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Misconceptions

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by DrFrylock, Jul 21, 2011.

  1. DrFrylock

    DrFrylock
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    Recently in the out of your element thread, I noted that I sometimes find myself 'out of my element' because people believe (or are told) something about me that makes them think I should somehow be a member of an outgroup.

    Recently, I was hanging out with my brother's friends. I've met them before, and while I probably wouldn't be found hanging out with them if they weren't my brother's friends, we are still cool and had good times previously. They are talking about everyone's favorite kind of music. One of his friends, whom I have known for a long time - though only casually - asked me:

    "DrFrylock, do you like music? Like, do you ever listen to it?"

    Not, "DrFrylock, what kind of music do you like?" but "DrFrylock, do you like music?" The implications are delightfully absurd. "Are you such a huge nerd that the entire concept of music is too anti-intellectual for you?" Humans are practically genetically built to like music. It's up there with eating or breathing or sleeping. Wow.

    I don't know what I did to give off this vibe. I mean, I didn't even get the benefit of the doubt of maybe being an ultra-music-nerd like Steve Buscemi in Ghost World. I'm certainly not him, or a music expert of any sort, but I have a respectable music collection and play a couple of instruments well enough to entertain people at parties.

    As a friend of mine says, "you know why people have stereotypes? Because they're useful." So I don't really blame people for thinking shit like this. I mostly think it's funny. It's not like I have to fight the presumption that I'm racially inferior or anything; I have it pretty easy. But other people have harder misconceptions to overcome.

    FOCUS: What do people think about you when they first meet you that isn't true? What about you surprises other people when they find it out?

    ALT FOCUS: Did you ever get a wildly wrong impression about someone? Did the tatted-up leather-wearing circus freak you met at that party turn out to be a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet? Did the super bookworm you met at the library turn out to be an ex-Navy SEAL?
     
  2. scootah

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    I worked with a very quiet network admin for a while. Kind of short, 5'9 ish, kind of stocky. Had washed out of electrical engineering half way through third year and gone to the quiet life in IT majoring in comms. Cisco certifications out the ass. Didn't actually wear a pocket protector that was visible, but did have a plastic insert in his shirt pocket to stop leaking pens from staining his shirt. Wore this hideously ugly pastel coloured shirts that didn't fit very well and really didn't seem to have any kind of personality. Very quiet guy when he came to the pub with us. Didn't hit on girls or drink much - mostly just seemed like a really shy geek.

    Turns out he was a brown belt in traditional jujitsu, purple in brazillian, had 5 years of Muay Thai, cross trained Sambo, Capoeira, TKD, Akido and Kendo at various points, has had a couple of minor roles in C list martial arts movies and competed regularly in open style tournaments and cage matches.

    We found out when he broke up a bar fight. I've trained with some awesome guys - and I've seen more efficient bar fight shut downs, but not fucking many. And none from a guy who I'd written off as another scrubby nerd. He kind of had a thing for japanese martial arts movies - and occasionally bitched about the stuff they'd done that was lame or like totally not realistic - but lots of nerds talk like they know kung fu.
     
  3. JoshP

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    Didn't they watch Grandma's Boy? That movie taught us all that uber nerds love music, however you need robot ears to appreciate it.

    Focus: Funny you bring this up, I was talking with my friends about fights we've been in over the years and my buddy is bulking up at the gym and said,"There is a reason JoshP has never been jumped, look at him. I'm 6'2" 250 with a broad build. I have a shaved head and goatee, when I go out its usually in jeans and a Dickies T-shirt. Lots of people just think I'm going to walk in a bar and be like Arnold in the opening scene of Terminator 2. I'm ex army and a vet of 2 combat tours, crowded places don't thrill me so I guess I'm not beaming with excitement to walk into a crowded bar. In reality, I'm one of the most approachable, easiest to talk to people in the world. In my circle of friends I'm the one constantly cracking jokes, making people laugh, and helping a friend out of a bind. Yeah I can be a raging asshole, only because I hate idiots, thugs, and tools. I have never picked a fight and am always trying to be the voice of reason. I dunno I guess if I was 5'10" 150 and baby faced people would look at me differently.

    Alt Focus: My 2nd day when I was selling cars I walked up to this dude and asked him what he was looking for in a vehicle. He was like taken back since he had only been there for 1 min. The guy was in his late 30's, big ol scruffy beard, tattered t shirt, and dirty cargo shorts that looked like they were about to sprout some plants. Anyways he told me he wanted an Audi A4 so I showed him 2 and he decided on the one he liked we went back to do the paperwork. He told me he had been to 2 other dealerships in the area and no one would talk to him. He apologized for his appearance as he was working at his mill. Turns out this dude turns salvaged wood into high end furniture and has his own massive showroom. Didn't ask for a penny off the price and when we ran credit dude has almost a Mil in the bank.
     
  4. Roxanne

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    People tend to think I am a huge bitch. Like, backstabbing, would sell her own mother for personal gain sort of bitch.

    After people get to know me, I inevitably get the, "I didn't even want to talk to you when we first met because I always thought you were a callous bitch but you're actually really cool," comment. Ironically, it tends to hurt my feelings. Then they go on to say how it's my dark hair/eyes combo that probably does it, which sucks because there is nothing I can do about either of those things. I wish people didn't automatically associate dark features = bitch whore.
     
  5. AlmostGaunt

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    Half of my friends are old friends from highschool, Uni, etc, who used to party pretty hard but now live a reasonably settled lifestyle. I am far too frequently introduced as the lunatic drunk guy that hosts the Tuesday poker benders, or <some variant of raging alcoholic / drug fiend, or from some story of our misspent youth>. Not without some justification, but when people come over and see the room of networked computers, or the floor to ceiling bookshelves, I get a lot of doubletakes.

    Conversely, the other half of my friends are pretty nerdy. They often introduce me by my screen name (I loathe this, but haven't managed to break them of the habit in 2 years), and then invite people over to mine for LAN's and such. People that meet me through that group of friends walk in and see the shot glasses, the shisha, and the various smoking implements next to the computer, and promptly freak out.

    I interact with a bunch of millionaire VC's / Angel Investors for work. I was always astonished that the richest guys in the room (and I'm talking people that I have personally seen invest over $1.5M of their own money into a high risk early stage venture) would always come to meetings (in average cars) in shorts and button downs. Meanwhile, all of us wageslaves that aspired to be in their position would come in freshly pressed suits and shiny shoes. Likewise, my father-in-law is a multi-millionaire, and I've never seen him in anything but old shorts, faded tops, and sandals.
     
  6. hotwheelz

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    People usually think I'm innocent and pure, or they don't expect me to be so opinionated. A nurse asked me once if I liked Justin Bieber... she didn't like my jokes about strippers and coke. Also, people never really think I drink and often question my choice to do it. Assholes.
     
  7. Binary

    Binary
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    I was on a business trip and was eating at a bar, sitting next to a guy who, well, let's just say I would not have wanted to run into him after dark. Short, very tan with dark hair and eyes, extremely muscular, tattoos all the way up to his neck, spiked hair, and a stare that said, "go ahead, give me an excuse to tear off one of your limbs and murder you with it."

    Being a pretty cordial guy, I made some sarcastic comment about whatever sports event was on the TV at the time, and he laughed, which broke the ice and we started talking. I found out he's a seriously competitive MMA fighter in the area, which fit the look he had. So I asked him what he did for a living.

    There's no other word for it - he just lit up. I mean, the angry stare vanished, he got animated and talked with passion and excitement. And he was, I kid you not, an interior decorator for rich people in the area. He started talking about the thread counts of hangings in the restaurant and the kinds of crazy fabrics and exotic stone tile he was importing for these wealthy families...

    Just cracked me right up.
     
  8. ghettoastronaut

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    I somehow manage to give off a first-impression vibe as being a cool, funny, easy-going guy. Thank you, alcohol.

    That impression doesn't last very long, though. Not even alcohol overcomes my tendencies to say extremely boring, stupid things.
     
  9. Frank

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    I'm a big, broad guy, not ripped or anything close, but I'm built for manual labor. I also don't wear polo shirts or dress shirts unless I'm going somewhere with a dress code. Most people think I'm more of a do'er than a thinker when meeting me. They are usually simultaneously impressed and disappointed when they find out I'd that I'd be better at helping them with calculus or figuring out how their mortgage was calculated than helping them fix a car or do home improvement projects.

    Then they get depressed when they find out that no, I'm not an accountant, I can't do your taxes, or really anything practical with my skills.
     
  10. PIMPTRESS

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    Focus: When I was breaking horses, I threw lots of people (especially men) for a loop. The area I had most of my work in was definitely the "country" crowd. I'd show up in my Jeep(blasting Rage or System of a Down), old Lucky jeans with the knees shredded, tank top, and a cornflower blue baseball cap with sweat rings. Apparently I was expected to be a hick in Wranglers, listening to country music and wearing a Stetson.

    After watching me work, they were sold, though.


    Alt. Focus: When I was bartending at a biker bar, I got a taste of misconception, haha. There were "weekend warriors", yuppie bikers who bought everything Harley, but were really concerned about getting dirt on them. These guys were, for the most part, jackasses. They were the ones I saw on the regular, anyway.

    One afternoon, however, four bikes roll in, beautiful custom jobs. The riders were grizzled old men, they didn't appear to have showered for months. One had a ZZ Top beard in long dreads down to his navel. The yuppies were uneasy as the joiners moved up to the bar.

    I got them the beers and shots they requested and they toasted each other for the safe ride and sleeping under the stars. I asked them where they were from and got such an awesome story. They had been just cruising America for the last ten years, doing "odd" jobs here and there, sleeping on the ground most of the time. I asked where they had gotten their bikes and apparently the men had lost a comrade to a nasty semi + motorcycle accident. Turns out that the deceased had been quite wealthy, yet never spoke of it.

    He had left his best friends custom bikes from his garage. The men were misty eyed as they spoke of their friend, they asked me to do a shot with them in honor. I did, pulled their tab and sent them on their way. They left me $100 for a tip.

    Once they left, the preppy guys got all loud, talking about what they would've done if the men had been trouble. I listen to all the posturing and wish they would shut the fuck up...
     
  11. walt

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    I often hear people think I am an asshole, or cold, aloof, whatever when I first meet them. It's mostly because I don't know you. I don't believe in sharing life stories with someone 5 minutes after shaking hands for the first time. I'll get to know you, see what you're like, then warm up. Until then, forgive me if I don't treat you like a life long friend.

    Of course, I CAN be an asshole...
     
  12. kuhjäger

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    This is pretty much what people think of me. Probably because it is true.
     
  13. rbz90

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    I'm fairly athletic and I am in a computer science student. So most people just assume that I've had my shit together forever. People that have found out about my addiction to certain amphetamine based substances never believe it. I clean up well is all.

    Women think I'm standoffish. The truth is I i used to have anxiety issues and preffer to stay quiet sometimes. Usually I wouldn't speak not because I wasn't interested, but because I thought what I had to say wasn't that interesting.
     
  14. shimmered

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    Apparently, I'm intimidating, scary, and bitchy. For whatever reason, at 5f3, 150lbs, people find my presence downright terrifying.

    Truth be told, I can't watch scary movies because I have nightmares, I cry when animals get hurt, and itty bitty baby kitties make me jumpy clap squee.
     
  15. RCGT

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    In high school I had pretty bad issues with getting to know people. Despite wanting to be a really social person, I had no social experience whatsoever (that's what happens when you read books all day) and really didn't get to know many people who I wanted to. I would also quickly discover that there were certain people who I couldn't stand, and I would avoid them if possible, which probably exacerbated things. Over a month or two, a girl who I'd never have spoken to - because I basically thought she was too cool/pretty to be talking to me, and she actually had a social circle, unlike me - started engaging me in conversation, eventually moving to phone conversations about nothing that would last hours. Honestly, she was putting in all the effort - she would be talking about this reality show and that watch she wanted to buy, and all I could think is, "Why the hell is this girl talking to me? What is her angle?"

    Eventually, she told me that she (and apparently her friends) thought I had an "asshole facade," because I stayed out of conversations and didn't really engage with people. This made me intimidating to talk to - not in a "he might beat me up" way (I'm 5'3, 135), but in a "I'm kinda scared of being judged by him" way. This apparently really fascinated her, and came as a complete shock to me - I generally considered myself a nice guy. I didn't realize that people don't judge you based on how you act during some hypothetical moral crisis, but how you act to people in the here-and-now. So apparently I was coming off as a major "too good for you" douchebag, when in fact I was feeling the same way.

    Over the years, more people have reacted this way, and through some self-improvement efforts I now try to put people at ease and be as outgoing as I want to be. It's been working better, and done wonders for my self confidence. Nowadays people think I'm an asshole because I am an asshole. That's progress for ya.
     
  16. lostalldoubt86

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    People always seem to be amazed at how nice I am. I'm not saying I'm a particularly nice or anything, but I do suffer from what is referred to as "Bitch Face." There is something about the shape of my lips that make me look like I'm going to kill someone, apparently. Add to the fact that I look like a 14 year old. So apparently I look like a really pissed off teenager.
     
  17. Sicnevol

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    I still use this face to this day, what do you think it says?


    People think i'm standoffish and bitchy, but i'm super fucking nice and I love people.
     
  18. audreymonroe

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    People either think I'm really intimidating and/or bitchy, and then are surprised when I'm nice, friendly, and awesome.

    Or, they think I'm really innocent and nice in the boring way, and then are surprised when I'm sarcastic, make (often vulgar or biting) jokes, and am good in bed.

    I don't think I've ever not heard a "Wow, I wasn't expecting you to be so ______" as people got to know me. Thank you intriguing air of mystery.
     
  19. Josh

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    When I was in high school I was a goofy little shithead. I was kind of "that guy" when it came to doing dangerous dumb shit or being the class clown or whatever. I also liked to party and was something of a metalhead. I had the Crimson Ghost (Misfits skull logo) tattooed on my arm when I was still in school (Which was only like 5 years ago. I'm so rebellious and timely). Basically your stereotypical slacker/drunk who thought he was was cooler than he actually was.

    Anyway, I can remember one day I was walking down the hall and report cards had just come out. This girl I knew asked me how I did and when I said "4.0" she looked at me like she wanted to laugh, but didn't. Finally she said "You don't really look like someone *awkward pause* who would get good grades."

    That's just one example, but all through my scholastic career I got some variation on this. I always did really well in school, coasting by on just being reasonably intelligent. I used to think this made me cool and unique but once I got out of my ludicrously small hometown (My high school graduating class was maybe 160, and the school served the entire county), I realized guys like that are a dime a dozen, and that I was a horse's ass. I'm still an ass, but I'm working on it now at least.
     
  20. tweetybird

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    I don't know about you guys, but I rather relish misconceptions about myself. Don't know what it says about me, but I totally get a charge out of defying them.

    Usually, people assume that I'm pure, sweet, and innocent. Can't blame them, I have blonde hair, blue eyes, a round face, and generally look young. Just last weekend, a girl I know blurted out: "You look so demure and polite, but damn, you can put down some wings. It's awesome!" Yep, don't get between me and my wings, I'm gonna house them and get wing sauce all over my cherubic face!

    Alternatively, they assume that I'm boring and have a stick up my ass. Probably related to the physical attributes listed above, where I live (yuppiest neighborhood in SF), where I went to college (snobbiest Ivy), and what I wear (let's just say I own a lot of cardigans and ballet flats and wear pearls non-ironically). It's always fun to hear people exclaim that I'm so much more laid back than they thought, have more of a potty mouth, or have much more of a wide ranging sense of humor. I especially enjoy when guys are clearly trying to be dicks or shock me with what they think is non-approved humor, and don't know how to react when I laugh or banter back with them. I have literally gotten: "Wow, you're really funny!" (I know, for a girl. Whatever.)

    One I have not gotten frequently but rather enjoy is the assumption that I'm an airhead bimbo. I am familiar with the indicators of hot and can bust them out when necessary, usually if I know I'm going to be around snobby girls or want to make my husband look especially good. (For those not in the know, these include but are not limited to: flatironed blonde or highlighted hair, smoky eye makeup and uniform foundation, fake tan/bronzer, perfect nontraditional color nail polish, large branded sunglasses, tight expensive jeans, trendy top with boobs on display, branded tote bag carried at the elbow, platform heels or knee-high boots. Seriously, test it out. Next time you see a girl with these things going on, stop yourself and ask if she's actually hot or she just has the hot indicators.) I have seriously seen jaws drop when I mention my work or educational background in the course of conversation - no one expects a hot girl to have a brain in her head. (Again, not that I'm especially hot, but I know how to make you think I am.)