Sunday, 3 October 2010

Oh yes, you are!

Those who know me best are familiar with The Look. The chin drops, eyebrows shoot skywards, eyes roll. I may even tut, groan or sigh heavily.

No, I'm not having a funny turn. It's just my "You've GOT to be bloody kidding me" face.

The Ovver Arf knows it all too well and, being the diplomatic social schmoozer in our relationship, has been known to give me a swift kick in the shins when he sees it start to wash across my features.

If you want to see it for yourself, there's one sure-fire way. Just start a conversation with "I'm not sexist/racist/homophobic/a facist bastard, but...." before launching into some remark so utterly bigoted that it would have Humpty Dumpty falling off his wall in shock and disbelief.

Do that, and I can pretty much guarantee that The Look will come hurtling to the surface with the speed of a snorkeller who miscalculated how much air was left in their lungs.

Every atom of my being will be screaming to shout "Oh yes, you are!". There are more than a few times when I have done just that - usually moments before well-meaning friends who know me oh-so-well drag me away in the hope of avoiding a long, boring rant about hypocrisy and bigotry.

Other times, I try to play it cool and diplomatic, saying nothing. But - judging from the nervous (sometimes down-right terrified) looks my companions shoot in my direction - I fail. Miserably.

God only knows what my face must have been up to when interviewing politicians on the campaign trail back in my days a local hack.

I guess it's hard for any of us to admit to our failings - and even more so our prejudices (which we ALL have, in one form or another, by the way). But does no-one realise that saying "I'm not a bigot, but..." is like sounding a fanfare announcing that you are about as tolerant as the love child of Nick Griffin and the Grand Master of the Klu Klux Klan?

Self-knowledge is hard, virtually impossible if we're honest about it. That's why we have the phenomenon of "I'm independently-minded, you're eccentric, he's off his bloody rocker". Variations include:
"I'm all-woman, you're curvy, she's so big she has her own post code"
"I'm in my prime, you're aging nicely, he's older than God"
"I believe in traditional values, you support the status quo, she's somewhere to the right of the Third Reich"
(If you have any others, let me know - I collect 'em).

I'm a great believer in saying what you mean, and meaning what you say, without being mealy-mouthed or using pre-emptive apologies and exemptions.

If I have an opinion about something, you will hear it, fear not. But there's no need for me to tell you what I am, or am not, beforehand. You'll soon work it out for yourself...

...and when I have, you are more than welcome to give me YOUR Look.


  1. I'm a vegan. I'm a hippie. I'm addicted to "The Jeremy Kyle Show". ;)

  2. I'm guessing you meant to write:
    "I'm a vegan. You're a hippie. He's addicted to the Jeremy Kyle Show."

    If so, really? OK, I know I'm out of touch with the way things are back in Blighty, but I didn't know that Jeremy Kyle was a refuge for the meusli, macrami and Peace & Love brigade....

  3. These are my statements of self ;)

    The Jeremy Kyle Show is absolutely, definitely NOT even vaguely a thing for muesli/macrame/etc lovers... no no no... think a British Jerry Springer with more chavs and more grrrrrrrrrrr.

    It is, most definitely, a guilty pleasure of mine. ;)

  4. I love this post. I don't want to say too much unless you shout at me now though :\

    *Quakes in boots*

    I'm always saying 'I'm not racist but...' and I'm really not racist, I just feel that sometimes there's a need (or a fear) these days to have to qualify yourself before stating your opinion. Unfortunately now it is habit and it has become so cliché that it actually has an adverse affect. You're right.

    Becca x

    Becca x

  5. I wouldn't shout at you, sweet Becca.
    And I'm really not scary at all - ask anyone who knows me in the flesh (like Madam Georgina, the vegan hippy Jeremy Kyle fan).

    I'm sure you know the type of people I'm talking about - and I'm pretty certain you don't fall into the same category.

    I suspect your use is similar to mine when I say "I'm not being funny" or "I'm criticising" before I have a go at someone...

  6. Of course, in the last line of my above comment, I should have said "I'm NOT criticising"...

    Cue the pendant's revenge.