"The Little Things That Kill" is the name of my column. It's called taht because I'm short, heh, and because I attempt to tackle topics that otehrs would normally gloss over (real world topics, not just comics).
Here's where I'm gonna post my columns and have feedback. This summer I wanted to apply to be a columnist in my university paper. Unfortunately, I missed the deadline. But I will apply again.
In the meantime, I will use this time to grow and perfect my writing. I have 3 sample columns so far ranging from ugly to good in my opinion. The three tacle comic books, metrosexualism, and cultural akwardness (this last one kinda pertains to conditions at my school but I can just fill in the blanks if you need it).
I'll post them when I get home from work and hope oyu guys enjoy.
I also promise for there to be no typos (OK, fine, few, few typos) in my columns
Preface: Sheridan Rd is the main road down campus that most people walk on to go to class. The Keg is the local campus bar. And Northwestern isn't the happiest most partying school ever. In fact, many time it's quite dismal.
With that said, enjoy the column:
The Sheridan Road Stare Down
Really, I’m not that repulsive. At least I don’t think so. Or my mother either. But everyday people I know, they just stare right past me on the walk to class. They glance at me while my head is turned. And I do it too. We refuse to acknowledge the people we know.
You know, we had that freshmen seminar together. I hated that class so I’ll block it from my mind and you do too. And that night that I was wasted at the Keg? Well that never happened, why should I say hi to you, I’ve never seen you before.
I like to call this gesture, or lack of a gesture, the Sheridan Road Stare Down. It’s very easy to do. You just pretend you’re in your own little world, stare at the sidewalk or across the road. Don’t say anything. If you feel nervous, whip out your cell phone. Hell, you don’t even have to talk to anyone on it, just pretend to be.
I’m man enough to realize there are some things that, ok, we can ignore people for. The foremost being, hey, I don’t like you. Or one night stands, which can be made less uneasy, especially if you left before your partner woke up the morning after (not speaking from personal experience, of course).
But aren’t we just hiding in cowardice? Where’s our confidence? I still don’t know how I got into Northwestern, but there was something that shined through on our embellished applications that got us selected. I do know that it wasn’t being shy or backing down from people. Yet here we are, doing just that. And before you get your angry letter writing campaign to the forum page started, I’m being critical of myself as well, this isn’t me on a pedestal (although I usually am).
I certainly don’t blame this phenomenon on Northwestern. I just think the Sheridan Road Stare Down is a microcosm of this problem that is afflicting the way we live. OK, I’m not religious; I don’t believe in Catholic love or be nice to everyone. I get that. But somewhere in out heads a switch flipped and we no longer accepted people as trusting or friendly. Rather, we became suspicious. What is this person using me for? What does he want from me? In turn, our vocabulary molded to our new way of thinking. Words like “sketchy and “shady” became commonplace, and more often than not we jumped to call encounters we felt uncomfortable in as “awkward”.
What can we do to fix this problem? Well, it’s simple: smile. A simple smile at someone who you know you conversed with at the bar last week goes a long week. I myself am a big fan of the head nod, sometimes accompanied with a “What’s up?” Alternatively, the minimalist “hey” works well enough too.
This school is such a mental deathtrap and we just perpetuate it. The winter keeps us inside and depressed. The studying and constant midterms keep us stressed. We dig ourselves deeper and deeper and we let it extend to our social lives. By breaking the engrained depression in our minds, even by little gestures, by breaking this so called Stare Down, maybe we can brighten some of our days. Or at least I’ll feel more popular.
If you want to see more fo my writing here, some of it more esoteric and prosey (and a lot more deperessing, I wote a lot of it when I was in a mild state of depression), visit: www.livejournal.com/users/eric3000/
Having never taken a gender studies course, I can’t tell you when the term gay arose, or when it became popular. Likewise, I can’t tell you when being bisexual became a common option. But I do know that being a metrosexual is a recent phenomenon.
I do actually know where the term metrosexual was coined. It happened on the Mike & Mike show. One Mike is this huge sports player. The other, a proud Medill grad (that’s right, he’s home grown, ladies) who was termed the first metrosexual for being concerned with the way he looks.
And what’s wrong with that? Couldn’t we all stand to take a bit more pride in our appearances? Tell me you haven’t sat next to that stinky kid in class who was so horribly unshaven, he might have been a dirty Mexican if you didn’t know better that his out of control hair was just an overgrown Jew-fro. Or how about those slackers who walk into class with the McCormick class of ’07 shirts with a beaming smile on their faces? Yes, you could stand to have a bit more style.
Personally, I always followed the saying “dress for success”. From there it just kinda invaded my private life. We all know deep down we like to dress up formally. It gives us a sense of empowerment, especially when those around us are wearing said McCormick t-shirts and jean shorts (a lambasting of jean shorts could take up a whole other column).
The only logical extension is to dress up all day everyday. Take some pride in the way we dress. Groom our selves nicely. Recognize matching colors (you’re smart enough to get in here, you should be smart enough to recognize color patterns that work.) Wear a collared shirt more often.
A quick aside on the whole popped/not-popped collar debate: do what looks good. Some guys can pull it off, some can’t. And ladies too, it looks good on you. The interesting thing about the popped collar is that it’s all a confidence game. If you think you’re macho enough to pull it off, you can. That’s all there is to it.
Being students doesn’t mean we should just take the day off and not dress nicely. We are in some sort of social environment. We are trying to make connections. And lets be honest, with the little talking we do with each other, appearance is everything. That’s why it’s even more critical to dress in an appeasing fashion.
Just please, don’t take it too far. You’re triple-breasted business suit that you wear to class, a little too much. Yes to professionalism, no to being a complete tight-ass. Wait 10 years when you’re burned out from being an investment banker to break out the suit and remember your glory days of raking in dough.
Ultimately, it’s about class. That’s all it takes to be a metrosexual. Nowadays metrosexualism is being linked to alternative forms of sexual behavior, but really it’s just about how attuned one is to their appearance and it stops there. Metros could be bisexual or whatever, but that’s up to them. Just think about the next time you step out of your dorm in your Old Navy performance fleece pullover.
I've tought a metrosexual was one who liked to sleep with whole cities..
Seriously, even before the term was coined, I've always taken care of myself. Yep, I'm a little vain, and arrogant and always like to be dressed perfectly to the ocassion. I like to look good.
Yes, Jack Hawksmoor is a metrosexual
I think a point I may have to retool in the article, is that beyond making sure one is well groomed (and I'm glad you are), a metro actively keeps up with fashion industry trends and knows the latest styles. it's something that i realized I missed now and will have to fit back in.
Post by thebarkingshark on Jul 1, 2005 1:08:17 GMT
Great Columns, Eric.
I especially like the Metrosexual one. I've been called a metrosexual many times by my friends, especially by my roommate Shannon, who is a lesbian. I like to dress nice when I go out and I get complimented by girls a lot at the bars, even guys tell me they like my wardrobe.
Like Hector, I can be very arrogant, but that's one of the things I like the most about myself. -SHARK DIGGLER
all that metrosexuality makes me feel like putting my bedroom curtain on. ;D
seriously, i have never been one to think of this-shirt-goes-with-that-pants. well maybe except for colours but that's just about it. never one to go with lines, checkers, collars (yes, i resoundingly hate collars!) or any of the golfer shirts. nor do i wear i-am-a-walking-sportsbrand-ad shirt. just plain solid colour (preferably not bright ones, God forbid the primary colours), thank u.
@ mr. Morrisey -> u're not arrogant, just vain. ;D @ Hec -> u're not vain, just arrogant. ;D ;D @ eric -> u're too sexy for yourself. ;D ;D ;D
i like that column as others do. i am, sadly to say, one of those people too. but i am trying to shed it. honest! ;D
just to relate to u my experience of it at my workplace. many a times i walk past quite a number of colleagues & we hardly greet one another. only a few, as in less than 10, that do. even that would be as curt as 'Hi' or 'Hello'.
it was particularly pathetic of me to find out later on that one of them is my second cousin (my mom's side). so how did i deal with that? consciously avoiding him. ;D one of the things i never like is to be nice to relatives who later on would say that i did that only to get advantage of them, being richer than my family.
after 3, no, 4 years of working in the same place, it was only in a company function that he acknowledged me & our relationship (if i can call it that). today he's one of my closest buddies, so heck, if only i know him earlier, right? nope!
but that is a different story altogether.
eric, u're right about using smiles to disarm detachment in people. but there are some people who begs to be ignored; those who consciously ignore u, look down upon u, having pre-conceived notion about u etc. but these people normally make me smile even more (even say Hi to them) just to spite them. ;D
the therm metrosexual, well, it's the first time i've heard about it, really. let us say i'm way off the metro thing, lol...i try to adapt/respect the environment/context/situation that surrounds me, but i'm more of a confortable style over the formal/power suit one...
always thought funny the opposite, not being the best stylish person in class, let the steryotipes/opinions being build up in the enxt few times and then...talk/interact/communicate and assist live/front row, all those steryotipes/opinions changing, or even crumble down...
Lots to think about. Thanks for posting those columns Eric.
I know I've always been one to avoid contact with others, but it is a habit I am trying to shed. Especially with my current job of working in retail. I'm supposed to smile and say to every single customer within 10 feet of me.
...Let's just say that's where I lose points on my self-examination. I can do my job efficiently, quickly and safely. When I'm at register, I'm very friendly with the customer. But on the floor, walking around, I still shy away or walk quickly by people. It's really hard to not do that.
As for metrosexual, I would suggest that if you rework that article to present a clear definition early-on because I was confused for most of the column. I had never heard that term and didn't understand if you were just talking about looks or sexual preferences.
I've never been a slob, but I do wear comfortable clothes. I only wear torn stuff at home. I won't even wear sweat pants out. I normally wear tan pants, clean sneakers and a nice shirt (usually blue - my favorite color). Sometimes to work I wear collared shirts, which are nice for keeping the strap of my name badge off my neck.
I do have some professional clothes ready for when I start building my business. ^_^
I keep my fun shirts for my off days. Like the shirt with a dragon picking his teeth with a lance and the cpation reads "Sometimes the dragon wins." Or my green shirt that says, "I'm easy to please as long as I get my way." ^_~
Thank you all for your kind words. I'm also glad that there is some healthy discussion going on, because taht's all I hope to do.
Anyway, i just wrote this and I'm know I'm too impatient to edit it. So this is very raw but also really fresh from my brain. It explores being jewish and cultural identity in general. Enjoy.
The Obligatory Cultural Awareness Column (With White People)
I’m white. It’s easy to get lost within this seemingly bland ethnicity. After all, just look at any college/job/world series of poker application. If you’re not white then you’re Black, African American, Asian, or other. And I believe “other” is reserved for Albinos and Antarticans.
Similarly, there are no white interest groups. You can have an African American club, an Asian American Club, but if you have a White American Club all of a sudden you’re the KKK.
Alright, let me step back a bit for all of you minorities that are about to write me death threats. I can understand that being white isn’t a minority so we don’t need our own elitist club. But we’re not exactly a majority either. No, we’re the mutt club of the world, mixes of just about any ethnicity you can think of. So while people who have a strong cultural identity, such as African Americans, talk about defining themselves in a world where they are a minority, I find myself agape of the lack of talk about whites struggling to find their own identity in an ethnic group that clearly does not have one.
Oh noes! The poor white boy is whining about not having his own cultural club. Maybe he should face some real issues like being oppressed. Yes, fine, it is probably easier to be white than any other ethnicity in America, but that doesn’t mean we still shouldn’t struggle like every other ethnicity in this nation. We should be trying to find out about our past too.
I’m white. And I’m Jewish. It took me 20 years of my life to come to terms with this. As a boy, I was raised with the values my parents taught me, which inherently meant going to Hebrew School and getting Bar Mitzvahed. And it was around that time, at the age of 13, that I began to question why I was 1. Believing in the big G-D, and 2. Wasting my afternoons in Hebrew School.
So I rebelled and created my own religion. In the religion of Eric, the only Bible is the Book of Me. And in my last religious rant of the column, I am still content with my religion so please don’t solicit me to join your bible study as I walk to class. If I really wanna be Christian, I’ll come find you.
With my teenage rebellion in full swing (instead of pot smoking or drinking, I rebelled with religion), I decided to cut off all ties of my Jewishness. No more High Holiday services. No more Seders. No more 8 days of only matzah (this was the easiest to give up). I did still celebrate Chanukah. Hell, I’m not giving up 8 nights of presents; I don’t care how vain I am.
But in releasing my ties from my religion and my ethnicity, I became lost. I no longer had a culturally identity besides my whiteness. And in a world where Irish, Italians, and Canadians are also white, who was I?
It took my entering of college to realize that I liked being stereotyped as cheap because I was Jewish. While some may find it offensive, I still think it’s funny and it gave me individuality. I learned that under my shaved gelled hair, was a budding Jew-fro waiting to blossom. That I could take solace in Yiddish words like “schvazta” that few others know the meaning of. I had pushed away the religion, but I shouldn’t have pushed away the culture. I relish in loving New York bagels with cream cheese that only a true Jew could appreciate. And I love being Jewish.
No matter what ethnicity one is, whether it is one of the myriad of white ones, or Black, or Asian, go define yourself. What makes you unique? Struggling to find our culturally identity is one thing that defines us, not divides us, no matter what we look like.