Sunday, July 19, 2009

They're Surprised

Since one of these things has just come up yet again, this theme is on my mind: there are probably a number of things about each of us that others find surprising. Some of those things we can understand, others, not so much.

In my case these four things have led to a lot of disbelief from others:

Age - No one ever guesses my age correctly, always guessing too young. Better than 90% of people can't even come within four years of making the correct guess, and a good third of those people think I'm much younger than that, even. This one is easy to understand, because even I can see that I don't look thirty-two: it's partly genetic, partly because I've never smoked, and partly because I've always used sunscreen (not to mention I didn't grow at all between the ages of two and four, and didn't start puberty until two or three years after most of my classmates). So by now, I'm used to people guessing I'm in my mid-twenties, and only raise my eyebrows when they think I'm even younger than that.

Ethnicity - Red hair, blue eyes, and just about the fairest skin possible makes many people guess that I'm all Irish. I'm sure that having an Irish first name leads them to that guess too, even though my last name is Americanized French (my middle name is French too, but maybe .5% of people who know me know what it is). Some people realize that I'm partly Scottish, because of my bone structure and the historical knowledge that Scotts are even more likely to have red hair. No one ever ever guesses that I'm also English, French and Portuguese. Or that I had a black great-great grandfather. The funny thing is that several people have gotten mad at me for protesting when they've said I'm all Irish, and assume I'm lying to them!

Handedness - This one I don't understand: it comes as a shock to a lot of people that I'm left-handed. The only conclusion I can draw is that right-handed people don't observe how many people are left or right handed in a group situation. I know I'm not the only leftie who assesses that immediately when there are a lot of people taking notes. While it's true that I'm one of the 40% of lefties who only use their mouse with their right hand, I do almost everything else with my left hand. And of those few other things I do with my right hand, people don't ever see two of them, so that leaves bowling and skeetball as possibly leading them astray. These are people who have seen me write often too, so I don't get it.

Height - Women rarely talk about the heights of women, but men do, so I can only apply this one to the fellows. To my confusion, I've had men express disbelief about my height in the exact opposite directions. Some men say "but you're so little!" and refuse to believe that I'm really just shy of five-four. And other men are surprised because they think I'm taller. Men are weird. I don't know what accounts for the former though I suspect that attitude comes from men who feel protective of women, but Vynce has a theory about the latter because Megan who is just 5'1" hears the same thing frequently too: he says we "don't have little personalities" and therefore seem bigger/more imposing. I asked him if this meant we were occasionally bitchy, and he said no =) He says that it has to do with having no fear about expressing firm opinions even if they'll be at odds with others'. Maybe he's got something there.

So, how about you? How do you confound people too?

"I can't keep telling myself what I want to hear, what I want to hear. I can't just close my eyes." - Atreyu, Slow Burn

1 comment:

  1. People always think I'm a lot younger, too.

    I'm also pretty short, though on occasion I've been mistaken for taller since I'm pretty thin as well. That's all! :)