Aug 12, 2008

Dignified vs. Undignified

Photo: This is what sisterhood looks like.

My son, Oren, is fascinated by my boyfriend; he slightly hero-worships him, while at the same time being somewhat hesitant. To Oren, the Esq is "super-duper-OOper smart" (direct quote), and "the best at video gaming" (direct quote), which is really the only thing that matters when you're a nine-year old boy. I can tell Oren is a tiny bit intimidated by the Esq (who isn't), which prompted me to address it last week; I asked him if he felt comfortable around the robot, and he replied, "Preeetty much." I let it go, and then later on, he asked me this out of the blue: "Mom, why doesn't Justin laugh at people's jokes? Does he not think anyone is funny?" The answer to that question, without any doubt in my mind, is HELL to the YES. But as we discussed it, Oren also observed that the Esq doesn't laugh out loud, and isn't very animated, which he thought was 'kinda weird'. I think it's kinda weird, too, but since his standards for humor are much higher than the average human, I know it's a slam-dunk when he laughs at something I've written. He's a good barometer for the blog, actually. He reads my posts to me so I can hear the problematic areas, and I've found that when he painfully smirks, that's where a normal human (you) would laugh out loud; when he laughs out loud, that's where you would be struck by a freak bout of lightning and die. That's how often he laughs out loud: as often as you get hit by lightning.

When I met the Esq, I wondered about the un-laughter, too. He laughed at stuff I said, but he was also trying to get laid on his best behavior, so who knows how much of it was canned--probably none of it, because he's always been true to his personality. But still, I wondered. Then I got to know him, and I realized that there are two prevailing thoughts in his spooky and beautiful mind: Things That Are Dignified, and Things That Are Undignified. Over the past (almost) two years, I've collected a lot of data on this guy and learned a lot of interesting things, but the Dignified/Undignified thing is probably my favorite aspect of his personality, next to his sense of humor, which is more biting and refined than mine will ever be. It helps me to understand him, honestly. Undignified Things can be anything from poor grammar, farting in public, wearing shorts to work, or freckles. It also includes interrupting someone in conversation, personal hygiene, eating with your fingers, and really stupid people. I generally agree with him, except for the interrupting; how in the world will you hear what I have to say if I don't keep interrupting you?

The list of Dignified Things seems larger and more general, although he tends to only talk about the undignified. I'm guessing that he would put The Law on his list, as well as 'wearing tailored suits'. 'Being in control' is probably considered pretty dignified, equal to 'being educated'. Other possibilities include Morrissey, space travel, family, technology, and the color of Oprah and royalty: purple. Honorable mentions: the library, arguing well, and having a girlfriend (I clearly made that one up; having a girlfriend exposes you to more undignified things than I care to think about).

I only bring this up because Michelle, Laura, and I went to see The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants movie today, and 'dignity' is the last word I would use to describe the feeling I had when I left the theater. I can't quite put my finger on the correct word, but it's close to the opposite of 'dignity', and probably closer to the phrase 'a cry for help'. Thanks to the crap-happy dialogue, I left the movie feeling like a grimy film of shame had settled over me, which I am presently trying to scrub off. That being said, it was an awesome experience, and I'm glad we went. I laughed through the entire movie, most notably during the saddest/most serious scenes, which is why I went in the first place. Laughing at your pain makes me whole, and I hope to never forget that valuable lesson.


Manthony said...

I could go see Mamma Mia with you and keep my dignity, but The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 was just too much. I may be gay, but I'm not THAT much of a girl.

FreNeTic said...

I like to think I pull off wearing shorts to work with a modicum of aplomb.

kiki said...

Mr. Manthony, are you trying to say there is something unmanly about actively seeking out movies such as Sisterhood or Ice Princess? You, LADY, are obviously not used to the finer things in life, like a round of laughing cow cheese or Liv Tyler.

Bee, does Oren know your blog exists?

Snotty McSnotterson said...

Hahahahahaha, yes Oren knows. He doesn't know the URL, but he's seen it. Why?

I can't believe you weren't there for Part Two, but holy shit it was godawful. Although that was the point.

Snotty McSnotterson said...

Also, Ben can totally pull off a pair of shorts to work. He isn't lying.

Manthony said...

I didn't see Ice Princess, but I do appreciate Ice Castles. And Liv Tyler. I'm still undecided on the laughing cow cheese.