PiU (samedi) wrote,

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beware the ides of march

Two days ago was, among other things, Victoria's birthday, and as one of the few people staying in Pullman for spring break it came as no surprise to find myself invited to her party. Now, spending time with Victoria can be taxing enough due to the number of thoughtless and inane comments she usually makes, but familiarity has at least produced some small measure of acceptance. However, meeting Samuel, who works with Violet and Victoria, was far worse than I could have possibly imagined.

To start, he didn't make any move to shake hands when we were introduced, despite my taking a step forward and beginning to raise my arm to initiate the exchange. It's possible that he had a good reason for not doing so (for example, not washing his hands after handling something unpleasant) but my guess is that he lacks the social skills and upbringing to realize that as a ritualized greeting. This ties in to my second complaint though, which is that Samuel immediately comes across as an otaku and infatuated with anything Japanese. While at Victoria's apartment he went on a long-winded explanation of how he hated the taste of beer and didn't like alcohol in general, but as soon as he saw an empty sake bottle sitting on the windowsill he promptly said that he would have to try sake because it was a product of Japan. I was surprised to hear him make such a ridiculous statement, but even though I double-checked to make sure I had heard him correctly his reasoning remained the same.

I recognize that I talk about Korea quite a bit in my journal, but if you spend any time around me (or browse through my old Diaryland account) you will no doubt hear more than your fair share about Ukraine, France, and Uzbekistan. And you will never, ever hear me say that I want to drink soju simply on account of it being a Korean liquor. If given the choice I would much rather keep my Peugeot than drive a comparable Hyundai.

A tertiary observation is that Samuel styles himself as an expert on everything and has no qualms making up logic to support his claims. He uses obfuscation and circular reasoning to prove his point, which meant I spent most of the evening either shaking my head in frustration or pointing out all the fallacies in his statements. [*] I tried to spend my time talking with a married couple that had been invited - discussing mathematicians and what the two of them do in the chemical & electrical engineering departments - but they had to leave early to put their daughter to bed. Being left alone with Samuel, Violet, and Victoria was a painful experience, as Samuel monopolized the conversation and tried to impress everyone with his attempts at intelligent dialogue. While waiting in the car for the other two to come downstairs from the apartment Violet asked how I was feeling - the first thing she said to me all night - and although I claimed to be fine I did point out how I thought Samuel was full of shit.

Violet's response? Yeah, I know. That's why I like him. That was definitely a surprise, but on the other hand it is how Wendell tends to act as well. However, if becoming a pretentious asshole is the way to get her attention ... well, you can forget that in a hurry. Other interesting comments from the evening included Violet's assertion that the only way she managed to get over Wendell was through John's help (apparently my own contribution was nonexistent) and some musings on how Derek was the perfect guy save for the fact that he never talks (which seems confusing given our five hour conversation earlier in the week). On the bright side, the events of that night turned out to be a very effective way for me to lose interest in Violet.
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Example 1: Everyone knows about those Korean gamers who died from World of Warcraft, but I think that it wasn't the game that killed them at all; it was a social aspect. Samuel then went on to state that the people were all involved in organizations (guilds) within the game, and it was from going to online activities sponsored by these guilds that the players forgot about eating and sleeping - eventually collapsing from exhaustion. What he fails to point out is that the "social aspects" that he believes are responsible for their deaths are directly tied to the game, so in the end it's just a bit of circular reasoning to make himself out as more insightful than everyone else. Sorry, but no.

Example 2: Girls can look good in a variety of different dresses. If a guy wants to look nice the only option he has is to wear a tuxedo, and they all look the same. Mind you, this is coming from a guy wearing worn-out jeans, a black t-shirt with kanji on the front under an unbuttoned black shirt, mismatched socks, and dirty sneakers -- hardly someone I would turn to for fashion advice. I don't spend a lot of time browsing through men's fashion magazines, but polo shirts, blazers, pants, or the dress uniform of Kaiser Wilhelm II all seem like respectable alternatives to the apparently tired and unimaginative tuxedo. I am not impressed, Samuel.

Example 3: While discussing mating preferences Violet remarked on how blond hair does not confer any significant genetic advantages in the context of biological evolution, yet this has not kept it from becoming a cultural preference and criteria for attractiveness. Samuel picked up on the subject (or tried to, anyway) and immediately chimed in with how blond hair works exactly the same as the tail plumage of male peacocks. Excuse me? Are you suggesting that there are studies showing how blond hair will always attract reproductive (sex) partners over other hair colors? Naturally he couldn't confirm this, and I pointed out how it has been recorded that female peacocks always choose to mate with males displaying larger, more vibrant plumage. Gentlemen might prefer blondes, but not everyone does - so you can't make that comparison. In his defense he said that the only reason why he brought up the example was because Violet mentioned blond hair. What, so he would have used red hair in his example if she had said that instead?

If I ever see Samuel again in my life it will be too soon.
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