Is it really snobbery?

people and relationships, society

It’s so easy to assume the worst in people.

That woman who won’t look me in the eye? She thinks she’s too good for me.

That guy who barely grunts two words in response to my compliment? Arrogant asshole.

And that woman who never asks me to dance and just ignores me when I walk past? What a snob!

By assuming the worst, I can always be pleasantly surprised when I’m wrong.

And… I usually am. Both wrong, and pleasantly surprised.

There’s this one woman in the dance world, “Jaya,” who moves with incredible grace and sensuality… always dances with the same few hot guys… and is, unsurprisingly, drop-dead gorgeous.

Doesn’t take much of a stretch of the imagination to pin the “SNOB!” label on her, does it?

Imagine my surprise then, when one of my friends (“Mark”) spoke well of her, and indeed confided in me that he even went on a few dates with her some years back and she was “a total sweetheart.”

Understandably incredulous, I asked Mark how he ever ended up talking with Jaya, much less going out on dates with her.

He lowered his voice, and said with some embarrassment, “Uh… the tele-personals.”

“The tele-what?!?” I said, not believing what I heard. Images of 1-900 sex line late-night ads popped into my head.

Well, the reality of the situation was less raunchy but no less strange. Five years ago, before Internet dating had really taken off, there were apparently actual “personals” lines you could phone up, punch in your stats and preferences, with the goal of meeting one or more single people in your area who’d be compatible to date. San Francisco’s a big place and Mark — a handsome and successful businessman who had just moved to an outside sleepy suburb — was simply not having luck meeting women in bars or anywhere else for that matter.

Okay, so I could understand this guy, despite his fine qualities, hitting the telepersonals in desperation. After all, women are — no matter what the numbers — almost always the ‘hunted’ while we’re the frustrated hunters.

But what about this dream woman? When Jaya could probably get 100 guys to her side with a flick of her eyelashes, what the heck would she be doing on a service featuring down-on-their-luck male suitors?

“She’s shy, Adam. Really, really, really shy” Mark insisted. “She hides it, yeah, I mean, she dresses nice and is a killer dancer. But she’s afraid of rejection, and guys are intimidated by her anyway.”

I was stunned. I always thought Jaya had it all… total cool confidence, everything / everyone her heart desired, and so on.

And here she was, actually scared guyless in the dating world.

Mark also told me about other women he had gotten to know who were — contrary to popular opinion — actually insecure and/or shy and not snots at all. And over the last few weeks, I’ve made my own similar discoveries… learning that many “cold fish” are actually scaredy cats who open up when they get to know someone.

And sometimes all it takes is a random event or issue to bridge the gap.

I played a silly piano medley at a swing dance “talent night” and to my amazement, I got a standing ovation. Even more startling, however, was when one of the ice queens came up to me later, gave me a huge hug and said, “Wow, you are AMAZING!” And she’s been relatively friendly ever since!

This isn’t to say, of course, that I haven’t encountered people who have — quite consistently — proven that they are indeed unrepentant snobs. But strangely, this has turned out to be the exception, not the rule.

Will this change my behavior, prompting me to assume the best in aloof folks, rather than the worst?

It should, yes, but I doubt I’ll change anytime soon. After all, despite my generally optimistic and sunny disposition, it’s just too much of a pleasant surprise being proven wrong in this context, again and again 😀

3 comments… add one
  • little mithi Sep 10, 2002

    oh my god no!!!! i’m not said ice queen, am i?????
    oh DEAR … adam, you couldn’t find a shyer and more insecure person than me … thats why i was always sitting on a window sill at herrang – hoping someone would come ask me to dance … i’m not like that in London where i know the crowd – i’m like a ultra hyperactive energiser bunny literally HARRASING people to dance with me – but in herrang i was suddenly faced with a multitude of REALLY good dancers, AND they all seemed to know each other, and i hardly knew anyone! I’m sorry – i MUST try and make more of an effort to NOT feel so intimidated of crowds where i don’t know people [and not also in the process scare off all the potential dance partners!]

    i’m glad you played the jimhenson medley … completely made my day!

    love
    m

  • Adam Sep 10, 2002

    Oh my goodness, this illustrates both a danger (and an interesting side effect!) of blogging about personal life stuff.

    No, Mithi, you were not the one I was addressing by any means; I was referring to a woman in my local scene that had been cold to me (and turned me down twice) for a year.

    I have never thought of you as an ice queen… just admired ya as a fine lead/follow 🙂

  • little mithi Sep 10, 2002

    ahahaha! funny, isn’t it … you come ask me to dance anytime … i promise not to turn you down 😉

    your comments just hit a chord with me because of recent events. one of the really good dancers in london (he teaches too) i had noticed never asked me dance (hardly even ever gave me a smile!) and i being the insecure little mouse i am, couldn’t quite bring myself to ask him. Anyways, I ended up dancing with him in herrang – during a “stealing” session so he didn’t really have much choice – and since then, he’s suddenly been more forthcoming about asking me to dance – i was like “what? have i suddenly got herrang clout or something?” … but my best friend (who’s a guy and a lindy hopper) thinks that i probably just intimidated him before … similarly, i wasn’t really being asked to dance much in herrang – and i wonder if i appeared aloof beacuse i was sitting on my window sill and watching so much. One of the people there (SF dancer actually) i’d managed to get maybe one or two dances out of in the two weeks i was at herrang … well he came through london last week. I recognised him immediately and went up and asked for a dance … then ended up dancing together something like two thirds of the night! How come we had such a blast in london, and he didn’t even ask me to dance in herrang? Makes me wonder what vibes i was giving off ….

What do you think?