Wednesday, May 6, 2009

I Don't Care What You Think of Me...Mostly

Everybody cares what others think of them. It's part of what makes us human. It's an evolutionary thing, geared to help us survive. The difference is how much you care. It's just a matter of degrees.

As I grow older, I care less and less what people think of me. But when you're younger, particularly at school, life's much easier if you conform, if you're pretty much the same as everyone else. If you dress similar, if you speak the same way, if you declare that you hold particular values that equate with the consensus, even if you really don't. It's safe. You're accepted. You're not teased, ridiculed or friendless - a sad state when you're a kid or a teenager. In a way I'd love my son to be an individual when he's at school (he's only 3), a character, an eccentric, an unpredictable artist. But another side of me, the side that wants to protect him, wants him to fit in, to be accepted, to be popular.

Australian adults rarely escape from the safe position. We have our Australian values. We only vote for 2 political parties. We all love sport. We still dress more or less the same as each other. We all watch reality television, blockbuster movies and read Bryce Courtney books. We listen to 3AW and read the Herald Sun, believe what we hear on Channel 9. Break away, people, think differently. Explore new ideas. Forget what other people think. Argue, discuss, challenge. Provoke.

The point I anticipated making here was that I no longer care very much what people think. Perhaps about 5% of what I did when I was 15. I'll challenge people's opinions at dinner parties. I'll admit to my own weaknesses. I'll confront people who are being unjust. I'll piss people off.

Here's something that proves I don't care what people think. And I'd like you all to contribute something too. Something that you might not have liked to admit when you were 25 and thought you were cool:

I went to a Billy Joel concert in 1987, and I enjoyed it.

33 comments:

Perseus said...

"I went to a Billy Joel concert in 1987, and I enjoyed it" Weirdo. I hereby ostracize you from my social circle.

*Perseus returns to his matchbox car tournament in the hallway*

Desci said...

Careful about the 'we all' bit.

Australian adults rarely escape from the safe position. We have our Australian values. We only vote for 2 political parties. Nope.

We all love sport. No.

We still dress more or less the same as each other. No.

We all watch reality television, blockbuster movies and read Bryce Courtney books. No, yes, no.

We listen to 3AW and read the Herald Sun, believe what we hear on Channel 9.No, no, no.

Actually, most people I know IRL don't fit these generalisations. Except for... my parents. Did 'we all' mean exclusively baby boomers?

Also, Billy Joel is fucking awesome, and I'm proud to go on the record saying that.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Bob, was Perseus at that concert too?

Please say "yes".

Lewd Bob said...

Sorry Ramon, can't say that he was.

Desci, as usual, you take me far too literally. I am, of course, talking about 'Average Australians'.

For the record, my responses would be:

Yes.
Sometimes.
No. Yes. No.
No. No. No.

Cath said...

Bob, I too went to a Billy Joel concert in around circa 1987. Shmeh.. the follies of youth.

But never, NEVER, lower yourself to read Bryce Courtenay. It just encourages him to keep writing. He must be stopped.

My answers are...
Sometimes
No
Rarely, Yes, NO!
No, No, and No.

Perseus said...

Not only was I not there, I paid Billy Joel the equivalent of the ticket price to not be there. Fairdinkum, if I hear the opening notes to 'The Piano Man' I get the DTs. And as for 'Uptown Girl'... that song is so bad I want to slit my own throat.

Besides, in 1987, while Lewd Bob was at the Billy Joel concert, I was jumping around at Rubber Soul (Fridays)and Beehive (Saturdays) in my first pair of Doc Martens (having got my haircut at Arthur's in Gertrude St.) trying (and failing) to have sex with girls in runny mascara.

Still, Lewd Bob and I would meet up the next day for street cricket.

Lewd Bob said...

Yes, Cath, Courtney should be stopped. I had the displeasure of hearing him speak at a function at which I was working (I think you were there too, Perseus).

He was the WORST speaker I have ever heard. It was fucking embarrassing.

I fucked up my responses. Left off the voting bit. Here they are, revised, if anyone gives 2 shits:

Yes.
Yes.
Sometimes.
No. Yes. No.
No. No. No.

squib said...

confession: when I was young I used to play my mum's tapes on a cassette player in the backyard and jump on the trampoline to the music. One of those tapes was Dolly Parton

(I like Billy Joel too)

Perseus said...

I was there Bob, working alongside you, but, I left 'for a cigarette' about ten seconds before he started speaking, and the cigarette conveniently finished 45 minutes later. I missed the whole thing. I do however remember your summary, "He mumbled shit for 45 minutes and then he stopped and it was over."

I think he got about $8,000 for that.

Lewd Bob said...

I said something like that, except he didn't mumble, he shouted a lot like a senile and doddering old man.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

If you think I'm going to talk about what I was up to when I was 25 - you're clinically insane.

Melba said...

Um, my true confession is that I've stopped colouring my hair. I've been going grey since mid-twenties. Yes, it might age me, but I just don't care anymore. I'm not feeding my system with chemicals and I like it - it's a nice silvery white. I just look like an expensive blonde now. An expensive older blonde.

About kids and fitting in - they are such survivors. They know how it works in kidworld (a term my daughter uses - "mum, you just don't get it, it doesn't work like that in kidworld").

Desci said...

See, Bob, that's the point. You can't talk as 'we Australians' if most people your talking to (the Australian TSFKA readers) answer 'no' the the majority of questions.

Eh, you know what, it's just talk of 'Average Australians' angers me since the people I *do* know who fit this category are in the minority. I fear it's a self-perpetuating myth, like Australia being all about desert outback and sheep, when we mostly live in cities. And it's such an odious character type that it just gets me all stabby an' whatnot.

On the 'I don't care what you think of me' thing, I think it has something to do with age, but also more to do with a certain degree of self-confidence. Post-formative years, my brother cares what people think, I never really have. It takes a certain degree of narcissism to have that disposition, I think.

the projectivist said...

somewhere inside me something died when i read Squib's Dolly Parton comment.

the only thing i like on your list, Bob is the reality television.
that is my shame and i freely admit it here.
i am hot for Masterchef right now and as soon as that renovation makeover show starts in a couple of weeks? i am THERE baby!
oh the orgasmic joy at The Great Reveal. i'm getting shivers right now just thinking about it.

Boogeyman said...

trying (and failing) to have sex with girls in runny mascara. Hot tip, Perseus. Having sex in jelly is much more fun than doing it in a pool of runny mascara.

squib said...

Project, you probably don't realise that Dolly is hip

The White Stripes do a great cover of Jolene

I was just way ahead of everyone else *fonz double thumbs up*

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Suuuuuuuuuuure, Squib.

Perseus said...

Er.

I like Fleetwood Mac.

Pre-emptive GET FUCKED!

Tusk rocks.

Lewd Bob said...

But that's my point, Desci, I'm taking the piss out of that stereotype. I know people here won't generally fall into that categorisation. I don't even know if that person - the Average Australian - actually exists. Perhaps we should embark upon a quest to find him/her. Together. Holding hands.

Louche said...

You know you've reached the age of "I don't give a fuck' when you seriouslyu consider leaving the house with baby vomit down your shirt, because you can't be bothered getting changed.

very different from crying with embarasment when I fell down the stairs at a party when 14 and was worried the cute boy saw me.

Hooray for getting old and not giving a fuck!

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Hooray for getting old and not giving a fuck!

People have now started offering me seats on crowded trains.

I vacillate between saying "I'm not that old" and "thank you very much".

Lewd Bob said...

The best part about getting older is the realisation that you knew fuck all when you were younger. I wonder if I'll look back at today's self in 20 years and think the same thing.

Alex said...

I did my first few years of school by correspondence. By the time I got to a proper school, I was very comfortable with not having friends and couldn't really be arsed trying to fit in.

We all love sport. We still dress more or less the same as each other. We all watch reality television, blockbuster movies and read Bryce Courtney books. We listen to 3AW and read the Herald Sun, believe what we hear on Channel 9.

I follow no sports, I listen to ABC news radio, the only television I watch is hosted by Tony Jones or Kerry O'Brien, the only 'blockbuster' movies I watch are decades old and I never read fiction.

Break away, people, think differently. Explore new ideas. Forget what other people think. Argue, discuss, challenge. Provoke.

It's sad to say, but I now care so little about what other people think that I don't make any effort to do any of those things. Mostly I just smile politely, nod my head and say 'mmm, really? right, right, yeah, that's interesting'. I guess I'm proof that not fitting the stereotype doesn't automatically make you a more interesting person as I am easily the most boring cunt I know.

In pint of fact: I buy 10 identical sets of clothes on special and wear them back to back every day of the week (including weekends) until they wear out and are replaced by another ten sets. I suspect some people think that I only own 1 set of clothes.

Puss In Boots said...

We only vote for 2 political parties. We all love sport. We still dress more or less the same as each other. We all watch reality television, blockbuster movies and read Bryce Courtney books. We listen to 3AW and read the Herald Sun, believe what we hear on Channel 9.No. No. No. No. Yes. No. No. No. No.

Although I plead temporary insanity on the reality show question. Sometimes I have MTV over here, and although it's all shitty reality shows, I am sometimes so sick of CNN (the only other English-language channel usually) that I will gladly watch crap such as 'Paris Hilton's My New BFF' or 'Rock of Love'. But under usual circumstances, I wouldn't watch that shit ever.

Desci said...

Perhaps we should embark upon a quest to find him/her. Together. Holding hands.Only if:
1. We get to call it an 'adventure', and
2. Once found, we get to hunt them for sport.

I'm a sucker for an adventure.

RandomGit said...

I went to a John Farnham concert in my youth. With a friend of my mother, she also loved John Farham.

I loved it.

And I wonder why I never got laid in my teens.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

My adventure threshold is shockingly low.

I regard stumbling up the road to my local's beer garden as an "adventure".

Lewd Bob said...

It's a deal, Desci.

Louche said...

I saw John Farnham and Whitney Housten as a double bill. I was 8 and too young to be embarrassed.

patchouligirl said...

Aren't Fleetwood Mac cool anymore? Oh well I'm a bit out of touch then. I hassled Dad to take me to see ABBA when they arrived at Mascot Airport (I was about 10 years old). That would have been considered the height of daggyness a decade ago but I think they've had a bit of a comeback with Mamma Mia so I'm not sure if they are in or out at the moment. I'm over them anyway.

eat my shorts said...

somewhere inside me something died when i read Squib's Dolly Parton comment.Somewhere inside me something died when I read the projectivist's comment sans capital letters. At least Dolly would use a capital letter or two where it's warranted. Just sayin'. No need to descend into a major debate over grammatical minutae or anything. But, if you can manage a full stop and capitals for nouns, then you can manage a capital letter at the beginning of a sentence and when using the personal pronoun. /end rant

Bob, surely there must be a difference between reading Bryce Courtney books and actually liking them? And does the stereotypical Australian really consider themselves as someone who enjoys or even regularly reads Courtney? I'd wager they don't. At all.

I wish I knew what the magic formula was that allows kids to have that balance between caring enough about what others think to not be a little shit all the time; and still managing somehow to be their own person, something separate from the crowd.

When I know what the secret is, I'll bottle it and sell it to you.

Lewd Bob said...

surely there must be a difference between reading Bryce Courtney books and actually liking themOf course, EMS. Same difference as seeing blockbuster movies and liking or not liking them. In fact, reading Bryce Courtney means you can criticise him with authority. Having never read one, I suppose I can't really say whether they're any good or not. However I strongly suspect I'd hate them.

And just to make sure I wasn't misunderstood in my post - not that I care of course - I was 17 when I saw Billy Joel, not 25.

wari lasi said...

I liked Abba. I really liked them when all my mates at school supposedly hated them. I didn't conform at school and was incredibly unpopular for it. I cared, a lot, but conforming was out of the question.

I don't give a rats arse what most people think of me either. It's a mid forties thing. I'm primarily concerned what my children, and I must admit, the estranged Mrs L, think of me. Everyone else can fuck off.

People say, "Wouldn't you like to be 21 again and know what you know now?"

Nope. There's too much risk that my life wouldn't turn out as well as it has so far.