Friday, October 29, 2010

A Case of a Mistaken Identity

These past few weeks, there have been a lot of videos directed towards the homosexual community. These videos have been encouraging and supportive, which is great. I don't mean to demean them, their message, or anything else at all that might offend people. But I will say that these messages don't have much to say to me, and I do wish that my kind had as vocal a support community as the homsexual community has. See, I'm not a homosexual, but often, people seem to assume I am. What's worse is that no one has appropriately addressed this issue; often, I feel as if I'm not sure how to when someone confronts me about my mistaken 
sexual identity. Apologize for being misleading? Joke about it awkwardly and hope the situation resolves itself? Go along with it and see if I can get a free breakfast out of it? 

If anyone else out there shares my concerns, I've compiled a list of a few iterations of situations where someone has mistakenly assumed I was gay, and how I responded

Situation 1: Straight Guy Assumes I am gay.
This is often the most easily corrected and least damaging. At one point in my wilder and crazier days*, I was at a party where there was a girl I thought was pretty. I talked to her for a bit, and then wandered off for a bit. Soon afterwards, I met a male friend of hers. After the usual small talk, I asked how he knew the pretty girl. Very well, it turned out; in fact, he was her boyfriend. Then he turned the tables on me; "What about you? How do you know her? By the way, you're gay, right?" 
"Oh, I just met her," I replied. "And no! I'm not gay." We fist bumped, then talked about how much we liked football**. 
"Oh, ok. I Just got that vibe for some reason," he said. Then we chatted a little longer; he was a nice guy, and didn't seem like he had any urge to beat me up for talking to his girl.
*Ha! Like I had wild and crazy days. These were the same days where my idea of going out was drinking warm milk in pajamas.
**This is how it happened in my head.

In retrospect, that was one of the best outcomes for the situation. I found out that any more time spent talking to the girl in hopes that she would like me would be a waste of time (more so than usual, that is), and the guy didn't have any grudges against me. "What a friendly, ambiguously straight guy that was," he probably walked away thinking. 

Correct response to situation 1: Correct quickly without making a big deal about it.

Situation 2: Gay Man Assumes I am Gay.
I was in a bar over the summer. I went with two friends who were girls. They were talking about whatever girls talk about when they get together in a swarm (that's the proper term for a group of them), so I decided I would happily sip my beer, maybe scope out the bar for any pretty girls who were there. There weren't any (I told myself) so I just sort of stood around and tried to figure out what color my socks were without looking directly at them, when a guy came up to me and introduced himself as Mike (names have been changed to protect the innocent). "Oh, hi. I'm Brendan," I said, smiling because I had just remembered the answer to what was puzzling me (green). I reached out my right hand, and he contorted his left arm so that he could grab my right hand in his left hand. 
"The normal handshake is just too formal for me," he explained. At this point I noticed his well groomed facial hair - a thin mustache - and the way he looked right into my eyes as if he was trying to see my soul. My response was to go into small talk mode: a terrible mistake. All of a sudden, I knew all sorts of things about Mike, the most immediately concerning of which was that he was a chef, and had just offered to make me breakfast, if I was interested. 
"Ah, a chef! That explains the fork you have wrapped around your wrist like a bracelet!" I continued, stubbornly still in small talk mode. 
This would have continued indefinitely, or until he made me breakfast, had the girls I was with not stopped laughing at my expense, grabbed me by the elbow and said "C'mon, we're going to a different bar." They then gave me a few tips for how I should have acted if I really wanted him to take me home, because apparently, my game with the men-folk could use some work.

So, in situation 2, small talk in general is not the best response. Could I do it over, I think the conversation would have involved me swiftly correcting him. The opportune moment comes right after the question, "So, what do you do?" Should you ever feel as if you're being mistaken as gay by a gay guy who is interested in you, I think the proper response would be something along the lines of "Girls. Beautiful girls by the truckload. Sometimes not so beautiful ones, if I can't find any, but yes. Girls. Lots and lots of girls. Or is that not what you meant? Because I'm also a Straight (c)* student."

Situation 3: A Girl I am Interested In Assumes I am Gay.
This is the most difficult situation to deal with. I don't really feel like picking out an example of this, because there are a few too many than I am comfortable thinking about, and I still haven't found an acceptable response, so whatever advice I can give will be meaningless. I've contemplated wrapping the target of my affections in a passionate embrace, saying something along the lines of "So you thought I was a man's man, huh?" And then kissing her forcefully to fix it, but I normally just go someplace and lick my wounded pride.

But all of these inspirational messages must end with an uplifting note, so here it is.
Situation 4: A Girl I am Not Interested Assumes I am Gay.
This past summer I was walking back from a bar with some friends of friends. One of them invited me to come with them back to where they were staying; they were going to continue the party in their rooms. "Cool," I thought. I was pretty drunk, so they probably could have convinced me to do anything; going to a room to drink another beer seemed like a kind suggestion, all other options considered. So I ended up in a room of a building with a fire escape. As soon as I walked in, I noticed the fire escape. "Oh, look! A fire escape! That looks so inviting," I said, to no one in particular.
"Yeah, you're right. Want to go out on in?" A girl whom I had never seen before added.

"Sure!" The path to the window could have been paved with burning coals, and I probably would have said "sure." I was in a happy place.
Next thing I know, I'm on a roof with a girl I don't know and who I'm not attracted to. Solution? Small talk mode. "Nice night," I began.
"Mhm," she said, leaning in a bit closer. 

I let the patter begin. At this point, even I could see why we were up on the roof, and I wasn't happy about it. I covered every possible topic, from baseball to what the people in the windows we could see into were thinking before her friend came up to see what was going on on the roof. They both started down, then gestured at me. 
"What about him?" The friend who saved me asked.
"Him? He's probably gay," my evening's love interest replied.

I was about to say, "Hey! Wait a second" when I realized that being taken as homosexual was the most convenient excuse for why I didn't want to hook up with an unattractive stranger - much easier than explaining to her that she was an unattractive stranger.
I shut my mouth, figured out how to get down the fire escape, and left the party.

So if you, like me, are taken to be a homosexual when you're not, don't worry. Someday, it may come in handy. And if you're still worried, look at this article about cuttlefish, and learn from it. It's relevant, I swear.

Well, that was a long post. My brain hurts.
And really, let me know if you have found solutions to any of these situations, especially situation 3. Hope all is well!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Condomanners: A glimpse into my job as an RA

For those of you who don't know, I moonlight as an Resident Adviser at my university. It's a great job, although there are a few frustrations that go along with it.

One thing I do is try to provide contraception for the floor. I keep a little baggie of condoms on a bulletin board outside my door, and try to keep it full. It's nice, because people on my floor get to have sex, and when I hear the rustling of the bag, I know someone on the floor is getting lucky. And that makes me happy (or jealous. Sigh). Recently, despite my best efforts, I can't seem to keep the bag full. I have a sneaking suspicion that people have been taking condoms unnecessarily, so I sent my floor this email. Because I haven't been posting recently, I thought I'd share this, because I thought it was funny.

Subject: Condomanners

 Hey Floor,
A quick note on proper condom etiquette.

Firstly, yes, it is the gentleman's responsibility to provide the condom. Not bringing the condom is a lot like not buying your high school prom date the corsage. You just won't get laid if that's the case.

However, it is not my job to ensure that you can get laid in any situation whatsoever. When is it appropriate go grab a condom from the bag? Take this quick quiz and see how you do!

1) You are going to the chicken and rice guy on 115th street. Perhaps you will see a really cute girl in front of you, hit on her, and buy her a kebab. Oh yeah. You know what kind of kebab she wants.

2) You are going out to Campo. Everyone's chances at Campo are pretty much golden, right?

3) You have just been surprise booty called by Gisele Bundchen. She is in town, because the Patriots are is playing division rivals the Jets, and seeing as Tom hasn't really been meeting her standards recently, she needs a little extra lovin' from you.

4) You are going on a month-long journey to Amsterdam. Holla(nd)!

5) Things went really well at 1020. In fact, there will probably be a happy ending in your room. Sorry, roomie!

6) Your significant other is your roommate. Pass the condom bag every day, several times a day.

7) That supply of yours ran out (pound it). But hey, you're getting lucky tonight.

So, what were your answers? They should have been 3, 5 and 7. Those are all really good reasons to drop by the condom bag and grab one or two. If you chose 1,2,4, or 6 however, you were mistaken.

You see, I get condoms from Health Services in massive quantities, and use that supply to keep our floor supplied. As much as I like it when the people in health services stare at me and think that I'm some sort of legend when I grab condoms by the boatload, it's sort of inconvenient to go there every other week. If you really go through condoms faster than Wile E Coyote goes through Acme catalogs, then you should drop by health services yourself for the free condoms. They're the exact same, I swear. The fact that I have touched them won't make them any better, nor will it increase your chances. So spread the word. Pass this email along to any of those jerks from other floors that I've seen stealing the condoms, too.

Your RA. 

Anyway, let me know if you'd like to hear more about my RA exploits. As soon as I get a bit more time in my schedule, I'll be posting more regularly. Hope all is well!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Conversations with a Floridian

So I was in upstate New York over this past weekend. Now, upstate New York is dangerously close to Canadia (In case you haven't read about my previous misadventures in Canada, see here or here). Right after maple syrup and hockey players with missing teeth, cold air is Canada's primary export, which means that areas by the border are pretty darn cold. Fortunately, I believe that the Canadian cold-weather gnomes were on strike (probably because they weren't given their maple syrup allotment), because this weekend was pretty warm.

Not that it being warm or cold makes much difference in how I dress (i.e. like a colorblind hobo). But really, there is rarely any correlation between  how much clothing I'm wearing and what the temperature outside is. Sometimes this works well for me. I'd say that about once a day, I overhear a beautiful woman say "Look at that underdressed doofus. That's way hot."*
*This is exactly as true as you think it is.

So no shit, there I was in upstate New York on a lake, beautiful day, and I wasn't wearing much (ladies...) As could be expected, this stopped the ladies from talking to me, but I was approached by an incredulous Floridian.

"Dude, you're crazy. It's freezing, how are you wearing so little?"
I shrugged. "I dunno, I don't think it's too cold."
"You're crazy man. I'm freezing, and I'm wearing way more than you are"
"No, you're crazy. You live in Florida. Have you thought about that? Alligators live there. It's not meant for human habitation. The only reason anyone went there in the first place is because some guy who was trippin' thought he would find a fountain of youth there. The average age of state residents is definitive proof that the Ponce de Leon was as crazy as his name suggested."

That frightened him off for a bit, mostly because he didn't know how to reply to my accusations. But really, the amusing part of this came on Sunday. We were on the water again. It was actually a bit warmer than it was on Saturday, but like I said, that has no meaning on what I wear. I know how to keep it classy, so I was rocking socks and sandals. Mr. Florida came up to me again, and started staring at my feet.

"Dude. Are those socks made of wool?"

I quickly evaluated what was happening.
1) He's hitting on me. Footwear is always how it starts. Probability this was the case: 25%
2) He's a fashion designer, and is really into my style. Probability this was the case: 0.1%
3) He has it in for sheep. Anything that makes them uncomfortable is a good thing. Probability this was the case: 0.9%
4) He was legitimately curious about my socks. Probability this was the case: 74%

"Um, yeah. Yeah, they are."
"That's awesome. I've heard people rave about wool. Is it really good?"

This was where I broke out laughing. Not to be mean, but seriously? I briefly considered that this was some religious thing, maybe like a rabbi asking "Are you eating bacon? I've heard people rave about it. Is it really good?"

But no. Turns out wool had never touched his skin. The natural material that comes from sheep. That we've had for thousands of years. Is this for real? Apparently, it is. People from Florida need to be exposed to the outside world. Perhaps they can organize a study overseas program in Canadia.

Hope all is well guys. Sorry for the lack of posting, there's a lot of outside pressure telling me that I need to do work, but hey. You all know my philosophy on working.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

How to be Amusingly Incompetent

It's no secret that the trick to never being asked to do work is to be stupendously incompetent. Like, really, really incapable off doing anything right. Ever.  Unfortunately, that's not necessarily the best way to keep friends. If all you do is mess up everything you touch, no one is going to want to have anything to do with you. 
That TPS report looked like it was filled out by someone ass-backwards with their head not screwed on properly. Don't ever talk to me again.
 That's why it's important to be amusingly incompetent. Yes, you will still be messing up everything that you touch, but, with practice, you will be doing it in a way that makes you endearing to the people who need to correct what you have destroyed. 
Hey guys? Can we just agree that I shouldn't be allowed near any of the tools ever again?
 For some of us, this comes naturally. Otherwise, you will need to work at this if you hope to ever have any free time in your life. Being incompetent is generally easier to perfect. If you have trouble with this, the best place to start is just by turning things in late. Then, with all the time you gained by extending the deadline, you can work on the amusing part of the equation. 

To make sure that you stay amusing in your incompetence, here are a few tips.

1) Make sure you stay good-natured. Foul-mouthed and incompetent is not endearing. 
Monkey balls! I dropped that dip-shit heavy package off the fuckin' cliff again!
2) Never make fun of someone else for being incompetent. Although it may seem like a good distraction technique, and it may get you a laugh, remember that it will ultimately remind people how incompetent you are. Besides, depending on the situation, this may backfire horribly.
"Ha! He'll never cut anything with that axe technique, the incompetent fool!"
"Whoops. He had that coming though, right?"
"Totally. Anyway, what are you doing after work?"
 3) Be self aware. Everyone knows you can't do shit, so it shouldn't be surprising to you. That's why it's endearing. You know you're useless, and you want to be helpful, but you just don't know how. 

Don't do this:
"Hey guys, check out how red I can make my face!"
"Ya mind helpin' out, you useless jerk?"
Instead, try this:
"I'll just help out from this side, guys! Squeeze when you're ready!"
"Oh, sweet Jesus, get him away from there. Can someone distract him with food?"
Amusing incompetence has mixed results for papers, however, as evidenced by the comment I got back from this end of term paper.
Considering what I would have gotten if I tried, a ?+ isn't too bad.
I have taught you all that I know about shirking work. Use it well, young slacker. 
Hope all is well with you, dear readers.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Being Funny

These past couple of days, I've really stopped being funny. This may confuse you; you're probably thinking "But Brendan, how can you stop being funny if you never started in the first place?" That's fine, go ahead and think that, but please don't ask me out loud, otherwise I'll go whimper in a corner someplace.

So tonight, instead of me being funny, I'd like to let someone else be funny for a change. Normally if I'm in a conversation and another person is attempting to be the funny-man, I try to hurt him by making him look like a loser so that I can look cool in comparison. Sarcasm coupled with a discreet kick to the shin is my favorite strategy. But I'll let my jealousy go this time and admit that this is a really funny video that Connor and his friends put together. So thanks, Connor, for sending this! Hope you enjoy it.

Embryo Pilot

So I hope all is well, and I'll try to revert to being funny soon.