Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Two questions we all hate

I met new buddies on Friday. I was not really trying, my shirt was not cleavage bearing and I was drinking my usual soda and lemon. Pretty tamed for a Friday. But all together puzzling and shocking. Like, this is not supposed to happen in DC.

So here is the scenario. Keep in mind I am changing their names for privacy reasons. I am meeting one of my good friends and she is running late so I hang out at the bar, order something to drink and just make merry with myself. The guy to my left is friendly enough and a few minutes after I sit down another guy shows up. Lets call him Carl. We start to talk about life, family, where he/I grew up, living in DC. Fun times.

A few minutes later his friend shows up at around the same time my friend does. We both start speaking to our respective friends and then the expected introductions are made. Right away my friend also an attorney goes for the DC jugular (read in slow motion) - “Where do you work? What do you do?” The guys are polite. The convo turns to work. We all go back to our cocoons. She and I start talking about Bikram “hot” yoga and how I will never do it again - self-inflicted suffering I say - and how she just loves loves loves it. I am more into Vinyasa nowadays. Whatevs. The guys talk about whatever.

So when the yoga talks wind down I figure I was on a role meeting new people so we might as well keep the momentum going. Brief talks to the guy on the left about spilled beer now back to Carl and friend. Right away we start talking about the social scene in DC and Friend of Carl (FOC) says “I hate it when people here ask me right off the bat - ‘where do you work? what do you do?” My friend says she knows it sucks when she asks those questions but it has become a bad habit after living in the area for over 5 years.

Interesting. Everyone complains about these questions and yet they give life to the cycle by mentioning them at every outing. Well I have boycotted these types of questions. They label DC folks or folks in general as stuffy and the type of people who only care about aesthetics and credentials. In the end and in most circles these become a game of one up. And who wants to be one upped by someone or given a snotty look because you just aren’t worthy to be talking to them. What a downer! Doesn’t the old adage go if you don’t want to answer the same question don’t ask it in the first place. What a quick way to end what could have been a great conversation about childhood mishaps and hobbies.

Maybe I have it backwards but I find that I am more attracted to people who have more dimension to their personality and character than work. It’s a given that most people you meet will be employed. Not all of them can be potential mates but some can be potential buddies.

What kind of dinner party could you have with stuffy people who only like talking about work - how fun can that be. And then again keep asking those questions and you will never meet enough folks to invite to dinner.

1 comment:

ladybug said...

Girl I hear you. DC definitely seems to be full of the rich and powerful, but you're right what about those of us who are just starting out and trying to make something of ourselves? I have a master's degree, but I'm not yet someone with any level of responsibility or influence. I wish to be there someday for sure, but I'm going to take my time and enjoy the ride!

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