Friday, December 22, 2006

A drink, a drink, my personality for a drink

I've been to two social events recently where my sense of confidence and general well being has depended, at least in part, on red wine.

First was a wedding reception atttended by hordes of Jon's schoolmates. This school was an ultra-academic private affair for boys. He didn't like it much because it insisted on pupils doing some work.

[SWEEPING GENERALISATION ALERT.] If you ask me, those kinds of schools produce certain character traits. Firstly, an unquestioning belief in one's own ability, intelligence and right to do well in life. Secondly, the ability to send a telepathic broadcast to anyone that comes into contact, saying something like "you might possibly provide me with some amusement but I am far more significant than you could ever hope to be." How much these traits depend on having spent years in an all male environment, I do not know.

I hate the thought of appearing dull and stupid (which is what I invariably feel when in such crowds) so tend to knock back the booze, speak loudly and avoid any kind of serious conversation, sticking instead to sarcastic jokes. I can only convince myself that I pull off that kind of banter when under the influence.

Then there was my work Christmas lunch yesterday. I really like my colleagues and some are inspirational. But they are nearly all much older than me and mostly either clergymen and women or theologically trained. I sense (no doubt wrongly) that I am seen as the token young woman, who is bound to get bored with adult conversation, needs encouragement to speak and who's best asset is being young and pretty because that's a bit 'different'. I have, at one meeting, been told (by a non colleague, actually) that he thought the work I'd done was good because "you are young and you are the future". Aaaarghhhhh!

I like talking with adults. I want to be taken seriously as an equal - not because I am doing remarkably well considering the handicaps of youth and make-up.

I have no doubt that my own hang-ups are responsible for the way I felt in both these situations. And I look forwad to more socialising with both these groups. But I am very grateful for the existence of alcohol. Always taken in moderation, of course.


Jonathan Potts said...

Give Haberdashers' Aske's school for boys, Elstree (for that is 'ultra-academic private school' in question) an intelligent 11 year-old boy and they will give you back an obnoxious, arrogant 18-year-old seven years later. For a fee of around £80,000. Private schooling: the expensive way to make society worse.

Martin said...

Well, I would say that what I went to or heard about at Coventry Cathedral that was in some way related to your work there was pretty good, and that this was in no way due to youth or beauty.