I've had a couple things happen over the last few weeks that have made me step back and take a look at myself, or rather how other people look at me.
I was hanging with the guys a few nights ago, watching the Hawks game and playing pool in my basement (which is a whole lot of fun, I need to twist their arms a bit and make it a regular thing). On our way to get food afterwards, somebody mentioned some Japanese song, "Marshmallow Strawberry Flower" or some shit, and a crazy video that accompanied it on YouTube. He assumed we knew it, which we didn't, but he was surprised that I didn't, saying "You don't know it? Aren't you the Japan freak?"
This caught me decisively off-guard. At the end of my high school career and the first year or two of college, I was really into anime, but I was never the hugely obsessive type who inexplicably finds it a good thing to identify as "otaku," I was simply somebody who appreciates a good show. I discovered an entirely new approach to storytelling that I hadn't been exposed to previously as an American, so I was eating it up. I also have listened to a good deal of Japanese music in recent years, and expressed a distaste for a large amount of modern American music.
I don't find myself to be a "Japan freak" in the least. I don't like Japanese media any more than American media; it's all just media to me, the media I consume just happens to come from a few different places. People seem to take these things as automatic signs of being an "otaku," however. I mention that I listen to Japanese music, and apparently, I'm automatically a mega-nerd. I understand how people can jump to that conclusion, but it still annoys me. What I don't get is why people I've known since I was 7 think I'm a "Japan freak" who must know obscure Japanese pop songs or memes.
I've found myself having a little bit of annoyance - hatred, even - with the anime club on campus. It's perfectly fine to have an anime club (though I would argue that the club does not fulfill it's goal of bring in socially inept kids and giving them people with similar interests so they will eventually branch out socially - in actuality it just gives socially inept people other friends who do have similar interests but are equally inept socially, and the person's only friends wind up being the other anime club members, to the point where they might not even try to make outside friends, and they wind up even worse off than before), but it gets on my nerves when society jumps the gun and assumes I'm a mega-nerd simply because I listen to Japanese music and I watch anime every now and then. Again, I understand why the gun is jumped - most people who appreciate Japanese media in the US are, in fact, horridly nerdy. It just ruins it for those of us who aren't horridly nerdy, but simply open to media from other cultures.
Sometimes I wonder what people "get" from me as a first impression (or for that matter just in general). I have long hair, I'm kinda pudgy. I dress casually, often jeans and a hoodie, sometimes a "nicer" button shirt with some graphic tee under it. Generically, I suppose. Not grungy-looking but not like I'm a college prep type or anything. I find myself to be normal in conversation. I can talk about movies, music, sports, games, computers, life, your average range of stuff. People just seem to find me very strange, though.
I wonder about this since I get a very certain type of girl hitting on me - the extremely quiet, timid, "homely"-looking (I'm not a shallow person but it's simply a fact that myself and others take looks into consideration - to an extent), hide-away-when-you-raise-your-voice, (seemingly) cripplingly nerdy type of girl. I see a thousand beautiful girls a day at this job, but the few times now and then when somebody is overtly hitting on me, it's always this type. They stop and awkwardly talk to carry conversation past the point where their computers are done being fixed.
One case about a month ago hit me hard. This incredibly shy, timid girl, who seemed to be fascinated by the fact that I was holding normal conversation with her (you could tell it was the type of person who expects to be treated poorly since has likely been picked on her entire life). She left her computer, came back, I gave it to her, she went and sat down at a lab computer, pretty routine... until she comes up, trying to seem happy when in actuality she was extremely nervous (this one I can say for sure; I have experience with the feeling), and hands me a post-it note with her number, saying she likes me and she'd love to get to know me more. I take it, not entirely knowing what to say and entirely caught off-guard, and she leaves.
Being me, this made me feel like utter shit, since a girl I had decisively zero interest in kind of just directly asked me out. Ultimately I kind of forgot about it after a few days and she hasn't been back, which makes me feel like a shitty person, but really, I'm simply not interested in the least, and I also have no real urge to make new friends at all at this late in the game.
However, the real problem... is that this was the first time I've ever been directly asked out by a girl. I've had a couple harmless flirting things here and there, where the possibility is there but neither party ever address it and it eventually passes, and a time where it went from acquaintance to friendship and then just kind of moved into more than that on it's own - but I had never been asked out. The first time I was by an unattractive and painfully timid girl when I was 22.
This is the kind of thing that fucks with your head the more you think about it. I know I'm not the most appealing guy around. I have many interests, but none that most girls want to talk about most of the time, and I'm not the most attractive guy around and have a shitty body but I don't think I'm flat-out unattractive, I'm overweight but I at least still have a neck and distinct joints. I like to think I have a good personality, but I'm not really aggressive when it comes to women, and the cliche of girls liking aggressive and backhandedly mean guys really seems to be fact, at least around here.
When you get hundreds of girls walking around you every day, in the kind of jeans girls tend to wear around here, and the only ones to show interest are the ones you have no interest in, it's hard to get thoughts like this out of your head.
Anyway. Job is hard lately. The higher-eschelon people in IS refuse to fix things as simple as the wireless instructions on the website (which effectively tell you how to crash your Mac every 15 minutes 100% of the time), which trickles down to lots of angry people taking stuff out on me that's not my fault. It makes for a stressful job, especially when home life is hellishly stressful, and school even more so.
I need a break, bad.