The Din of Inequity

The Din of Inequity

...yes, I spelled it that way on purpose.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Does This Ever Happen to You?

For a few years now, whenever I go out downtown (that's DC for you newer readers, if there are any), I get stared at. Not by everybody, though. It tends to be younger folks. Not kids, but people in their mid-20s or so.

I'm not this fabulous-looking guy, and I'm not astonishingly ugly or funny-looking--in fact I think I'm pretty generic--so I'm pretty sure it's not my appearance. The only possibly non-generic about me is my overall size. I'm a pretty big guy. But even then, I'm not some super hulk, I'm just bigger than average. Certainly nothing to rivet the attention of strangers.

I think they think I look like somebody. Is it somebody famous? Is it just somebody they know? I'm not sure.

For those who think I'm just all full of myself and imagining things, I present this example, which has actually happened more than once:

I'm standing at a rock show at one of the fine local venues. Perhaps enjoying a beer. A couple of 20-something white professional-looking types are standing nearby. Out of the corner of my eye, I notice that one of them keeps looking at me. Like, a lot. Like he WANTS me to see him doing it so I'll look directly at him. When I don't look over directly, he enlists one of his friends to determine if I'm "him." The friend may be skeptical, or he may agree. It hardly matters. I'm the subject of a certain amount of observation and discreet finger pointing amongst the first guy and his friends until the main act comes onstage.

What the fuck is that? Even at shows where I don't actually overhear someone ask a friend if I'm "him," I often catch people trying to get a better look at me.

If I go to a busy hipster-friendly restaurant, there's a chance that I'll catch someone craning from behind their menu or their date at another table to get another look at me.

Here's the kicker in all this. I really don't look like anyone in particular, except maybe my equally not-famous brother-in-law a little bit. Even that's not that close a resemblance--we could be cousins, or we could be what we are: totally unrelated--but it's been mentioned. But I can't for the life of me figure out who people are expecting to see in Adams Morgan or on U Street or at the rock clubs that I could resemble. I have to assume this person is famous enough, at least in those circles, to cause people to forget their manners and stare. Who the hell could it be? Stumped, I tell you.

Am I so narcissistic that I'm imagining all this (though I did not imagine the two times I actually heard someone ask someone else if I were "him"), imagining that people find me mysterious and handsome or something? Am I just one of those people that looks like "somebody," though you can't place who I resemble?

I suppose it's kind of fun. It's a puzzle for both me and the starer--am I whoever? Who is whoever? But I'd really like to know who the hell I'm supposed to be--there might be a free beer in it if I could successfully cultivate the right look. So next time you're trying to figure out if that guy at the hipster bar, rock show, restaurant is --insert famous name here--, please go over and ask. It might be me, and I'm dying to know who I'm supposed to be.

|| Bikeboy 11:16 AM ||
don't you remember that they're blatantly ignoring you? or it might just be that you're kind of tall.
Maybe it's your "say nothing, act casual" persona.

Certainly when we go drink at that Irish pub near the Mariott when I go to my conferences I noticed people looking our way - but I thought they were just checking out Midwestern geekiness coming alive.
If anyone does ever ask you directly if you're "him", play along and say "yes". Then you'll find out who you're supposed to be, or at least who you resemble. Might be fun.
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