BY MATTHEW PECKHAM, OPINION EDITOR
“The issue with most Match.com bios,” said my writing professor and former dating profile guru, “is that they are too vague.” If the chatter of full lunch tables or the desperate text messaging of solo diners do not show the link of language and relationships, it is shown in this intersect of a language-based profession and a love-based profession. The guru explained that many people’s Tinder bios speak too generally about long walks on beaches. The interesting ones specify the beach, the time and the drink one carries while doing it. Details are interesting.
An employer asks an interviewing applicant not only for previous job titles, but also for corresponding responsibilities. Two custodians, one who cleaned offices and another who designed new office-wide cleaning protocols, are both labeled custodians. However, the employer interviewing these custodians will make an offer based on their specific responsibilities.
Bad days come in many forms. I could have a “bad day” because I stubbed my toe three times. I could also have a “bad day” because I ate stale chicken breast. Yet I could also have a “bad day” if I lost my job for falling asleep at my desk. These are all events that make for a bad day. However, eating a stale chicken breast would matter to me only until I drank some water, while being fired would matter to me until I completed a month-long job hunt. The gravity of my experience is lost when someone asks me how my day has been and I respond, “bad.”
My Facebook feed usually includes some version of the cliché post, “Call her beautiful, not hot.” The idea is that “hot” is sexualized and “beautiful” is compassionate. However, both are too vague of compliments to be heartfelt. Calling someone “beautiful” or “funny” requires only the ability to speak. “You make me laugh when you scrunch your forehead” and “you attract me when you scrunch your forehead” are genuine compliments. Specific recollection shows that the compliment is true and that the speaker pays attention to the complimented person. I once called a girl talented, and she asked me why I thought that. I laughed nervously when I could not think of a reason, but she obviously did not join in on laughing. Speaking specifically helps one speak truthfully.
My friends complain about movies retelling the same story. The problem is likely not the story but the bland dialogue and tired videography. Everyone lives the same story: birth, life and death. The specific things we experience, think and say are what make us unique. What we say is insignificant if we leave out the details.
This article first appeared in the Friday, October 6, 2017, Edition of The Echo.