Friday, May 08, 2009

Switch Flipping

I think I might have found the thing. The thing that will flip the switch. The thing that will finally make me feel like an adult.

Before I continue, I would like to say that I’m not actually dying to feel like an adult. I don’t want to be a glassy eyed morning commuter. But there’s a difference between that and feeling like you’ve come into your own, neh?

We have a very young (meaning anyone under 29) and extremely bubbly (meaning anyone who can utter more than 10 words in the first half hour of the day) student with us for the summer. I was once one of those bright eyed summer students. Though probably never quite as bubbly, bubbly has just never looked right on me.

Anyways, the other day he was sucking up to me. And I was totally thrown. I believe he even referred to me as ‘cool’. Admittedly this was before he saw the Doctor Who action figurine on my desk (which he mistook for GI Joe…seriously?).

There’s not a speck of doubt in my mind that this guy might possibly think that I was ‘cool’. I may be many things, but cool, I’m pretty sure, is not one of them. What I am is: competent at what I do, established in the career field he wants to enter and obviously well-liked in the workplace.

I’m totally suckup-able. It’s like I’m on a whole new rung of the ladder. I feel so grown-up!
Alright, that’s a lie. I want to feel grown up. Instead it feels like I’m wearing someone else’s skin. Someone else’s cooler skin. So maybe I’m doomed to feel like the kid at the grown-ups table for the rest of my life.

And that’s it! I promise! No more musings on my adult/non-adult status!!


Meg said...

I can't believe he mistook that Doctor Who action figure for a GI Joe. Loser. It is quite clearly a Doctor Who as portrayed by David Tennant action figure. Clearly.

Wayne C. said...

I wasn’t there so I’ll take your word for it that this felt like “sucking up” behaviour. I have seen similar behaviour (often my own) misinterpreted in many ways. Friendliness (especially the extroverted kind) is often scrutinized for ulterior motives in a way that non-friendly or even rude behaviour is not. It seems to me perfectly plausible that a young man would find a senior person (in terms of job status not age) who keeps toys on her desk cool. As to misidentifying the figure in question, it sounds like if you want to be one of the cool kids and hang with Amanda you have to be able to correctly identify figures from cult British TV shows. In other words, by calling attention to this fact and excluding those who can’t make these determinations you have created your own clique (cool club) while at the same time protesting your coolness. Why? I’m guessing for you it’s not cool to be cool. But hey, that’s cool :)

Lady Rose said...

hmmmm...I made some assumptions that made it feel like sucking up behaviour. When I examine more closely I realize the reason I think he could never possibly think me cool is because he is one of the beautiful people. He is extremely fit and well dressed and very beautiful. And with that kind of overconfident bordering on arrogant behaviour that I attribute to a certain set of people.

And those people never think I'm cool. I don't fit their standards of cool.

My support of that point is that my cool rating actually appereared to drop when the action figure was spotted. It's not like I expect people to correctly identify a Doctor Who as portrayed by David Tennant action figure (furthermore, not even in the Doctor's regular outfit but in the orange spacesuit he wore in the brilliantly written double-header episodes: The Satan Pit and The Impossible Planet). Mostly I expect people to be bemused because for people who don't know me that well, my love of a show like Doctor Who doesn't seem to quite fit. And I like to use it as an opening to convince people that they might like something different and how do they know they don't like Doctor Who if they've never seen it?

Which isn't to say I'm not a terrible clique-forming snob. I just usually clique form based on intelligence as opposed to knowledge of cult British TV shows. :)

Paper Bag Princess said...

OT from the coolness discussion, but a blogger I know refers to herself as a 'glaydie' - part girl, part lady. I think I may have crossed the lady threshold myself in terms of my own self-conception (which I suppose doesn't bother me) but I keenly recall feeling like a glaydie.

Sterling Lynch said...

I think it is a great topic for discussion, if it remains a live issue. So, I hope you keep writing on it. Although I hope it ceases to be a live issue because it will mean you've sorted out what you want to sort out.

The important thing to remember is that coolness is context based. Everything you describe means you are cool in this context and that he is uncool. Period. His job is to seek your approval. Period. Beautiful or not. It's what male apes are meant to do. And in this context he can't count on his beauty alone to get your approval (curiously, it may even be an obstacle). Seeking your approval is not sucking up -- unless you assume he is faking it and, from what you've said, that assumption seems to be based on something other than his behavior.

So the important question for me is why you want to insist, even in this context, that you are uncool? Why do you want to insist that you think he should see you as uncool? Etc.

Here is potentially useful definition of "adult" :

"when we shed the self-image we created for ourselves to solve some social problems we encountered when we were children or adolescents."

By this definition, I am still working on it too. We probably all are.

Meg said...

...god, those were amazing episodes.

(I have nothing to add, though in my especially shiny youth I sucked up hardcore. To anyone and everyone I felt could potentially teach me something. Now that I'm in my dented, tarnished youth, I only suck up to people who exhibit positive mentorship qualities or might take me out for a free lunch)

Paper Bag Princess said...

I'm not sure I understand what you mean Sterling, is LR cooler than the underling because she is above him at work or because she is the biological 'chooser', i.e. female?

Hmmm, I wonder if some of my past actions could be construed as sucking up - I have had a [female] supervisor I felt nothing but admiration for, and perhaps it showed, but it was whole-heartedly genuine.

Sterling Lynch said...

Both. She has status as a well-liked member of the tribe and status as a gate-keeper (for reasons that go beyond her biological chooser function) -- a role normally played by women. I think the former is more important but the latter plays a role as well.