In Celebration of Stereotypes!

american (1)Yesterday I went to Books a Million with my younger son, and had lunch at Subway. It might’ve been the only time I left the house during the whole weekend.

And we discovered that stereotypes are often true. Of course I already knew this, but it was confirmed big-time yesterday afternoon.

People like to say stereotypes are unfair, and they are… because there are always plenty of exceptions. But they became stereotypes for a reason. They didn’t just appear randomly. Ya know?

The Subway is next door to a video game store, and we were sitting at a table that gave us both a view of the parking lot. And we watched a parade of paint-by-numbers nerds go past that window, for the whole meal. Fat 30-something guys wearing fedoras and neck beards… Scrawny little twerps in Game of Thrones t-shirts… Not even one female….

Then we went to the bookstore, and looked around. I was already on the stereotype kick, and wanted to see if I could find anymore examples. And a bookstore is the perfect place for such things.

I walked past the romance section, and there was a flowery-purse woman there who looked like she’d never had an edgy thought in her life. The science fiction aisle contained refugees from the video game store. And the self-improvement section was populated by sturdy women in their 50s, wearing crystals around their necks. In the fiction section I spotted a hipster wearing horn rim glasses, and an oversized scarf.

It was fun, this game of Spot the Stereotypes. Sure, there were plenty of people who didn’t fit the bill, but it holds up a good percentage of the time.

Could you be profiled? I think I’m fairly nondescript, but a CIA agent could probably take a look at my powerful upper-body, and tell I’m a fan of fast food. They could eventually capture me by staking out the local McDonald’s. What about you? Could the Men in Black easily profile you? If so, how?

Also, which stereotypes do you think are the most outdated? The idea that West Virginia is full of crazed hillbillies high on Oxycontin, and banging their sisters, etc. comes immediately to mind. Of course, The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia didn’t really help matters. That movie probably added another 50 years to that particular belief. Sheesh.

And when we were in England a few years ago, we were extremely conscious of the Ugly American stereotype, and attempted to not live up to any of it. I’m not sure if the stereotype is outdated, or even unfair. But we did our best not to perpetuate it.

I’m going to work now. Weird stuff going on there… Wish me luck.

See ya again soon.

Now playing in the bunker
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  1. John Smith says

    I think the “adult” stereotype is out dated. My daughter likes my tats and Harleys, and I just taught my 5yr old about “pull my finger”.

    I would be the easiest person to profile… work/home/work/home/work/home/work/home/work/home/church/repeat.

  2. Tyrosine says

    Who the hell is still buying video games at a “bricks and mortar” store in 2014? Even the games for my 3 year old’s Leap Pad are downloadable. What kind of low-rent ludditesque nerds do you have down in PA?

  3. madz1962 says

    Looking at me today, you would think I was on a weekend bender. Truth of the matter is, I came up with a brilliant plan to test the ice on my driveway. I unearthed an ancient plastic sled – no padding at all – just a hunk of plastic. I knelt on it face first and gave myself a good shove off. And holy hopping shit if I didn’t pick up speed and started to zip down! I figured the blacktop patch would stop me.

    The only problem is, you can’t steer those plastic things. I ended up smashing into an ice bank and going ass over teakettle. Face first.. Bit my lip (bleeding) scraped 3 fingers (bleeding) eyeglasses smashed into bridge of my nose (not bleeding) and countless bruises on my shins and knees.

    But damn, was it worth it. I was thinking of ways to pad the sled.

    Why yes, I’m 51 years old.

  4. WB in OH says

    I’m the fat ass going through the drive thru ordering a double cheeseburger, fries and a diet coke.

  5. Doug says

    Is there a stereotype for fat, old guys who wear loud Hawaiian shirts? I’ve been working on that one for the last eight years…

  6. Phil Jett says

    I’m believe I’m pretty much stereotyped as a smart ass or more often an asshole. I have no problem giving people shit when they pontificate in public so everyone can hear about how special they are, how great natural foods, etc are, how smart and precious their kid is, how they care about everyone and everything. I take everyone of those opportunities to give them my two cents. This has of course led to my family to not want to be too near me when we are out in public in crowds of people.

    • says

      I got lady in Publix today. She was ordering “two slices of swiss” and “one slice of munster” and shit like that at the deli. There was a line and I was behind her. She kept making them do it over because she wanted all the slices in different thicknesses. This went on for a good 15 minutes. Of course she’d eat the “bad” cheese that was sliced too thick or too thin. Fucking wildebeest. So I said, “Hey lady fuck off.” She turned to me and I said, “Yes. He’d (the deli worker) LIKE to say that but he can’t. So I’m saying it. ‘Fuck off.'”

      She finally strolled off in disgust. Bitch.

    • madz1962 says

      “how precious their kid is” – reminds me, I was behind some behemouth of an SUV the other day with a bumper sticker that said “Proud parents of a SCHOLAR at Shitville Elementary” Scholar! Imagine that prestige? What next? “Proud parents of an honor PUPIL at Dumbfuck Middle School”

  7. Jorge says

    Scott Adams, the guy who writes Dilbert had a blog post about stereotypes recently that I think lone of his readers wrote.

    The gist was that you could swap “stereotype” for “brand” and get anidwa about what you were “selling”. I know that was a lot of quotes. I apologize.

    But it was an interesting idea. Stereotypes are bad, but brands help me know what I’m getting. Like when I grab a Coke or tube of Crest or a McDouble off the dollar menu.

    If I were to run around in a fedora and a neck beard no one would be surprised to hear me argue passionately about Captian Kirk could beat up Batman.

    I think I have a blue collar kind of brand. Jeans and tshirts, Carhartt coat, no designer labels.

    But at the same time I have some snobby kind off tastes; fancy cheeses, good olive oil, meticulously tailored suits…

    The other stereotypes I see are at work need to be taken in context, and I won’t bore you with those details.

    • Gretchen says

      Which Captain Kirk? Young Prime Kirk? Middle Aged “KAAAAHN!” Prime Kirk? Or New Timeline Kirk?

      Which Batman? West? Keaton? Conroy? Kilmer? Clooney? Bale?

      Pass me the fedora.

      • johnthebasket says

        Why is Captain Kirk beating up on Batman? Batman is just trying to keep the peace in Gotham City. By day, as Bruce Wayne, he freely gives to charity and has the common touch. He treats Alfred well and is helping his young ward in the difficult transition from teen to adult. Although Bob Kane and Bill Finger describe Wayne, on occasion, as a wealthy playboy, he rarely dates. When he does, he seems to treat women with respect and courtesy.

        Maybe Kirk needs to focus a little more on the warlike Klingons and spend a little less time brawling on the quiet streets of Gotham City. Otherwise, people will suspect Kirk has begun to lose his anidwa.



  8. Garrett says

    I’m not one to be really loud about race-based stereotypes, but the Mexican-in-the-public-pool-with-a-tshirt on has got to be true. In fact, I noticed this when I was very young and didn’t even know what racism meant.

    The guy with the tweed jacket with elbow patches, wearing non-prescription clear glasses and smoking a pipe? Yeah, the one who swears that he doesnt own a TV.

  9. says

    When there’s a mass school shooting, that’s a young white male (or males). Shit blowing up in cities is the muslims. If you really want to piss white women off, open a restaurant and refuse to serve brunch. Girls with glasses will fuck your brains out. Asians are little karate bombs just waiting to be provoked. The list goes on and on. I love sterotypes.

  10. t-storm says

    I think people get upset at stereotypes because they have a high probability of being right and therefore people are scared that the stereotype about them is right.

    If you are offended by the stereotype of a giant white woman breaking the toilet in a humor novel you’ve probably broken down the old american standard once or more than once.