My pursuit of narcissism continues with a self-directed lesson in calling things “boring.”
The great thing about narcissism is that it’s inductive reasoning hinged on a personal experience translated into universality. In the case of narcissism, feminism and Tumblr discourse this means that a (my) personal experience can be representational of the personal experiences of all women, or mostly The (singular) Woman Experience. Which a) HA and b) ha HA ha. But ha-ha’s aside, maybe that’s just my self-effacing womanness shyly peeping its head around the corner then quickly slipping away again.
For this experiment we will use the example of my previous inability to use the term “boring” to describe many things that I was bored by. So, like, this is a self-help story; also empowerment.
The past two years of my life have been characterized by what I would call “traditionally” boring conversations. You want to talk to me about crystal healing? OK, but that’s boring. You want to tell me about how the universe bestowed its knowledge upon you when you were fucked up on DMT in the middle of the night, but really you were just ranting about Subway restaurants? Let me get my pillow and blanket. To identify a traditionally boring discourse is easy, but to define it is harder. I am not a scientist, nor a philosopher, nor someone necessarily concerned with avoiding the endless contradictions of life, so I will go ahead and define a traditionally boring discourse by borrowing a phrase from one of my favorite misogynists, and say it’s any conversation held in “Bad Faith.”
However, as an itinerant observer/inveterate discourser, I have borne the brunt of highfalutin and ham-fistedly flatulent discourses on subjects that I would ostensibly find interesting. Regardless of whether the subject of these conversations was art, music, books, politics or, I don’t know, some other cultural signifier that dudes like to get their panties in twists all about, I frequently (not always) find myself unable to engage in conversations I normally would want to. I internalized this aversion to certain types of conversations, feeling that there was something wrong with me for not being interested in them.
The real culprit however, were WMDs—that is, weapons of male discourse—or that battery of hidden rhetorical devices including language oppression, invalidation, refutation of emotion and intuition, and other aggressive and aggrandizing acts which I, in my ideological understanding of discourse as a means of attaining a higher understanding of something, find inherently boring. To use language as a pissing contest is boring. Furthermore, oppression is boring.
Perhaps the most boring thing about these tactics is that I am expected utilize them to hold water in any discourse. Because of this, I am abandoning my priority in discursive engagement (ie, greater understanding) to tangentially jerk off some asshole and/or prove myself to a person who clearly has no interest in understanding me. See also: participating in the patriarchy. I dunno, what do you think Chris Kraus?
Art supersedes what’s personal. It’s a philosophy that serves patriarchy well and I followed it more or less for 20 years.
Tips for calling things boring:
+A discourse is boring when you are intentionally excluded from a conversation by language oppression.
+A discourse is boring when someone tells you your opinions or experiences aren’t “valid.” Or they tell you that you are “overreacting” or use other “emotional words” to strip you of your critical agency.
+Once you have identified a boring subject, wait for an inopportune moment to announce its inherent boringness. I find that in the middle of someone’s sentence or just before a particularly revelatory moment works well.
+Issue non-verbal cues. We women are great at body language and subtlety. It’s what we do instead of rational thinking! Try obsessively checking your cell phone (and smiling or laughing at what you see), yawning or getting drunk really fast.
+Synonyms for boredom include: distaste, dullness, ennui, lassitude, monotony and tedium.
Expected results from appropriate application of “boring”:
+Immediate removal of yourself from said boring conversation; possible re-engagement in more interesting conversation, possibly with someone more interesting or attractive.
+Giving a flippant, dismissive and altogether AGGRESSIVELY GIRL response that turns the use of WMDs on its head, while manipulating preconceived notions about how women understand things.
+Offending someone that has offended you. See also: playground revenge.
+A sense of great relief.