Here They Come, The Pretentious Ones.


A few months back I set myself a challenge of sorts, perhaps it was more of a quest! The motivation behind this ‘quest’, well I wanted to immerse myself more than I had previously decided to, within Madrid social spheres. Basically, I hoped to meet new and interesting people, to maybe form friendships with.

Well, as some of you may recall, I have achieved this. I joined countless meet-up groups, circulated, discussed and had fun. I met people I have remained in contact with, people I now call friends, and others, others I actually don’t want to meet again!

This is social trial and error!

I suppose by the very nature of being social, you cannot pick and choose who you meet! I quickly began to notice that I was coming into contact with one type of individual though; time and time again the pretentious ones would make themselves known.

So often, whilst in tne company of others, this characteristic reared its ugly, boring, childish, poisionous, carefully applied and maintained, self absorbed head.

One human characteristic I abhor, and freely admit I have no time to pretend I am interested in indulging, is pretension.

I am used to pretentious people though, I have experience in dealing with them on countless occasions; from being a student at school, being an employee, a friend and so on. Unfortunately pretension is, and always will be, here, there and everywhere; hiding in full view amongst people of all ages and backgrounds. Just like a sociopath / psychopath, the pretentious ones exist in quantities the rest of us would be surprised about!

It seems that everyone has at some point in their life, had to associate with a pretensious individual.

Why is pretension so terrible though? Well, the pretentious ones spoil and pollute not only social occasions. They turn all gatherings into a competition, a school-yard, a charade, a stage for them to flex their pretentious muscles and exert their superiority on the ‘simpletons’ surrounding them.

Yet, I ensure I remain aloof and thoroughly unimpressed by what others might deem to be high intelligence, grandeur, intimidating wonder, superiority or whatever else. I have no patience to sit, listen and feed the ego of the pretentious ones!

In my experience, there is definately something about ‘the arts’ that attracts this type of person, drawing them out from the woodwork in droves.

Intellectualism and creativity is great, but by being these things does it have to then delete all the ‘people skills’ a person might possess? Why do the pretentious ones suddenly forget they are human, only human, just like all the other flesh and bloods walking about this humble pile of dirt! I don’t understand why they adopt an attitude of superiority, when we are all learning, all of the time! None of us are impervious!

In fact though, experience dictates that such people actually feel, but conceal, a deep seated sense of insecurity. They doubt themselves, their choices and their social status; hence their attitude, their carefully applied and mainained persona, their pretension.

They battle to be seen as ‘cool’, but I only see insular, boring, supercilious, restricted and fragile.

Why do the pretentious ones derive comfort in shunning the genuine and real though? Why do they prefer not to celebrate individuality, and refuse to delve into enjoying life? Why do they restrict themselves so tightly? Why the charade? Why the fakery? Why act as though nothing is capable of impressing them, everything is passé, why be supercilious and bored by it all – even though they haven’t really actually lived!!

Why impose this on others, socially?! How social is that attitude, NOT very!

I really don’t understand why pretentious people tend to like, and pursue activities they feel identifies, and associates them with being seen as an intellectual! I doubt whether they enjoy ‘the arts’ as much as they profess they do. I feel they say they like such things to fit in, to be part of a crowd. Whether this crowd is categorised as elite or not, it is still a crowd, rather like being back in school!

Intellectual and creative pursuits are not just for the pretentious people of the world. Although amongst their cliques, the pretentious ones excel at being priggish or ‘posh’. They work to belittle, and deny anything that doesn’t fit with their ideals of what is ‘in’, what is cool, what is creative and intellectual.

They ring-fence intellect and creativity; constraining them, exerting their influence and pontificating about what they believe these things to be. Basically removing what these things symbolise fundamentally; freedom, change, diversity and so on.

What is this attitude if not one belonging to someone from a high school clique, a teenage wannabe?

They tell others what is acceptable, how to behave, function and think.

People never grow out of this pretentious behaviour either, and no one confronts them!

I just don’t get it! I just don’t like it! I just can’t tolerate it socially!

What has happened that people just can’t have fun, be silly, mess about, admit they are wrong, laugh at themselves and just live! What is wrong with that? Why can’t they be intelligent, creative and interesting without being so conceited, and self absorbed? Sometimes it seems as though they can’t smile through fear of cracking their face!

Honestly I can’t think of anything worse, going through life worrying how you appear, ignoring people and things you deem beneath you. Basically, these people are so stiff they seem dead already! This is NO way to live! No way at all! All things considered, I actually feel quite sorry for the pretentious ones. They are so constraint, they cannot change, they are stuck in a rut and can’t escape. How very sad.

NOTE: Before people critique my writing as judgemental and stereotypical, I have to state I don’t deem all intellectuals or creatives as pretentious people. I am discussing certain people, certain situations from my experiences and via my own opinions. I am not judging or commenting on ALL creative and intellectual people, merely some!

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Updates!


Yes, well I thought it about time to update everyone, and anyone interested in recent and interesting events.

Things, seemingly, have settled down.

Is this the power of positive thinking at its best? I am inclined to think so!!!

OK, I have, *cough* and drum roll, officially become an English teacher. How the Hell did that happen?! She asks bemused!

I mean I had to be THE most unlucky and hap-hazard teacher in ALL of Madrid. Everyone else had floods of students, and me, well I couldn’t catch a fish if, well, if I fell in the river and, however the saying goes!

 

Yet, with a little ‘networking’; hehe, get me, a little networking, well I never! Seems that International Politics degree did give me some skills to transfer into my life after all! I’m being cynical, it has worked wonders for me so far, honestly.

What makes the work situation better, is that I am calling the shots. This is the great thing about taking on private classes! Oh, but I may have an interview on Friday.  Just thought I’d throw that one in the mix too! It has taken long enough, so I am EXTREMELY happy!

NO jinxing me, please! Remember, what goes around WILL come around.

So, from all of this soon to be teaching, there is money in the bank? Well, not yet, but it will happen! Yipppeeee! So, I can tick one ‘to do’ off my list then? Hoping so!

The social groups are revealing THE most interesting people. ‘Like attracting like’ (rules of attraction); there I go again, blowing my own trumpet, dear me.

I have met so many people who have just been able to open the relevant doors for me. I actually feel, although reticent to say it allowed, blessed.

For once in a long while, I feel my direction is going in a direction! I feel like I am walking on rose petals and not poisoned thorns, a little dramatic I know, but so true.

There is fertile ground, land ahoy, the storm is over – OK, not over, just a temporary reprieve and I am sure it will resume soon enough. So, I err on the side of caution, BUT, maintain a positive outlook!

I have also managed to meet some pretty cool friends too. I have been a bit of a social butterfly recently, and am loving it! Why not, I am young and although not single, I am free (not cheap, merely free).

The volunteering is still going well, I am chief researcher; ta dah! I maybe a real ‘geek’ , but I LOVE research.

Oh, and I am writing for ANOTHER blog, as a guest writer! This is great, as there is a ready made ‘fan base’. I am so unused to lots of people merely just liking my writing without prompt, I could get used to it!!!!

Finally, but not nor ever will it be THE end of it; my Spanish practice. Mas or menos igual; in other words, it is more or less equal to what it was. Though, I am feeling more confident.

Today I have had to speak to people in Spanish via the telephone. What the Hell has happened to me????!!!! Actually speaking on the telephone in a language I have been quite afraid of using!!! Telephone conversations were posing an obstacle for me on the confidence stakes. Yet, I managed it, although, not in a hurry to repeat it.

Oh, but I have found THE best ‘intercambio’ partner though. She is a Spanish teacher, and so nice. I do feel my confidence to increase my communication is on the rise, yes actual conversation, woo hoo! Watch this space people, anything is possible!

 

 

 

 

 

Not So Social, Social Groups


After the incident at the Skeptics Group, I found myself re-evaluating what the Hell these meet-up social groups are really about, and who are they for?

They cater for an idea of what constitutes a social gathering, that is true, but its not really my idea of what that should be.

I have, I think, been kidding myself by seeing these meet-up groups as the best way of locating new friends. These groups are sold as meetings to find friendship, so, it is this marketing that has deluded me.

I now see that this meet-up group set up, is akin to picking up a man/woman in a bar, and then expecting to get married and live happily ever after with them! These meet-up groups offer no real, connected or longevity relationship; nothing substantial can come from this setting. It is empty, self serving, shallow and based on no form of real identity or trust.

I am not looking for a sexual partner, don’t get my words twisted, I am looking for a friend or friends. These are what such meet-up groups are supposed to be about; friendship connections, fun and interesting people, yet, they aren’t. Why aren’t they?!

It is a BIG FAT CON!

So far there have been empty promises, cancelations, being used for english language practice, men and women trying their luck, bitchiness, arrogance, self importance and ‘intellectualism’ (but really it has been delusions of grandeur)!

Put people together in such phoney settings and see the worst surface in them.

Are there genuine, and decent people existing in cities such as Madrid? Or, are they all too wrapped up in themselves, and their lives to allow potential decent folk into their little bubbles? Are they afraid of change, of something new, of a challenge?

I never felt it was hard to make friends before, OK, not all of those I have been friends with remain my friends, but at least I had friends! Here, in Madrid, it seems an up-hill struggle.

I feel as though I am having to make all the effort to connect, and it peeves me! I think I have eventually met a potential friend, and then it begins, the same old; ‘I can’t do that’, ‘have to cancel that’, ‘sorry but,’, blah, blah, blah!

Perhaps it is me? Perhaps I come across as weird or something? Perhaps being talkative, listening, being friendly and polite is weird? Perhaps I should try being rude, aloof and obnoxious? Perhaps next time someone says, let’s arrange to go for coffee, I should reply, if you want a coffee with me then you get in touch with me first and then we shall see.

I wonder if they would get in touch, but I won’t wonder for long! The answer is going to be that 99.9% of people won’t bother to get in touch!

This makes me doubly peeved; if I was looking for no strings sex here in Madrid, I’d have no issue, sex is everywhere. Yet, finding decent friendships is like asking for the sun and the moon on a gold platter! I really don’t get it; empty and meaningless sexual encounters holds more place in people’s lives than decent, fulfilling, longevity and substantial friendships!

Friendships are important, they can encourage, improve and stabilise mental, and spiritual well-being.

It is really quite sad when you think about what this ‘sex culture’ has to say about people, and their priorities.

The Man-Child


Over grown, over educated (maybe even still in full time education whilst in their 30’s), living with family or friends (like some frat house experience), no commitment, if employed working on some type of made up position derived from some internship, opinionated, socially uncomfortable, self absorbed, full of their own self importance, stuck in their ways and clinging onto what they are used to, domineering, shifty body language, uncomfortable around women and women’s opinions.

The man-child.

Oh, and let us not forget when he cannot get people to succumb to his wants, needs, desires or whatever, he throws a tantrum. He demonstrates inappropriate anger in inappropriate ways to unsuspecting people.

Such a horrible specimen of ‘manhood’ was in my presence last night.

I have joined some social meet up groups within the Madrid area, and one of these was the Skeptics Group. Yes a skeptics group! Now usually I refrain form associating with Philosophers in general, why, well as a rule I have found them to be, I don’t want to generalise too much here; full of their own self importance, and of their own intellectual status. Yet, the group sounded interesting, so I thought I’d go along and see.

For some reason the organiser, the usual organiser, decided he couldn’t return from Germany for the meeting. So, he randomly nominated me as the stand in organiser for the meeting. As I explained to him, I was not familiar with Skeptical theory and it was my first meeting. Yet, this did not bother the organiser.

OK, well I assumed the group would be a nice bunch of individuals; understanding, able to listen, oh, and respectful of others. So, what the Hell, I gave it a go!

Throughout the meeting I felt a bad vibe from the only man in attendance (the friend, and associate of the actual group organiser). Now, the group was small, four including me – three women and one man. Yet, he wasn’t interested in us as people, he didn’t ask us anything about ourselves, our life or background. He was very clinical and odd. Strange body language, shifty and as though he wasn’t too happy with how the discussion was progressing.

Maybe he felt threatened by the female presence, frustrated he hadn’t been nominated stand in organiser by his friend (the actual organiser), perhaps he misconstrued some of what had been said (he was Spanish, and I think his English level wasn’t as good as he thought it was). I wonder if our native English tongue intimidated him, plus, the fact we didn’t necessarily agree with his opinions and views might have riled him too. Who can be sure!

It wasn’t until the conversation split; him and one woman, and me and the other woman present. I spoke only to say I had to leave soon, as I was tired, nothing much more. well, when I related this to him, he didn’t like this and decided to ‘flip out’. Only way to really describe it, he flipped out!

It was like he had been waiting patiently all night to say something, to cause an argument with me, and why, who knows, and who knows what bee was in in his bonnet!

Anyway, he accused me of lying, the reason I was leaving was another that I was too afraid to admit, I was being untruthful about my thoughts and feelings. I was concealing something from him!

What the………!! Did I just doze off, and wake only to find I had arrived in the Twilight Zone?

I had only just met him – two hours previous, and already he was convinced he knew my inner motives, he knew what I truly felt. I mean, if he had, he would have known I was thinking what a loser he was being at that particular moment! It seemed he was trying to depict me as this distrustful liar to the group for a reason. Wow, what insight, NO, what rude audacity!

I took it lightly, an argument with what was obviously an aggressive man was not on my list of ‘to do’s’ that day. So I said,
“Is he joking with me? He is fooling around right, he doesn’t mean it as I think he does”?
One of the women then replied,
“Yeah, he is fooling around, as no one would act like such an arse-hole” (jest intended to lighten the obvious prevailing bad atamosphere).

Oh dear, that was a mistake. He then turned his venom upon her.

Now my understanding of Spanish profanities is limited, as I am a lady 🙂 Yet, I am pretty damn sure he used everything in his arsenal to create one moment of utter hatred, which was aimed at an unsuspecting woman.

I was aghast. I was already standing up to go, and I could only just stand there, in complete shock. I didn’t know what the Hell he was playing at and why. I wondered whether it was a good idea to lurch across the table and spank him! Yet, the woman he spoke to with such a vile, and disgusting attitude was so calm; as too was the other woman witnessing it! They were cool and level headed, intelligent, articulate and capable women- admirable.

I was a little less cool; thinking and feeling, WTF!

For me, this is a massive NO! People, especially men, never speak to women as he was doing to this one. I was disgusted. I was shocked. I realised in that moment, this was no man, this was not a person worth my attention or time. He was nothing.

I told them all that I was leaving, and won’t be returning any time soon to a group with such a vile fool in attendance. It made no difference though, as he kept on; he had his argument, he was making himself feel better at any cost.

Intelligent, philosopher, man, human – NO, he was just an over grown child, an insecure and idiotic fool with a foul mouth.

I remember he said he had a blog. He said he had been writing about his attempts to meet a new person every week. What a sick joke! That was exactly what he was doing within the ‘skeptics group’, and look how he treated and responding to them, to us! God help those he does meet, they will be psychologically scared for life if he acts as he did with us!

This has made me really reconsider which groups I attend.

If there aren’t shouting bullies, there are pervy men trying their luck, and staring at your breasts and bum.

How am I ever supposed to meet nice, and genuine people in Madrid? Do they actually exist?

What this has suggested, though I hate to even consider it; women are never really able to go anywhere without feeling they maybe harassed at any moment.

Why is it men feel they have some power to weild over women?

Why can’t they just go out, and enjoy themselves free of being abusive bad mannerly fools, bombastic and opinionated chauvinists, and sexual predators?

Are all men really just versions of men-children?

As you can probably guess, I am still extremely annoyed by this ‘person’s’ behaviour. It has impressed some ‘downer’ upon me regarding human relationships, interactions and behaviour. Plus, this fool will never know nor admit he was in the wrong.

Also, to sum up the whole experience or night; the whole thing was some elaborate charade. It was some game set up by this nasty and foul mouth fool, and his friend the Skeptics Group organiser. It was as though they had planned such an end, it was as though they were setting us up for this, to test us in some way.

Sounds paranoid? Well, having witnessed the behaviour and considered the motives, and the things that just didn’t add up about the group, that weren’t bona fide about the night in general – this is my only conclusion. At least my conclusion isn’t a diatribe of disgusting profanities, though it could have been quite easily after what occurred!

Oh, and if you find yourself in Madrid, avoid the Skeptics Meet-up Group at all cost!

What’s Going On?


Well it has been a hectic few weeks. Things seem to be sluggishly moving forward, but at least they are moving forward!

I have been volunteering for a couple of weeks, time has flown by! My volunteering; carrying out research for a project the organisation are hoping to run, and also I have been out and about looking at open spaces in the city. Yes, open spaces in Madrid, the city does have them, they are just quickly occupied with people, bars, and so on!!!

The work has been good and given me a focus, plus, there are possibilities of doing more volunteering – which is what I want eventually. I have also enjoyed being valued! It is weird, but I haven’t felt for ages that my input and contribution have been actually valued (in a work setting)! Now I feel I am being valued again!!!! I feel although what I am currently doing is only a small contribution, this contribution is something worthwhile. It feels good!

The project I am volunteering for is about bringing the homeless community, and other organisations in the city who can offer help and support, together as one. At this current moment vagrancy or homelessness goes against the grain of acceptability. The state of being without a home is completely unconducive with the Spanish Governments ideas on how things should be. They have adopted the stance that a person chooses to be homeless. Some officials here are speaking out in disgust, they have said that this attitude, and these policies hark back to the dictatorship of Franco. I can see why.

So, I am continuing to explore what is what with the volunteering, BUT, I have also joined some ‘meet up’ groups.

I have attended one ‘Coffee and Tea’ meet up group – it was actually OK. Not at all like I thought it would be; reminiscent of my initial experiences with language exchanges or intercambios! See this post for my views on intercambios: The Language Exchange

This ‘social’ meet up group was friendly and formal all at the same time. It was more tailored around getting to know people, and possibly networking and so on. I thought the organiser of this group to be a genuine and friendly individual, and everyone else in attendance seemed so nice too. So enchanted am I by these newly found ‘meet up social thingy-me-bobs’ I have signed up for two more ‘Coffee and Tea’ meetings, which I am looking forward to!!!

All of this social change is bringing me feelings of happiness and direction. I am quite excited to see where it all leads me!! Although I am a little nervous, I am actually more looking forward to the events rather than apprehensive. I am curious and want to network with people, I feel I have to do this, the time is right for me, and the opportunity is wonderful!!

So, to continue the exploration I have decided to join a further two ‘meet up social thingy-me-bobs’ – there is just no stopping me, I feel so dynamic at the moment I believe I can achieve anything! These two new groups are more what I have been hoping to find. They represent THE thing I enjoy MOST, therefore, these groups are what I am MOST nervous about! One group is purely a discussion group, and the other is a writers group. So, fingers crossed these groups will prove as interesting and useful as the ‘Coffee and Tea’ version, and fingers crossed I will get along fine!!!

I have also been talking with friends about delivering informal English classes, and they are keen to be my guinea pigs, I mean students! In fact, they are so keen they have been recruiting their own acquaintances to take my classes! I don’t know whether this will pan out, as there is so much uncertainty around it, but there is a slim chance it might, and I then will be actually ‘teaching’ for some much required cash!

So, all in all things have just taken off – plus the decision to create another blog and also looking at possible YouTube videos too.

Here is hoping things continue to move in a good, positive and happy direction – I need it!!

Volunteering To Progress


I am feeling quietly pleased with myself today.

It has taken some time, but I’ve managed to discover some volunteering programmes with opportunities available here in Madrid!!

On first inspection, volunteering options here did seem quite limited; signposting for such things on the internet was not great! Yet, with ample research done, there are a few good groups with lots of links to lots of projects.  I have begun the ball rolling, and am quite excited about hopefully becoming involved with as much of this good work as possible!!!

I had a determined streak in me today – a little ‘this will work’ voice; perhaps it is because it is my Birthday tomorrow?? Surely the rule has to be that there has to be some good luck attached to that, right????

Anyway, I have had a prompt reply from one volunteer group who wanted to meet me ASAP!!! Also, a chance of an interview for teaching English (although, this is where the luck falters – the interviews, and eventual job offers are no where near Madrid, and that is no good for me).

More news, yes there is more!!! I have also joined some social groups – Madrid meet up groups. I was reluctant to do this initially, as I am not the type of person who likes organised social groups (reminds me of Girl Guides – and I was NEVER a Girl Guide)!!!

Yet, if I am honest, and I feel I ought to be honest; I also have noticed I am feeling a tad fearful of meeting people in group situations. This makes me shout, WHAT THE HELL; this would never have been the case back in the UK. For me it is a clear sign that my confidence must have taken a dint somewhere along the line. Anyway, I feel I need to try to make more of an effort to meet new people here in Madrid – to be out of my comfort zone if I have to too.

All I hope is that when the time arrives to meet with these new groups, I don’t make a lame excuse not to go. It is important for me to at least try and cast my networking net further afield!! I suppose I just wait and see how it goes; if it goes anywhere at all!!!!

I think my main hurdle now is keeping positive. I have tried applying for things here in Madrid previously, and joining in new social groups too, yet, regardless of my best effort, nothing has come to fruition. SO, I am hoping THIS TIME, it will be MY TIME TO SHINE.

Wish me luck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Emperors New Clothes


There are times in most people’s lives where they are happy enough to merely; tow the line, not rock the boat, agree to keep the peace and follow the crowd.

Established and accepted norms and mores of society usually correspond to the need to ‘fit in’ amongst those we see as our peers.

Humans naturally want to be part of accepted social groups; therefore they will seek acceptance from those they deem to be important within their peer groups.

A group or select individuals within it might be seen as, and believed to be the ‘it crowd’.

The ‘it crowd’ is often an invite only social set up, which receives kudos (whether deserved or not) from those wishing to be part of them.

The desire to be part of the ‘it crowd’, to occupy a position of ‘glory’ too, is what the outsider may desire most. Therefore, to also attain that position and to receive mutual respect, they do whatever to reinforce the; importance, authority and knowledge of these select social set ups. The outsider then proves their deference to the ‘it crowd’.

These it crowds are perhaps even elite in their social set up. They will provide a doctrine by which those wishing to enter their territory ought to abide by. Perhaps, these select individuals are in fact the template, which any new comer should strive to emulate. These elitists are the educators of these new comers; the new comers who know nothing unless they follow their leaders lead.

It could be often seen as the case of ‘The Emperors New Clothes’ syndrome.

I am certain most of you know that Hans Christian Andersen children’s story???? Here is a summary of that tale if you don’t;

‘A vain Emperor who cares for nothing except wearing and displaying clothes hires two swindlers who promise him the finest, best suit of clothes from a fabric invisible to anyone who is unfit for his position or “hopelessly stupid”. The Emperor’s ministers cannot see the clothing themselves, but pretend that they can for fear of appearing unfit for their positions and the Emperor does the same. The Emperor marches in procession before his subjects wearing his ‘new’ suit. The townsfolk play along with the pretence not wanting to appear unfit for their positions or stupid. Then a child in the crowd, too young to understand the desirability of keeping up the pretence, blurts out that the Emperor is wearing nothing at all and the cry is taken up by others’.

It might take only one person to unmask these elitists, these frauds who are merely full to the brim of their own self importance; just like the child did to the Emperor.

Just one person who is willing to stand up and disagree with the nonsense being perpetuated, and ‘spouted’ as the truth for all to see, follow and worship.

One person; not a lot to change the tide; yet, it is possible.

So, why doesn’t this ‘unmasking’ happen more often???

Why don’t we confront such elitists and usurp them from their ‘thrones’???

Why is it we often go along with inane nonsense that has for some reason been ingrained as  enlightening truth OR higher intellectual substance?????

Why is it we often see ourselves as unworthy, not enough???

Why do we feel we need to be re-moulded by others to fit in????

 

OPINIONS PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Let me know what YOU think about such social norms and mores…………………….,

What do YOU think about merely going along with the ‘it crowd’ without questioning them or their ideas/beliefs and knowledge????

Have YOU ever just followed a crowd because YOU thought they were ‘cool’???