Man, the world is so damn weird sometimes.

My idea of an enjoyable and relaxing evening usually involves sitting down to read an assortment of blogs and research abstracts with a rat who alternates between sleeping in my lap and trying to climb into my mug of cocoa. I have never, ever conceived of myself as the sort of person whose life involves words like "after-party". And yet, I have been invited to one. At a reasonably expensive Back Bay "speakeasy" nightclub. As the epilogue to a show in which I will be a catwalk model, no less.

This is not at all how I thought my life was going to turn out. I'm not complaining, I'm just sort of baffled. I was assigned the role of The Smart One very early on, and brought up to believe that I'd be fêted for my intellect rather than my legs. I got a lot of the classic amateur-feminist double bind, 'you clean up nice, but that's of no importance whatsoever'. That's almost as bad as being told you're ugly, in its own way. If you get a lot of people gushing over the way you look -- or at least an absence of mean-spirited critiques -- it starts to feel very much like you're being damned with faint praise. If this thing is so inconsequential, and it's the one people choose to compliment you on when they're trying to be nice, then they can't think you've done much of anything meaningful with your life, can they?

I also got a lot of the classic gifted-kid double bind, the not-really-dissimilar 'you better wise up and learn how to really work at academics, you've only got it easy now because you're so smart'. Well, yes. This is, in theory, the entire point of the higher education system: To provide a place and a hierarchical structure for people who learn things well to learn more things. They're basically telling me that I can't expect to skate through brain-things on brains alone. This is exactly as stupid and wrong as it sounds, and will lead you to fuck yourself over by forever trying to figure out what ineffable other thing people are expecting from you until you notice the internal contradiction, and start telling these people to insert their ill-informed viewpoint on the internal workings of genius where it will only be found, years later, by a confused proctologist with with a fiber-optic camera.

Comments