I want to say this feels somehow appropriate given the whole fiasco of the Gizmodo “OKCupid dating article” which went viral (for lack of better term) earlier this week. At least, it’s related tangentially in my head.
So today, as so many days, I was wearing a tshirt that would be classified as having geek/nerd subject matter. Of course, some of these shirts are more obscure than others, with their origin and subject matter being being anything within my own interests and knowledge. Furthermore, they may be additionally obfuscated by crossovers, inside jokes, and other things that make them less decipherable to people who don’t share the interest. All that said, I don’t wear my shirt for other people. I wear them because I like them. I saw it, I liked it, I bought it. If other people appreciate them, that’s fine, but I was the target audience for my clothing.
After that intro, I was wearing my Edgar Allen Poe ‘Raven’ shirt today (see here for shirt). During my lunch break, I ran a few errands. One in particular was to grab lunch. Being near a college town, the eatery I walked into had several young adults present, also having lunch. As I eating, I was approached by a young lady. She was rather attractive, and probably not many years my junior - basically, a potential date (or whatnot) candidate under most circumstances. The initial conversation was as follows:
Her: “I like your shirt. I love The Raven, it’s a great read.”
Me: “Thanks, I thought it was a clever way of depicting the Poem.”
Her: “The poem? I thought it was a story.”
Me: “I guess it’s a narrative, so it could be something of a scary story.”
Her: “Yeah, it is scary. Like when the raven says ‘Evermore’, that always gets me.”
I shall spare any soul reading this the remainder of the conversation. Needless to say, it was painfully (emphasis on ‘pain) apparent that she’d never read The Raven, nor any of Poe’s works. And I eventually politely excused myself from the conversation and left.
Lest I be misunderstood, I hold no grudge against those who have never read Poe’s works. I have no problem with people who don’t share my literary tastes in the least. Each person is entitled to their literary choice and prerogative.
What does bug me, however, is that somebody would go about attempting to begin any type of communication and/or relationship with such a disingenuous approach. Be the relationship one of simple friendship or something deeper than that, beginning with a lie can only hurt the involved parties. Such initial contact will serve, no matter how trivial the subject matter may be, as a foundation of any future interaction between these people. What is to keep such a single lie from turning into further lies, potentially about matters of more weight? What is the expected effect when, possibly later on, it comes out that the first thing you talked about was deception?
More than that, what kind of person feels the need to lie about their interests or knowledge about something in order to feel socially acceptable? Are you not simply lying to yourself in addition to those around you? Are you not cheating yourself our of potentially meaningful friendships and connections to people that you would have if they were based on truth?
Maybe it’s me, but it just seems silly.