14 September 2011

a matter of tact

Yes, I realize that this title is terrible, even for me. My sincerest apologies.

As I was getting ready for class today, my mind wandered to the subject of the Jim Carrey film, Liar, Liar (as it is wont to do). When viewing this film for the first time as a small child, I was taken in by the slapstick humor and elasticity of one Mr. Carrey’s face. But, since that initial viewing, questions about the film have plagued me, finally spurring me to write about them today.

The premise of the film is simple enough: a pathological liar loses the ability to lie for an entire day, thanks to his son’s birthday wish. Hilarity ensues.

But, at least from my point of view, it doesn’t have to. Sure, that version of the film would have been far less entertaining, but it also would have been less infuriating.

Let’s suspend disbelief and deem this involuntary bout of honesty a possibility. Carrey immediately spews his honest opinions about those around him, performs horribly in court, and has a memorable interaction with a pen during the course of the movie.

All of these things make for great comedy, but logically, I have a problem with the plot. Was there a clause of the wish that somehow went unmentioned? Did he lose his filter completely? My point is, it was as though every thought he had needed to be verbalized, regardless of social convention. Why couldn’t he have just kept his thoughts to himself? He didn’t necessarily have to tell his boss that she was repulsive, nor did he need to scream that his client was guilty. He could have thought it, but rather than lie outright, he could have just opted not to say anything at all.

My argument could be invalidated, however, if the filmmakers were taking a stance on honesty, equating withholding the truth with verbally lying. Then, not only would they be questioning whether honesty is the best policy, but they would shatter the foundation of what constitutes a lie. This film could have had the potential to alter social conventions forever.

But, since I don’t know the filmmakers personally, nor do I know anyone who would be willing to discuss such matters with me, I won’t know for sure. These questions will simply persist in my mind, among other queries (How can I get my hair to behave? Why is everything so expensive in Stockholm? How did I manage to chip off such a large portion of my nail polish without noticing?)

I do think that honesty is important in any relationship, but I also value the silence that comes when something doesn’t need to be said. In fact, I think that the sign of a true adult is one who knows when to shut the hell up.

12 September 2011

on manrepelling

For those of you unfamiliar, please go here so that the rest of this post makes sense to you. Or not. I’m a writer, not the police.

As a quick recap, I am in Stockholm. Stockholm is fantastic: the food is yummy, the buildings are gorgeous, the language is entertaining. But my favorite thing about Stockholm so far is the people. Not only are they gorgeous, but they dress incredibly well.

Which brings me back to man repelling. As a young woman, I recognize that now is the prime of my life, at least, in terms of looks. I also understand the importance of utilizing what I have to my advantage. Even though I get it on an intellectual level, I am driven towards dressing like a crazy person. On a regular day, it is safe to assume that fifty percent of whatever I am wearing is intended for men, and the rest are usually made for someone outside side of my age demographic (from toddler to old lady; I tend to swing to the extremes).

After stumbling upon the Man Repeller, I realized that I may or may not have found a kindred spirit. Someone who dresses to make herself happy, and does not necessarily adhere to normal standards of beauty. In fact, she often puts ensembles together just to see what happens.

This is how I get all the men.

While I appreciate her efforts, I have to wonder about the legitimacy of manrepelling. Even though she prides herself on her sartorial freedom, she still (for the most part) looks nice. At least, the individual pieces are nice. Other times, however, I feel like she puts in serious effort to look as ludicrous as possible, just for the sake of looking ludicrous. Those posts are entertaining, but I find them less genuine, and therefore not in the spirit of dressing to make oneself happy.

Thinking about manrepelling reminds me of what elementary school teachers used to tell me: “Just be yourself and people will like you. You’ll make friends eventually.”

The thing is, a saying like that is way too idealistic. Growing up, I’ve learned that people lie all the time. Call me a cynic, but being yourself doesn’t mean that people will like you. Your self might be crazy.

By being a manrepeller, I get to express myself and know that I am happy and comfortable in my skin. However, it also means that I will not be attracting any males any time soon. Should I just give in? Sacrifice a little bit of individuality so that I may be happier later on?

Judging by the fact that I am sitting in my apartment wearing mens boxer briefs and a shirt whose name is White Tiger Stalk, I don’t think that that sort of sacrifice is going to happen any time soon.

I suppose I’ll just have to wait for someone to actually like me for me. Lucky me. And lucky him.