Shaun of the Planet of the Apes
The Planet of the Apes and the Bandit
Any Which Way but the Planet of the Apes
Dunstin Checks In to the Planet of the Apes
Bob and Carol and The Planet of the Apes and Alice
Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Planet of the Apes
The Planet of the Apes Goes Shopping
The Planet of the Apes Must Diet!
Sex, Lies, and the Planet of the Apes
How the Planet of the Apes Got its Groove Back
The Planet of the Apes’ Day Off
Pretty in the Planet of the Apes
Bad News Planet of the Apes
Star Trek II : Wrath of the Planet of the Apes
Madea’s Planet of the Apes Reunion
The Best Little Whorehouse in the Planet of the Apes
Planet of the Apes / Victoria
When the Planet of the Apes Met Sally
Harry and the Planet of the Apes
The Planet of the Apes Bogus Journey
Night on Earth
There is no polite way to ask someone if they’re about to eat an unreasonable amount of hot dogs. That’s not specific to hot dogs, actually; no matter what a person is eating, a comment on the quantity is going to be a judgement. Many is the time I heard “Wow, you sure do eat a lot of salad,” as though having eaten an entire bowl of lettuce that was not topped which chicken was remarkable in comparison to the half a bowl of lettuce left over by those who had also eaten several chickens worth of tenders. That the relative insubstantiality of lettuce plays no factor at all in deeming the quantity of consumed lettuce excessive underscores how very impolite a similar judgement regarding hot dogs – whose substantiality is well-established even as the actual substance of which they are composed remain a mystery – would be. To question someone on the number of hot dogs they’re eating is to question their judgement, and questioning their judgement is akin to questioning their worth as a human being.
This question of what constitutes a reasonable serving of hot dogs came to mind around lunch time, when I was struck by an aroma as I entered the break room and, upon further investigation, discovered 6 hot dogs quietly baking in the toaster oven. There was only one other person in the break room, but her office is also in the break room, so there was an outside chance that the hot dogs were not hers at all, much less entirely hers. I could not, however, ignore the possibility that all 6 hot dogs were intended for just that one person. Which, frankly*, seemed like a lot.
But, as previously stated, there was really no way to determine this. “Wow, that’s a lot of hot dogs,” is maybe appropriate talk if you work in a carnival hosting a hot-dog-eating contest, but a carnie I am not. I did note a lack of buns in the break room, and so considered that the seemingly excessive number of hot dogs was a purposeful counterbalance to the lack of buns. I almost considered that the excessive number of hot dogs compensating for the lack of buns might be indicative that someone was on the Atkins diet, but then I remembered that it’s not 2003 anymore and everyone loves carbs now, just so long as they’re whole grain, local, and gluten-free. Unless they’re following the Paleo diet, but I don’t want to think of what the world might be like if I knew people who followed the Paleo diet, even if just casually through work, so I abandoned that line of thought pretty quickly and returned to a slightly modified version of the original line, that, even without buns, 6 hot dogs is a lot of hot dogs.
Even determining ownership of the hot dogs was tricky. “Are these your hot dogs?” could go a lot of ways, depending on inflection, and I wouldn’t trust myself to sound non-judgmental on an inherently judgmental issue. Without ever considering that I was putting far too much thought into an ultimately trivial matter, I finally settled on “Hot dogs for lunch?”, believing that the statement-in-the-form-of-a-question was my best hope for neutrality, even if it left the greater issue, that of the Ideal Number of Hot Dogs and How it is Most Likely Less Than 6, unanswered.
The answer, it turns out, was yes. And this is how I discovered that there are some people who consider 6 hot dogs to be a perfectly reasonable lunch. However, instead of focusing how myself and this person differ dramatically in our approaches to diet, I focused rather on the tremendously inane question I had just asked, how little it contributed to a genuine exchange of knowledge, and how very happy I was about it.
Because, as I’m sure you can imagine if you’ve ever found yourself in a situation that involves coworkers, the Hot Dog Situation was not my first interaction with this person, nor was it my first awkward interaction with this person. On one previous occasion, she had gone in to quite a bit of detail on the excellent rapport between herself and her chiropractor, ending with “My chiropractor thinks I’m hilarious; she said I should be a stand-up comedian;” and while I did intrinsically understand that “Oh, are you funny?” would not be the right thing to say, how to respond to a person extolling qualities that I’ve never seen manifest has always eluded me. In this situation, I responded with a couple of my favorite sounds that can pass for language, the tried-and-true “Ah. Huh.” Another time, I remarked on the temperature in the room, which caused her to launch into a lengthy discussion of an attempt to get tickets to an event that required costumes but was not Halloween, and although she was generous enough to pause occasionally to allow me to speak, I was thoroughly confused about how this talk of costumed adventure was going to swing back around to be about the temperature, which was noticeably colder than it should have been, and so could only fill the silence with quizzical looks and more silence.
From her perspective, I’m sure that looked like a failure to hold up my end of the conversation. But for me, in between not understanding that there was no connection between temperature and costumes, and that none would be forthcoming, I was looking across a generational divide, steep and glorious as the Grand Canyon.
For her, these are the years to spend swearing your life will be free of workplace banalities like “Hot dogs for lunch?” Your life will be meaningful, it will involve costumes and hard to get tickets, and you’ll stupidly fall in love with guys who refuse to wear watches because they refuse to live their lives by someone else’s schedule, and not because they’re an inconsiderate asshole who’s always late. You will be someone who has something to say.
For me, though, what I understand is that sometimes, I’d rather politely end a conversation than engage in one that doesn’t interest me. That having something to say is quite a bit different than wanting to hear myself talk. And that, while the meaningless inanities could certainly indicate that the person talking is not interesting, there’s a greater chance it means they’re not interested in talking to me. Just as it took me an unfortunately long time to cotton to the dude without the watch, I did eventually come to realize that the true and lovely meaning of utterly mindless chit-chat is that we find ourselves together at this place and time, so why don’t we just leave it at that.
(*Pun intentional and without apology.)
There was a time not too long ago in memory but perhaps a bit further back as the crow flies when, instead of taking to the internet to share half-formed thoughts however deeply felt, I would walk on down to the Pamplona cafe and write. Not, as many of my friends did, in a journal; I have never managed to quite wrap my head around the thought of writing for no audience – particularly when the alternative is to pass hours upon hours with the same thoughts whirling around my head in a most productive fashion. Instead, I would put pencil to paper to write letters to my friend Naopi, who was living in Greece at the time.
An interesting thing about these letters, or so I think, is that, although I did almost nothing at all in my free time except write to her (then, as now, it took me an exceptionally long time to complete a single letter), I always had lots to talk about. While the overall topics are probably pretty similar to the categories on ye olde blogge here – people being strange, shopping, animals – the specifics of most of those letters have been lost to the hoary mists of time, and possibly the recycling can. Except for one topic, which I remember quite well : what makes a person boring.
There are two main reasons why I remember this topic : one is that, as soon as I mailed it off to Naopi, I received from her a letter dissecting what is was that made a person charismatic; she couldn’t possibly have received my letter before writing her own – the Greek mail system being notoriously slow in the mid-’90s – and I thought it an interesting and symbolically meaningful statement on our friendship that we would both approach the same topic at the same time, but from such very different directions. The second is that there was a cute boy involved.
Said cute boy was Luke, who had been a classmate of mine at the college Naopi attended as well. Luke and I had a few classes together, and he played in a band with a guy who lived downstairs from me freshman year (whose roommate that freshman year, a propos of absolutely nothing, took dreadful notes), so I had ample opportunity to appreciate his classic, Aryan dreaminess. Luke’s most important quality, it turned out, was that, in one chance encounter behind a Walgreens in Somerville, he utterly obliterated the very boring theory I had spent so many weeks working out.
Then, my theory had been that whether or not a speaker was interesting was determined by energy. It was a simpler time then, I was young, and so it made sense to the optimism of my youth not that any topic would be inherently uninteresting, but that a lack of energy and enthusiasm displayed by the speaker would translate to a corresponding lack of interest in the audience for anything they had to say.
That day on the bike path, though, Luke was interested in whatever it was he was talking about. He was smiling, eyes crinkling, hands gesticulating an amount appropriate to the topic. Also : still very handsome. If we were in a silent movie or being watched from afar through high-powered binoculars, it would not have been unreasonable to conclude that our conversation was of great interest and perhaps some little import. When, in fact, the conversation was stunningly dull.
So boring. It was so boring! I don’t remember at all what we were talking about, but I do remember a peculiar sense of loss as I realized that there would be attractive people in my life that I would have no interest in talking to, and a more profound sense of disbelief as my theory of energy crumpled in front of a handsome face, clearly so jazzed about the topic, and yet, somehow, so, so boring.
I have, of course, been bored many times since then, and even, on a few occasions, by a handsome gentleman. Though I have not had reason to return to my formal studies, I have, through repeated exposure to things and people that are not at all interesting, realized that “boring” can not be reduced to either the presence or absence of one single element, but instead is the complex result of the interplay of several factors:
- The most sure sign that you are at the advent of a boring conversation is an assumption by the speaker that the audience has knowledge it could not possibly have. This gambit is often employed by the advertising industry, which will develop products to help you sync to the The Cloud, perfect its BB Cream, or list the 10 most tell-tale signs of Imposter Syndrome, without ever having established that the cloud, cream or syndrome actually exist and, further, serve some purpose. They do not.
- In conversation, this will typically present as an especially difficult part of a task that has not been previously discussed, and, as in advertising, is an attempt to hook the audience’s interest by exploiting the audience’s unwillingness to admit they don’t know something and risk looking foolish. Unfortunately, my typical response to context-free information that sounds like nonsense is not worry that I don’t know what’s going on, but rather to conclude that the speaker is kind of a dick.
- An addition signifier of a boring conversation is the inclusion of numerous but completely unnecessary details. This one is difficult for me to point out, as there are few things I love more than unnecessary details – it’s kind of my signature. And, indeed, a well-deployed detail can add flavor and depth to a story. However, few are the people in the world who would enjoy an in-depth discussion of each individual vegetable that could potentially top a Subway Sandwich, even if the shredding of the lettuce could indeed be the key to replicating that sandwich at home.
- A corollary to unnecessary detail is the allusion to other unspecified details. The speaker may reference a previous event as though it had been aforementioned , e.g. “So then there’s that whole thing,” the emphasis on that indicating the potential of interesting, or perhaps even scandalous, information. As with the assumption of knowledge, this is often an attempt to get the audience to ask after that whole thing, thus prolonging the conversation and the speaker’s role as the center of attention. Don’t fall for it.
- While the speaker might happily digress in a direction of their choosing – revisiting that whole thing, for example – they will not allow for the natural flow and development of a conversation that can occur between two (or more) equal participants. Even if another participant does manage to introduce a new topic, a boring speaker will always revert back to the original topic.
- Similarly, while it may feel like a boring conversation just will not end, the fact is that is that a boring conversation is actually far, far longer than an interesting conversation. As with the previous point, it is impossible to bring to this conversation a natural end; even if you were to tell the speaker that you knew exactly what they were going to say, and then prove that by going ahead and saying it, the speaker would still continue on the predetermined path of what they want to say. That may sound far-fetched, but I’ve done it.
The Smithsonian reported earlier this week that we’re approaching “Peak Beard”. Which is to say that we’ve reached a cultural saturation point with regards to facial hair; beards, their infinite varieties and configurations, are indeed everywhere. And while there will always be a need for the beard in our society – how else a silver fox make himself even more distinguished? or a sports team win the playoffs? - right now, that necessity has become commonplace. Through their very numbers, any individual beard has dissolved into the vast sea of beard that has washed over us all. The beard, in short, has sold out.
That being said, the dawn of Peak Beard reminds me of the one and only beard story I have. At least, it’s the only one I remember in its entirety; I do have a vague recollection of an apartment search that involved a bearded lady, but I couldn’t tell you how. That story may not have had a punchline, or not one beyond “bearded lady”; that makes things harder to remember.
But, I digress. Anyway – several years ago, I was having lunch with some friends; our table was crowded, but the only two people I remember specifically as being present were Debbie and Scott, though not because that was unusual. We were deeply involved in your standard lunchtime conversation, filling what would otherwise be silent in an unremarkable manner, when by our table passed a guy with a beard.
“Hey,” I interjected. “Who’s that guy with the beard?”
“Which one?” Debbie asked.
The table paused, as everyone stopped to focus on Debbie. Debbie had a habit for malaprop, most famously declaring her tendency to “eat several guys under a table” in a discussion of how much she enjoyed food. The beard question did not, on its face, have quite that level of humor inherent; it was the context in which the question was posed that elevated it into the annals of Stories We’d Tell, and the context was this : we were in high school at the time.
Specifically, we were Sophomores. And, while puberty comes to different people at different times, facial hair is scarce enough as a whole, and then patchy enough in its initial expression on the faces of youth, that anything robust enough to be fully and properly referred to as “beard” on the face of anyone other than a teacher, is noticeable. This was not like the time Heath had burst out in frustration “Petunia Pig, dammit!” in his effort to call attention to a particularly unattractive floral top; this being the ’80s, particularly unattractive was the norm, floral or otherwise. In high school – which, in many ways, is the opposite of peak beard – “the guy with the beard” should have been description enough.
And so we paused, briefly, until it became clear that the only possible response to Debbie’s question was for all of us to raise our voices in unison to reiterate “THE ONE. WITH. THE BEARD.”*
It turns out Debbie didn’t know who that guy was; no one did. He remains a mystery to this day. Possibly, he was a narc of some kind. But, more than anyone, I hope for his sake that the transition back to post peak beard is swift. Because if he couldn’t reliably be recognized for having a beard in high school, then the past few years must have truly been torture.
*And this, even though we did not yet have sarcastic punctuation in the Eighties.
Posted November 11, 2013on:
While it makes sense to me that people might start a relationship with a co-worker, I’ve always been somewhat amazed by couples who work together. I’m at least partially aware that working together would not entail literally spending the entire work day together, yet the idea of spending that much time with any one person is, frankly, exhausting. One of the very few things I still enjoy about working on Saturdays is that it’s an entire day that I have to myself; if I had to share that day with someone, and then had to go and spend even more time with them later? They’d already know how amazing my Saturday was, which would really limit my conversational options.
Of course, in addition to bringing your relationship into the workplace, you’re also bringing the workplace into your relationship. By which I mean coworkers; and, though it is undoubtedly wonderful to be able to bask in the reflected glow of admiration in the eyes of your coworkers because of the purity of your love, nothing travels through a workplace like word of romantic woes that are none of anyone’s business. This was something I learned many years ago, when Vanessa sleeping with Sharon’s boyfriend rocked the call center where we all worked.
I should clarify that Vanessa and Sharon’s boyfriend did not actually sleep together. But this is a family blog, and to accurately describe the activities in which they engaged might pose a risk to my PG-13 rating. Euphemistically, it could be said that they engaged in some adult conversation, wherein Sharon’s boyfriend was on the receiving end of quite a lecture.
How all of this came about, I can’t exactly say. The talk itself happened at a function that was work-adjacent. I myself wasn’t present for the event, in either the macro or micro sense, but instead found out about through my roommate, who was also a coworker, and was both at said function and was somehow present enough to overhear the conversation between Jordan and Vanessa. Although I am, unfortunately, unable to forget how impressed he was with Jordan’s capacity for listening (Jordan being Sharon’s boyfriend,) even at the time of the telling, I did not quite understand how it all happened to come about, and so cannot share that with you now.
What I do remember is how carefully eager everyone at work was to share what they knew. I very clearly recollect smoking with Tracey in the parking lot behind the building, me sitting on the fire escape and her standing not quite beside it, each of us trying to delicately figure out what the other person knew, each fairly certain that what we knew was worse, and, realizing that we both knew, finally unburdening ourselves of the secret we had kept for less than 24 hours.
What I also remember is that, despite this being an oft-mentioned secret in the call center, we never actually shared that we knew what we knew with the people we knew it about. This was a decision I was not entirely comfortable with: on the one hand, it seemed like Sharon might benefit from knowing that, not only was her boyfriend a titanic sack of crap, he also did not have the basic good sense of even the dumbest animal who knows not to shit where it eats; on the other hand, as the supervisor, it seemed inappropriate to involve myself in any kind of personal shenanigan that happened outside the workplace, adulterous or otherwise. No matter how often it might come up in conversation.
(I was going to include a link to a description of “subtweet” in that last sentence, but it turns out I didn’t actually know what a subtweet is. Man, the lingo today; it is so fetch.)
And it only grew more difficult not to blurt out what I knew as time went on. Although Jordan was not someone with whom I’d generally ever socialized; and Vanessa had been widely shunned even prior to her talk with Jordan, what with her seemingly below-average intelligence, her weird walk like she always breaking in a new pair of shoes, and the fact that she never, ever, ever pushed in her chair when she got up from her desk; Sharon had a sociability that her perfidious paramour lacked, and quickly became a regular part of the workplace social scene.
Which was awkward. Because a lot of Sharon’s conversation was devoted to things that Jordan did and things that Jordan said. And under the barrage of her evidently boundless admiration for Jordan and the way he lived his life, it grew increasingly difficult not to point out that, in addition to his manly feats of strength, or whatever it was that she was going on about, he had also slept with Vanessa.
After one particularly lengthy conversation with Sharon, in which I’d heroically bitten my tongue for no less than 45 minutes, I confided to the closest thing our group had to an adult – DS – the trouble I was having. DS understood; he cared about Sharon too, and it was getting harder for him not to tell her as well. I nodded quietly; DS was wise.
Except, secretly, DS did not understand. Although he was wise – let there be no confusion about that. It’s just that, through talking to him, what I realized was is that, secretly, deep down, I’m a terrible person. I didn’t want to tell Sharon because I cared about her; what I wanted was for her to shut up. Because it was annoying, how wrong she was about Jordan, and it was annoying to have to take part in an endless conversation that was a lie, and it seemed like the most effective way to put a stop to it was to tell her about the time Vanessa blew Jordan’s trumpet, and then stand back as the walls of Jericho came tumbling down.
Even considering that I didn’t actually do it, I’m still not terribly proud of that impulse. Fortunately for me, Sharon and Jordan eventually moved to California, and I did not have to unleash any WMDs just to change the subject. Of course, on the down side, I never did find out what is the limit of annoyance I can take; there’s still a chance that, someday, I might crack.
(And I apologize for that trumpet comment; I just couldn’t find a good video for “talked his ear off.”)
While I would not argue that my most defining quality is excessive laziness, I have not yet gotten, and hope never to get, to a point where I wear sweat pants in public. Partially this is because I don’t really like to wear sneakers, and heels with sweatpants strikes me as trashy in a way you have to be truly exceptional to pull off; additionally, the effort it would take to find a pair of sweatpants that don’t have something written across the ass seems in violation of the entire spirit of sweatpants.
So on those days when I can’t be bothered to put on clothes but still must leave the house, I wear overalls. Overalls capture the same laissez-faire attitude of sweatpants, but still get you credit for actually having gotten dressed. The overalls I have are particularly fetching, because they are the striped sort (which you should be mentally pronouncing with two syllables – “stry-ped”), of the kind associated with train engineers, and with tiny children pretending to be train engineers.
It was these overalls I wore last Monday. I’d had some fancy plans – and a correspondingly fancy outfit – all laid out for the day, but these went astray due to an incredibly terrible sore throat. This would have been unfortunate in and of itself, but it was made ever the more unfortunater by a lack of planning ahead, which left me in the house with no food with soothing recuperative powers, no medicine, and, most importantly, no cat food for Oola’s breakfast the following day; though I most likely would have survived the discomforts caused by the first two, I can’t even imagine the havoc Oola would wreak if denied breakfast.
And this is why I and my overalls shuffled through the streets of Cambridge, first to the vet to buy Oola’s prescription cat food, and then to the new Whole Foods. Which, thanks to some spectacularly convenient urban planning, is directly across the street from the vet’s office. Never have I have I been so glad for corporate machinations and the slow death of Main Street.
As I made my way home, burdened with 4 cans of cat food, three cans of soup, and a two turtle doves, I heard someone call out “Miss!” behind me; tired though I was, I still turned around, and beheld a gentleman, arm stretched out toward me, holding, as though I had dropped it, a stry-ped engineers cap.
“Oh, that’s not mine,” I responded, hopefully appreciatively.
“But it matches your outfit,” he replied, stretching his arm even closer.
To him, this was a clear indication that the cap was the rightful property of mine.
I, however, was skeptical. “Are you sure?” I asked, somewhat curious about why he was apparently walking around with an engineer’s cap he didn’t want, and how he might have disposed of it had I not walked past him right then.
“Yes. Here, it’s yours.” And so he gave me the hat.
I think a lot of people are going to go through their entire lives without getting an engineer’s hat from a stranger. It took me nearly 40 years to get one, but, having done so, I can tell you for sure : it is absolutely worth the wait.
We had a tiny television on the table in the kitchen in my house in Pennsylvania. There was a special shelf we built into the wall, close enough to the ceiling that you had to stand on a chair to reach it, where the tv was placed when everyone was home for dinner, or if you wanted to see it more easily while you were at the sink, washing the dishes. But mostly the tv, which was actually a combination tv/am/fm radio, lived on the table; it was in front of this tv that I would sit and watch G.I. Joe and The Transformers while doing my homework, and it was on this tv, several years later (although fewer than I would want to detail), that my mother and I watched the 2nd to last episode ever of Twin Peaks, featuring the long-mentioned Miss Twin Peaks pageant (winner gets a free trip to the Black Lodge!), for which the contestants had been rehearsing for weeks, and which, once it finally arrived, moved my mother to proclaim boy, that David Lynch must really hate women.
I doubt there was any follow-up to this comment. In part because, as a senior in high school who had already been accepted to college, this fell squarely into the time frame where everything your parents say is the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened. Particularly in a situation like this, where there exists the horrifying possibility that the ensuing conversation might be tangentially related to sex. But also all the time, and particularly in a situation like this, because it’s just so awful how they’re always wrong.
The error in this case was not that there might have been anything hateful about the Miss Twin Peaks pageant; obviously, a show that used the murder of the prom queen as the jumping off point to explore the secrets kept in a small town – including that said prom queen was a prostitute, and, in the immortal words of the lovely Audrey Horne, “had a sweet tooth for nose candy” – is not going to have a problem with women. The error was in thinking that, in that day and age – 1991, Saturdays, 9pm, suburban Pennsylvania – anyone might hate women.
Because that sort of thing didn’t happen; not anymore. Certainly, it had been a problem in the past, but so had polio. Feminism & Women’s Lib had been a powerful vaccine, spreading equality and understanding throughout society. My mother was a doctor, for pete’s sake; if, when she went to buy a new car accompanied by her husband, the salesman referred to the lighted mirror on the passenger-side visor as a “standard feature for the lady of the house,” well, that one salesman was an antiquated buffoon, a decomposing carp buried in silt, occasionally giving off gas that would bubble up to momentarily disturb the still pond of sisters are doin’ it for themselves, and nothing more; certainly, it was no indication of a continuing societal norm to belittle and condescend to women. No.
And it didn’t change the fact that, over on the #1 show on television (which Twin Peaks, sadly, was not), charming as Cliff was, it was still Claire Huxtable who wore the pants in that relationship. And if I occasionally found her to be a bit strident, it wasn’t because she was overreacting to things or overly emotional, but because there was no need to yell; you’re a woman, Claire Huxtable : you have a right to be heard. It wasn’t until later that I discovered how much my right to be heard depended on who was doing the listening.
Recently, I received an email from a male coworker in which he stated that I was definitely “the superstar” of a group assigned to work on a particular project. This group – which consisted of myself and two other people, both male – had, even before that email, sparked unpleasant flashbacks to group projects in library school : meetings were difficult to schedule and constantly postponed; people didn’t have ideas, and most of the meetings that were held were spent silently marveling and how people were not using any of their time to work on this project. It was amazingly frustrating to see a fairly straightforward project, which, generously, should have taken no more than 3.5 hours, stretch over 5 months.
However, eventually, as it had to, work on the project concluded. And, even though I was not the lead, I can tell you confidently and completely without boasting that 98% of our conclusions had been entirely my idea. The proposal that we submitted was written entirely by me, even though at one point another of the other group members, stating that he felt like he wasn’t doing anything (which, I refrained from pointing out, might have been because he wasn’t), offered to take a pass at it; but, after a week it remained unchanged, so I finished it up. To be fair, he did create the images for the document, although he wasn’t able to go so far as to insert them into the document, so I took care of that. And the presentation that we did was a word-for-word recitation of the document I had written detailing my ideas.
I understand that being part of a group means that credit goes to the whole, regardless of how much might have been done by each individual person. And, I don’t even necessarily mind being the only person in the group doing any work; I do love to get my own way, after all, so if no one else is doing anything, then there’s a pretty good chance I’ll get what I want.
But the ‘superstar’ email made me angry. Because my first thought on reading it was boy, I bet he never would have said that to me if I were a man. I mean, yes, it’s unlikely that one man would call another a superstar in most professional settings. But even apart from that, had I been a man, the sender would probably not have felt the need to obscure the fact that he hadn’t done shit on the project behind a feeble compliment, or to charmingly suggest that I might not have noticed that I was the only one doing anything.
It made me angry too because, after all these years, I know there’s no way to respond to a comment meant to appease the little lady. If I point out that the bar for superstardom is exceedingly low, then I’m ungrateful and kind of a bitch. Or, worse, I’m reacting emotionally rather than rationally. If I suggest that other members of the group might contribute a little more, I get either excuses for why they’re busy, or some Eddie Haskell-grade faux-feminist nonsense about how I was doing such a good job they didn’t think I needed their help. Yet, if I accept the compliment, I reinforce the idea that, as long as you tell a woman she’s pretty, you can get away with anything.
But mostly it made me angry because it reminded me of the Miss Twin Peaks pageant. Because if I go back and watch Twin Peaks and discover that David Lynch hates women after all? I am going to be pissed.