Posts Tagged ‘social changes’

I’m over thirty.

Okay, I’m WAY over thirty.

As a result it seems, the cells in my body have become less and less reflective rendering me virtually invisible, particularly to others who are WAY over thirty but also to the general population.

I was at a Lambda Legal event recently.  I was standing talking to a friend of mine who is only just over thirty.  A man, probably a little more on the WAY side than me, came up to us and began speaking to my friend as though I was not there.  When my friend attempted to introduce me, Mr. WAY responded irritably, as though being introduced to a child’s imaginary friend while in the midst of some life saving explanation.  He almost looked at me and then began speaking to my friend again before he’d even finished shaking my hand.  He never actually spoke to me.

That has been my most frequent social experience for the WAY number of years since I hit thirty.

Living in West Hollywood, where every day is swimsuit competition, I could easily take up bank robbery for extra spending money.  I’m convinced no one would see me walking into the vault and helping myself.

There’s this fellow, also on this side of thirty, who I know socially.  We have all the same friends, we work in the same field, we live nearby, vote at the same poll, I’ve been to his office, I’ve participated in a private screening of a documentary he made, given him notes, he has been to my house.  Yet he has never once remembered my name or recognized me.  On one such occasion, I was out with a younger blonde friend of mine that Mr. Memoryloss had met at my house.  Mr. M actually came up to us and began speaking to my friend and did not remember me or my name when prompted.

It’s really that bad.   Clearly I have faded from view, right? What other explanation could there be?

Well recently, I’ve hit on a new hypothesis for this phenomenon.  I call it Jaguar Theory.  It goes something like this.

The most popular car in the world — even with the whole “breaks optional” thing — is the Toyota Corolla.  It’s not the most luxurious.  It’s not the most comfortable.  It’s not the fastest, or the prettiest or even the best designed.  The Corolla is the most popular car in the world because it is the easiest to get.  It’s cheap, it’s available and it’s disposable.  For less than it would cost to maintain, you can simply throw it away and get a new one.  Nothing against the Corolla, they’re popular and dependable and affordable.  They’re even the most stolen.

There are far better cars, but they ask more of the driver.  The reason most people don’t drive Jaguars is not because they’re bad cars.  They don’t drive them because they are not up to it.  Too hard to get, too expensive to buy, too costly to maintain and too valuable not to.  Most people are not willing to do what it takes to drive a Jaguar.  It’s just easier to drive a Corolla.

I think the whole invisibility thing works the same way.  Men hang out at strip clubs, because the strippers will let them put money in their pants.  Women sleep with their trainers and pool cleaners because they leave after the appointment.  People are frequently with who they’re with because it’s too much trouble to be around people you have to treat decently.  Still more fearful and exhausting is trying to find people who treat us properly.

Men hit on people younger than they are not because they’re younger.  Age, it turns out, has very little to do with this.  Used Corollas sell briskly.  Men hit on younger people because they think they are stupid and easier to boss around.  The older man believes that he will be able to feel superior and act accordingly.   They’re usually wrong, but it’s easy to blame their age when they get rebuffed for their bad attitudes.   And, just like Corollas, the available young are plentiful and easily replaced by a newer model with less self-respect.

They call it settling down for a reason.

Dating a peer or even looking to settle up is too frightening, threatening and challenging for most.  And who can get it up when they’re scared? They look instead for someone they can dominate or someone who they believe will be so grateful for their attention that they will be free to do as they like. How daunting to chose someone you respect or, worse, to respect yourself.

This strange behavior of the majority to seek second or even third best creates the false sense of invisibility among the Jaguars of the species.  Just as our Toyota buyer never stops by the luxury motor dealer when he’s in the market, most people don’t bother to look at those they think they can’t afford.  Eventually they just can’t see them at all.

I know it’s easy to think this is about looks, but that misses the lesson of the Corolla.  Those puppies are all tarted up with power windows, Blue Tooth, IPod docks, reclining leather seats, surround sound, air conditioning, custom paint.  It makes a very seductive little package.  But like lipstick on the proverbial pig, it’s still a Corolla.

In ten years, it will be a ten-year-old Corolla.  A well-kept and maintained Jaguar is far more likely to become a classic.  Attend a car show and see if there are any Corollas there.   But why invest the care and maintenance when you could just scrap the first one and move on this year’s new model? And one would have to have a high opinion of themselves to drive the Jaguar.  Who wants a car that makes them look bad?

So, on days when it feels like I’m invisible I try to remind myself that I’m just a Jaguar in a world full of Corollas.  Which are you?

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