Friday, May 8, 2009

Sarcastic Sting

The moon is waxing full in the intense sign of Scorpio. Talk about a strong emotional time. Hidden sides are going to be very vulnerable right now and there's going to be an insistence upon being right. With such ferocity of emotions running rampant, it may be good to pull back a bit and examine intentions instead of merely reacting. Otherwise, we're going see a lot of sulking and brooding going on.

Arguments happen. We're not really going to go through life with everything harmonious all the time. There's always gonna be someone who comes along to screw it up. Strangely, that person may be the person we need in our lives to shake things up. After all, if no one every shook things up, we'd still believe the Earth was flat and the center of the universe. It's important to challenge, but when does the argument become unhealthy? We have words for healthy arguments: debates. It's a vital part of the American culture; it's integral to the election process. People form a lot of opinions based on presidential and vice-presidential debates. The ability to take your opponent's words and throw them back in his teeth. What a joy that is!

In our everyday lives, however, there's not a moderator sitting there telling us how much time we have left or whether something is out of line. Depending on the person you're "debating" with, certain things may be more permissible than others. A friend said to me the other day about a work situation, "I can't believe you backed down from that. The Jared I know would never have done that." Yes, but I was in my place of employment. I wouldn't argue with my supervisors in the same way that I would argue with my friends, of course. I try to respectful in all of my conversations (see Tact: A Lost Art), but sometimes, you get so heated, you just want to lash out. And people do this in different ways.

Some people choose to scream and yell, choosing volume to make their point. This is a common use of power. Louder=stronger. However, others choose to get very quiet and you have to strain to hear them. There is also incredible power in this because if forces the other person to pay attention if they want to have a decent rebuttal. I've taken classes with boisterous teachers and the moment they got quiet, you knew you were in danger. Some people choose to walk away, cool off, and return when they feel they can control themselves. Others snap into robotic-like logic. These people can be extremely frustrating for the emotional types because they want the other person to get upset and there's no reaction.

One particular favorite of many is sarcasm. While tact may be a lost art, sarcasm seems to be new Rosetta Stone for communication. I see it everywhere,; it restaurants, in classrooms, at work, in the home, in the media, etc. Swine flu should sit up and take a lesson if it wants to be a pandemic. And there seem to be so many different kinds: the zinger, the dry wit, the jokester, the apologetic, the comfort (yup, I've seen it). It's all in the tone and depends on the personality of the person or persons involved. Call it a stereotype, but I believe that the gay male is the most accepted user of sarcasm because I believe that people have come to expect it. A straight male using it is an asshole and a woman is a bitch. For some reason, gay men are expected to be pithy.

When I worked as a waiter, I heard many comments out of the mouths of other waiters to the customers and some of them were borderline rude. They never emerged from the mouths of the females, but they didn't have to. The girls flirted outrageously. And who could blame them? Their male counterparts were also excellent flirts, but many of the gay males were quick to combine flirting with witty humor that undercut their charm. The difference in tips was nil. It was amazing to hear someone slice down a customer only to receive a 20% tip. Why? I believe it's because sarcasm is expected in our society and especially from gay men. They're portrayed as such on TV and of course life mirrors art (or is it the other way around?).

Still, the sarcastic sting is best used in moderation, especially now. A relationship purely built on this kind of interchange becomes mired in that miasmic routine. It's important to have those fun, lighter moments. Fluffy as they are, without the care bear moments, that's a very hard relationship to build upon. And building is half the fun.

Take small breaks from the sarcasm. You'll be fully glad you did.

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