Monday, March 13, 2006

Braggers Can't be Choosers

When you're little, braggers are ridiculed openly. The child boasting about his large collection of Transformers is generally the child with the most black eyes. Braggers often exaggerate the truth in an attempt to make themselves seem bigger, richer, smarter, or cooler. As children, we are much more inclined to voice displeasure of boasting and much more likely to judge, ridicule, or beat up braggers.

So what becomes of these braggers in adult hood? They morph into someone that most adults cannot stand, but strangely, are not judged as often as they should be. It takes an immature person, like myself, to call them out as a bragger.

PPT Bragger: My best friend's old roommate was the worst kind of person, place, or thing bragger. She would tell you all about meeting Tom Brady, how her uncle was a Patriot's Doctor, how her father did Clint Eastwood's varicose veins, or how she went to the Counting Crow's concert and got a signed guitar. She would tell you about her beach house, her magazine's launch party, or about her free dinner at Old Homestead because her friend was the manager. She would talk to you about her amazing life never once inviting you to come along. She would never buy you a cool gift for your birthday or offer to upgrade your bleacher seats at a Patriot game. No, she would just tell you about her life. Her amazing life. And you were supposed to say to her, "wow, your life is amazing." And this was supposed to make you want to be her friend. I declined.

But I Came to Your Party Braggers: But he graced your party with his presence amongst his super busy schedule. But he made a point of cutting out of his all-important happy hour or work schedule to stop by the party you invited him to for an hour. But he called you to let you know that he was too busy to come to dinner, and it's not like he just didn't come. And he sees you more than once a week, more than he sees any of his other friends, because he always tries to make time for the millions of invitations you throw his way. And yet, does he ever invite you to go to the movies with him? Does he ever add your name to an evite? Does he ever say, "Hey, why don't you stop by this happy hour?" Nope, he just consistently tells you how busy he is and how lucky you are to have him come to your party at all. He makes you work for his friendship. He is just so busy, although he never invites you to join him, and you should just feel honored that he has made time to come by your party at all.

Job Title Braggers: I was at a happy hour recently where I met an unattractive girl who had just graduated college. She was working in my field at an obscure law firm. She asked me about my job, which I gladly elaborated about. I love my job. I have control over my own projects, and the creative license to try out new forms of Marketing. I love my boss and coworkers. I can afford to maintain a pretty nice lifestyle. I've worked really hard to get to this point in my career. My title is not something I've even considered in my employment happiness. So when she asked me what my title was, I responded with my actual title. "Oh, I'm an [extremely pretentious title]." So I asked what she did. She managed the Director's calendar, sent out Media Kits, and fielded phone calls. My job description required 3-5 years experience. I handle my own accounts. I don't care if she's the Vice President, she's still doing entry level work. I felt no need to further justify. I'm not sure if that's what she was hoping I'd do. I simply went on with the conversation. DC is high on over-inflated titles. I don't need an puffed up title to make me feel important in my job. My actual work makes me feel important.

Healthy Lifestyle Braggers: They run marathons on injured knees so they can say, "I ran 26 miles this morning, and now my injured knee is acting up." No sh*t Sherlock. I don't really care if you only eat whole grain bread. I don't need to know if you drink 12 gallons of orange juice a day. My roommate ran a marathon Saturday morning. She didn't even mention it until I saw her the next afternoon. Why? She's healthy for herself. It makes her feel good. She doesn't do it so she can tell me she did it so that I then think she's healthy. That doesn't matter. She also doesn't eat red meat. She'd never expect that I wouldn't. She only mentions it when I'm cooking for her and ask. I think it's great that people want to be healthy, but I don't want to hear about it. Do it for yourself.

Education Braggers: Congratulations if you went to an Ivy League school. I'm happy your smart. I'm sure you'll do great things with your life, but unless your lessons at Harvard helped you develop a cure for cancer, I don't think I need to know that you went to school there. The smartest people I know don't have to prove their smart. And if I ask where you went to school, please don't respond "New Haven." Then you sound even more pretentious... like you want to sound humble about going to Yale. If you know someone from college, don't introduce the person as you're buddy from Columbia unless you've gone to more than one college in your life and need to elaborate. Colleges should stay on Friendster and resumes.

Low-maintenance Braggers: Why do people always need to tout how little time it takes them to get ready? My friend EP recently pointed out to her boyfriend, "I could get ready in 5 minutes, but I'd look horrible on your arm." It's not impressive to anyone that you don't care of yourself. It's not a badge of honor. Unless you roll out of bed resembling Rebecca Romijn, I think you should probably work on yourself a bit more. Past the age of 20, no one is jealous.

So that's my list so far. Can you tell I'm totally moody today?


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