My friends will recognize this common “joke” of mine: That I am “blue collar.” The “joke” part is that I, by no definition of the word, fit that description, growing up with cutlery of the “argentum variety” (most snobbish euphemism I could think of) and having held firmly white collar jobs my entire life. However, the gist behind that refrain is genuine. What I mean is that in contrast to the majority of my peers/friends, my idea of a “good time” is straight up, Varsity Blues, Joe-America, “fly-over country” fodder. You could make a fucking Cold War mad-libs propaganda film out of it. By this I mean that I enjoy:
Drinking (many) beers, watching football, eating 25 cent wings, cracking wise, ogling/meeting girls, watching TV, playing pool/poker/ darts/shuffleboard /trivia etc.
Yet despite enjoying literally the most mainstream, prototypical “American male” pursuits (I know this is very “hetero-normative” as the kids says these days), the overwhelming majority of my friends dislike the majority of those traits /activities I listed. Almost all will hit 2-5 of the following bullets:
- Enjoy “nice” dinners, early nights, and avoid “bars” or venues with “bar games”
- Rarely, if ever, are “intoxicated” (drinks or drugs)
- Do not have a television/watch less than one hour of TV a day
- Avoid approaching women in public
- Avoid “casual dating” as a whole
- Not heavily into professional sports (e.g., prioritizing viewing games)
So now the obvious question. If everything I enjoy is so “mainstream,” shouldn’t it be easy to find folks to share these interests (if you can call them that) with? After much pondering, I think the answer is that as “apple pie” as my interests are, my background could not be further from that profile.
I am a non-Caucasian, atheist, naturalized US citizen, who grew up outside the US, attended a selective university, and am now a self-employed entrepreneur living in San Francisco.
Despite a lot of natural overlap between a few of those categories (see SF / entrepreneur / non-Caucasian), that is very, very, very small group to be in.
What that means is that I do not have a natural affiliation with most folks in the US who enjoy all those things I listed above. It also means that many of my “non-weekend” interests run completely orthogonal to that population of individuals. I attended a football game this past season. I do not know how many of the 60,000 in attendance that day have an interest in complaining about the evils of organized religion while searching for a decent, in-door badminton court within a 10 mile radius (if anyone in SF knows, please leave a comment).
To be clear- none of this is bragging. I am not putting down any of my friends for not sharing my “mainstream” tastes, nor touting my inability to relate to most of America. I am articulating a sense of limbo, of frustration, which comes from straddling two worlds, and having few folks completely “get you” in either. I am sure this same feeling exists for many but with a different set of social/personality filters (I’m looking at you black Republicans).
Or perhaps my drinking-buddy roommate has just been away on travel for too long. I’ll let you know after we go to Bar None when he returns.