Sixteen Things I Pretend to Understand, But Don't

Friday, April 24, 2015

I have a confession to make: I don't know everything.

There are a lot of things in life that I simply don't understand... People do or say things that I don't really "get," and yet for years I have pretended that I do. I like to be the person who knows what's going on, and it's actually rather embarrassing to understand the fine details of a fictional story but not some "basic" aspect of human interaction.

Well, today I've decided that it's time to stop pretending. It's time just own up to my confusion, and share with you sixteen things I've always pretended to understand, but never have.

16 Things I Pretend to Understand, But Don't

1. "Nerdy" as an insult. I really don't understand why people have always hated on "nerds." I mean, almost everything that stereotypically gets attached to nerdiness (intelligence, introversion, intelligence, deep interest in hobbies, passion, and did I mention intelligence?) seems like something to be desired. And you know, I've gotten some weird looks for saying it, but I would honestly sacrifice what limited social ability I have if it meant I could be a genius.

2. Football. I'm not even sure I should put this on the list, because most of the time, I don't even pretend to get it. I've never really understood sports in general (or people's interest in them!), but American football is by far the most confusing to me. I've tried to figure out the rules, but I'm convinced no one really knows them all. At least with basketball the goal is relatively clear- get the ball through your hoop. Football honestly just looks like a bunch of sweaty guys running around trying to kill each other. Oh, and there's this thing they call a ball that's not even shaped like a traditional ball.

3. Crying over a book or movie. I definitely do understand getting completely immersed in a fictional story- I really do. But why, oh why would anyone submit themselves to the trauma of crying (possibly in front of other people!) for the sake of a fictional event?!?! I just do not get it.

4. Crying in general. If I'm going to talk about crying, I might as well just come out and say that- as a general principle- I don't understand crying. From a scientific viewpoint, I suppose it makes sense. Your eyes need to be cleared of dirt and germs, and tears help wash those away. But we're not talking about watery eyes after cutting an onion- we're talking about what happens when people hear someone's died, or their feelings get hurt, or (oh dear...) when they're really, really happy. Yes, I admit, I have cried before. But crying can never solve my problem. It can't actually make things better. And I usually end up with a stuffed-up nose, to boot.

5. Spending more than 10 or 15 minutes on your looks. Let's just be brutally honest for a moment- no one cares how I look as much as I do. That being said, who has an hour to spend on hair and make-up? I could have watched an entire episode of Doctor Who, which (in my opinion) is a much better use of my time.

6. Impulse purchases. As someone who obsesses and over-thinks about everything, the very idea of not planning extensively for a purchase is absolutely mind-boggling. I have enough difficulty just spending money on things I know I need, and I can only imagine an existence without severe buyer's-remorse that boarders on "unhealthy."

7. Impulsivity in general. My lack of understanding when it comes to impulsivity doesn't stop with money. To me, it just makes so much more sense to plan. Extensively. For everything. I just don't "do" spontaneity. Instead, I do something I like to call "planned spontaneity." It's like normal spontaneity, but planned.

8. Sex appeal. It may sound stupid, but it's true- I don't understand sex appeal. I've never thought to myself that so-and-so has a nice backside. I mean, what actually makes a backside nice?! I've never found guys without shirts on to be remotely attractive, and can't understand why anyone else would, either. I do understand the theory behind it, but the reality of it is that it just doesn't click with me.

9. The literal appeal of sex. Just... ew. 

10. Traditionally romantic gestures. Unexpectedly showing up at my door, wearing a tux, with a big bunch of red roses and dinner plans... is not likely to appeal to me. Serenading me with a "promposal"... will probably get you an embarrassed "No." Big, wet, slobbery kisses and overly-enthusiastic hugs... please, just don't. (Now, carefully planning out a Lord of the Rings marathon with lots of candy that I've picked out and you've paid for... that's good.)

11. Romance in general. The whole concept of romance somewhat eludes me. What is it exactly? Where do you draw the line between friendships and romantic relationships? Is a boyfriend not simply a pet that adores me? Couldn't I just get a dog for that? (Presumably, my dog will never dump me.)

12. "You look like so-and-so." For some reason, I am unable to separate someone's individual features and compare them to someone else's. People say that my sister and I look alike. I can see that we both have brown hair and blue eyes, but that's it. They might say we have similar noses, but it takes them pointing out very specific aspects of our noses for me to even kind of see what they mean. (People say that my sister looks like Scarlett Johansson, and for years I've agreed with them. It wasn't until this year that I admitted I have no clue what they mean.)

13. Words like "queue", "knight", and "Lloyd". They. Make. No. Sense. Let's just look at this for a minute- the word queue is pronounced exactly as we pronounce the letter q. And yet it has not one but four letters after the q. Why?!?! Then "knight." I can understand the reason behind a silent e, but a silent k?! We would (and do!) pronounce it exactly the same way when the k is omitted. So why is it there?!?! And lastly, the word "Lloyd". To all of the Lloyds out there: I really do love your name. It's beautiful. And you know, if your name only had one l at the beginning, we might have to pronounce it... oh, wait...

14. The proper moment for a hug. I have (I hope) mastered the art of mostly looking like I know how and when to hug. It has taken lots of practice, careful observation, and constant vigilance. You see, I find the whole practice of hugging to be a very complicated and confusing area of social interaction, and unfortunately, there is no definitive guide for how to navigate the world of hugging.

15. Meeting someone you know at the store. As a fairly "hard-core" introvert, shopping is a stressful experience for me at the best of times, and one of the coping mechanisms for such a trip involves basically acting under the idea that I am simply "part of the crowd," and not in fact, myself. When someone I know approaches me, this isn't part of what I mentally prepared for. Plus, what do you do then?!?! Do I ignore you once I've said hello? What about if we meet again on a different aisle? Do you expect me to talk to you again?

16. People. Figuring out what people (who are not me) want... is surprisingly difficult for me. I am not one of those people who instinctively knows what someone wants from me. When someone needs me to do something, I need them to tell me outright. It's hard for me to just... guess. (Especially because I obsess over whether or not I've guessed correctly, and it can make life very stressful.) I'm very good with The Theory of People. I excel when it comes to how people's minds should work, and creating and relating to fictional characters is so easy for me. But when it comes to translating The Theory of People into the physical realm... everything just sort of breaks down.

So you see, despite what I may try to make believe, I do not know everything. In fact, there are a great many things I do not understand.

It's difficult for me to admit when I don't understand things. Sometimes it gets me into trouble because I don't ask for help when I could have, and then try to figure it out on my own, instead. I have this... bordering on fear of bothering people. Which is stupid, and it bothers me... but I keep doing it. Or, thinking it, rather.

Sometimes, the things that I don't understand are actually very personal. Sometimes I just wish that I could understand it, so I pretend that I do instead of admitting to anyone that I don't get it. Sometimes I feel like there's something wrong with me, because everyone else seems to get it.

But you know what? This past year has been a lot of me realizing that it's okay not to get it. It's okay not to have all of the answers.

So to all of you who might not understand everything...

That's alright.


What's something that you don't understand? Let us know in the comment section below, over at my Facebook page, or email me at anastasiarosewrites[@]gmail[.]com!


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I haven't gotten much done on my Bucket List lately, but I am signed up for an audition the weekend after next, which definitely terrifies me. (#45)

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