I’m a big fan of the show “Community,” although this season has been less than perfect. Most of the characters are charmingly ridiculous and their antics, plus the multitude of obscure references in the show keep me coming back. I believe, however, that Jeff Winger, played by the lovely Joel McHale, is the WORST. He’s manipulative and egotistical, sure, but that’s not the worst part. Why does he have to be a lawyer?! Other professions have jerks too! As a lawyer, I can admit that there is a high concentration of socially inept d-bags who use Esq. in their email signoff, but the sort of personality that is drawn to law is also drawn to any profession that promises prestige and loads of cash. That’s a FACT.
You may be thinking that, naturally, I would defend my chosen profession because I don’t want to be painted with the same broad strokes. And you would be right. But, it’s more than just that: I think there is a certain level of self-awareness that is often mistaken for conceit and which may tend to negatively reflect on a person when they really weren’t trying to be a d-bag.
Let me explain.
I am self-aware. Correction: I am extremely self-aware. It’s not something I actively cultivated – it just happened. This can become a serious issue in relationships when people assume that you are only thinking about yourself – even though that’s the farthest thing from the truth. I understand that telling you I don’t want to do something, but that you’re free to do it yourself seems like I’m being difficult/d-baggy, but the truth is – I’m thinking about you by letting you know that I’m not interested. Wouldn’t it be worse if I pretended that everything was cool and did the thing and was just complaining the whole time? I think so. I wouldn’t want you to do that to me. For instance, I’ve learned that discussing modern feminist theory is not something you’re interested in, so I don’t talk about it with you (very much). I think it would be more selfish to just keep babbling on about something you hate, just because I like the sound of my own voice.
Of course, when we come into relationships as fully-formed adults we bring a lot of baggage, and we’ve had time to develop tastes and preferences that may be very different than the people we are romantically involved with – and that’s okay. Obviously, compromise is a big part of relationships so sometimes you have to go against your natural inclinations and do something you don’t really want to do, but knowing that you don’t like something and that the person who does will probably enjoy it more without you isn’t selfish – it’s self-aware. Also, to counter other arguments, it’s not that I never try anything new – obviously no one wants to date a stick-in-the-mud – but there are some things, like a four-mile hike, that I have at least some experience with and would rather spare everyone the agony of four to six hours of non-stop complaining because I already know what’s coming. See – I am really self-aware.
We can, of course, avoid this whole discussion by just doing the things I want to do when I want to do them. Thanks!!
Thanks Uproxx for the meme!
Valarie is from Georgia. No, she doesn't have an accent. No one in metro-Atlanta really does. You can read her thoughts, using non-regional diction, at thinkingaboutdoing.tumblr.com.
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