Reinforcing stereotypes and supporting preconceptions.

5 Aug

The classic stereotype of a pretty, Persian cat is a big, lazy, narcissistic lump that sleeps all day…Irritating, but I’m probably the rule rather than the exception.  Stereotypes exist for a reason; Does it bother you?  Do you embrace playing the role people expect of you?

In a similar vein, I’m not a dog fan.  I’m sure there are nice dogs about but, every time I encounter one it acts like a slobbering fool…my experiences have only served to reinforce my preconceived notions…

On my way to work I often pass a Tesco in what is considered an undesirable neighbourhood.  My loathing of Tesco aside, I’ll pop in for some chewing gum or a Coke Zero.  I postulated months ago that the only people who shop here are ne’er-do-wells, dullards and miscreants…

Exhibit A: The Nicotine Bride

Standing in the kiosk queue with my Trident Soft (tropical twist) in hand…a woman in a wedding dress ran in.  “Excuse me love, can I nip in front of you?  I’m in a rush.” I obliged out of shock more than courtesy.  She proceeded to buy 20 “Marley Light” then ran out.  It was like Cinderella but less glass slipper and more smokers cough.  I was desperate to follow her to see if she had pulled up in a ribbon covered wedding car…or if she’d whip a lighter from her garter.

Exhibit B: Mr Observation Obfuscation

Walking into Tesco with my umbrella up as it was most definitely precipitating.  One trolley collector man said to another “I think it might rain”.  I’m generally too lazy to raise a brolly unless absolutely necessary…it was certainly raining.  Carol Kirkwood and Derek Acorah should watch their backs; we all know what happened to Cristal Connors when Nomi got a taste of the big time.

Exhibit C: Mr “Dinglehopper”

I stopped off with the boss for a beverage in Tesco Costa.  There was a man in a business suit that must have been taught table manners by the little mermaid.  After stirring twelve sugars into his cappaccino using his fork (then licking it)…he proceeded to SCRATCH HIS HEAD WITH IT! He then used the same fork to not only eat his lunch, but also pilfer a chip from his colleagues plate!  I’m sure we’ve all slurped the last bit of bisque from the bowl in the privacy of our own homes, but at a business engagement in a public place?  It’s not really the time to act like a chimp with a pointy stick.

I realise I’m judging these people on snapshots of their lives.  They may be wonderful, interesting people (except Dinglehopper he is beyond redemption).  Classic confirmation bias, I do enjoy the smug sense of “I am so right about this place”.

So, I fully admit I am guilty of subscribing to local stereotypes but what about more well known stereotypes? What if I’m the person feeding into them?

I never got into the Glee thing at all and I turned down free tickets to SATC 2 but, like a stereotypical flaming homo I love, love, love the Gaga and Kylie’s Aphrodite album is glued into my car stereo.  I also sport a slightly fay hair do and subscribe to the school of guy-liner.  If anyone saw me driving (badly as my mandatory attendance to my 5th driver awareness course indicates) I’m sure I would be adding weight to the typical homosexual stereotype of a glittery, camp queen.

Here lies my problem, I dislike stereotyping and like everyone, I don’t like the idea of being pigeon holed; but I’ll still judge others if they support my preconceptions.  I have no defence, I’m just a big hypocrite.  But what else can you judge random strangers on?  It’s not like I could crash the nicotine brides big day and ask her what her life goals are.  Is being aware of your own twattery any better that just being a twat?

It is a satisfying feeling to have your personal ideas validated even if you realise you are probably remembering things selectively.  On that note, I’m off to bitch about slobbery canines and groom myself.


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