shallow is as shallow does

So you think you want to be A Shallow One, eh? Well, you've come to the right place. I can fake philosophy bullshit with the big boys, but I only talk to your face if you're one of the beautiful people. I've a keen sense of aesthetics, and sometimes (ok, always) I am repulsed by a situation if there is no beauty within it. It's disabling. For instance, if a hot guy is hanging out at the gym, doing his thing, not even paying me the least attention (Pfft. As if.) I'll work my ass off. Last night, however, everyone was quite eh, by which I mean that there were no Greek or Roman gods about, skin asheen with sweat, muscles corded, faces twisted with divine effort. My weights were lighter, reps fewer, and I headed home early to drink.

Special note: Cocktails do help. Early and often, that's my motto.

You'll need to start by cleaning yourself up. I mean, you can be deep as a petri dish, but no one's gonna buy it if you're fat and ugly with bad skin and dorky clothes. Ugly people are thoughtful and considerate, ask anybody. Go to the gym once in your life, ok? The gym is excellent training ground; in fact, it's the Crown Tourney of The Shallow Ones. Warning, the competition will be fierce, but should you succeed here, you can play anywhere.

Your first real challenge will be ignoring the abundant fuglies working out. And for the love of God, don't give them a mental slap on the back! Instead, you are meant to think, "Oh my God, give it up already. There's no helping that." While we're on the topic of thoughts, keep it simple. Stop analyzing every goddamned thing. Distract yourself by checking your look in any and all reflective surfaces.

You can train your eye with Sunglasses Hut posters and the aloof chic who works at Hollister, but realize it will take some time to reach the goal of not seeing the common folk. Avoid department stores, Eddie Bauer, and early morninng trips to Target. We all accept the nasties who walk among us, but this game is like snowboarding: You'll run into them if you look at them.

The losers, the Invisible Ones, are easy pickins. But some of them think they are cool, and that can make things a little trickier. Below are some examples:

Old Creepy Guy. He's actually in good shape, not nasty-huge, and he's strong as all fuck. If he just didn't have those wrinkles above his knees and the dry patches on his elbows... I consider him acceptable now that he's realized that 90% of the time I will snub him like the fading carrion he is.

Tricep Guy. Blond. Tall. Classic, chiseled features. For some reason he just doesn't do it for me. After a year of working out at the same time, nearly every day, Tricep has decided to notice me. Tricep seems like a picky type, so I imagine I should be honored. I don't think he's the least attractive, though he obviously thinks he is. The thing is, he could be Greek God status if he didn't have that vacant expression and those gi-normous, misshapen triceps. I'm studiously ignoring him.

High School Football Player Guys. They're in season, so they're much more businesslike this time of year. They look like... well, eighteen year olds who work out a lot. But keep your helmet on for the cameras, boys. You're no Jake the Snake.

With people we don't know and don't want to know (such as the previous three), we're going for an expression that says, "You're barely worth my attention, but I may grace you with occasional notice if you put yourself right in my path." Watch yourself in the mirror as you poop. That expression you get... right there. Yeah, that's what we're after.

Some people are cool, obviously not as cool as us, but they are in the running for serious notice.

Roman God. He was in with the kids, since he works there. He's a college kid who looks like a twenty-eight year old model. Why there's no huge, half-naked picture of him at Abercrombie I've no idea. Not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but with abs like his, who's listening anyway?

Cute Runner Guy. The notion of seeing this guy actually gets my ass to the gym sometimes. He's tan and broad and absolutely adorable. He runs the treadmill for thirty, and comes down with his cheeks all red and does some odd exercizes and lifts weights. Part of his coolness is that he's hot while being quite unconcerned by others around him (well, except for me). He saw me with my kids the other day and looked very curious over it, actually, so that eye-affair is probably over. Sigh.

Occassionally we are somehow coerced into actually speaking shudder to people we admire on a purely physical level. Introduction can be the kiss of death for a pretense of shallowness, if it's just a pretense, that is. This is for experts only, so don't try this at home!

I'm on a speaking basis with my Twin Greek Gods, and this puts a serious crimp in my shallow scamming habits. For example, I couldn't think of an excuse to go walk through the indoor pool area during swimming lessons to see their semi-naked glory, because I'd have to lie to their faces about why I was there. We may run into each other from time to time in the weight room, but most of the mystique is gone since we know each other's names and talk and stuff. It's really not comfortable to stare at people you know, even for me.

Once you've been introduced, the stakes raise considerably. The classic response to regain some distance is the Condescending Nod Of Greeting, but it takes practice to get it right. You could do that haughty chin-lift thing--it works in a pinch--but the guys sort of have a lock on that. If you do get stuck in conversation, keep an Ipod in at least one ear at all times, thereby shortening the duration and complexity of conversation. Remember:

"Small Talk Is For Small People."

And then there are those who are so far out of our league that the waters just seem deeper around them. They are a dangerous game to play. These striking people are above us all. They have somehow simply stepped off the Shallow Plane of Existence into an alternate world of Depth and Meaning and Experience.

The perfect example is Big Scary Guy. I saw him at noon the other day, working out, and I was above him on the balcony doing abs and stretching. I decided to stare at him until he noticed. It took all of two seconds. It's damned uncanny; the guy's got eyes in the back of his head. But then, a life in covert ops gives one a keen sense of one's surroundings. I was glad to see him cuz the character in my recent book is based on him, and I needed a reminder of how seriously cut the guy is.

A friend suggested I tell him that he's the main character in my book, interview him, as it were. "He's a nice guy, actually," he said.

Riiight. I'd sooner feed bits of my fingers to a mountain lion. My friend also happens to have half a head on BSG, weighs about 250 pounds, and is a black-belt in Karate.

Hopefully this helps a bit. Be warned, this shallow business takes much effort and concentration, though, and it won't happen overnight. This short course is like liposuction for depth and quality of character. It seems quick and dirty, but it will come sneaking back in a worse way if you aren't careful. However, with luck you too can be shallow as a gutter puddle in a drought by New Year's!

Feel free to ask questions. I'll answer each and every one.

Or not.

No comments: