…funk for the old soul…

Peeves: Self-Showcasers

Posted by crowbiz on June 8, 2009


If the bauble fits....

If the bauble fits....

Today’s gripe is the person who offers a coy apology for some characteristic they actually wish to show off.  Where to begin? 


Self-showcasing takes many forms, perhaps the best known being the Holiday Letter, which runs through a laundry list of accomplishments, accolades and adventures like so many Comic Sans ornaments on snowflake glitter stationery.  On whole, though, these aren’t so bad, since they’re a mockable genre unto themselves.  Recipients are used to giggling at them and we can read between the lines anyway.  You can keep your agonizing decision between the Juilliard and Harvard and the zany mishaps from your two weeks at the villa in Barbados.  My family had a blast with the remote-controlled fart machine on our camping trip.  The Mr and I like to shout out quotes from those letters whenever the mood strikes – usually in the middle of an unpleasant chore or hyper-mundane daily moment such as trash duty or realizing that we’ve run out of Ziploc snack bags.

The more irritating self-showcaser is the one who, whenever possible, worms their creds, with phony backpedaling, into ongoing proceedings.

“Oh, I hope you like a lot of tarragon in the vegetables.  Sorry, I just do it automatically since we used to do it that way at Le Cordon Bleu.  I don’t even think!”

“I wish I had finer hair like you!  I can never get mine to do that – it’s always so crazy.  Must be from my Native American heritage, or maybe the Gypsy, I’m not sure which!”

“Oh, IQ tests are so meaningless anyway.  I mean, I tested at, like, 158, but who knows, that’s probably so bogus.”

“Looks like rain, so don’t forget your ‘brolly.  Oops, I mean umbrella… I’m not in London anymore!”

“Ever since that Habitat For Humanity project, I just really like a malt liquor with lunch.  No, no, it’s crazy, but really good.”

“Don’t mind me, I’m always using ridiculous, big words like that!  Grad school turned me this way… god, I’m such a nerd!”  No you’re not – you’re an asshole.

What about the Outright Bragger in all this, you may wonder?  The O.B. is a different breed, and I argue, the Self-Showcaser has much greater annoyance potential.  The so-called braggart is happy to share their world, sometimes loudly, and wants to give you all the information up front.  You can take it or leave it as you wish.  I’d rather hear someone talk with gusto and passion about their experiences.  I’d love to hear about your year in London, or the recipe you got directly from Ferran Adria, or the details of your MBA program (ha, just kidding on that one!), but tell me with feeling.  An added benefit of the boaster is that they tend to be relatively affable and more tolerant of back-slapping, rib-poking call-outs on the blowhardiness.  Sometimes, paradoxically, the boaster can be a good listener, too, since some of the same qualities underly their self-disclosure and their enjoyment of others’ worlds.  Life in large bites.

The sly self-showcaser, though, presents an obligation.  They drop their teasers and hope that anyone within earshot will follow up.  You’re expected to take the tidbit and “pry out” the information they are so aching to reveal.  Not my cup of organic rooibos tea grown on your friend’s farm in South Africa.  I guess because outright boasting is a social faux pas, some people try to do it in a self-depricating way. OK, you needn’t brag, but it doesn’t mean you have to be an annoying feinter.

Many of us lapse into the self-showcasing subterfuge, so be careful before you point and deride.  I like two-dollar words just as much as the next high-IQ world traveling artistic gastronome, but often, words like “poo” and “stink” are just what I’m looking for.  And remember my maxim about “looking within.” 

I’m not even going to include the winky icon.


5 Responses to “Peeves: Self-Showcasers”

  1. Blair Boone said

    Brilliant. No one can comment without appearing to be a self-showcaser or a boaster.

  2. Terry Wudenbachs said

    I was telling something very similar to some fellow Diaspora while recalling our biennial trips to Provence. I mean…really.

  3. Maggie said

    Great post! I like the variety of self-showcasers who start out talking about what a “bad parent” they are, when what they want us all to tell them is that they are the “cool parent”.

  4. Great post! It is a big peeve of mine too.
    I would have been first here to tell you that but I knocked over an expensive object d’art and had to clean it up before my purbred solid golden retriever cut his precious little paws. What can you do…happens to the best of us.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: