[noun; ~Pronunciation: /ster-ee-uh-tahyp/]
- Definition: Encountering a group of people who (willingly?) perfectly seem to fit the mental image you have of them, based on their way of clothing, talking, belittling and offending other human beings, or from stories you have heard about, say, foreigners. In your head, you KNOW not all Germans dig holes on the beach, but in reality that IS the first thing you picture them doing (while wearing lederhosen).
“Don’t live up to your stereotypes” – Sherman Alexie
Entschuldigung to all Germans out there, but this videoclip (and the original is even longer!) always makes me laugh. If it’s any consolation, though, Dutch and German are similar in sounds and pronunciations, so both languages sound equally harsh. In fact, I think Dutch sounds even harsher as we tend to chop words up and make it all sound like we’ve been eating while talking and are ready to spit our food out again. Just saying.
So anyway, stereotypes. Always fun. You see people and your mind automatically makes assumptions about them. You don’t even have to try, it’s what our brains do. We have to process so much information on a daily basis, we automatically start putting that information into boxes. Kind of like finally tidying up your room/house and putting things together that were separated for a long time.
It happened to me yesterday, when my idiot sister came over for a visit (yay – please notice the absence of any enthusiasm in that yay) and decided to hang around for four hours.
And she never even asked how I or my parents were doing… Anyway, moving on.
Thing was, she left past our normal dinner time and I was hungry. A hungry Samantha is a VERY grumpy Samantha, so me and my parents decided to go out for dinner. Because let’s face it: I was not going to stand in the kitchen for another forty-five foodless minutes. I just couldn’t wait that long.
And here is where the real story behind this post happened: we went to a buffet restaurant and as me and my mother stood in line for the grill, patiently awaiting our turn, someone tapped my shoulder.
Now, if you’re new to this blog and to me, here’s a little information about me: I hate physical contact, especially when it’s a complete stranger who touches me, and as for the situation described above, I found I had long passed that stage of my life. Like, passed it about twenty years ago, when my nine-year-old me thought tapping strangers’ shoulders was fun.
As a result, I refused to look over my shoulder to see who it was. I figured it couldn’t be someone I knew, because my mother was standing next to me, unaware of anything strange happening, and my father was sitting at our table guarding our personal belongings. Plus, if it had been an acquaintance he or she would have said something, but nobody did.
After I didn’t engage in this sad and very unfunny practical joke, which was later repeated using an older woman’s shoulder, I heard two Jersey Shore-like men discussing me behind my back, where one of them said: “What a c***, she doesn’t even look!”
At this point I figured he must be on to me! For years I have been trying to become bitchier and I was secretly excited someone unknown had finally noticed!
Also, I made a mental note to add this to my upcoming Sunday Summary: “What did you learn on Monday? That I am a c***.” Ha ha! :’)
The Jersey Shore look-a-likes were soon joined by two female ones that looked like they had come straight from the set (I can’t even be bothered to put a link in here… it’s too awful. If you’ve never heard of the show, Google it. But be warned: it’s not pretty). One of them came up while the cook was already emptying the contents of two full plates of meat and fish onto the huge grill, and said (not a joke, sadly): “Yo, Chinese guy, give me some *list of food items to be grilled*”
Cook (looking very insulted and pointing to his full plates and the huge line of people): “In a minute miss…”
Girl (interrupting him): “No, NOW! And add some *insert more food here*”
Cook (finishing his sentence): “…because as you can see my grill’s nearly filled to the max already. You’re going to have to wait.”
How this man kept his cool is beyond me, but the look-a-likes eventually stopped caring and started chatting to each other instead. Later, back at our table, me and my mother noticed there were more than just the four of them we had encountered at the grill. There was a huge group of them, seated in the back, and they all looked alike. They all sounded alike. We paid some attention to them and noticed how all of them were alike in belittling the employees, and how they were downright and equally insulting to (or rather: about) many others.
I know they are just people. I know they have a long way to go. I also know that if you would catch one of them alone and start a conversation, you’d probably learn there is more to them than what meets the eye, just like there is more to me than the way I look. But I had a very hard time pushing away the stereotype they were so bravely portraying: dumb, lazy, vain, disrespectful, and unworthy of my time.
But then again, what do I know, really? Apparently, I am nothing but a c***.