I’ve always grown up with the philosophy that what you dislike about others, is what you really dislike about yourself. For instance when I was eleven, I really hated my best friend Scott’s need to act out every mundane story that he told, and then the following day, I looked in the mirror. I grew up that day.
Then last week, while at the helm of the social media controls, I posted the following question, “Hey #Nerds! Why is The Big Bang Theory considered ‘anti-nerd’?” You answered with an overwhelming response of dislike for the show. Some called it vile, while others stated that the writing was terrible and the jokes were flat.
Thinking this was only one group’s opinion, I asked some close friends the same question and received similar responses. This got me thinking that a lot of the issues people have with the show are generally a specific character that irks them the wrong way. It was then that it all started to make sense to me. Subconsciously these people disliked the show, because they saw characteristics in themselves that they wished never existed! Of course! How could I have been so obtuse?* (Note*: If you did not get that Shawshank reference, then I weep for you).
So if you are looking to do some personal reflection, here is a guide to tell you what character you are most like, and how to cope.
Narcissistic, socially awkward, and obsessive compulsive. Every time you see this know-it-all grace the screen, you cringe and scoff, like a bodybuilder surveying himself in the mirror and only seeing an inch of growth on his arms. In real life, you do find yourself correcting everyone, and giving out facts that no one else knows because you want to share the knowledge but also show off a little. Your concept of how the outside world operates is from within a childlike bubble filled with fear of change and a need for order. You fear the unknown and like your routine.
How to Cope:
Relax. When you get into a group situation, just know that you are accepted by those around you. We care about you. We understand that you have a hard time expressing yourself in social situations, so just say your bad joke, or your witty pun and know we aren’t giving you pity laughs. No my friend, they are genuine. As for the consistent need to have things work in a particular order, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the world does not work like that. Unpredictability is the cornerstone of life and the crux of the Full House theme song. Learn to embrace the mild chaos, for as this generation states, “YOLO my friend. YOLO”.
Whiny, meek, and unable to let go. It’s likely when you see this character, you are hit in the face with repressed feelings that you’ve harbored since you were five. When Leonard is confused by women and, subsequently, sex, you find yourself becoming anxious as you realize these are the same things that trouble (it doesn’t matter what gender you are).
How to Cope:
Let it go, my friend. Holding in these feelings is doing you no good. Like a great domino line, when you hold in one issue, you let that spill over to the other parts of your life, which makes you very unattractive. That’s why the pretty girl behind the counter of the Stop-N-Save isn’t saying hi to you, its because she can sense your insecurity and she doesn’t want to have to deal with that on the regular. Just know that your mother loves you when she tells you that she thinks that you are not amounting to anything, while an old school teaching method, it comes from the heart. Don’t worry about not having a woman in your life at the moment. Accept who you are and be okay with that. You will find a woman that is beautiful and treats you right. Oh and also, ease up on the complaints; you’re kinda coming off desperate.
Insecure, sex-driven, and misogynistic. I don’t know you, so I don’t know what you’re like. But if you are offended by this character, you may have a few of these traits drifting through you. Maybe you had a bad experience with a girl when you were six; maybe you found your dad’s playboy at ten and learned about masturbation the very next day. Who knows, I’m not Sylvia Browne. However, I am willing to bet that when Howard struts into a room and attempts to hit on Penny (or any woman for that manner) you find yourself disgusted. Now perhaps you are just a hardcore feminist (this can be applied to both men and women), and you find his behavior unacceptable. Valid point, and keep fighting! However, if his skeezy comments and inappropriate use of magic ignites a fire, maybe it’s time you look at the yourself in the mirror and analyze the magician in the top hate.
How to Cope:
First off, if you’re the misogynist, then I need to say, stop. Just stop. Women aren’t objects; they’re people. They have feelings and minds of their own and to think otherwise makes you an asshole. It’s likely the reason that you are feeling this way is because you’re insecure and need to be seen as top dog. If you just realize that insecurity runs rampant through everyone, then you know that you aren’t alone. Now if you are sex-driven…well I am not sure how to cope with that. For the most part, people like sex. So I would say “everything is good in moderation” fits nicely into section. However if your lust is prompting low-brow ways of picking up on women/men, then maybe it’s time to reevaluate. Understand that you don’t need magic to get into someone’s pants, I mean, sure it’s cool to do some David Blaine shit, but it’s not going to get that potential love interest naked. Don’t let your hormones get the better of you. Just talk. Tell the story of you. I am sure that whomever this person is, they want to know you more than your “magic wand.” (Yes, the innuendo was intentional.)
Hopeless romantic, desperate, and kinda cheap. When you see this wonderful stereotype (I am a fan of the show, but recognize their faults when it comes to characters) enter, you immediately become defensive and just pray to God that he is not the main storyline for this episode. You can’t stand his running gag of not being able to talk to women but turn around and drop massive amounts of dough on a deaf woman (get the joke), nor his need to be accepted by everyone. When will it end? WHEN I SAY!?
How to Cope:
Realize that there is nothing wrong with being a hopeless romantic and wanting to shower your love with expensive gifts. Am I saying that you have to? Absolutely not. What I’m saying is that you can and it’s alright. It’s okay to write poetry that doesn’t quite rhyme, as long as it makes the lady/gentleman smile. Also, desperation is never a good smell, for anyone. So have confidence,. that’s what guys and gals are looking for. They look for someone who is going to say, “I am who I am, and that’s all that I am”. Finally, if you find yourself “settling” and coming off as a cheap and easy, it’s okay. We’ve all done it, just don’t make it a habit. Understand that settling is just a way of getting that instant satisfaction. While that might feel wonderful in the moment, it will likely end in shame and a the wish that some memories didn’t last forever.
We all have our faults, just like the nerds of The Big Bang Theory, but it’s what you do with these faults that matters. So go out there and try something different in love and in friendship and know you aren’t alone.
Until next time…
David C. McGuire