Often, people teach children not to judge a book by its cover. Frequently, those people are also filthy hypocrites. Ideally, everyone would live by the “If you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all” axiom, but the reality is nobody lives in a Disney universe where cartoon bluebirds help you get ready for work in the morning.
People make judgments on the fly every day. I’m certainly not immune from making them or being subject to them. Here are a few things for which I’m certain total strangers judge me.
I own an unfortunate-teal-colored 1995 Camaro (some of you are already in on the joke). I acquired the car after my crappy 1994 Mercury Cougar finally bit the dust. My family was getting a new car, so I was able to take the Camaro.
That detail might not seem important, but it is. Because everyone just assumes you went out of your way to acquire a Camaro. No one assumes you’re driving it because it was your most viable option for new transportation.
Most people assume (correctly) guys in their 20s who go out of their way to own a Camaro also put more money into tattoos than saving accounts and watch Jersey Shore earnestly.
I’ve found they’re also the sort of fellows that will give you a nod, thumbs up or “YEAH!” in traffic simply because you happen to drive the same fairly common, American-made coupe.
You do not want to be associated with those guys.
4. Acoustic Guitar
I played guitar and bass in high school (kind of). I wasn’t great, probably not even what an objective observer would call good, but I had fun playing old punk and classic rock standards with my brother and our friends.
I started playing again last year after not touching a guitar for about five or six years. I started playing again because I love music and felt I wasn’t using my free time constructively.
Few people are going to believe that, though. Most people just assume you have an acoustic guitar so you can stumble through the first couple bars of “Wonder Wall” at a party–in a transparent attempt impress a girl enough to go to your room and makeout and maybe listen to some of your terrible poetry.
3. Record Collection
Last year my family was nice enough to get me a record player for Christmas. My parents also gave me some of their old LPs to start my collection, and I’ve been adding to it here and there ever since.
However, I’m certain every time I say, “I collect vinyl,” or “I have an original pressing of Revolver” people just hear “I’m a hipster who is too good for your fancy-pants iTunes Store.”
2. Writing in Public
I write frequently. Mostly, I write in my apartment, but I occasionally like to, you know, get out and actually interact with real human beings. So I go to a local cafe’ near my apartment.
I’m convinced it’s impossible not to look like a dick while writing in public. Usually, that’s because guys (for some reason it’s almost always guys) writing at a cafe’ or bistro will trip over themselves to tell you about the screenplay they’ll never finish (or in some cases even start).
If I’m lucky, people will assume I’m still in college and writing a paper. But it will be a cold day in hell before I tell someone in public, “Oh, I’m just doing a little blogging.”
To others, a statement like that has an implied value of delusion and self-importance usually reserved for politicians.
1. Not Being a “Dessert Person”
If you asked me when the last time I bought cookies or ice cream was, I wouldn’t be able to tell you. I honestly can’t remember because I really never have an insatiable craving for sweet food–and some people have a problem with that.
Sometimes I’ll accompany my co-workers to the candy store in the mall or Cold Stone, but I never get anything. Last time we were at Cold Stone one co-worker just said “Really? Come on” and shook his head.
People tend to think I’m implying I’m better than them or they simply can’t comprehend when I say don’t like dessert all that much. Apparently, there’s something vaguely un-American about not cramming your maw full of intensely saccharine food.
So I guess that makes me a commie by way of dessert.