What You Like
Last week I caught the show as they were discussing a list one of the hosts had found on HuffPo about ten things people only pretend to life. Their conversation irritated me enough that I went googling when I got to work and found a very similar (perhaps parent?) list: Admit It, You're Only Pretending to Like These 23 Things.
In general the hosts agreed. If I were the type of person who called into radio shows, I would have called in to offer this very simple, I think, reminder:
You are not representative of everyone. Your experience is not everyone's. Speak only for yourself. And (in a less elegant reminder) it's incredibly rude to yuck someone else's yum.
Let's take a look at some of these things that someone HuffPo thought was worth publishing believes no one actually likes, with just a few editorializations:
1. Traveling — Planes are not for everyone. Traveling can be stressful if you have kids, anxiety, financial limitations, etc. But I'm pretty sure not everyone escaping the northeast to Barbados this winter is just keeping up appearances, or laying on a beach begrudgingly and really wishing they could be home.Sure, there's a bunch out there who drop buzzworded adoration on certain things as if they're a walking online dating profile, attempting to reflect the image of a certain type of person when really they have minimal (or exclusively embarrassing) interests of their own: "I'm an outdoorsy girl who loves to do yoga and travel!"
2. Going to a club — I don't anticipate finding myself in one in the near future, but there were a handful of years where there was nowhere else I'd want to spend a Saturday night, dominating the dance floor with my friends and dancing until my thighs ached.
3. Meeting someone's family4. Going for a run — Yeah, I totally run races and have already signed up for two 2015 half marathons because running is the least fun I've ever had.
5. Looking at abstract art
6. Going to family reunions
7. Green juice
8. Reading Shakespeare — Definitely not for everyone, I get that. But I have a tattoo for Shakespeare, so please don't tell me that I don't actually enjoy the Bard.
10. Actually cooking something — Because there's literally nothing good about flavoring and cooking something exactly like you want it, saving money, having control over your diet, shall I go on?
11. Cooking for other people
12. Watching something serious instead of reality TV — You remember there was a time before reality TV, right? My elementary school BFF and I watched her videotapeS of Titanic every day after school, and it wasn't because we'd rather have been watching The Real World.
13. Reading long books — Just shut up.
14. Yoga — She writes: "You do yoga about five days a week, but most of that time you have no idea what position the instructor is asking you to contort your body into, and you don't understand how everyone around you always seems to be so much better at this than you." I have been practicing yoga for almost 10 years and have never, not once, not even as a newb trying out yoga DVDs in my living room, felt this way about yoga. No, you don't just automatically know how to hit all the postures, but that's why you, I dunno, pay attention to the instructor? Learn as you go? It's called a practice for a reason.
15. Being around other people's kids — If it's a fat baby that doesn't talk yet and has a clean diaper and its parents aren't annoying/helicopters/anywhere around, GIMME. (It's gotta be an infant though, and it's gotta be fat.)
16. Caring about wine
17. Taking shots
18. Eating oysters
19. Working in a group — I bet the guy who always got As on the projects other people totally carried really likes working in a group.
20. Someone else's success. — I'm actually embarrassed and horribly sad for you if you can't be happy for a friend who landed a promotion, paid of her student loan debt, met the partner of her dreams, insert any other measure of success. Envy is natural, sure, but if it leaves no room for anything resembling happiness for another person? Sorry not sorry, that's pathetic.
21. Cuddling — Ugh, yeah, what could ever be enjoyable about pressing skin to skin with a person you adore, or are attracted to, or feel emotionally connected to? Gross.
22. Your friend's outfit — Yeah, she always looks terrible and I never tell her that that top isn't flattering; I just smile and nod and die inside.
23. When other people are honest with you — If you're being a jerk for no reason and don't know how to offer constructive feedback, I probably don't like hearing certain comments from YOU. But sometimes when you're not a horrible human being, not everything a person thinks about you is a "truth hurts" situation that, the author writes, is "a pain you would like to avoid at all costs."
But some people DO love yoga. And traveling. And some people have no interest in either of those things. Both are perfectly acceptable. It's just fine to enjoy travel, and it's just fine to have no interest in it. Society has a sort of intrinsic affection for one over the other, though, so it's not uncommon for a person to feel inferior when they don't share the general consensus on bucket list-approved hobbies like travel, hence the percentage of people who claim to like it when they've only been as far from home as Milwaukee.
Maybe, instead of attacking people for only claiming to like socially-accepted hobbies, we could spread the love a little bit and be a tad less judgmental of people who spend their time differently than how some others think they should? Because doing yoga, traveling, or babysitting your friend's kid may not make you a better person, but shitting all over everything other people do or don't do absolutely does make you kind of a shitty person.
To the person who wrote this list, you sound like you're real fun at parties. Do you just walk around suggesting to people that they don't actually like scarves or showering either? I'm genuinely curious: If you so dislike all these things that bring millions of other people joy, a sense of pride or accomplishment, or sheer exhilaration... what the hell do you like?
Oh and before I go, here are my suggested alternative titles for your awful listicle:
- Things I Don't Like To Do That I Assume No One Else Has a Different Experience With
- 23 Things People Do That I Don't Feel a Part of So I Have to Crap All Over Them
- Things I've Never Even Tried to Do Or Educate Myself About Yet Have Decided Are Pretentious or Useless Anyway