprecating which means I'm neurotic, or for being accurately self-deprecating, which means I'm embarrassingly ugly. There doesn't seem to be a socially acceptable self-image that doesn't make you either an asshole or emotionally damaged.

This is very true. Also it's not either/or: certainly there are self-images you could have that would imply you're an emotionally damaged asshole.

It does make it hard to comment, though. I would prefer just to be honest, but it feels... unsafe. So I probably won't say anything.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 9:49 AM
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But the topic of how looks shape our social experiences and how that changes with age is an interesting one (or I'm interested), and you can't share experiences on that front without including some sort of self-evaluation.

Oh, definitely interesting! I was telling Sifu this morning, the post touches on all sorts of things that I've thought about a lot. And I'm not calling anyone vain or an asshole for the self-assessments they've offered up here. It's just that I don't quite know if there's a way to present my thoughts here that doesn't require lots of background about me (that is, exactly that self-evaluation), which I'm just not comfortable giving on this topic.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 9:50 AM
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re: 116

I'd want to push back against that pretty strongly. But it's certainly a widely held point of view.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 9:50 AM
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I'm a bit on the beaky side of traditional good looks, but I approach it with a combination of laziness, vanity and delusion that allows me to ponder my hottness in a mirror for hours without doing much about it.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 9:52 AM
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If I had been slightly better looking I probably wouldn't have been quite as effortful in my flirting, which is whence the fun has come.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 9:53 AM
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120, 121: Like you would have able to seduce yourself more quickly instead of just batting your eyelashes at the mirror?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 9:58 AM
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115

I can't speak for LB, but I sort of react to "this thread is off-putting" as suggesting a judgment to the effect of "OMG, you people are so vain that it bugs me." ...

Perhaps it is just saying this thread is forcing them to think about things they would rather not.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 9:58 AM
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It's just all so circular. Looks shape social experience shapes looks shape self-regard shapes experience shapes looks shapes history shapes opinion, and in the end we all hopefully have relatively positive self-images. I suppose it'd be fascinating to unpack if you could, but in the absence of that it's hard to avoid a great festival of navels, each being peered at by one utterly fascinated observer who is calling vigorously out for everybody else to come see what's so darn interesting.

It's much more fun when everybody's self-deprecating; then everybody can relate, even if it feels a little poisonous, and you get fabulous comments like Ned's little inner monologue.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 9:59 AM
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The seduction happens right away. I'm just more of a flirt than a closer.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 9:59 AM
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123: No, actually neither of those things for me.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 9:59 AM
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I want to know how you think about your fabulous eyebrows, Blume.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 10:01 AM
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There doesn't seem to be a socially acceptable self-image that doesn't make you either an asshole or emotionally damaged.

I also disagree with this. Certainly it's easier to be perceived as an asshole while talking about your looks than other things, but here we are 120+ comments deep in a conversation about how attractive we think we are, and I don't think anyone has stepped off either end.


Posted by: sam k | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 10:01 AM
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The only clue I have to my own attractiveness is that perfect strangers regularly tell me that I look like Harry Potter, even when I'm not wearing my glasses. No one ever suggests whether that is a good or bad thing, and I don't have an opinion of Daniel Radcliffe either way.


Posted by: sam k | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 10:05 AM
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129: walking around naked dragging a dead horse behind you'll do that to a person.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 10:05 AM
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I just read the post, and I'm starting to read the comments, and I just wanted to say, thank you to Alameda for the post.

What a thorny, but interesting issue.

Two thoughts, as I'm catching up (without trying to derail the thread from people's personal experience):

It reminded me at once of having just seen this article about A//ison Sto//kke (whom I hadn't heard of prior) which was, for me, an interesting story about the discomfort of losing control of one's image in an unwanted way (googling for that story, I also found this response and the difference in the choice of photos for the two articles is striking (and depressing).

It also made me think about Ted Chiang's SF story "Liking What You See" that imagines a world in which it's possible to easily (and reversibly) have one's brain altered in such a way that one didn't react to other people's physical beauty or ugliness and, in particular, Chiang's comment in the notes for the story that he believes that were such a procedure available he would be interested in undergoing it.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 10:05 AM
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...there really isn't such a thing as a single hotness scale.

Quite true. I have a set of 'types' which attract me, but they are sufficiently different from each other that someone halfway between two types I find attractive isn't interesting at all.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 10:06 AM
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124 was a little more vehement than I probably intended. Pretend it was another non-sequitor about spaceships or superintelligent carrots or whatever.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 10:06 AM
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I want to know how you think about your fabulous eyebrows, Blume.

Ha! I wasn't aware of their fabulosity until you commented on them, and only believed it when a fabulous gay theater scholar also commented on them out of the blue last summer. (It was the corroboration, not some greater weight to his value judgments.) I didn't pluck my eyebrows until relatively late in my 20s, and thought of it as a pretty crazy thing to start doing. (Please read that assuming my consciousness of the racial privilege contained in that statement.)


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 10:07 AM
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People often get upset when the overweight arent happy with the way that they look, and they get upset when the attractive think that they are attractive.

As for me, I've never really been too bothered about how I look. I am overweight now, but there are parts that I think of as attractive (Not my belly). When I was in fabulous shape, I liked the way that I looked, but I still wouldnt have considered myself handsome. But, it didnt really matter to me. It never has. Perhaps it would if I were trying to attract the young and the beautiful with my looks, but I am not. Ive never turned heads, so I dont expect to now.

I can imagine it is hard to feel that slipping from you if you are used to it.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 10:07 AM
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Judging from how my wife reacts to Daniel Radcliffe I would say that makes you very hot.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 10:07 AM
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136 to 129.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 10:08 AM
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Everyone needs a self-esteem boost. I get a little boost to my self-esteem by swimming quickly past the old people at the pool. Perhaps, tt is a little sad and pathetic, but it still makes me feel a little better.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 10:10 AM
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You've never heard of A//ison Sto//kke? You must not follow many sports blogs. She was everywhere a few years ago (which is horrible, since, as the linked article makes clear, she didn't want to be).

I'm pretty sure she was discussed here a few years ago, no?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 10:10 AM
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104: Dude, alameida's sister beats up Nazis in barfights. If you know alameida's realname blog, not the group blog but the one with Husband X, search for "Don't mess around with my little sister."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 10:11 AM
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re: 133

Nah, I get what you mean. That's always the danger when threads are quite self-focused: whether that's looks or intelligence, or whatever is less central than the navel-gazing element. Although I suppose intelligence is less contentious here, because there's more of an expectation that everyone is 'smart' to some degree or other.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 10:11 AM
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139 to 131, obvs.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 10:11 AM
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Ok, I'm back. Made a little change to life plans recently that obviates some of the need for a lower internet profile. I hope LB can accept the name change.

I can't believe I am going to be the first to invoke the spirit of ogged regarding this thread though. Those good old days. Sigh.

To the OP: It seems like a reasonable thing to worry about, although maybe not too much. There is more to life than beer and skittles, after all.

I'm certainly noticing a bit of the reverse effect recently though. Being a grossly overweight young person, you really learn who your friends are. And whether you are being hired because they think you'll actually do a good job. But now, still fat, I think I've developed a bit of gravitas (and a job title) that tends to allow me some social perquisites that were heretofore unavailable. It's odd.

On the other hand, I recently signed up for a popular quiz-based internet dating site, and within a day got a message from a really nice guy who's into bears. Which I'd never thought of myself as before, because I've never fell gay enough or hairy enough for the scene. But we had a nice date anyway, and who knows where it may lead?

Conversely, I think I've mentioned before a former employee of mine who was blonde, busty, tall, blue-eyed, etc., who always seemed miserable and lacked dates. If you looked like that, I've always thought, it would be really difficult not to slip into the stereotype and craft your whole life around your looks. Depressing.

And, it has to be said, the great benefit of going to the M______ State Fair is that there is always someone fatter than you there. Probably a lot of someones, actually. So, nu, it could always be worse.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 10:11 AM
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134: (Please read that assuming my consciousness of the racial privilege contained in that statement.)

This is one that I'm not conscious of -- there are ethnicities where eyebrow-plucking is more required?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 10:12 AM
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143: That kind of change (transparent googleproofing) is fine, although it does mean that I'm calling you Nat now.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 10:13 AM
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I think there are -- certain Indian cultures come to mind -- but I also just meant from my position as a relatively non-hairy and very light-haired person.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 10:15 AM
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131: That article is pretty sad. I mean, I'm sure she'll get through it as the attention peters out in a year or two, but geez. The web and media are brutal to novelties, and these are frequently people with no experience handling sudden seeming ubiquity.

I guess this is the really nasty flipside to IT's returns-to-scale on human capital.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 10:15 AM
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139 cont.: Indeed she was.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 10:15 AM
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143: 114


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 10:16 AM
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129: You look like Gonerill.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 10:16 AM
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It's much more fun when everybody's self-deprecating; then everybody can relate, even if it feels a little poisonous, and you get fabulous comments like Ned's little inner monologue.

All my life I've tried to convince myself that I Am Person X and such an interior monologue was the real reason no one ever hit on me. Kind of always knew I was kidding myself, but I like that explanation better than other contenders such as "you are cold and unapproachable" or "really? you left the house in that?"


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 10:17 AM
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151 = me.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 10:17 AM
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I was completely stumped by who 143 was for quite a long time. I must be a symbologist.

On the bear thing, basically all my gay friends in LA seem to consider themselves bears. They do have beards (have grown beards, really) but it seems to be code for "mellow and not so obsessed with youth and gym-toned-ness"; none of them is particularly fat or hairy, and I assume most of them go to the gym at least somewhat regularly.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 10:17 AM
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I think you're borrowing trouble on that one -- barring actual Alzheimers or other identifiable disease, age-related cognitive slowdowns are pretty minimal.

I don't believe this. My memory is definitely worse than it was 10 years ago.

Though I feel like some part of that is life being busier and just having less down time to properly sort short term memories into long term (or whatever metaphor makes sense to you).


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 10:19 AM
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139 cont.: Indeed she was.

Hmmm, Speaking of losing my memory I don't remember reading that thread previously, but it is statistically likely that I did.

Thankfully 147 shows that it was worth reposting the link.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 10:22 AM
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149: Dammit! Ain't that always the way?

153: Yeah, I don't really have facial hair except burnsides, but I sure don't look like even the Bear Cubs you see in magazines & posters at gay bars.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 10:23 AM
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Re: There doesn't seem to be a socially acceptable self-image that doesn't make you either an asshole or emotionally damaged.

Thankfully, there are some self-images that allow one to be both.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 10:29 AM
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|| No more masturbating to Captain Lou Albano. |>


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 10:31 AM
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140: *swoon*


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 10:32 AM
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158 to 157.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 10:34 AM
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159 to 158.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 10:36 AM
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An ex-girlfriend (to call her "an ex-girlfriend" is disingenuous; my emotional history is neatly divisible into the periods before and after her, like a personal singularity) was, and continues to be, angelically pretty: big blue eyes, hair varying from platinum to auburn as the mood caught her, delicately refined but strong bones, milkmaid's complexion, etc., etc. -- so beautiful that the memories sting. She has never been very secure in it, half the time studying books and magazines about cosmetic surgery (I remember telling her that other women got cosmetic surgery in order to look like her) and half the time hiding from herself in dowdy sweaters, Doc Martens and slumping shoulders, but assiduously following the latest magazine advice about hydrating and moisturizing and avoiding the sun and whatnot. (Ask me how much Creme de Mer costs, because she asks for it for Christmas.) From time to time she mentions the passage of time, but most of them have to do with career frustration, rather than losing the glow (not that she has or, in my eyes, ever will). I have wondered whether she is becoming more comfortable with herself as she ages, as many people do, or whether old anxieties are giving way to new ones that are less expressible.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 10:37 AM
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151: What? Person X doesn't realize she is super attractive? That's impossible.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 10:41 AM
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On the white privilege of facial hair grooming. My Puerto Rican roommate in college definitely had to bleach her upper lip. I look vastly better if I have my brows groomed, but I'm not doing it right now to save money.

I found a nursing student whose mother made her learn how to do threading while visiting family in India. She was great and had an awesome sense of shape, and she only charged $5, but then she upped it to $10, and eventually she won't need the money anymore. I do look a lot nicer with groomed eyebrows, but I've never learned how to pluck properly--and mine arenn't generally great or thick. I saw a threading cart at the Burlington mall which I may have to check out since they charge less than the few threaders downtown or than the waxers.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 10:47 AM
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Huh. I'm dark-haired with heavy eyebrows, and I'm too lazy to pluck or get them waxed or threaded. I've never really been able to believe that changing my eyebrows would change how I look. Probably I'm wrong about that.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 10:50 AM
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As long as you have eyebrows plural, it doesn't matter.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 10:53 AM
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re: 166

It makes a big difference. I occasionally pluck mine [to make them two, rather than one]. That probably makes me a dyed-in-the-wool metrosexual.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 10:56 AM
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Buck does that too. I don't have unibrow (which would probably impel me to pluck), but they are thick and heavy.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 10:57 AM
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What? Person X doesn't realize she is super attractive? That's impossible.

Well of course Person X realizes it. Sadly, there are also a number of Persons Y who vainly hope they are simply a Person X who doesn't realize it. But they are not.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 11:02 AM
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I can't pluck my eyebrows without descending into crippling fits of sneezing and eyes watering with pain. But waxing them yourself is actually remarkably easy -- that same microwaveable wax you use for legs, underams, etc. can be painted along the desired browline with a toothpick and voila! One quick rip and you have neatly shaped brows. (Truth be told, I mostly just leave them to grow "wild" -- but when I do follow the impulse to rip them out violently from the roots, I find it striking how much it changes my face.)


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 11:07 AM
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170: Well of course Person X realizes it.

As Flippanter outlines, person X doesn't realize it.

Beauty is about what other people think, not what the beautiful person thinks.

Sadly, there are also a number of Persons Y who vainly hope they are simply a Person X who doesn't realize it. But they are not.

There's always someone else who appears to be having better luck. Whether they actually are or not is hard to tell.

max
['In the end, what tells is what you can get people to do for you - of course, if you can get people to do that, you'll tend to hold them in contempt.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 11:09 AM
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I tried using some Clarissa (health food store wax) and I couldn't get it to lift properly.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 11:18 AM
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This discussion might be more entertaining if Ogged had written the post.

I guess Will doesn't know alameida's secret identity.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 11:22 AM
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sequitor

Sequitur.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 11:32 AM
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I assume most of them go to the gym at least somewhat regularly.

Do you have some basis for this assumption, or is gym-going so ubiquitous in [LA/your social circle/our SEC] that it's a default assumption? I ask because I can't name, off the top of my head, a single gym-goer in my circle (a couple guys who play basketball, but not treadmillers or weightlifters). They must exist, but it's very far from the default.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 11:34 AM
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I don't even know ur.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 11:34 AM
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sequitor


Sequitur.

Neb knows what's really attractive.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 11:34 AM
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I tried using some Clarissa (health food store wax) and I couldn't get it to lift properly.

Health food stores are difficult to remove, it's true.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 11:35 AM
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173: Huh. I'll have to check the brand I have used when I get home. The only problem I've ever had was overheating the stuff and then spilling it on my hand. Hot wax makes for a very, very bad burn.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 11:36 AM
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I tried using some Clarissa....

Have you tried some Pamela?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 11:36 AM
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Ugly ratlike bald comedian

Also, not funny.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 11:38 AM
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Have you tried some Pamela?

Wax it off with Pamela, then get a Shamela brand merkin.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 11:39 AM
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JRoth, people in your city lift steel. Why would they need to go to a gym?


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 11:39 AM
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I keep telling myself that what age takes away in pure mental quickness it gives in experience. I'm not particularly old, but there are definitely people I work with who are much smarter than me but don't have enough experience to recognize a good or bad idea without actually trying it.

It's also pretty jarring to consider oneself so-so looking but smart and interesting, but find out someone is associating with you because even though you're simple and somewhat boring you look good enough to be worth it. Not that this happened particularly recently, but...


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 11:43 AM
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||

Michael Steele really brings out the best in JMM's writing. To wit:

Michael Steele just told Fox to look out because he is "cow on the tracks." In other words, in addition to his other shortcomings, Steele is apparently unschooled on the history of train/cow confrontations, though I'm not sure it's a metaphor Democrats will necessarily want to dispute. Later, in a new strike in his on-going war with his dignity, Steele pleaded for a "Rodney King moment" on health care.
It's the "ongoing war with his dignity" that I just adore.

|>


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 11:45 AM
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182: Yeah, I'm not sure I'd call Don Rickles truly ugly. A big part of his schtick is that he manipulates his (admittedly very rubbery) face into ridiculous grimaces. There's a photo of him that Google Image Search pulls up from 1961 where it's kind of shocking how little he's changed in almost 60 years. He was only 35 at the time, but he looks like he could be 50. Good trait to have for a character-actor type. Bald as an egg even then though.

A picture of me just appeared in the local paper recently. It's a crowd scene, and you can see the top of my head and torso. It is definitely pushing me to think seriously about just shaving my head and being done with it, as I look a pillock.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 11:54 AM
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187: Shave it! I did and I'm quite happy with the results. Plus you'll end up fondling your scalp all the time, which feels really good. Probably makes me look like a nut, but it really does feel good. It also makes you look meaner, which helps if you're kind of a pussy like me.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 11:59 AM
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I've shaved it many times in the past, when it would still grow back. Sigh. I've been going to the same barber for 30 years, too. Oh well.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 12:01 PM
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182/187.1: Also, while not exactly my cup of tea, Don Rickles is hugely admired by comedians. I teach a comedy class (ancient and modern) and, because of where I teach, I always have a handful of budding stand-ups and/or writers -- they can't get enough of Don Rickles. I was sort or surprised.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 12:06 PM
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I've been thinking about this post, and my relationship to my own appearance and it strikes me that, while I don't try for "attractive" I do care about how people perceive me, and try to reinforce my desired image in ways that are both conscious and unconscious.

Specifically, I want the message of, "geek who values intelligence and isn't trying to project either sexual attractiveness or personal authority" to be seriously overdetermined.

I say, "want" not in the sense that this is the perfect message to send, but that it's awfully close to what I want and I don't have the confidence or interest in trying for something else.

It just strikes me that, the one time I posted a picture of myself for unfogged, I was quite happy that the response I got was, "That's exactly what I thought you looked like, NickS." I think my self-presentation here is pretty consistent and, apparently, consistent with my self-presentation in real life, and that fact makes me happy.

I'm also aware that it does matter to me to think that, beneath the geek look, I'm not unattractive. I don't have a good sense of whether or not I am attractive, but I know that if I really felt, on a day to day basis, that people saw me as notably unattractive (and not merely badly dressed) that would discomfort me. I don't know what conclusion to draw from that realization.

I'm sufficiently introverted that I don't generally try to meet strangers, or approach people anyway, but at the same time it would make social interaction even more fraught and stressful if I felt like my looks were such that I had to be actively or consciously working against them.

Just trying to think through my own relationship to my self-image.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 12:07 PM
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If you want to understand what Don Rickes is all about you have to read the description of him performing for Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack in Gay Talese's classic article "Frank Sinatra Has a Cold"
http://www.esquire.com/features/ESQ1003-OCT_SINATRA_rev_


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 12:11 PM
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"geek who values intelligence and isn't trying to project either sexual attractiveness or personal authority"

Interesting. I rather like this formulation, and would aspire to it but for the "personal authority" part. I would very much like to be able to project personal authority, but generally fail most miserably to do so. Even Rory just barely accepts me as an authority figure. I suspect part of this is a gendered thing, part a middle-child-syndrome thing


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 12:12 PM
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why a random acquaintance would get obsessed with me and painstakingly photoshop my face onto some Ingres nude and send it to me.

The obsession I am in no place to gainsay, and I won't, I don't ever say gain, but if I had a nickel for every friend who photshopped my big round head on top of some Ingres nude and sent it to me, why I'd have a nickel for all of my friends, which means I'd have fifteen cents.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 12:48 PM
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I have italicization defeciencies.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 12:49 PM
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or deficiencies, even. and headaches. I think I've been poisoned.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 12:50 PM
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Catching up, but to 91 way up there. I don't know that I'd call myself hot when thinner. I'm average, with a few good features, and do occasionally find myself checked out, but not what I'd expect if I was actually hot. But going from zero to something is a pretty significant change. Hell, LB, you've met me and are a FB friend if you need to refresh my memory. I'm hardly an example of stunning masculine beauty.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 12:51 PM
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my s/b yours, obvs.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 12:52 PM
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I'm hardly an example of stunning masculine beauty.

Are there any guys here who would consider themselves "an example of stunning masculine beauty"?

Other than the apostropher. of course.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 12:55 PM
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198: Certainly not compared with a guy like Chopper, who has been checked out by more than zero women in his lifetime.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 12:57 PM
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I dunno, but I've known guys who should think of themselves as so. Not just Brad Pitt et al, but just guys I used to know. Plus they were cool. Really got under my skin when I dwelled on it too much.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 12:58 PM
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Also, Di, quit self-deprecating. I've seen pictures.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 12:59 PM
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198: Are there any guys here who would consider themselves "an example of stunning masculine beauty"?

Doesn't 'stunning masculine beauty' mean 'looks kinda feminine, but bearded'?

Other than the apostropher, of course.

{roots around in filing cabinent} Aha! Apo is the hero!

max
['I'll have such excellent timing, it'll turn out he dropped dead from the pig right at the time this was posted, you watch.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 12:59 PM
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1199: Dude, they're just a lot more subtle than we are. They all do it.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 1:00 PM
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Doesn't 'stunning masculine beauty' mean 'looks kinda feminine, but bearded'?

Well, plus ripped, and maybe with chest hair. (I don't have a ton of the specifics down, but like pornography, I know it when I see it.)


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 1:02 PM
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'looks kinda feminine, but bearded'

I'm a stunning masculine beauty?


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 1:03 PM
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a great festival of navels

Mine is deeper than it used to be.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 1:03 PM
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Oh, plus ripped. Damn.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 1:04 PM
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I'm a stunning masculine beauty.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 1:08 PM
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Handosome men, as a rule, aren't involved in blogs.

Cary Grant was supposedly often very sad because men didn't want to be his friend and he was after all such a man's man. But does that make you want to feel sorry for him? No, you want to punch him in the nose.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 1:08 PM
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And Cary Grant was not involved in blogs. QED.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 1:09 PM
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Are there any guys here who would consider themselves "an example of stunning masculine beauty"?

I would not consider myself (i) an example, (ii) stunning or (iii) a beauty, though I suppose my Alec Baldwin-esque chest hair qualifies as masculine.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 1:10 PM
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It is rather convenient that it's totally legitimate to use one's smarts, verbal skills, and such to get ahead, while using beauty or strength is deprecated.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 1:12 PM
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Also, Di, quit self-deprecating. I've seen pictures.

Well duh, I only make the most flattering shots available! At some point maybe I'll post some junior high photos. My awkward phase was genuinely quite awkward.

I'm genuinely satisfied with my present appearance (but for a few unfortunate photos), but even on my best, most put-together day, I do not project authority -- which is a bit of a handicap in my profession. It seems to me that "authoritative" and "attractive" overlap quite easily for guys -- dress well and get a decent haircut and you can convey both hott and in charge. I haven't figured out the look that accomplishes "in charge" for a woman (or at least for me).


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 1:12 PM
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They let Rudolph Valentino into blogging only after it was well established that he'd lost his looks.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 1:12 PM
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Also, the unibrow is pretty much what hotness is all about.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 1:13 PM
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Handosome men, as a rule, aren't involved in blogs.

Either I have strange standards or there are a number of exceptions to the rule here.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 1:13 PM
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Also, Chopper? I've seen pictures, too. The "quit self-deprecating" thing works both ways.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 1:15 PM
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I haven't figured out the look that accomplishes "in charge" for a woman (or at least for me).

My fruit. Let me show you how low it hangs.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 1:15 PM
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There are no exceptions, only the possibility that your preferences are wrong.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 1:15 PM
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I haven't figured out the look that accomplishes "in charge" for a woman (or at least for me).

It depends on your mood.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 1:16 PM
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I haven't figured out the look that accomplishes "in charge" for a woman (or at least for me).

Leather miniskirt, bustier, riding crop.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 1:16 PM
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The riding crop is to beat malicious pwners.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 1:17 PM
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Re memory: I forget things all the time (in the last month I have forgotten tickets twice), but if I actually want to remember things and then churn them out again - e.g. DS Brain Training - I'm still good at it.

Re the OP: I nearly sent heebie a guest post submission along similar lines. I recently realised that in my adult life I have been skinnier than my 12 year old (she grew out of some jeans I passed on to her, and she doesn't fit in a dress I bought when I was 29 (with 2 toddlers)). And it is just about impossible to look at her (tall, slim and gorgeous) and imagine myself that size or shape.

Having big children makes me feel more invisible than getting older. Having small cute children may not get you noticed, but your children get noticed, so you still feel visible. No one (no one who doesn't want their head kicked in) comments on a 10 year old's appearance.

Fortunately I never have to look authoritative. I'm good at stern though.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 1:18 PM
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I haven't figured out the look that accomplishes "in charge" for a woman....

Lynda Carter, 1975-79?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 1:19 PM
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I cannot imagine asilon with an authoritative look. Perhaps bc all of her pictures have a mischievious grin.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 1:20 PM
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218 is an actual picture of Di.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 1:21 PM
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I just discovered that Di defriended me.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 1:22 PM
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210: And Cary Grant was not involved in blogs. QED.

But Cary Grant, just like Ogged is dead! Which means... uh, he's a statesman!

204: Well, plus ripped, and maybe with chest hair.

I'm not so sure that's stunning masculine beauty so much as gay underwear model. Are those stunning masculine beauties?

(I don't have a ton of the specifics down, but like pornography, I know it when I see it.)

You're ahead of me - I have no clue.

207: Oh, plus ripped. Damn.

There's always hope! Drink a coupla hundred beers!

208: I'm a stunning masculine beauty.

ITYM, 'I look like the lead developer on a major X application'.

max
['Hrmm. Did anyone hear a rumble just them?']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 1:26 PM
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I've never been able to get how I feel about this stuff to line up with how I ought to feel. Several things that fail to make a coherent whole:

1. I'm very uncomfortable with the idea of projecting attractiveness in day-to-day life, and particularly as a woman in a male-dominated field. I have one conspicuously good feature, and that is my hair, which, frankly, is gorgeous. (Also probably fleeting, as women in my family tend to lose a lot of hair with menopause. It's going to come as a hell of a blow.) It's pretty much inevitable that I'll get comments on it if I leave it down; this squicks me out no end, so unless I'm actively gussying up for something, it's tied up in a ho-hum bun. And yet it's important that I not cut it off: so long as I have the bun, I could be stunning at any second! Secret weapon! Oh yes, members of the thesis committee, you may think I haven't done nearly enough work to graduate, but what you don't know is that I have great hair! Hah! And then they let me graduate, you see. Or something. But not only would this approach be a humiliating failure, I would never, ever, ever try. So why does this matter?

2. For all that I'm uncomfortable projecting attractiveness, it's mortifying to look at photographs of myself---more or less any photo, not just the conspicuously bad ones---and realize that this really, really doesn't need to be a big concern. (Since the untagging thread yesterday, I've been trying to convince myself that, yes, I use lots of animated gestures, and their absence must certainly be what's wrong about the photos. Yes, that must be it.)

3. Yet when I have a conversation with a strikingly unattractive woman (really strikingly unattractive, I mean; I can think of two or three people I've interacted with, ever, who fall into this category for me), I have a really hard time focusing on the conversation rather than on our asymmetries of person. My brain is much more interested in two tracks: (1) to my eternal shame, repeating There but for the grace of God go I; and (2) trying to empathize (what must it be like to go through the world without any hope of girl-on-the-bus help?), which I can't help but feel is presumptuous and condescending---for all I know the person is her partner's ideal of teh sexxy and has a perfectly fine self-image, thanks. So I wind up distracted by my total failure and it's all weird and bad, and I'm a bad person.


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 1:34 PM
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I think a real problem with "in charge" for women is that sheer size has a lot to do with it -- while you can do a lot with force of personality, most people react to bigger people as more authoritative. But of course people react badly to fat women. Big and lean isn't a terribly common feminine body-type.

I have a pretty easy time projecting 'in charge', and I think part of that is that I'm tallish, broadshouldered, and blocky, with a giant skull. I'm not that far to one side of the bell curve for size -- I'd still make an average-short guy -- but my proportions make me look biggish. And my sister projects 'in charge' effortlessly, and that's clearly at least partially about being amazonian.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 1:35 PM
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Having big children makes me feel more invisible than getting older.

I'm having a minor weird reaction along these lines -- Sally's ten, and clearly not full-grown yet, but at 5'2" she's the height of plenty adults. It's weird being the mother of a full-sized person, and makes me feel as though I've moved a generation into the future.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 1:38 PM
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217: I have an urge to argue with you, but that seems graceless. Instead, I'll say thanks. You made my day.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 1:41 PM
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230: Force of personality, yes, but also posture and movement.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 1:46 PM
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227: I did??? When?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 1:48 PM
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227: at least she was once your friend. She just ignores all my requests.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 1:49 PM
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It's better to have been friended and defriended than never to have been friended at all.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 1:50 PM
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I have been resisting friending people based purely on recognizing their age/sex/location from Unfogged knowledge. Worlds must not collide!


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 1:52 PM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 1:54 PM
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Okay, now Brock is just flat out lying. But, well huh, nosflow apparently isn't among my friends anymore. I suspect he defriended me and is now trying to gaslight me into thinking it is somehow my fault.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 1:55 PM
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I recently noticed that my friend count had gone down by one. But, I have no idea who it was that unfriended me.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 1:55 PM
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239: Well, I thought it was you. But I don't know your real name, so it's hard to be sure.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 1:57 PM
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240: It's over, Will. Let's leave it at that.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 2:00 PM
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Oudemia, you didn't like Will's Ingres Photoshop?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 2:01 PM
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241: You must've guessed wrong. I haven't ignored any friend requests lately and the only people I've ignored were high school acquaintances who were never actually friends. Honest.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 2:01 PM
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243: I only get Guernica.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 2:02 PM
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I totally forgot this until I read 193, but in high school some of my jerk friends stole a picture of me and photoshopped my head onto Elle MacPherson's body. I assume this means I'm an example of stunning masculine beauty? Or was. And must now deal with losing my looks Elle MacPherson's body.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 2:07 PM
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oudemia:

It doesnt matter. I'm stealing your friends anyway.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 2:10 PM
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Although, wait. Nosflow, you may have gotten cut in a frustrated purge of anyone who might be to blame for FB insistently recommended I become friends with someone I very definitely do not wish to add to my roster of FB friends. I was feeling a bit emotional.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 2:11 PM
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Facebook is ruining the internet.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 2:12 PM
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I don't even own a Facebook.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 2:13 PM
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My favorite FB question? Upon accepting a request from a high school friend, "Hey Di! Long time! What have you been up to?" Uh, in the past 20 years, you mean? Yeah, let me condense that into a pithy Wall comment!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 2:15 PM
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It is rather surprising they haven't yet made it so that if you click the "X" next to a suggested friend, that suggestion does not come back week after week. Really, FB: I'm not going to friend K. Lo.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 2:16 PM
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facebook joke


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 2:17 PM
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246: better than some college friends of mine, who pasted my head onto she-male porn and taped it to my dorm room door. I think I left it up for like three months.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 2:20 PM
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254: ah, but! In addition to printing out dozens of copies that they taped to the walls of my high school, they also uploaded the image to various local BBSs, captioned with my handle, so that I got private messages from lonely BBS nerds looking to copulate for literally years.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 2:24 PM
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255: they also uploaded the image to various local BBSs, captioned with my handle, so that I got private messages from lonely BBS nerds looking to copulate for literally years.

'Dude,' they tell me, 'You're too paranoid!' 'Dude,' I say, 'dude, I been around, man.'

max
['Ya know... the whole 'online life' thing is a lot like Christmas in Hell.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 2:27 PM
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246/54/55: In grad school, in retaliation for another (not-so-funny) prank*, Grad Student A created an adult baby website in Grad Student B's name, complete with many many photoshops of GSB's head on various diaper-scenario pix culled from all over the web. GSB threatened to sue.

*GSA had just been hired by what is probably the best department in my discipline in the country. GSB, having attended this institution as an undergrad, mailed GSA a letter, on letterhead, with matching envelope, supposedly terminating his employment.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 2:29 PM
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257: ew. Yeah, this was more on the "dammit, you assholes" side of good fun. Except for my one friend, who taped one of the pictures up to the ceiling above his head, and then left it there for like a year. What was that about?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 2:33 PM
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Oddly, I didn't get even a single moment of flirtation out of those pics. I took 'em down after nearly losing my companion for the evening when we arrived at my door. (she relented after I explained that the images had been placed there by the girls down the hall.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 2:33 PM
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258 cont'd: the "dammit you assholes" side of good fun as opposed to the "haha, you goofball" side of unforgivable shittiness.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 2:35 PM
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Re: "Already I'm not sexually attractive to people much younger than me, I assume..."

She really doesn't know much about male psychology, does she?


Posted by: Hot Teen Rooster | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 2:36 PM
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Wow. GSA does NOT fuck around. Although I think I might have destroyed GSB's car with a crow bar in a similar situation.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 2:40 PM
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258: Heh. Maybe he was just proud of his handiwork?

(There were a lot of mean-spirited pranks in the department that year, all involving GSA or GSB. One woman in the dept. had a last name so unfortunate that her whole family [long before we knew her] changed it together. But this woman chose to branch out and, instead of taking the new family name and keeping her first name, changed the whole shebang to something quite exotic. GSA knew this, and after he and the woman broke up, he wrote a macro which he put on all the dept computers that instantly changed any input of her name to the old, very much deprecated name.)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 2:40 PM
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263: Am I alone in finding it scarcely creditable that such pranks are played in academia, land of tenure lawsuits and hairtrigger student charivari and all that? Have things mellowed so much since I was in college?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 2:46 PM
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263: And GSA was not thrown out of the University? That's horribly shitty behavior.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 2:47 PM
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And so Olivia Fartknockers' pseudonymity was finished.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 2:50 PM
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As gloriously astonished as I am by the antics of Oudemia's colleagues, I instead wish to reply to this:

Cary Grant was supposedly often very sad because men didn't want to be his friend and he was after all such a man's man. But does that make you want to feel sorry for him? No, you want to punch him in the nose.

It makes me feel a little sorry for him! But then I'm not a man.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 2:52 PM
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266: that's not a nice thing to call Ms. Hitler.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 2:53 PM
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263/65: You know, I have no clue if he got in any sort of trouble. It was certainly known by faculty members and was generally considered shocking. He was graduating the term in which it happened and on his way to said amazingly prestigious academic job, so I think they thought it not their problem. The woman in question and GSA stayed friends, too. My institution is more hands off than most about all sorts of things. I'm not surprised they didn't interfere (beyond, and I am not sure about this, scolding GSA).
I mean, one time a new grad student hit print on some dirty emails sent to him by an older and married grad student. When they didn't come out of the printer right next to him, he kept hitting print. Over and over. Turns out they were printing in the dean's office. The dean brought them to our dept. chair, who proceeded to paste them around the dept. I know, right?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 2:55 PM
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268: Ms. Hitler.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 2:55 PM
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267: Secretly me too, which causes me to question my manhood. Also, there's no telling if any of that was true.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 2:58 PM
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He was graduating the term in which it happened and on his way to said amazingly prestigious academic job, so I think they thought it not their problem.

And no one called his new place of employment to warn them?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 3:02 PM
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263: I recently read an article whose authors included I. Suck. No, really.


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 3:05 PM
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This discussion is crushing my faith in the dignity of academe.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 3:05 PM
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274: I had no such faith, but I must admit to be completely shocked. I can't imagine being a part of that sort of institutional culture; I would never have survived.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 3:07 PM
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273: My dad loves to tell a purportedly true story involving roll call on little Phuoc Vu's first day of kindergarten.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 3:07 PM
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272: Practically all the faculty in both departments are friends. I am sure the macro-writing story preceded him. The adult-baby-website-writing story was probably only known to students. Mostly.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 3:08 PM
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275: 274 was very much tongue in cheek. My general impression is that the institutional culture of universities tends to make law firms look pretty good.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 3:09 PM
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At some point maybe I'll post some junior high photos. My awkward phase was genuinely quite awkward.

This is precisely why I posted the photos I have of myself from junior high. Goddamn I was a dork, and goddamn I'm glad I'm not (that kind of) a dork now.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 3:10 PM
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I recently read an article whose authors included I. Suck.

S/he could maybe co-author a paper with this guy.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 3:12 PM
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278: Ah, I should have realized that.

I shall count myself lucky that although I can think of scandalous things that have happened among our graduate students they were not of the malicious sort (which is how oudemia's stories read to me; they may well not have appeared so to the people involved).


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 3:13 PM
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263: I recently read an article whose authors included I. Suck. No, really.

Korean, probably?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 3:13 PM
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280: And this guy.

281: But graduate students are still young and idealistic, at least compared to what they'll be like by the time they're tenured.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 3:18 PM
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281: Well, mostly the pranks above involved pranksters pranking each other. They didn't involve other people. The name-changing thing was considered shitty, for sure. That year, my first, was wacky anyway. Everyone in the dept was dating or married to someone else in the dept and then cheating on them with yet another dept member. It made for wackiness. (Seriously, there were runaway elopements with visiting family members, etc. Craziness.)

We were actually a famously (at the university in question) high-functioning and happy department whose students and faculty all got along with each other. Amazing, I know!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 3:20 PM
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280, 283: Or they could take a different tack and team up with this guy.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 3:21 PM
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282: You're thinking it's a variant of Sook? Could well be; that hadn't occurred to me. (German institution, though, for what it's worth.) The first initial made it so perfect that I didn't want to spoil it by thinking about plausible explanations.


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 3:28 PM
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284: So crazy but functional. Like my family, then. (I didn't mean to criticize, I just would have been unsuitable for that sort of environment in a professional setting. I mostly lack the soap opera gene.)


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 3:28 PM
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285: He's already busy working with a team in New Zealand.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 3:29 PM
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287: Oh nono. I just meant that you were right about it all not seeming as malicious at the time as it does now. But yeah, everything was very gossipy that year. There were lots of good parties though.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 3:30 PM
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288: Wonder if he's related to one of these guys.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 3:31 PM
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289: Parties, hooray!


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 3:32 PM
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288:

Russell lives in a small rural property in the picturesque Pohangina Valley with his life manager (Fiona), two daughters (Amanda & Shawnee), 9 sheep, 5 chooks, 1 rabbit and a cat. Born and raised in Marton, prior to beginning his academic career he was a professional shearer in the Rangitikei.

New Zealand is... different.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 4:47 PM
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OT: Niiiice.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 4:48 PM
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Back to the topic of the post, can it possibly be the case that no one's yet linked to this Jezebel post (or the underlying article)?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 4:56 PM
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OMG 293.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 4:57 PM
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292: What's a chook?


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 4:59 PM
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293: I've just been rereading The Tummy Trilogy. OMG I love that man.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 5:10 PM
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296 - a chicken.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 5:17 PM
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296: a chicken.


Posted by: Nakku | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 5:17 PM
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A chicken?


Posted by: Nakku | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 5:18 PM
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296; a chicken.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 5:18 PM
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chick chick chick chick chicken


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 5:21 PM
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Chicken chicken chicken. Chicken.


Posted by: Nakku | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 5:22 PM
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303: chook! Chicken. Chicken > chook?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 5:25 PM
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Chooks chooks chooks


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 5:26 PM
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One of my Aussie boss's favorite dismissive phrases is "couldn't organize a chook raffle".


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 5:36 PM
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chook chook chook (pdf)


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 5:51 PM
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294: The underlying article is a fine example of the "now I finally get it" piece to which the only response is "sadlly, no."


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 5:52 PM
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chococoook chook


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 5:53 PM
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Massey is an aggie school in the middle of nowhere (formerly Massey Agricultural College of Victoria University), so it's not that surprising a history. Or present.


Posted by: wispa | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 6:11 PM
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I kind of share the feeling expressed upthread that the topic of the OP is off-putting, though it's more that it's uncomfortable. We all know that women in particular are judged according to their looks, and many women become aware of that, know they've internalized it, want to be the prettiest woman in the room, and simultaneously hate themselves for that.

Helen's comment upthread at 84 resonated for me:

I was pretty enough (and with a forceful enough personality) to get pretty much anything or anyone I wanted in my late teens/early twenties. I've avoided the what-will-happen-when-I-get-old bullet by putting on weight and becoming essentially non-threatening and non-sexual in my late twenties. Although it can't all have been a subconscious decision, I actually (secretly) feel very ambivalent about this.

I wasn't pretty enough quite for that (anything or anyone I wanted), being kind of unusual-looking, but still attractive enough that people looked. Of course I understand what alameida's thinking ahead toward: not exactly becoming unattractive -- to that extent, talk of one's relative attractiveness didn't seem like the point she was after -- but rather, becoming invisible.

I did something a little like what Helen relates: started dressing down, stopped wearing make-up, generally (intentionally? not that I realized at the time) disappearing into the crowd. Basically, I didn't want *being noticed* to be important to me.

Did it work? To some extent. In any case, I think I'm slightly less bothered by the invisibility that comes with aging than I otherwise would have been.

alameida asks:

But still, at some point in my life I'll become invisible to people. Will they treat me way differently? Will it freak me out more than if I'd always just been a normal, averagely attractive person?

Yeah, I think so. It'll freak you out more.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 6:20 PM
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I don't think I was attractive in my youth. Now, at least, the acne has largely subsided. In its place? Moles!


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 6:23 PM
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311: But we're adaptable creatures. I've gone through something vaguely similar recently in transitioning from being high-priced outside legal talent to mere in-house counsel. It's irksome to be taken less seriously at times, but since I'm really not trying to prove anything to anyone, I don't care a whole lot.

It's not how far you fall that matters, it's whether you've tied too much of your self-image to the place you fell from.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 6:29 PM
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Moles are adorable.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 6:33 PM
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I've always thought the star mole was the ugliest mammal there is. Although naked mole rats and certain bats give them a run for their money. We're all way better looking than any of them.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 6:38 PM
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Sifu's just trying to ensure ogged never comes back.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 6:39 PM
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I bought a squash at the farmer's market that looks like a star-nosed mole.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 6:43 PM
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315: Also beluga whales.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 6:43 PM
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Most days I dress to be inconspicuous, because that's not how I want people to interact with me. But today I gave a presentation to the public, which meant I had to dress for it. Slacks, blouse, hair and make-up. Two of my co-workers, whom I see for hours every day, straight-up didn't recognize me.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 6:46 PM
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313.2: Right. It's how much of your self-esteem, or maybe sense of self-worth, is tied to whatever you once were. It's become incredibly important to me (not just now, in middle age, but by the time I was 30 or so) to be able to relax and take competition off the table altogether.

* Speaking of grad school shenanigans, I recall a grad school party at which two people I knew were standing on either side of a corridor in the house and grading people as they passed through to the kitchen. As I passed by, I heard them call out a number, then another one as the person behind me passed by. "Yo, you guys," I said as I stopped dead, "are you fucking rating people?" Yep. See, I want no part of that. I'm sure it was cute and all.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 6:47 PM
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That bat is kind of cute actually.

Maybe not cute enough to get on a bus without paying, but I bet he doesn't miss it.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 6:47 PM
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315: Also beluga whales.

Really? They're not cute like dolphins, but compared to a humpback they have a relatively likeable face.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 6:49 PM
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I think NPH must mean beluga sturgeons, because beluga whales are like the cutest people alive.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 6:51 PM
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322: That's as may be, but they look more like grubs than any mammal should be allowed to.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 6:51 PM
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But beluga whales have such lovely personalities.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 6:52 PM
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That bat is at best une jolie laide, if that's the term I want, and I think it is.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 6:55 PM
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You know what animal is super ugly?

THE MAN ANIMAL.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 6:55 PM
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NPH is put off by the whiteness of the whale.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 6:58 PM
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Baleen whales are pretty ugly as a rule, I think. Even a lot of toothed whales are pretty ugly. But this guy? Not ugly.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 6:59 PM
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Google image search for "ugly mammals": objectively disturbing.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 7:01 PM
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328: Stupid fuckin' haoles, the lot of them.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 7:02 PM
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You know what animal is super ugly?

THE MAN ANIMAL.

Seriously. Have you ever really looked at ears? Nostrils? Knees? I kid you not. Plus there's that whole giganto-head thing, wobbling on that skinny neck. It's creepy.

I reserve a soft spot for fingers and toes of a certain sort, however. Speciesist, I am.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 7:14 PM
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the giganto head is cute, parsimon. Like kittens!


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 7:15 PM
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333: Well, okay, if you say so. Sometimes I think it's amazing that we don't fall over, though.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 7:38 PM
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334: You don't fall over? I'm jealous.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 7:41 PM
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334: I do. I drink heavily for an excuse, but I fall over regardless.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 7:42 PM
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335, 336: Duh, you guys. It's all about core body strength.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 7:59 PM
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337: If I built-up core strength, I'd get rock-hard abs. Then women would find me irresistible and then I wouldn't have any time for the internet.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 8:02 PM
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Nevermind. I had a look in the mirror. I'll start doing sit-ups tomorrow.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 8:05 PM
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I'll fall over right now, if you want.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 8:12 PM
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That's the ticket. Crunches are just as good if not better. Also, don't forget your shoulders and upper back: helps you hold up that gigantic head. Nobody likes to see slouching.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 8:12 PM
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341 to 339.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 8:13 PM
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I'm fairly certain that crunches are also superior to falling over.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 8:18 PM
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When you do crunches, you're already on the floor. Less risk of injury.

Next time you fall over, do some crunches while you're down there. Explain to people that you're working on the problem, and it makes complete sense.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 8:22 PM
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I quadruple (and fourth) the people who were saying that this thread is -- not off-putting exactly, but hard to find the right way to talk about. When I saw it this morning I felt a little tendril of dread: oh no, I hope this isn't going to be received by the same kind of careful quiet and handful of comments as Pam Spaulding's posts on race...

It is definitely pushing me to think seriously about just shaving my head

Another vote for yes. Insofar as I have opinions on strangers' appearances it's mostly along the lines of thinking shaved heads are super appealing. ::feeling slightly abashed::

And GSA was not thrown out of the University? That's horribly shitty behavior.

That's an understatement.

He was graduating the term in which it happened and on his way to said amazingly prestigious academic job, so I think they thought it not their problem.

And people wonder why I have such a chip on my shoulder about academics.

And no one called his new place of employment to warn them?

Essear has the right instincts.

Dude, they're just a lot more subtle than we are. They all do it.

I'm going to say this is more or less true. I do think social circles have a lot to do with ability to recognize someone checking you out, though. People -- of whatever sex/gender/orientation -- are often not literate in the signals and behavior of classes and cultures besides their own.

293 is terrific. Way to go, Calvin Trillin.

Most days I dress to be inconspicuous, because that's not how I want people to interact with me. But today I gave a presentation

Yes, this is pretty much me. I greatly prefer being inconspicuous, and can often manage it. But when I have to perform, or when I have an unusual amount of energy for being seen, I'm pretty comfortable being not just visible but even conspicuous. I very nearly bought an absolutely gorgeous vintage pink felt hat with a brown velvet brim the other day. I probably would have worn it annually, if that, but it would have been memorable.

This issue is complicated by the fact that I wore a visible brace for most of my adolescence, and now work in a context in which I am often the only person of my ethnicity and background in the room. So I've had a fair bit of being-noticed-for-being-out-of-place in my life, although from a rather privileged side of the fence. I get stopped by the police, but the worst they think is that I'm there to buy drugs. Or I'm the only native speaker, so I'm by default the person that everyone looks to as a spokesperson.

{oh dear, my response format is channeling max}


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 9:25 PM
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345 was me.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 9:27 PM
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I haven't, um, checked out this entire thread yet, but I will say that although I don't (think I) get checked out much, I've never really been comfortable with it when it's happened, at least when it's been strangers.

On being inconspicuous, I'm comfortable being talkative and energetic and whatever in small groups of people I'm already comfortable with, but occasionally I'll be saying something that other people who were near but not quite in the conversational group when I started start paying attention to and I'll be fine if I don't notice it, but when I do I start to stumble over my words. I'd rather keep the lower profile while not having to be quietish in every situation.

Also, I feel like I've lost a lot of my ability to speak in classroom situations since the last time I was in school. Maybe because I really don't want to be in school anymore (this was true before I started again, so it's not a response to anything).


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 9:36 PM
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I am often the only person of my ethnicity and background in the room. So I've had a fair bit of being-noticed-for-being-out-of-place in my life, although from a rather privileged side of the fence.

I've been in a lot of situations like this in my life. It's made the transition to situations where I totally blend into the crowd a bit odd. I wouldn't say I mind the change, really; I like blending in a lot more than sticking out. It's certainly different, though, and can be tricky to adjust to.

Being devastating attractive helps, of course. (Hi, 85!)


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 9:40 PM
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It's certainly different, though, and can be tricky to adjust to.

I had a funny conversation with a young white mother on an airplane once, talking about how she was always a little taken aback when she left the (mostly Native) village where she lived and went into one of Alaska's cities. She mimed feeling a bit more insecure, clutching her baby a little tighter, and joked about thinking, "There sure are a lot of white people around!" But it wasn't really a joke.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 9:45 PM
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I feel like I've lost a lot of my ability to speak in classroom situations since the last time I was in school.

I feel a bit more comfortable speaking in class this time around. I still very rarely speak in most of my classes, but I have one seminar where I talk a lot (too much, I sometimes worry, but no one seems to mind), and it feels pretty good. I definitely like being back in classroom situations again. It's a context I feel I can easily handle.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 9:47 PM
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She mimed feeling a bit more insecure, clutching her baby a little tighter, and joked about thinking, "There sure are a lot of white people around!" But it wasn't really a joke.

I've had that exact thought many times in various places. Of course it's a bit different (perhaps more ironic) coming from me.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 9:48 PM
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I've had the impression that as I've gotten older and the places I've worked/studied have gotten whiter (though that trend has reversed a bit here) that I've sometimes been passing without knowing it (to the extent that you can pass as a member of a group you're already partially in). But the alternative explanation that people are less likely to ask the "what are you" questions as they get older seems just as valid.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 9:50 PM
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She mimed feeling a bit more insecure, clutching her baby a little tighter, and joked about thinking, "There sure are a lot of white people around!" But it wasn't really a joke.

What Witt doesn't mention is that this is exactly what she did (modulo baby) when meeting people at the Brickskeller at udcon 2.0.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 9:52 PM
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I know this because she said and didn't merely think it; maybe I should say that.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 9:52 PM
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But the alternative explanation that people are less likely to ask the "what are you" questions as they get older seems just as valid.

??? I have not noticed any such decreased likelihood. Although I am in a corner of the world where discussions of ethnic background are common.

Still, people are at least as likely to ask me about the ethnic background of my name, or look at me and try to guess, as they ever were when I was a child. And my (non-white/non-native-born-USC) friends and colleagues seem to get quizzed about it plenty. (Of course, maybe "plenty" is still "Less than when I was 7.")


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 9:53 PM
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353, 354; Ha, I had forgotten that I said that. But it really was the very first thought that popped into my head.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 9:54 PM
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when I have an unusual amount of energy for being seen

Such a good way to put this.


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 9:58 PM
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I don't know. Lots of people used to be pretty obviously uncomfortable asking about my ethnic background in a way that suggested they weren't sure if it was polite. People who just come out and ask "what's your ethnic background" usually don't seem to think there's anything wrong with it. It's the people who will not admit what they're asking as you keep giving literal answers to their veiled questions ("where are you from?", when it's not the literal from that interests them) until they finally mention ethnicity/race outright who've mostly disappeared.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 9:59 PM
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Also, I think it's different when you're "obviously" white, or non-white, or foreign (noticeable accent, for example). Then you're adding details to a known fact.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 10:02 PM
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I've been really struck by the whiteness of the student body in my program. (I don't think this is anything specific to my program; it's just a very white profession in general.) A handful of black and Asian students, but virtually no Hispanics, which is a big contrast to the surrounding community.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 10:03 PM
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when I have an unusual amount of energy for being seen

Then again, according to this study, maybe should have been when I'm ovulating.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 10:04 PM
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Darn it, 361 was me.

(Also, it's just a very white profession in general is reminding me that when I was asked to be part of a discussion as part of a diversity initiative recently, I did ask the organizers point-blank if they really wanted me, as a white person, to speak. They said yes. I ended up getting way more laughs than I expected {n=3}, which I attribute in part to the humor inherent in the incongruity.)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 10:08 PM
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327: And yet the MANIMAL is a thing of feral beauty. A paradox.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 10:11 PM
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I went to a diversity policy information session once where someone asked whether a white Mormon libertarian from rural Utah would count under diversity admissions. The answer was yes, unless you had a lot of people matching that description already.

I think the asker threw libertarian into the description because this was back when the political diversity question was all over the place.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 10:13 PM
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When I moved to my current neighbourhood it was overwhelmingly black and I was often quite conscious of being the only white person in a store or towards the end of a subway trip home, but that quickly faded. It's been getting steadily whiter and one day a couple summers ago I was walking down a main retail street here and noticed it had a clear white majority and I thought to myself 'when the hell did all these white folks come here'.

358 I remember traveling with an Asian ex in Europe and people would constantly ask her that question. She'd say America, they'd say, 'no, where are you really from' 'uuh, Maryland?'. They'd react dubiously. I never got that reaction, in spite of the fact that I was a lot more 'ethnic' and non American than she was. She didn't speak her language of ethnic origin and had only visited there once or twice. I was born in the US but Polish was my first language, remained the only language I used at home, and I often spent summers there. Plus we moved to Europe when I was in elementary school and there I remained until college.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 10:21 PM
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Not long after I moved to England, when I had no real idea which accents went with which parts of the country, I asked a classmate where he was from, meaning where in England. He was English; he was also black. I watched his assessment of me change for the worse as he answered the question he'd thought I was asking, to say that his mother had immigrated from Liberia. I was obviously enough confused that it wasn't hard to straighten out, but I don't think I'll ever forget the here-we-go-again look he gave me at first.


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 10:35 PM
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Oh, guess I should say something about the OP:

There's this famous quote from Joan Collins that the problem with beauty is that its like being born rich and getting poorer.

And she should know. Old-timey Joan Collins was spookily hot, the kind of hot that makes you just want to Give Things to That Person to keep them in your presence (and that's rare; even living in Canada's unofficial capital of incredibly beautiful women I've only met a handful who truly have that effect), but if I were driving a bus today? She'd definitely have to pay the fare. Except that she's Joan Collins, so how likely is that, but still, point.

The upside is that if you have charm, style and any sort of physical distinctiveness, that's almost as good. (At least, having in admixture some 2.35 of those three virtues, that's sort of been my experience.) So, Alameida will be fine. You might have to get a bit strategic about who you ask for sex, though.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 10:42 PM
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366: I've given a few people that look, and subsequently realized it was undeserved, or not as deserved as it seemed at the time. If he had that realization he probably felt pretty shitty, but it's hard to walk The Look back once it's been given.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 10:44 PM
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I met someone from Germany who thought that "which part of Germany are you from" was a veiled way of asking whether you were from the former east or west Germany. This was about ten years after reunification and it hadn't occurred to the asker or any of the other English speakers present that pre-unification history wasn't so far in the past as it seemed. I can't remember if the asker was a native English speaker. The intent was simply to get a city/town name as the answer. It turned out there was some confusion over the difference between "which" - as in "which Germany", I guess - and "which part."


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 10:52 PM
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368: Yeah, the look was devastating. We did clear up that I'd meant where in England, but there had been the very beginnings of a friendship there, and then there weren't.

I've felt rotten about it on and off for a decade now. Sure, at that stage, having been in the country for about a week, I felt like I was the outsider and he was the insider, but it should have occurred to me that he would be working in a different frame, and one in which my question was in all likelihood offensive.


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 10:56 PM
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370: The worst is when you can feel The Look come over your features, even when you know the other party isn't trying to be offensive and might just be wording an argument infelicitously, but you still can't stop it, and everything gets really really awkward.

A Nish buddy of mine and I had this experience with a white hipster friend who attempted to initiate a conversation about alcoholism among First Nations people in our community. And the thing was, as he saw the "oh my fucking God one of those" looks come over our faces and started tripping over himself, it became clear that he really wasn't making the usual "oh, those fucking drunken Indians" complaint. But by that point, no amount of reassurance could un-look The Look. It is sometimes a perilous instrument.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-14-09 11:05 PM
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Yeah, I had the Look from a student of mine a few years back. We were discussing the possibility of taking a masters course, and she asked me what the most difficult thing about it might be, and I made some throw-away comment about it being hard to get used to students from a different (academic) culture.

She gave me the Look, and clearly thought I was saying something racist, when what I was actually talking was super-pushy 'make me the centre of attention Professor' Americans.*

* not that all Americans are super-pushy, but among Americans studying abroad, there's a type ...


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 5:06 AM
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Even suckier is getting the Look when you deserve it. After college, I worked as a temp receptionist a little, and at one of the places I worked a South Asian-American guy asked me out to lunch. And in an attempt to make light, friendly conversation (not a strong point with new people) I started asking him about where his family was from, does he go back to visit, etc. And the conversation died, in a tense, unpleasant kind of way, and it took me halfway through the afternoon to figure out "Oh, hey, wait, I'm the asshole!"

Somehow I hadn't managed to internalize the distinction between light conversation about someone's family (harmless and pleasant), and harping on someone's presumed country of ethnic origin based on their appearance in a way that comes off as "Well, you're obviously not from around here," (privileged and assholish), before that interaction.

So, the Look -- unpleasant, but educational.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 5:49 AM
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Yeah, I've done it with taxi drivers.* Just making conversation, I notice they have an accent.

"Where you from?"
"Oxford"
"No, I mean, before that ..."

No offence intended, and maybe they haven't picked up on the fact that I don't exactly have a local accent, either. But it could come over a bit dickish, yeah.

* in thise case, mostly white guys, but with Eastern European accents.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 5:57 AM
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I avoid this problem by never talking to people.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 7:10 AM
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(It works pretty well.)


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 7:10 AM
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super-pushy 'make me the centre of attention Professor' Americans

Heh. It's definitely a type, and a very common one stateside as well. One of my classes has a German TA who is clearly not very comfortable with the prevalence of this sort of attitude among his students. Yesterday he even said something like "I would like to be allowed to explain this without being interrupted, please" when people kept interrupting him with questions while he was explaining something.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 7:15 AM
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372: I think part of the super-pushy thing is a certain brusqueness that is common in the US, and part of it is an unconscious strategy for dealing with the cultural impedance mismatch of being overseas. If you don't know the subtle (and unsubtle) means of communication that work in the local culture, being forceful and direct is a workable strategy for getting things done. Also the US has a disproportionate share of the worlds assholes, so there's that.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 7:16 AM
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re: 378

Nah, these were just assholes, or (charitably) people who had been socialised in a less self-deprecating cultural environment.*

There are/were obviously British assholes, too, on the same program, but the assholery takes a different form and, as a British person, I'm used to it.

* and also, to be fair, being a brash attention seeking arse is quite effective as a strategy.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 7:46 AM
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...these were just assholes...

I don't suppose I could convince you to keep them over there? I'm not really a big fan of assholes.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 7:48 AM
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It's also really heavily rewarded in at least the US universities where I've taken classes. I've always talked a lot in class, and hopefully haven't been too much of an asshole about it, but most professors I've had (both undergrad and law school) permitted students to participate on the basis of the students' level of aggression about it -- if you pushed yourself forward to pontificate interestingly, you could talk as much as you wanted. Humble or self-deprecating attempts to participate seemed to reduce the chance that you'd ever be allowed to speak again.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 7:51 AM
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You know, it is kind of funny, because if I were to construct a stereotype of British folks (in my discipline) over here, it would be not entirely dissimilar. Well, not "ooh! ooh! pay attention to me!" but rather, "I'm going to smirk and be an aggressive asshole at talks." And it is generally talks, not class. I chalked it up to "question time" cultural differences (as the people in question were not in general assholes). Perhaps interestingly, they were always male.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 7:57 AM
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re: 381

Yeah, and even the more circumspect people in that environment [some of the Brits, Scandinavians, etc] weren't really that shy about coming forward. It's all relative. I'd imagine even the humblest member of that peer group would appear pretty aggressive in, say, the average undergraduate seminar group.

But there were a few really brash, over-confident outliers, and they did, on the whole, tend to be American.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 7:57 AM
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re: 382

Yeah, I can sort of see that too. Cultural differences, etc. As I said, there were British assholes, too. It's just that the assholery took a culturally familiar form [for me].


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 8:01 AM
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382 if I were to construct a stereotype of British folks (in my discipline) over here, it would be .... "I'm going to smirk and be an aggressive asshole at talks."

I agree with this. (The stereotype also holds for a certain type of Russian.)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 8:04 AM
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if you pushed yourself forward to pontificate interestingly, you could talk as much as you wanted. Humble or self-deprecating attempts to participate seemed to reduce the chance that you'd ever be allowed to speak again.

Drop the word "interestingly", and this is why I found the core Soc requirement at the U of C barely tolerable.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 8:05 AM
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Heh. Yeah, the classes I were thinking of were core Soc and core Humanities. "Interestingly" -- you could get shut down for pontificating really cluelessly, but you're right that you didn't have to be terribly interesting. (I never had any trouble getting called on, and sometimes I'd actively turn the floor over to someone who was clearly dying to say something but who couldn't get acknowledged by the prof. You can do a lot of classroom management as a student if you're willing to presume.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 8:10 AM
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386: Who teaches those? I always felt bad for UofC undergrads that large swaths of the HumCore -- certainly anything to do with Greek tragedy/philosophy/history -- were the locked-down fiefdom of those dictator wannabees in Soc/al Thought.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 8:11 AM
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You can do a lot of classroom management as a student if you're willing to presume.

OMG yes. I was at least trying to be self-aware, I promise.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 8:12 AM
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388: My Soc class was taught by some anthropologist who had some sort of postdoc/lecturer job (not faculty). At times he was actually pretty interesting, but the class discussions were never very useful relative to the rare occasions when he would just lecture. And the quarter focused largely on Freud was godawful. (It was the one time when I made some attempts at redirecting the discussion, by trying to bring up actual psychology research. This was quickly shut down -- questioning the truth of anything Freud wrote showed that I 'lacked perspective' and 'wasn't willing to deal with the material on its own terms'.)

I avoided the Greek Hum classes and took one of the weirder, two-quarter-only sequences, which was taught by a linguist who also was just a short-term lecturer or something.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 8:23 AM
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(And who sometimes insisted on being called "Professor" rather than "Mr" or "Dr", even though he, you know, wasn't.)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 8:25 AM
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391: That's weird. I've always thought that one of the nicer affectations at the UofC was calling everyone Mr or Ms. (I mean, "professor," maybe, but "doctor"? Never!)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 8:32 AM
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When you're in class, and you look around the room, and you can't figure out who the super-pushy, "make me the center of attention Professor" American is, it's you.

||
Trying to get the bathtub drain unstuck. Poured hella lye down it already. Bought a power-drill snake and used that. Tried to see if I could open up the idiotic old drum trap, but the unscrewing hexagon at the top only sticks up about 3/8 of an inch, so my pliers can find no purchase. Way late for work. Totally, totally irritated. Home ownership really sucks sometimes all the time.
||>


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 8:39 AM
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393: I betcha Menard's has a socket-wrenchy type thing to loosen the trap. You may want to spray it thoroughly with WD-40 before you leave for work.

Alternatively, this is the kind of thing where you just may want to call a plumber (depending on the age of your house, you may be dealing with a crackable pipe, and a cracked pipe gets real expensive, real quick). I've got a company I've used in the past if you'd like a number. Just drop me a line at my gmail address or shoot me a message on FB.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 8:47 AM
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It's also really heavily rewarded in at least the US universities where I've taken classes.

This obviously is going to vary widely among institutions of higher learning. My undergrad college was blessedly totally unlike this -- thanks in no small part to pretty small class sizes. I can think of exactly one student in all my years who dominated class discussions like that -- and she was a bright but mentally challenged young woman who got cut the slack to do that because she was bright but mentally challenged. (She had a photographic memory, but could not connect with people well at all and had terrible hygiene.) Anyone else who tried that was quickly discouraged by the social glares of their peers. Of course my courses ranged from maybe 40 at the largest all the way down to 6. (Or down to 1, if you count the independent study.)


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 8:49 AM
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394: Now I have the Menard's song in my head.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 8:50 AM
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Oh, and depending on how deep the clog is, there are these plastic strips for like $5 that have barbs oriented in a way that they go down the drain smoothly and pull out all the hair and crap (hopefully not literally) stuck down there. Just about any hardware shop should have 'em.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 8:50 AM
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396: I didn't until your comment.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 8:51 AM
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394: We used to call anyone who got crazily enthusiastic about something menarded.

Sadly, the old guy has retired. The commercials are much less entertaining these days.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 8:52 AM
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I always tried to dominate the conversation in the part of the class where the part of the reading I'd actually done was discussed, so I could magnanimously sit back and allow others to speak during the rest of the class (where I would be talking out of my ass).

I was a pretty terrible student.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 8:55 AM
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most professors I've had (both undergrad and law school) permitted students to participate on the basis of the students' level of aggression about it

Oh, man. I am totally that guy in my seminar this semester, and I hate myself for it, and yet I cannot. shut. up.


Posted by: emdash | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 9:02 AM
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402: I suspect many of us Unfoggeteers have been that guy and have had to fall back on our devastating attractiveness to allay the resentment of our fellow students.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 9:06 AM
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My Soc class

Was there a Greaser class, too?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 9:08 AM
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I was that guy. Oudemia can attest to that.

It is funny that this seminar experience is so common among the schools people around here went to, because it is not really what most of American education is like. Most classes at most schools do not have a pushy boy who demands attention. The teacher can ask a question, and there will be long silences where anyone can step in. When ssomeone does step in, it is not the Pushy Boy with an Opinion, but the Good Girl with an Answer from the Reading (which no one else did.)

That said, I did have a fair number of Pushy Boys with Opinions at Stuffwhitepeople Like University, and I have one this semester at Last Chance Community College.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 9:17 AM
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most professors I've had (both undergrad and law school) permitted students to participate on the basis of the students' level of aggression about it

Oh, man. I am totally that guy in my seminar this semester, and I hate myself for it, and yet I cannot. shut. up.

I admit to not really understanding this in the graduate context - you had classes where the professor expected the students to not talk? Or is it that they didn't do a good job of regulating the conversation so that everyone got their chance to speak?


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 9:17 AM
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406: It probably seems like professor expects students not to talk because he is just an older version of the pushy student who wants to be the center of attention. I know I have that problem sometimes. It means that the teacher can only be pushed out of the center of attention by a really pushy upstart.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 9:19 AM
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Deleting the troll has destroyed my number, alas.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 9:20 AM
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405: Aw. I was thankful for your being "that guy," since the class we were in together was taught by someone* who didn't understand the material half so well as you did. I also remember being wheeled around the classroom handing croquet balls back and forth to people as part of some Huygens experiment? Am I hallucinating?

(*I rather liked her, but you sort of taught that class.)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 9:22 AM
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408 is to Robert's now 404. I am sure Parenthetical was a wonderful undergrad, however.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 9:23 AM
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you had classes where the professor expected the students to not talk? Or is it that they didn't do a good job of regulating the conversation so that everyone got their chance to speak?

The latter. It's kind of a free-for-all, so if you're the sort who hangs back and raises your hand until you get called on, you're probably going to get steamrolled by the Devastatingly Attractive Pushy Boy at the end of the table.


Posted by: emdash | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 9:24 AM
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I've always thought that one of the nicer affectations at the UofC was calling everyone Mr or Ms. (I mean, "professor," maybe, but "doctor"? Never!)

U.Va. has this affectation, too (among many, many others ["Campus"? oh, heavens no; it's "Grounds" {barf}]). One whispered explanation is that Thomas Jefferson had an inferiority complex about never having earned an advance degree and thus decreed that only MDs would go by "Doctor".


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 9:25 AM
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408: I remember being rolled around while holding a ball on a string to illustrate a rather obvious point about momentum. I also remember that it was a point I understood completely, but couldn't communicate accurately to Ms. K. So I was put in an awkward position for the sake of dispelling an embarrassing misconception that I didn't really have.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 9:34 AM
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I always tried to dominate the conversation in the part of the class where the part of the reading I'd actually done was discussed, so I could magnanimously sit back and allow others to speak during the rest of the class (where I would be talking out of my ass).

This reminds me of one of my most uncomfortable undergraduate experiences: the day no one--out of a class of a dozen or so--did the reading for a history seminar I was in. I hadn't done the reading, either, but I knew enough about the topic to fake it (but not enough to know if I was faking it well) and wound up carrying what little discussion there was that day. In retrospect, that class looks like a pretty good metaphor for my life.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 9:36 AM
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408: Dr Oops had a great story (which I'm pretty sure I've told here before) about taking control of a math class at your mutual college from a tutor who wasn't too mathematically inclined, and walking the class through a proof that a parabola approached vertical asymptotes on both sides. She then went home, thought about it a bit, and spent the next class explaining to the class and the tutor why that was was completely wrong.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 9:42 AM
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In retrospect, that class was a pretty good metaphor for her life. As a transplant surgeon.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 9:47 AM
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You can do a lot of classroom management as a student if you're willing to presume.

Yeah, I definitely got pushier about this as my college experience went on. Part of it was naivete in the beginning -- I didn't understand that professors didn't necessarily know anything about how to facilitate discussion, much less how to ensure feedback from various students. So I kept waiting for them to do it, and not understanding that it was a skill that -- command of the subject matter notwithstanding -- some of them just plain didn't have.

As I got bolder in making my own comments, I also got significantly more assertive in raising my hand, getting called on, and redirecting the comment to the student who'd been signaling less successfully (sometimes overtly, sometimes not). I'm sure this was regarded as bossy or inappropriate overstepping by some, but from my perspective it's in service to the larger goal of hearing from all of your classmates.*

*This is why I would never fit into the culture of law school, at least gauging by the one legal studies course I took.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 9:47 AM
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I love it how the conversation moved from beauty, which maybe like two people here can talk about, to having been good at school, which is the common glue that holds Unfogged together.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 9:48 AM
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414: why that was was completely wrong.

It should have been a "were".


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 9:52 AM
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walking the class through a proof that a parabola approached vertical asymptotes on both sides

I'd be curious to see that proof.

It does remind my of an econ. seminar I once had, in which my mid-term paper examined a data set which showed a strong inverse correlation between job happines and job pay (and I discussed the theory of "compensating differentials", etc.). My final paper for the course re-examined the same data set and concluded that I had initially misread the coding of the "job satisfaction" variable (1 was "very satisfied", 4 was "very dissatisfied"--the opposite of most of the variables in the data set, which were generally coded so that higher numbers meant "better"). So there was instead a strong direct correlation between job satisfaction and pay, which is a much less interested conclusion (since the former was probably strongly influenced by the latter). I did get As on both papers, and in the course.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 9:53 AM
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419.1 It was all about affinity.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 10:01 AM
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417: I'm rubber.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 10:18 AM
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I'm late to this, but 372 reminds me: An Indian Rh/des Sch/lar I knew used to say the American Rh/dies were the ones who would go into the Warden's office and storm, "For the money you're paying me to be here, I expect better service!"


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 11:06 AM
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Also: of the recommendation letters I've had occasion to read, it's really striking how many commend the applicants for the active role they played in steering seminar discussion and drawing out ideas from their classmates. It really does seem to be the case that the recommenders just don't know how to manage the class and are waiting for a leader to step up from the ranks. Not to be That Guy, but for rhc/Witt-style moderating.


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 11:15 AM
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421: Tovarich!


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 11:21 AM
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@382

A friend recently described the British as "the Americans of Europe". Apt.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 11:22 AM
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It is funny that this seminar experience is so common among the schools people around here went to, because it is not really what most of American education is like. Most classes at most schools do not have a pushy boy who demands attention. The teacher can ask a question, and there will be long silences where anyone can step in. When ssomeone does step in, it is not the Pushy Boy with an Opinion, but the Good Girl with an Answer from the Reading (which no one else did.)


Yeah, this is what most of my undergrad classes were like. Frankly I would have preferred it if the professors hadn't even bothered to ask questions.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 11:29 AM
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423: It's bad enough that when you run into a professor who can moderate a seminar, it's remarkable. I took a seminar in law school from Derrick Bell, who was just astonishingly good at it -- got everyone talking, gently made sure that no one ate up class time repeating things over and over again, kept the discussion going in productive directions without dominating it. It was a great class. It was almost a shame that Bell, particularly, was the guy with those skills, because he's someone I would happily have listened to lecture for hours, but the class I actually took from him was much more about the students' active exploration of the con law issues, rather than communicating his own thoughts and ideas.

But in seven years of tertiary education, when I try to think of people who ran really good discussion classes, I can't think of any other standouts.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 11:31 AM
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Also, I disagree about the look. Fine, I understand that if you look different you probably have to answer a lot of clueless questions that get really tiring. But let me get this straight: you want everyone to learn about different cultures and races so that you don't get dumb questions, but you get pissy when you actually have an opportunity to teach someone about said cultures/races. I think that makes you lazy and a bit of an asshole. Everyone has some aspect of their life that is different enough from the mainstream that they have to explain it over and over for people (some more than others, obvs). The people that win are those that can do so with patience and magnanimity.

This probably makes me an asshole.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 11:33 AM
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This probably makes me an asshole.

Asshole? I'd have to know you better. But wrong. People aren't obligated to be educational resources for each other when they're just trying to do their jobs or socialize, and it's an unreasonable expectation that they should be.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 11:43 AM
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417: Vanity taketh many forms, now a bird, then a bee, again a flashing thing of SAT scores and Brattle Street.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 11:50 AM
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Chopper: I just emailed you.

If this keeps up we're all going to have to shower with the Xtian punx next door, and they have traveling friends staying already. Sigh. I hate plumbing.

Back to the off-topic discussion, I often felt my role as an undergrad was to be the professor's straight man. And those long silences (especially after a really basic question) drove me up the wall. Several of my professors had to resort to "Who'd like to answer that? (Anyone but Natilo)" but it's so IRRITATING when the other drones just sit there looking stupid. I should have gone to The College of the Leisure Class (where I would have been a legacy), or at least tried to transfer in to Diversity Through International Jet-Setters College (which would have been cheap.)


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 11:58 AM
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If this keeps up we're all going to have to shower with the Xtian punx next door, and they have traveling friends staying already. Sigh. I hate plumbing.

Call a plumber? Support your local blue-collar laborer, etc etc? Plumbing work has the potential to cause significant damage to one's house if it goes wrong, more so than almost any other type of home repair.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 12:03 PM
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In the meantime, boiling water and toilet plungers might be worth a shot.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 12:05 PM
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Blue-collar? I make minimum wage managing a fairly successful non-profit enterprise with 35 employees. Plumbers make $35 per quarter hour. That's the danger of craft unionism right there. I would freak more about potential damage, but this is so easy to figure out. And to access. And I'm broke.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 12:06 PM
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I think of this as a level down from lye, so I don't know if there's much point once you've tried the lye, but boiling water and baking soda is my first line of defense for a slow drain.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 12:08 PM
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Nevertheless, they wear blue collars.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 12:09 PM
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Water moccasin: I don't care how blue-collar the plumbers are, I'm not washing myself with boiling water and a toilet plunger. Jeezum Crow! I'd wind up looking as ugly and ratlike as Don Rickles!


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 12:09 PM
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I unclogged a drain that defeated an actual, professional plumber by pouring in a bottle of drain opener and doggedly plunging for about fifteen minutes. So, you know, try that.


Posted by: emdash | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 12:34 PM
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Do plumbers get paid a lot because they're union? I though it was because they practice a difficult and unpleasant trade and there aren't a lot of them. Is there a guild system that keeps the number of new plumbers artificially low?


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 12:40 PM
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I thought plumbers made a lot of money because whenever you have a slow drain, they tell you that you are going to have to have all the pipes in the house redone and that it will cost tens of thousands of dollars.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 1:00 PM
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439: I think you need to go through an apprenticeship and/or trade education to get licensed, which means learning industrial/commercial/residential plumbing plus waste systems and some HVAC, plus code. That said, residential plumbing alone is generally simple, so DIY or find a reliable handyman. Plumbing is fun! Really!


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 1:16 PM
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it's really striking how many commend the applicants for the active role they played in steering seminar discussion and drawing out ideas from their classmates. It really does seem to be the case that the recommenders just don't know how to manage the class and are waiting for a leader to step up from the ranks.

It could also be that the recommenders attempt to run a less professor-centered classroom and try to get the students to speak to and respond to each other. Have you ever run a classroom discussion? It gets really dry when all the students direct their comments and questions only at the professor. Which can tend to happen in more grade-grubbing sorts of institutions. (Ahem.)


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 1:30 PM
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Have you ever run a classroom discussion? It gets really dry when all the students direct their comments and questions only at the professor.

Yes, this. Ideally they are talking to each other. This is how things go on the best days, when I can just step in to focus something or help them figure out how to figure something out.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 1:36 PM
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I think part of the problem I've been having now with participation, aside from not wanting to be in school, is that classes are about twice the size I'm used to. Even in undergrad lectures with hundreds of students, discussion sections were usually a bit smaller than what we have. That and our classes are more lecture than discussion, but participation is still expected and graded in some of them.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 1:37 PM
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Natilo - Liquid Plumber is more than just an expensive alternative to lye. Might be worth a shot. Also don't underestimate the power of raw persistence. Plunge, snake, flush, and keep at it until you win or pass out. I have beaten many a clog by doing this.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 1:56 PM
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Training requirements plus licensing, I suspect. If an actual plumber comes to fix your drain but screws it up and floods your house, my understanding is that they have to pay to fix it and the state requires them to carry insurance and or post a bond to ensure that they have the money to do so.

If you find "a handyman who knows plumbing" or hire a plumber on a wink-wink-nudge-nudge basis, you can save a lot of money.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 1:59 PM
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As I understand it, around here, you can either go to technical college and then apply around, or be apprenticed. But the apprenticeships go to people's brothers-in-law, and only 1 in 20 of the tech college graduates wind up being journeyman plumbers. So, it's a racket, that a craft union participates in, but which it is not solely responsible for.

Chopper supports me in email. Sort of. It's hard to explain why this is such a hassle. If I have a chance, I'll take a picture of the pipes in question and put it on the Unfogged Flickr or something. But take my word for it, it's just about the most asinine excuse for a plumbing job you could possibly imagine.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 2:02 PM
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...the most asinine excuse for a plumbing job you could possibly imagine.

Originally installed by a non-union plumber, presumably...


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 2:53 PM
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Crap. I'm sad I missed this conversation due to work and stuff. I will attempt not to repeat things I've said before.

K-sky above says he's a good flirt but not a closer. I'm the opposite. I have poor flirtation skills and am not the type whose beauty draws people from the other side of the room to talk to me. But if, for some reason, someone begins flirting with me and there is any spark in my brain that something could come of it, I respond with pathologically awkward flutteriness, caused, I think, by competition between the part of my brain that really really wants to get laid and be loved, and the part of my brain that knows that I am terrible in relationships and likely only to leave this particular campsite defiled beyond recognition. Add in (depending on the flirter in question) terror of being jerked around, manipulated, smothered, abandoned, etc., and you end up with an apparently quite attractive cocktail of symptoms that makes a certain kind of person helpless in the face of his desire to watch the spectacle of my squirming longing and fear for as long as possible.

None of it has anything to do with beauty. I'll cop to being reasonably pretty in my way, and totally aside from my menwha and emotional issues, I think I'd do well enough for myself. My looks haven't changed much over the past ten years, except that I have a better haircut and more attractive clothes. But as I get saner and more settled, less paranoid and more sure of myself, I'm less of a target for your casual fluffy-bunny hunter, and so it seems to me I get a lot less action. And when I am flirted with, I'm a lot better at distinguishing emotionally between people who are attracted to my particular mix of anxieties and and those who are attracted to me for nice, normal things like they think I'm cute and/or smart. I'm not any better at having good, loving relationships, but I am slightly better at not plunging myself into definitely-pathological ones.

In effect, I'm a lot lonelier, but it's because I'm more suspicious of the attention I get from potentially-malevolent sources. As I get older, I learn that beauty has a lot less to do with why people like me or don't than the weird, untraceable, changeable vibes of psychosexual affinities. Some of those vibes may grow out of one's sense of one's own beauty (or lack thereof) and its power (or lack thereof), but I think it's far more complicated than some kind of model in which pretty people are better-liked because people see them and think about them as pretty.

In other news, I'm seeing a new therapist in 45 minutes.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 3:00 PM
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In other news, I'm seeing a new therapist in 45 minutes.

I read this as:

In other words, I'm seeing a new therapist in 45 minutes.

Heh. Good luck with it, AWB!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 3:12 PM
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Um, not that I think the paragraphs preceding the closing line call for a therapist. Just a funny closer.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 3:14 PM
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442, 443: I don't mean for a second to imply that the skill the recommenders are mentioning isn't a worthy one; on the contrary, it carries quite a bit of weight, as a measure of both academic ability and social fluency. Confidentiality obviously prevents me from quoting the letters I'm thinking about, but I can say that they often convey that the applicants step in when the discussion has gone down a blind alley and the recommending professor doesn't know how to get back on track. It's possible that the recommenders are overstating their own helplessness by way of emphasizing the applicants' mad skillz, of course, but it happens a lot.


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 3:34 PM
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But as I get saner and more settled, less paranoid and more sure of myself, I'm less of a target for your casual fluffy-bunny hunter, and so it seems to me I get a lot less action.

For dudes, especially intelligent dudes of average attractiveness, the exact opposite is true. As I've gotten older I've gone from mostly ignored except for by a few geekhunters, to the center of way more attention than I'd ever expected. Part is finally not looking like I'm 12, but part is that intelligence + increased confidence coming from age + increased competence coming from experience + increased income from not being a student anymore = teh hott. At least for dudes. For women, it tends to be opposite, as AWB describes, but it's probably positive on balance because it just means they recognize that you're not an easy target anymore.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 3:34 PM
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393: Tried to see if I could open up the idiotic old drum trap, but the unscrewing hexagon at the top only sticks up about 3/8 of an inch, so my pliers can find no purchase.

Wrench. For an external hexagon, anyways.

The clog may be well down there, so a lot depends on where the pipe runs.

max
['What you would want, I think, is the access port for the snake, at the top of the external sewer pipe.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 4:09 PM
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There are two plumbing jobs I haven't done DIY.

1) needed a 100 foot electric snake

2) needed either a fucking pipe wrench at the end of a 2 foot extension, or tearing out a wall.

I have repaired a plate-sized hole in a porcelain bathtub. Wow. (Think no backing, like repairing a circular hole in a standing window.

Liquid Plumber usually works for me.

There are also these blue crystals I use to clean the roots from the system every year, that are designed, well, to dissolve wood. They can take a plunger to get into the system, a couple of days to work through the block.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 4:10 PM
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Wow, great post.

Beautiful women frighten and intimidate me, always have. (Although the level of beauty necessary to have this effect has escalated enormously as I've gotten older). For a really beautiful young woman, it's hard to look directly at her. Like staring into the sun. This can be mutually uncomfortable, although it gives a certain pleasure as well. I'm at best average looking myself too.

Beautiful women in their 40s are in a nice midrange, no longer blindingly gorgeous but pleasantly attractive.

There's something very un-PC about beauty, it's so undemocratic and so unfairly bestowed, but so absolute in its way. Although some of my thinking on that has changed recently, from hanging out with some artists.

I always thought it must be tricky for women, in some of the ways that Almeida describes.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 4:41 PM
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453: yeah, as a guy in your 30s and 40s you are far more attractive than in your teens and 20s. (I think part of that is just that the numbers are evening out between single men/women). But I think your raw sexual drive and need for romantic validation is much greater when you're 18-25. One of nature's jokes there -- the more you need it, the less available it is.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 4:44 PM
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the numbers are evening out between single men/women

? The population's pretty close to 50/50 in any age bracket. Or do you mean that there are fewer young single women because they're likely to be dating older men?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 4:48 PM
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Update: New therapist seems really great! I will see her again.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 4:48 PM
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458: yes.

And I think the raw population numbers are actually more like 52/48 men-women.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 4:53 PM
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Forget the root destroyer, I think.

Copper Sulfate Pentahydrate is mostly a herbicide, and banned in several locales because it is a badass poison.
Very acidic, but I have found no mention of it being used other than for its primary purpose. So not acidic enough.

I have seen mention of 95& sulfuric acid, mostly to say DON'T DO IT.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 4:57 PM
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459: Yay!! Just last night, I was telling Rory how much I thought she'd enjoy therapy someday. (She'd brought the topic up by suggesting some sitcom situation called for family counseling or something.). She of course looked at me like, "So, what, you're saying I'm going to be nuts?". Which was obviously not the point. I learned so damned much from my therapist. It sort of stinks thatb you are expected to have a"reason" before you can go.


Posted by: di kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 5:01 PM
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463

Some data.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 5:05 PM
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Some related data.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 5:48 PM
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456: There's something very un-PC about beauty, it's so undemocratic and so unfairly bestowed, but so absolute in its way. Although some of my thinking on that has changed recently, from hanging out with some artists.

I'm curious what you mean by the second sentence, PGD. (There are several readings available: since hanging out with some artists, you no longer necessarily think that beauty is un-PC? no longer think it's so absolute in its way? no longer think it's undemocratic? I can't quite make this out.)


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 5:59 PM
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464: We've discussed that map before, I think. It turns out (as that post notes) that the differences are due pretty much entirely to age distributions.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 6:09 PM
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463: something like 52 percent of births are male, then it gradually evens out as males die sooner and by the time people are in their 60s-80s women dominate.

465: I don't know, artists can totally be vicious and undemocratic in judging beauty, but they also come up with lots of different paths to it, creativity and so forth.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 6:37 PM
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467.2: Okay. So it's not so absolute. Gotcha.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 6:42 PM
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artists are not very good people to talk to about beauty, because part of artistry is being completely and utterly mad about beauty in certain ways --- Mondrian and green etc.

yes this is not nice and i rather think immoral and probably romantic and unhealthy, but artists are somewhat like serious fans, you can't exactly take their word for anything because they are too close to the matter.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 6:55 PM
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It depends on the kinds of artists you're talking about, and/or talking to. I hesitate to opine on the matter, because I know many artists (usually younger ones) who are judgmentally merciless with respect to the coolness, the in-ness, of the art they and their cohort are engaged in, as well as the coolness and prettiness of the artists involved; and I know other (usually older, sometimes more solitary) artists who pursue sheer aesthetic beauty in their works if not themselves; and yet other (usually older, more solitary) artists who just make shit that may or may not partake of genius, and for whom beauty is not really an operative term.

And this is just the visual arts. Nevermind music or writing, which I haven't been around as much in the last 10 years or so.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 7:11 PM
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but in general, artists have a very intense particular relationship to beauty, which isn't always healthy when talking about it in a broad sense.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 8:38 PM
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You are being stubborn, Keir. I was serious in what I said: I know artists I couldn't in any way describe as having a very intense particular relationship to *beauty*. Relationship to creation, more like.

But sure, if your general point is that artists don't hold any sort of premium on understanding of beauty, sure. I assume PGD's point was that they explore it. Some of them.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 8:48 PM
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464: We've discussed that map before, I think. It turns out (as that post notes) that the differences are due pretty much entirely to age distributions.

Isn't a lot of it because of prisons, too?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 8:48 PM
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yes i am being stubborn. even artists who are uninterested in beauty are uninterested in a very very precise and studied way, in the same way that philosopher who are uninterested in metaphysics are uninterested in it a way that is quite different from the uninterest of an economist.

i would also go on to hold that artistic interest in beauty is very fucked up by that fact, because artists can't get much of a distance from it. It's like talking to a soldier about any given war, they are very very invested in ways that make them quite unreliable in some important aspects.

(IOW, i would claim that artists hold a negative premium on knowledge of beauty.)


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 9:05 PM
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Isn't a lot of it because of prisons, too?

I wouldn't think so, no. There are prisons everywhere.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 9:07 PM
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474: I'm sorry that an artist called you ugly, Keir.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 9:33 PM
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Parsimon has a good feel for what I meant. I wasn't saying that artists had enlightened me to a healthier relationship with beauty or any crap like that, far from it. Just that all the constant playing with different forms of expression gave me a sense of a different relationship to appearances. But there's still that vein of absolutism and arbitrariness running through things...it's a very different feel than scientific creativity. Anyway, I didn't expand originally for a reason, I'm not quite sure what I meant. That's happening to me more and more these days -- I'm losing some of the energy it takes to describe my subjective observations in a logical and internally consistent way. (Some may say I never had that ability, but I remember I did at one point).


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 9:44 PM
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Isn't a lot of it because of prisons, too?

On the county and census-designated-area level, it certainly is. Both women's colleges and men's and women's prisons can severely skew gender ratios and mislead you unless you know what you're looking at.

On the state level, as teo says, no -- because there really are prisons everywhere.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 10:04 PM
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it's a very different feel than scientific creativity.

It's surely a good thing to feel a different feel. If it leaves you without words, that means it's working in you. I'd say that's a good, and give it peace enough and time. ? It doesn't mean you're at home with whatever you think you may be hearing, but it's a thing.

(/earnestness, terribly embarrassing)


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 10:09 PM
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478: Florida's map shows metropolitan areas, of course, which are in between, but I think more toward the state end of the spectrum.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 10:17 PM
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A look at Florida's other maps is doing nothing to diminish my impression that he's basically a charlatan.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 10:23 PM
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Going back to an earlier topic, I usually avoid the "where are you (really) from" ambiguity and awkwardness by asking "So, are you from London?" or whatever city we're currently in or seems appropriate based on prior conversation/knowledge.

Once that's established, if I feel curious and, more importantly, comfortable that I'm not being a jackass, I might ask about ethnic background/country of origin, usually in a "[Lastname], is that Korean?" type of way.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 10:35 PM
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re: 482

There's also using accents, in the way you describe using [Lastname], but the potential for error/offense there is large. Especially if you don't have an ear for accents.

I get asked by Americans [really quite a lot] if I am Irish, for example.

Sometimes that can be quite funny. In Amsterdam, when I was about 18, [and had a much stronger and more regional accent] a bunch of us were drinking together and one of the American girls who was there asked me and my friend if we were Irish. One of the other girls at the table, who was Irish, spluttered in total derision: "They are the two most Scottish sounding guys in the fuckin' world".


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 12:09 AM
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I get asked by Americans [really quite a lot] if I am Irish, for example.

I guess you shouldn't say "Faith and Begorrah!" so much, then.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 12:11 AM
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I might ask about ethnic background/country of origin, usually in a "[Lastname], is that Korean?" type of way.

Duncan: Cursed Moors and Saracens! Would that they had never have brought this plague down upon us... So, what manner of name is "Azim"? Irish? Cornish?

Morgan Freeman (after dramatic pause): Moorish.

Duncan: *quails*


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 12:15 AM
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re: 484

To be sure, perhaps it's me leprechaun that is foolin' them.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 12:25 AM
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They're always after your Lucky Charms.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 12:26 AM
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"Twenty-five years old, Johnny! Aren't ye a wee bit old ta be believin' in leprechauns?"

you guys know that one, right?


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 12:29 AM
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I was "Johnny," you insensitive bastard. This is you: "Oho! Leprechaun rape is totally funny!" Well, fuck you. Leprechaun rape is a serious issue.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 12:31 AM
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Halliburton makes you waive your right to sue if you're raped by a leprechaun.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 1:12 AM
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Blackstone (now "Xe") Security used leprechauns to keep the Iraqis in line.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 1:18 AM
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On Christmas morning, 1776, General Washington led a sneak attack on the mercenary leprechauns' garrison in Trenton, N.J.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 1:30 AM
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It's a little known fact, but when Mel Gibson was making The Patriot, after test-screenings, they ended up CGI'ing out all the leprechauns and replacing them with historically less-accurate but more popular human actors. Shame, as Gibson is normally such a stickler for historical accuracy.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 2:05 AM
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yeah, as a guy in your 30s and 40s you are far more attractive than in your teens and 20s.

This points out an interesting gender difference, given the original post. Looking at the men and women I know, I'd say that they age about the same -- the whole losing the tautness and health of being 20 happens to men at about the same rate as women, and changes their appearance about as much.

But visible youth (as distinct from the beauty associated with it) is an asset for women in a way that it isn't for men. A woman who's stayed beautiful, but looks her age, has gotten 'poorer' at forty in a way that a man who's stayed handsome hasn't.

Some of that may be 'on the veldt' stuff related to fertility patterns, but I don't think that's all of it -- AWB was talking about (at thirty, still prime fertility years) getting less attention from "your casual fluffy-bunny hunter." Looking older, and confident, and sure of yourself makes you less attractive to someone thinking of you as prey, and that accounts on some level for a fair amount of male-female sexual interaction.

Straight men don't usually get treated as prey by potential sex partners, so losing the vulnerability, rather than the beauty, of youth doesn't have much of an effect on their attractiveness.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 5:39 AM
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I get asked by Americans [really quite a lot] if I am Irish, for example.

There are a lot of commonalities in the accents, if you don't hear either much. I don't have a problem distinguishing, but I do put Scots and Irish accents in a category of 'more like each other than either is like anything else', just like I do with English/Australian/NZ (which I'm not reliable on distinguishing without contextual clues).


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 5:43 AM
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Straight men don't usually get treated as prey by potential sex partners, so losing the vulnerability, rather than the beauty, of youth doesn't have much of an effect on their attractiveness

Naturally, this makes me think of the ad for the Cougar/Prey Night at some bar my mom emailed me awhile back. I'm not entirely sure what to add to that other than the superficial observation that there is an emerging paradigm in which young straight men are treated as prey. The fact that I find the "cougar" concept mortifying but would happily lust after much older men probably says something, too.

I would also add that a man who has not aged, who retains the babyfaced look of youth is "poorer" than a woman who has maintained the look of youth.


Posted by: di kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 7:09 AM
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I get asked by Americans [really quite a lot] if I am Irish, for example.

Heh. This might be a different phenomen but I get asked how to pronounce my last name quite often (in fact, it happened this morning as I was getting coffee {my name's tied to my little magic coffee-buying card, so a swipe brings it up}). My standard answer is a dead pan, "I have no idea" followed by a serious face and then a smirk and then "but I think it's an insult in Poland."

At this point, I'm very much comfortable with my stock answer, but it's mildly unnerving to be answering for one's "foreign-ness".

just like I do with English/Australian/NZ (which I'm not reliable on distinguishing without contextual clues).

Watching Flight of the Conchords (and trying, badly, to imitate their accents) seems to have helped me to crowbar a generalized ANZAC accent away from the English one. But I'm at a loss for separating the Kiwis from the Aussies.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 7:37 AM
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496: You'll never know for sure if you don't go to Cougar Night.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 7:37 AM
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But I'm at a loss for separating the Kiwis from the Aussies.

The episode where Jemaine is dating the Australian Keitha is pretty funny. Brett and Murray insist the can't understand anything she says.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 7:41 AM
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Get them to say "pin" and "pen". Kiwis pronounce them the exact opposite from Americans (and Australians).


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 7:43 AM
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i was going to say, in response to the " There doesn't seem to be a socially acceptable self-image that doesn't make you either an asshole or emotionally damaged"

that i'm pretty awesome.

otoh, i am both a bit of an asshole, and emotionally damaged. but those aren't traits that i woudl want to entirely rid myself of.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 7:43 AM
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I'm at a loss for separating the Kiwis from the Aussies.

The Wiggles are Aussies. There are no Kiwis apparently don't have any world-famous entertainers of children.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 7:43 AM
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Wow, was that mangled.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 7:44 AM
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or, artifice is a good innoculation.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 7:45 AM
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I can quite often [but not always] distinguish Kiwi from Aussie. It depends on the individuals. It's a vowel thing, mostly.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 7:48 AM
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intelligence + increased confidence coming from age + increased competence coming from experience + increased income from not being a student anymore = teh hott.

As F and PGD note, these things make a big difference.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 7:51 AM
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if people want to (whats the SWPL way of saying 'haters'?) then they'll find a way, irrespective of your attempt to socially position yourself to prevent it.

its like saying theres no politcal position that GOPs won't say is going to be too expensive or cut medicare. true, but so what.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 7:54 AM
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I used to be able to do Kiwi from Aussie reliably, when I was in Samoa and around a lot of both. I've got a horrible vocabulary for describing this kind of thing (I can never remember what 'rhotic' means, except that it's something to do with r's), but Aussie is more nasal? maybe? and Kiwi sounds closer to the English accents I'm most familiar with than Aussie. What throws me is that there are a whole bunch of English accents, so if I'm talking to someone with no context at all, I can't tell if it's one of the Anzac accents or an English accent I'm not sure of.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 7:54 AM
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482: I usually avoid the "where are you (really) from" ambiguity and awkwardness

This Unfogged thread added another layer of internal awkwardness to a discussion I had yesterday with a fellow at work from Costa Rica with whom I had previously had maybe a half-dozen or so work/non-work conversations. He came up and asked If I had seen the soccer game (US knocked Costa Rica out of an automatic World Cup spot with an unlikely goal literally in the last few seconds of the game). When I said I had, he launched into rather fervent discussion of the game*, but not one which absolutely would indicate he had any interest in Costa Rica specifically rather than CONCACAF soccer. I vainnly searched for a way to ask in an UC (Unfogged Correct) manner and finally hit upon the smooth (not), "Do you have a connection to Costa Rica?" He looked briefly hurt, and replied, "Yes, yes, I am from there." So I am guessing he had told me before. No real point other than you can fall of the wall in a lot of different directions.

*We had never talked soccer before, but he had been directed to me as someone likely to have seen the game. Not a lot of us around at my workplace.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 7:54 AM
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i hate when i fall behind on a thread.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 7:54 AM
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506: As F and PGD note, these things make a big difference.

For men. The weird difference is that while those are all positive qualities for anyone, they read as sexy for men, but much less so for women.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 7:56 AM
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losing the vulnerability, rather than the beauty, of youth doesn't have much of an effect on their attractiveness

I think this is false. I find meeting people who still have illusions truly delightful as long as they are not selfish or stupid (yes, there is a tension there). I am desperately clinging to those I have left, myself. Vulnerability and openness are definitely attractive, ceteris paribus, and not just for women.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 7:56 AM
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Vulnerability and openness are definitely attractive

So, if I ever need a bypass, I'll be hot.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 7:59 AM
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511:

These things are sexy in women:
Confidence
Being really proficient at something

Income and intelligence are much less viewed favorably for women.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 8:03 AM
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I regularly interact with a boatload of Aussies and usually get them straight but still miss at times. The more provincial(?) [insert non-insulting descriptor] here the Australian accent is, the easier it is (accents similar to those in the great little film The Castle). But what really tends to give it away for me is the Aussie slang rather than intonation (I have a tin ear in general; ask me how that helps with bird-watching).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 8:05 AM
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515: How does having a tin ear help with bird-watching? (I'm actually curious, not just following orders.)


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 8:06 AM
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Oh, true, all those bizarre abbreviations. "We're having a picnic Saddy avvo. I'll make sure the drinks and sandwiches are in the esky, you bring some bikkies." (The phrasing is probably off, but I know I've heard all those words.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 8:08 AM
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516: It does not help me one freaking bit. Quite the opposite in fact.

517: Any word can end in "y", just watch (or listen, rather).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 8:11 AM
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||
Lately, I've gotten spam with some excellent
subject lines:

- Help me mock David

- Currently I love you

- Hold the confidence in your palm, wear it in your pants

et la pièce de résistance:

- I daresay shes upset because she couldnt go out in the carriage with the others

|>


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 8:11 AM
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bypass

So part of my perspective comes from having a lot of contact with people who have their shit together, but lean self-absorbed and calculating. For people tuned this way, yes, a health scare that induces some empathy and self-reflection can be a step up.

In fact, this is a staple of fictionalized dramas, with a nearly pure instantiation in Scrooge; Bill Murray's depiction was fantastic; the characters he plays are a nice riff on being closed and stupid, and the merging of this guy with Scrooge was great.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 8:12 AM
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518.1: That's not very interesting. I was expecting something counter-intuitive.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 8:13 AM
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Any word can end in "y", just watch (or listen, rather).

But not always -- sometimes it's a randomly selected other vowel! "Saddy avvo" for Saturday afternoon mystified me until I asked what the hell the Aussie I was talking to was talking about. I probably could have handled Saddy avvy on the fly.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 8:13 AM
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522: Yes. One of my favorites among the ones I encounter a lot is "doco" for documentation (and apparently documentary). "I'll have that doco for you tomorrow. No worries!"


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 8:18 AM
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521: That's not very interesting. I was expecting something counter-intuitive.

Sorry. I was expecting no one would miss the sarcasm. Where are you from originally again?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 8:24 AM
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524: Rural Nebraska.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 8:25 AM
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Blimey! Rury Nebbo?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 8:28 AM
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i never really thought about the degree to which professors were trying to facility discussion as i was too worried about figuring out how to hide the fact i didn't do the reading.

since i frequently was told i gave excellent class discussion though, i think i really did exceptionally well.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 8:29 AM
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525: I did know that ... from your accent. I saw some sandhill cranes on my vacation recently. They were along a road right outside the National Wildlife Refuge we were going to so I did not take a picture assuming they'd be plenteous inside. Saw nary a one after that.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 8:30 AM
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This may be just because I was raised there (and because so many TV people were raised so close to where I was), but I don't know what cues you would use to identify a rural midwestern accent that wouldn't be completely confounded with social class. There's using 'fer' instead of 'for', but I don't know anyone with parents who went to college who used 'fer'.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 8:35 AM
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I get Midwestern accents by process of elimination -- someone who sounds like a newscaster but not Midatlantic/NY and not Californian is Midwestern. But it's not an accent that pops for me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 8:39 AM
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part of it was helping get discussion moving by asking interesting questions about whatever scraps of actual Reading were dropped. but also, 'innocently' asking slightly-too-incisive of the Pushy Boy. perhaps i too was playing straight man, but in a different way than Nat (and that depends on him parasitically). i used to think this was a rather worthless slacker skill, but this thread has convinced me i have possession of an excellent social skill usable in many life circumstances.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 8:47 AM
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530: I am horrible at picking out any accent except for the broadest differences. However, I do seem to pick-up the verbal patterns of those around me and I am fighting a losing struggle to avoid saying 'yunz'.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 8:50 AM
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i think i quit dislike Fountainhead-style artists.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 8:52 AM
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People have accused me of having a midwestern accent with some regularity. It must be my hair.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 8:52 AM
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Or the John Deere cap.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 8:53 AM
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But it's not an accent that pops for me.

I'm routinely called out for hints of my vestigial Chicago accent, fifteen years after moving away. It seems to happen on words such as "sock".

An accent that's popping a lot for me lately is a New Jersey or New York (I'm not entirely sure of the provenance, actually) one, specifically on the word "saw" pronounced sort of like "sore".


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 8:58 AM
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Yeah, that vowel is the major tell for NY/NJ accents (there are differences, but that vowel sound is a commonality.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:00 AM
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My accent does weird things that I don't understand. At some point I picked up a habit of sometimes using Minnesotan-sounding vowels. I don't know where it came from. This might or might not have something to do with spending as much (at times, much more) time talking to non-native English speakers as native ones.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:00 AM
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Yeah, that vowel is the major tell for NY/NJ accents

I think the pronunciation of words like 'forest', which turn into something more like 'far-est' to my ear, is one of the main ways I can tell a NY-region accent.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:04 AM
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536: There's also a New Jersey thing of pronouncing "drawer" as "draw." I can't get over how odd it sounds.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:06 AM
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I realize this doesn't cover all New York region accents, but the only one I can clearly discern is that one where it sounds like the speaker has M&Ms in their nose. Is that Brooklyn? I associate it with Italians, but I hardly know anybody from that region who isn't Italian.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:07 AM
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When I go back to New Mexico (which I think of as the land of perfectly clear SAE accents), I notice all kinds of weird vowels and consonants in my own speech that have somehow snuck in from living in various parts of the country and spending time with furriners and Southerners and such. A few years ago I had a subtle Canadian "o", which I think has gone away by now.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:10 AM
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540: I've got a bit of that -- I notice that I sound weird saying 'horror', which is the same issue. (Like I said above, the term 'rhotic' confuses me, but I think it's got something to do with this one.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:15 AM
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Midwesterners don't have accents. It's the rest of you guys that talk funny. (Actually, it's SD, NE, WY, eastern MT where they don't have accents). I've lived in MN long enough to become affected with the weird "Oh" and "Aa" used here, if not as strongly as I would have if I'd grown up in the Iron Range.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:15 AM
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545

540: I have never said "draw" in my life. Or "sore." The only people I hear saying things that way are folks with the full-metal-Drescher accent. The things I do say that non-NY/NJ area folks pick up on are "waugh-ter" (as opposed to "wadder") and "are-inge" (instead of "orrnge").


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:17 AM
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546

affected s/b infected


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:17 AM
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547

a subtle Canadian

Aren't they all?

But seriously, you know what Canadian accent throws me a bit? The Maritimes one which seems to have the slightest bit of a brogue. Eekbeat's grandma from PEI had it, despite having moved away years prior.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:17 AM
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548

I notice that I sound weird saying 'horror', which is the same issue

"drawer"-->"draw"
"horror"-->"whore"?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:18 AM
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549

543: I say "harr-err" and CA says "whore-err."


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:19 AM
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550

CA is correct, of course.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:20 AM
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551

548: Kind of, I drop the last syllable, but the one that's left is more 'harr' than 'whore'.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:20 AM
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552

549: How do you say "rather"?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:20 AM
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553

He cried out twice, a cry that was no more than a breath--"The whore-er! The whore-er!"


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:23 AM
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554

Huh. I pronounce the first syllable of "horror" much more like "whore" than "harr".

I haven't really read this whole thread, so I don't know why we're talking about accents (or how we got here from beauty), so this may or may not be relevant, but it's exactly this sort of shortening of words than most annoys me about my own speech. "Probly" instead of "probably" is the biggest offender. "'Cause" instead of "because". There are plenty of other I'm forgetting off the top of my head. I try to correct them, but usually forget to.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:27 AM
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555

547: Yeah, my Canadian ex has a bit of that brogue, overlaid by a heavy Toronto "regular Canadian" accent. It's cool.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:27 AM
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556

551: Yeah, I say it with sort of 1.5 syllables.

552: Sometimes transcribing the NYCish accent falsely renders it George-Plimpton sounding. I say it like everybody but George Plimpton.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:27 AM
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557

553: Spoken by a guy who should have had a Nebraska accent.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:27 AM
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558

543: the term 'rhotic' confuses me,

The Wikipedia article on rhotic is an interesting read, and New York is shown as one of the metro areas in the US where non-rhotic pronunciation is found among white speakers. The maps of England might also explain why the fellow I work with who hails from Exeter sounds quite distinct from most other English folk I've known (though I've never been able to pinpoint what is different; maybe I'll listen for the 'r's now).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:28 AM
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559

It's not general shortening for me (oh, I crop words some, but it doesn't bother me, and this is a different issue), it's a terminal 'r' thing. "Horror" and "terror" are both one-syllable words -- "terror" sounds fine that way, but "horror" sounds weird even to me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:29 AM
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560

should be: The Wikipedia article on ____ is an interesting read


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:31 AM
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561

Yeah, despite saying "it's exactly this sort of shortening of words", I didn't really mean to imply that yours and mine were the same phenomena. Yours is an accent, mine is just generally slurring of speech/failure to enunciate clearly.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:32 AM
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562

514

Income and intelligence are much less viewed favorably for women.

Income maybe but wealth is viewed favorably in women.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:33 AM
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563

I'm not saying James is a gold digger....


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:35 AM
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564

560: Yes, for instance it led me to interesting Wikipedia articles on obscurities like "Linking and intrusive R" and "Cheshirisation" as well as exposition of thing I least knew about like "Received Pronunciation".


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:35 AM
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565

563: A gold diggah.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:36 AM
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566

I think what throws me about 'rhotic' is that whenever I read a definition, I can't decide which kind of accent I have -- some of the examples I come out rhotic, some non.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:38 AM
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567

I've been trying to teach Blume the "proper" (read: "regional") pronunciations of various words. She's getting there on "Norfolk" ("it's like 'Norfyk', says I), so maybe we'll tackle "Hampshire" ("Hampshrr") next.

I have some idiosyncratic pronunciations; I've picked up a little bit of brah-y LA-ness ("prolly", "yah"), I think, and I've always said "roof" with that non-long-o pronunciation that I can't begin to phoneticize. Plus there are the Massachusettsisms that creep in unawares, guy.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:38 AM
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568

These dialect maps are on point, right?


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:42 AM
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569

"Norfolk" ("it's like 'Norfyk', says I)

Interesting! Virgina's Norfolkians say something on the order of "NAWfik". When we first moved to Virginia, we used to mock that Tidewater accent by saying, "We live he-uh, because we don't drink, naw smoke, Nawfuck."

Fun times.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:46 AM
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570

As per previous discussions, I have a pretty good ear for accents. Being British -- and so used to decoding millenia of intranational strife and class differences from tiny cues -- and more specifically being Scottish, and studying phonology/phonetics for four years will do that.

With US accents, though, I don't have the experience. I can tell some of the NE US accents apart, but I'd be surprised if I could identify different Southern accents as anything other than 'Southern'. At least not without a bit of study first.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:52 AM
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571

562:

Favorably does not equal sexy.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:55 AM
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572

569:

Stanley was a precocious child.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:56 AM
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568: i've gone through those maps before, to try to fix pronunciations i have that might sound southern or otherwise distateful.

i wonder if there is a term for subtle alterations of pronunciation (like b vs. p) that only happens in literate people. thinking about the less standardized spellings of the past, the causality might work the other direction too


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:56 AM
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570: There are some very distinct Southern accents, that you'd probably differentiate easily with a couple of examples. I don't know words for them, but the Appalachian mountain accent sounds very different from the stereotypical Virginia planter.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:59 AM
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575

Philadelphians ask for a glass of wudder. It's my sister's only tell.

I avoided it because I talk funny. Youthful actorly pretensions and a summer camp with an international emphasis. A few years ago I was hiking in Colorado and we chatted up some locals. "Are you from England?" they asked. "Nope," I said, "just pretentious."


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:59 AM
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576

The maps in 568 are frustrating -- it looks as though there aren't broad regional differences, but rather micro-regional differences spread evenly throughout the country. When you get past the pronunciation and into the vocabulary, it becomes a little more illuminating.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 10:05 AM
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577

I was hiking in Colorado

Yes, but did you pronounce "Colorado" correctly (according to current gringo locals, that is, not the Spaniards who named the joint)?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 10:11 AM
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578

"waugh-ter" (as opposed to "wadder")

I was once cruelly mocked by a waiter in Brooklyn for my pronunciation of "water".
"Well, how should I say it?" I asked.
"Wooder."


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 10:17 AM
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579

Plus there are the Massachusettsisms that creep in unawares, guy.

Like? (It's paranoia; I'm from Mass.) I hear a hint of the longish, slightly drawn-out initial "o" in my "Boston" sometimes -- not "Bahston", but more like "Bwawston", if that's explanatory at all -- but I think that's about it, and it may be that I'm the only one who hears it.

Not counting still sometimes saying "wicked" or even "wicked cool" every once in a while. I'm not sure if that's generational.

The "saw" -- > "sore" thing crops up around here in the mid-Atlantic region with people who say "Warshington" or "Worshington".


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 10:18 AM
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580

it looks as though there aren't broad regional differences, but rather micro-regional differences

There is a story that, as a party game, Harry Smith could identify the county in which someone grew up.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 10:19 AM
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581

i thought that was sherlock holmes


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 10:29 AM
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582

576: The maps in 568 are frustrating

Yes, for a number of the items the display does not work. Sometimes the breakdown by individual state (table of values) reveals interesting patterns obscured on the map.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 10:35 AM
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583

571

Favorably does not equal sexy.

Daddy's Money .


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 10:42 AM
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584

The weirdest NJism of all is saying "wooder" instead of "water." My gf simply cannot hear the difference.

But, as I've said before, hilarious confusion arises because my own first name is pronounced a peculiar way here that sounds so different to NYers than the way I say it that people apologize for saying "the wrong name" quite often. On several occasions, I've been surprised when someone says my name quizzically and I'm all, "Do you really not know my name?" But they're just trying to figure out how to pronounce it correctly. I can barely hear the difference.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 10:48 AM
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585

Oh shit. I should read the thread. Hello 578!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 10:48 AM
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586

What people mean is that having EARNED money is not good, James, for the same reason intelligence is not good. Self-made woman = scary


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 10:48 AM
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587

I once said something was "horrible" (in awb-speak, "whore-ible") while teaching and my students laughed, thinking I was making some kind of prostitute joke. Apparently, it's "hah-rible."


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 10:51 AM
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584: Yeah, I thought your first name was "Irish place name" rather than what it actually is the first two or three times I met you, and it sounds like a big difference to me. At least your name pair are both gender appropriate -- whenever I meet a man named Aaron from out of NY, I do a doubletake and think "Erin? I suppose Erin could be a man's name." And then I realize that it really is Aaron, and all you Americans just talk funny.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 10:54 AM
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584.2/88: I have very similar, but reversed, name issues.

587: Hee. That is just about how I say horrible. I have a soupçon more "r" -- hahr-rible.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 11:17 AM
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589.1: Indeed -- you are one of three people I know with that name, and all three spell it differently.

I still am trying to figure out how AWB's name and the Irish place could be pronounced differently. I mean, other than tacking on a brogue.

Also, I keep reading this: in awb-speak, "whore-ible" as "whore Bible" and think, damn but they come out with a new translation every week.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 11:49 AM
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591

It's the same vowels as Aaron/Erin or marry/merry. East Coast Americans distinguish, but I think the whole rest of the country uses the same vowels for both, and the one you use for both is the one I'd use for merry and Erin.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 11:53 AM
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592

591: whoah. That is weird.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 11:55 AM
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593

As a Bostonian, you have a full complement of vowels, right?

I admit that I don't notice people from the part of the country where they don't have all the East Coast vowels talking funny so long as I can fill it in from context, which is what makes it so jarring on name-pairs like AWBs where context isn't enough.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 11:58 AM
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I wish more people spoke like Cary Grant. Me included, though it would confuse more Coloradans.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 11:58 AM
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595

593: I certainly have those two.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 11:59 AM
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596

I recall hearing AWB's first name at unfoggeDConII, and wondering, it's true, which pronunciation it was supposed to be ... but actually, that's a function of wondering which spelling it's supposed to be.

I suspect I'm a pretty visual person: I leap to the envisioned spelling of a word. If someone uses a word I'm unfamiliar with, or utters an unfamiliar name, I may well ask them to spell it (which apparently throws people sometimes, but I'm watching it when they spell it; writing seals the deal for me). The two available spellings of AWB's name would be pronounced quite differently for me.

I might say that I was curious because my own name is similar to hers, and admits of the same Aaron/Erin difference in pronunciation, though not in spelling.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 12:14 PM
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It's funny, we've had this conversation about accents a bunch of times, and it always takes off like wildfire despite being really poorly suited to text-based interaction.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 12:17 PM
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I'm commenting too much at the moment, but: accents are fascinating, yo. I always want to hear people's voices. This can go well or ill, but unless one makes ample use of creative punctuation, it can't be duplicated textually.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 12:37 PM
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592: whoah. That is weird.

Surprised you're surprised since this has come up a number of times here. A good Wikipedia treatment is in the article "English-language vowel changes before historic r" (I shit you not; I'm beginning to think that English-language linguists are winning at Wikipedia). On the merry/marry/Mary merger:

This merger is quite widespread in the American West, Inland North, Midland, and in Canada (cf. sample 1). A merger of Mary and merry, while keeping marry distinct, is found in the South and as far north as Baltimore, Maryland, and Wilmington, Delaware; it is also found among Anglophones in Montreal[6]. In the Philadelphia accent the three-way contrast is preserved, but merry tends to be merged with Murray; likewise ferry can be a homophone of furry. See furry-ferry merger below. The three are kept distinct outside of North America, as well as in the accents of Philadelphia, New York City, Boston, and Providence, Rhode Island.

Has a bunch of other good merger examples as well such as horse-hoarse (who knew they were ever different?).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 1:01 PM
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600

It's insane to be sitting here quietly preening myself on how many vowels are distinct in my dialect, right? I distinguish everything on that page except hoarse/horse and pore/poor/pour.

Yeah, I thought it was insane. I was just checking.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 1:18 PM
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599.last: I'm pretty sure everyone pronounces those "whorece". Except ttaM.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 1:19 PM
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599: I just hadn't thought of it in this particular case.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 1:23 PM
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603

We've had this conversation a dozen times and I still can't imagine how Mary/marry/merry could be pronounced any differently. I'm sure I've never heard anyone pronounce them distinctly.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 1:24 PM
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603: There's a sound file of ttaM saying each of them. Somewhere!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 1:27 PM
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604: Yeah, I think I remember when that was posted, but I don't have sound on my office computer, so it never did me any good.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 1:28 PM
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The link in 599 has links to audio files of two people saying 'Merry Mary wants to marry' -- a distinguisher and a merger. I haven't listened because I keep my sound off at work, but they might help.

It's a fairly subtle distinction -- the feeling of saying them is different, but the sounds are close enough that I don't notice mergers getting the vowels wrong unless there's no other contextual information to go on. (I noticed it enough to comment on it from AWB partially because she's got such clear enunciation -- from a mumbler I probably would have just thought I didn't catch her name right the first time.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 1:31 PM
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The Canadian pronunciation I notice most out here is the word "process." It's a long "o" like in "probation." It's sad how often I hear "process" and "processing"; it's not the most inspiring term to associate with a profession.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 1:44 PM
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608

Okay, I hooked up speakers to my computer. It's actually ""Mary, dear, make me merry; say you'll marry me."

I listened to the sample about 30 times, and could have sworn there was basically no difference in the pronunciations. But then I realized I was listening to the 'merged' sample. The other guy sounds positively ridiculous.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 1:45 PM
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609

We've had this conversation a dozen times and I still can't imagine how Mary/marry/merry could be pronounced any differently. I'm sure I've never heard anyone pronounce them distinctly.

What about "Barry" and "berry"?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 1:51 PM
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609: What about them? Pronounced the same.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 1:52 PM
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608: When I first "discovered" it (via my pedantic and precise New York-raised schoolteacher mother-in-law*), one of our ancillary discoveries was that I could only barely even hear the difference. Good fun was subsequently had by most in testing what other distinctions eludeded the rough beast of the Midwest that her daughter had married.

*It was my pronunciation of "parrot" that tripped me up.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 1:55 PM
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608: That's the way normal people speak, Brock. (Actually, I can barely hear the difference. But when I say the same sentence, I can feel my tongue and lips forming slightly different shapes, so I assume I'm unmerged.)


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 1:57 PM
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613

THere's a distinction between a couple 'r's in French that I simply can not hear the difference between. It's weird.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 1:58 PM
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614

I wish more people spoke like Cary Grant.

But not like Kerry Grant.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 2:19 PM
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615

I seem to be with the majority in 568 on almost everything, but I still think my accent sounds a little unusual.

It's funny of how many of these are things that actually kind of annoy me, like people named Craig who call themselves "Creg"; it just kind of grates, you know?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 2:25 PM
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Wow! The lawyer one is kind of shocking. 73% say loyer instead of law-yer? I knew some people think I'm weird for saying law-yer, but I didn't know it was that rare.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 2:28 PM
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I independently discovered the Mary/marry/merry example from listening to my wife talk and realizing that she mushed all the vowels together. (I first noticed it for Don/Dawn.)


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 2:55 PM
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496: I'm not entirely sure what to add to that other than the superficial observation that there is an emerging paradigm in which young straight men are treated as prey.

Lord, I was treated as prey when I was a young straight man, albeit somewhat more so by gay men than older women. But only somewhat more so.

There's nothing good about having blond hair if you're a guy.

600: It's insane to be sitting here quietly preening myself on how many vowels are distinct in my dialect, right?

Maybe. I can just faintly distingush 'merry' (mehr-ry) from 'marry' (mair-ey) in my pathetic excuse for a western accent, and doing otherwise would be ODD! On the other hand, you have better ways of wasting time than I do.

max
['You should just make everyone post .mp3s.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 3:07 PM
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619

You should just make everyone post .mp3s

Can't s'ttaM stand for all of us? It's so nice.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 3:15 PM
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618: There's nothing good about having blond hair if you're a guy.

It's probably nothing to do with blond hair. I don't know why gay guys may have hit on you, but I doubt it was the blond hair. The boyish figure, perhaps.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 3:33 PM
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621

620 was me.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 3:34 PM
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622

I don't know why gay guys may have hit on you

They have a word for guys (or boys?) who are say, 18 and blond, and that word is 'twink'. I was 18 in 1985. I learned the word twink in 1998 or so. That is all.

max
['No. No, I'm not gay. Sorry!']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 4:02 PM
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622: There's rather more to being a twink than being young and blond, dear max.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 4:55 PM
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624

623:Aquarian Age, Pretty Things, Pink Fairies


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 6:06 PM
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625

I always want to hear people's voices.

Imagine a chipmunk on helium, then slow it from 78 to 33 1/3

No, I did sing baritone in school choir. Lucas Black, without the drawl but with blonde hair.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 6:15 PM
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626

This again?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 6:20 PM
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