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(Pink) Masks [Game Overview]
January 14th, 2010 by Dan

But none of it is pink...

False Advertising

While running errands the other day I saw a girl wearing a blue pair of sweatpants that had the word “Pink” in large white print on the back. It got me thinking about the discrepancies between who we are and who we tell people we are. I can honestly say that I’ve never met a girl in a bar and opened by saying that I play approximately 20 hours of video games a week or that I run this blog. Instead I’d be far more likely to mention the movies that I like, the music I listen to, or the fact that I love baseball. It’s not really a lie, I’m not proclaiming to be pink when I’m clearly blue, but it’s not being totally honest with myself or the things that I spend most of my days doing.

It comes naturally from experience, since almost every girl I’ve ever dated or been interested in just doesn’t care much about the things that I do, which does call into question whether or not they’re suitable for me. I mean, is it really fair that she wants me to listen to the convoluted soap opera going on between her and her friends or that she wants me to take a real interest in her major or profession, but when I even start to talk about engineering, my job, or a video game I’m met with blank stares or a plain “I don’t care”? I’ve got a friend who tells me that she honestly cannot stand to listen to the things that her significant other talks about. Other girls have actually complimented me because I don’t subject them to the same boring conversations that their boyfriends or husbands would subject them to. Is this even healthy?

To a certain degree I think it’s healthy to have these partitions in place. That old stereotype about men talking about football while the women talk about shopping does play out plenty of times in groups that I’ve been a part of and nobody really worries about that. Men and women simply have different interests and tastes, but that’s not quite what I’m talking about here. I feel sometimes that even if the guys were to talk about video games they’d be way more likely to talk about Halo, Call of Duty, or Madden. Thing is, even if I did play those games, I’d still feel reluctant to talk with them about the topic because I have considerably more hardcore knowledge on the subject.

There’s nothing wrong with being familiar with a player’s career and having intimate knowledge of a team’s history. You’d be hard pressed to find someone who didn’t find it a little strange that you know Derek Jeter’s batting average for every year he’s been in the majors. I guess it’s a question of intensity. When something that you enjoy ceases to be that and becomes something that defines you, people start to frame their viewpoint about you in a different way. If I were to let my love of videogames or comic books or (back in the day) anime define me, I would always find myself pigeonholed into a certain group. Part of my high school life was spent hanging out with people who let these fringe pursuits completely define them and I found myself unhappy with the restrictive social group I found myself a part of. It turned into an us vs. them thing. They were busy loving football and being tools while we were technically ostracized just for liking things that weren’t in the mainstream.

That’s just not how I operate. When the opportunity came up to associate with and hang out around the Diversity Programs folks at Cornell, I opted not to. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with diversity groups or minority clubs, but it always seemed, to me, that these groups that hung out with each other based on unimportant qualities like ethnicity tended to be very insular and, to quote kindergarten, “not play well with others.” I guess the question I’m trying to ask is: does choosing not to let the things that define my personal life define me mean that I’m lying to the world?

I’d like to think it doesn’t and that I’m more versatile this way. By not forcing myself to hang out exclusively with like-minded individuals, I’m able to broaden my horizons and learn about way more topics than I’d otherwise be able to. Plus, I have got friends who are just as passionate about the things I privately am too, so it’s not like I’m not able to talk about the things I love (except baseball…the only person I know who is as passionate about baseball is kind of a tool). The only downside that I can see is that I end up with friend groups who are polar opposites to each other and who might not get along, but integrating friend groups isn’t really necessary for a healthy, happy life anyway.

Since this post is more emo than what I typically allow on this site, let me close by saying that my research has determined that Pink is a label of clothing by Victoria’s Secret.

I'm glad I don't have anyone to whom I'd have to explain why I was browsing the Victoria's Secret website to. I can see the conversation now: Research for my blog! Honest! Well I had to look at the bras too!

Relevant and necessary graphical explanation or desperate traffic-grab?


25 Responses  
  • Eric Mesa writes:
    January 14th, 20109:05at

    I think I will tackle what I want to say in different comments because it will make more sense if threaded conversations happen.

    First, did you not know until now that Pink was a Victoria’s Secret label?

    • Dan writes:
      January 14th, 20109:26at

      I might have heard about it before, but it didn’t stick in my mind until I started looking for information earlier this week.

  • Eric Mesa writes:
    January 14th, 20109:10at

    Second, it’s funny the object that prodded your ruminations on this subject. A blue pair of sweatpants that said Pink. While one could think about the ramifications of naming a clothing line after a colour when you will eventually make clothes that is not of that colour, (it used to all be pink) I think it opens up into a far more interesting conversation about cognitive dissonance. In fact, many artists (painters and photogs) have had famous works in which the title described an object or property that the work did not contain. Such as, this is a blue pen and the photo is a red corvette or something like that. They’re trying to deconstruct words as symbols from the words themselves. Another variety involves the word blue in a a pink font colour. Again, it’s a mind-screw deconstruction.

    And, although it was unintentional on Victoria’s Secret’s part, it certainly succeed in causing your mind to try and make sense of it which led to this blog post.

    • Dan writes:
      January 14th, 20109:31at

      It’s like the old joke that I’d name any books I wrote Eric Wore Big Shoes or David Was Never Funny with neither book having anything to do with you or David

      • klaygenie writes:
        January 14th, 201023:25at

        I must be slow. Up until I read Eric’s comment, I had no idea how that first sentence tied into the blog post.

        • Dan writes:
          January 15th, 20100:21at

          I could have tied it in a little better, thematically, I guess.

          • Eric Mesa writes:
            January 15th, 20108:58at

            I think you did a good job. Kai probably just had a lot on her mind since her job requires her to do so much and she was probably just temporarily distracted.

            OR

            Maybe our common upbringing makes it easier for me to understand your metaphors, analogies, etc

  • Eric Mesa writes:
    January 14th, 20109:15at

    Third, now we come to the meat of the blog post. In my opinion, I think there’s nothing wrong with anything you said with respect to meeting with and hanging out with women or men who don’t share your interests. And, although we still have stigmas in this society against sci-fi, video games, and pretty much anything that wouldn’t be stereotypical jock stuff, I think that even those who were really into sports would find people pigeonholing them if they were to get into that in the first conversation.

    In my life, which is admittedly only 3 years longer than yours, I have learned to keep my passions to myself upon first meeting someone unless they also proclaim a love for the same things (sci-fi, computers, photography). Even then, I can blow them away because they thought THEY were into it. After meeting me, they’re left thinking, “Wow, at least I’m not a photog nerd like that guy.” I think it just means they aren’t passionate about it. Everyone has something they care about to a level that makes everyone’s else’s eyes roll. I’ve learned that with Danielle I only talk gritty details when I’m super excited about something. And she supports my excitement, even if she doesn’t care that my new lens has an aperture of 1.4 and can therefore take super shallow depth of field photos.

    Perhaps more to come when I have some spare time, but I think you may be a little extra hard on yourself with respect to these things when I think everyone has something like that. My boss and cars, for example.

    • Dan writes:
      January 14th, 20109:33at

      I try and gauge the level of devotion to another person’s particular hobby before I really start diving into it. I can tell pretty easily from the things that someone says whether or not they’re just a Halo/Call of Duty/Madden guy or a legitimately serious player who would appreciate deconstructing the thematic elements of Metal Gear Solid. Then again, it’s kind of the same thing with the books you or I read, right?

      EDIT: Woo! I stole comment #800 from you!

      • Eric Mesa writes:
        January 15th, 20108:56at

        I think it’s funny how this is a spectrum because the Giant Bombcast guys – game geeks if I ever could define such a group – make fun of people who are really into the fiction behind games – complete with a stereotypical lispy voice.

        • Dan writes:
          January 15th, 20109:15at

          Yeah, well, there’s being into something and there’s being into something.

          There’s also the fact that the fiction they write for these novels-based-on-games is absolutely terrible

          • Eric Mesa writes:
            January 15th, 20109:19at

            That’s why I love the Simpsons episode with Lucy Lawless (Xena – who was on my mind because she was on Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me) where she’s at a nerd convention and people are asking her all these super-technical questions that are irrelevant because they weren’t done on purpose – they were filming flubs. So her response “A wizard did it!”

            I think it’s even a trope on TV Trope.

            • Dan writes:
              January 15th, 20109:21at

              I never watched Xena, but Lucy Lawless was way awesome in Battlestar Galactica.

              I almost feel sorry for the actresses who have to go to these big comic and sci-fi conventions to be ogled by the super nerds and asked questions by people who don’t seem to realize that they’re not actually Xena

              • Eric Mesa writes:
                January 15th, 20109:26at

                Like many, though not all, Star Trek actors, she actually enjoys the enthusiasm of the fans. They mentioned that in addition to being a Cylon that she’s also now in some sparticus-based TV show as an antagonistic character.

                • Dan writes:
                  January 15th, 20109:30at

                  I’d say I enjoyed it too, haha, but she could genuinely mean it.

                  She makes a good antagonist.

    • klaygenie writes:
      January 14th, 201023:42at

      Well, I don’t feel like I have anything that I’m passionate about on that kind of level. But at least from the other perspective, I actually think it’s cool when people are really into something. I assume it’s like Danielle supporting Eric’s photography. I might not fully understand but I’ll be excited because you’re excited. The only problem is that I assume if I can be interested in your video games, sports, etc – then you can be interested in my shoes and other girly indulgences.

      • Dan writes:
        January 15th, 20100:23at

        Yeah, I think that’s totally fair. It’s the girls who refuse to listen to me even though I listen to them talk about their hair for half an hour that frustrate me. I can generate actual interest in those things, especially if I can tell it’s important to the person, but it’s not often reciprocated.

      • Eric Mesa writes:
        January 15th, 20108:55at

        I think it’s common courtesy. If you listen to something you don’t care about they should listen to you. Another related concrete example. If I make Danielle watch some stupid british comedy (which she generally hates) then she gets the right to make me watch Twilight.

        • Dan writes:
          January 15th, 20109:15at

          Ian and Morghan have a similar deal structure. He can make her watch whatever movies he wants so long as she’s allowed to take him somewhere or make him watch something he wouldn’t ordinarily watch.

      • Min writes:
        January 15th, 201011:46at

        You know Kai… aside from your post on Saturday(and now), I don’t think I have ever heard you talk before about how much you love shoes. Is this like a recent thing?

        • Dan writes:
          January 15th, 201011:50at

          Isn’t it kind of implied since she has two ‘X’ chromosomes?

        • Min writes:
          January 15th, 201012:03at

          Well that’s true… but if you think about it, the premise that girls like shoes is indicated really by two things:

          1.) Most girls own a lot of shoes.
          2.) Girls claim that they like shoes.

          But I don’t think I’ve actually ever had a girl try to converse with me specifically about shoes. It just seems like if they’re that into it, they would have something to say about it every once in a while.

          Do girls have extensive conversations about shoes in the same fashion that we talk about video games?

          • Dan writes:
            January 15th, 201012:07at

            I’ve listened to girls talk to me specifically about shoes, if you’ll accept that as evidence. Mostly about how comfortable or appealing they were. Rarely about labels.

          • Eric Mesa writes:
            January 15th, 201012:19at

            Hopefully Kai subscribed to comments so you can get her views. Also, yay for Min commenting too. Now your full readership has commented. q;op

          • klaygenie writes:
            January 15th, 201015:39at

            I don’t know if I would describe my conversations as “extensive”. Usually shoes just slip into part of the conversation, not as the main topic. For example, I’ve can talk about how much I love/want over-the-knee boots, but how they’d be totally impractical if I wanted to bend my leg. And I can almost guarantee if I’m out with girlfriends, there will be comments about what other people are wearing. I usually try to keep that under control with my guy friends. You all wouldn’t understand anyways.


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