Have you ever had one of those conversations that end with, “I wish you would have told me that because I would have spit in his food”? Yeah, that’s where I am right now. The other day, D (who now wants to be called Jack on my blog) and I were having a conversation about the bust up of his friendship with he who will be known as Zombie because he’s the walking dead to me now. I expressed that I was sad to see the friendship come to an end because I thought Jack was a good influence for Zombie and overall wasn’t Zombie a nice guy? Jack then goes on to tell me that Zombie thought I was pretentious so I shouldn’t like him all that much.
I stopped him mid-story and told him to roll that one back for a minute. Pretentious, me? I internalized it when I probably shouldn’t have and for the whole rest of the conversation, I became fixated on the fact that Zombie called me pretentiously. I mean, really? Me? Pretentious? I doubt he even knows the meaning of the word, never the less how to spell it. Maybe that was being pretentious? Actually, it wasn’t, more condescending to which I totally admit to. If he had called me condescending, I totally would have agreed, case closed and moved on but pretentious. Oh no. This. Will. Not. Stand.
At this point, let me be a tad condescending and assume that you don’t know what the actual definition of pretentious is because let’s face it, most Americans use words incorrectly based on their connotation and not their denotation. There I go again, maybe I am pretentious. But I actually know what those words mean (breaking arm patting self on the back). A word’s denotation is its exact meaning by definition and its connotation is its implied meaning, what you think the word means. Thank you to my junior year English Teacher for drilling that into my head. To be “pretentious”, I would have to have or show the unpleasant quality of a person who wants to be regarded as more impressive, successful, cultured or important than they really are.
Anyone who knows me knows that I’m the last person to toot my own horn or be anything other than self-deprecating. My blog readership shows that. I hardly ever ask for shares, I don’t get any either, maybe because I’m pretentious, I just thought it was because I was a condescending, sarcastic bitch but oh well, I can be wrong.
Am I cultured? Yes. I’ve been playing classical violin and viola since I was 14. My mother loved the theater and every time she could afford to go, I went. My mother made me set the table with the good china every Thanksgiving and gave me a book on place settings. At 10, I could set a table three different ways and fold napkins in the shape of a bishop’s hat. I read everything from Robert Browning to V.C. Andrews. If it’s got words on a page, I’ll, at least, give it a good skim. Almost all the people I know who are avid readers are intelligent and have expansive vocabularies. I’m not going to water it down just talk to you, rise to the occasion. If I had a nickel for every word I had to look up when reading a book over the course of my life, I could take us all on a Disney Cruise, twice. As far as successful goes, I’m a paralegal, everyone knows that. I have a B.A. and a paralegal certificate there’s really nothing to be uppity about at all. I’m a dime a dozen and I’ve never pretended to be more than that. If all of that makes me pretentious, then I’ll gladly put that shoe on and lace that bitch up because I’m proud that my mother instilled a love of all things artistic and enlightened in me.
All that said; I still don’t get how Zombie could think that I’m pretentious so you can be the judge.
In the few years that Jack has known Zombie, I have met the man a total of three times. The first time, we went out to dinner. They talked business for most of the night and I sat there and listened, absorbed information and pretty much said nothing. Our second meeting, I invited Zombie and his now ex-girlfriend over to our house for dinner. I love to entertain; the entire process is fun for me so I took out the good china. I made pasta (totally pretentious) and served an $8.99 bottle of white wine. I dressed for dinner only because I knew they were coming from their jobs to our house and I didn’t want them to feel (especially his ex-girlfriend) out of place. I hung out with his ex and the guys talked tech. I honestly don’t get where he’s getting pretentious. The third time, I sat in my car while he took our dog for the weekend. On all of those occasions, I was my usual nice self. I may have been overly chatty at dinner but what’s the point of having people over for dinner if you’re not going to chat. At the time, I was a stay at home mom so that was the most interaction with adults that I had had in months. Zombie also had to add to his comments that I “allowed Jack to do too much with the kids.” So sorry that I spent too much time in the kitchen preparing your dinner and “allowed” Jack to go down to the family room and put a movie on for the kids so we could have a nice undisturbed dinner. Ye with no kids and no wife can so totally throw the first stone. I’m sure there are quite a few dads out there would be totally offended by that concept since those are the types of ignorant declarations that they are against. Didn’t know I “allowed” him to do anything.
But let’s call a spade a spade shall we, (because I could rant forever) maybe the problem is not my pretentiousness and more Zombie’s outright chauvinistic and racist world view that he believes that a black woman’s place is to not be cultured, talented or intelligent. I am all those things and have been given that compliment by the many people in my life that I have had the pleasure to come across. Why should I diminish my awesomeness to fit inside of his relatively small view of the world?
In the end, I default to my late grandmother’s wisdom, “opinions are like assholes, everyone’s got one”.
P.S. Don’t worry, if I invite you over for dinner, I won’t spit in your food, that’s just nasty.