Reading the little profiles of people on tumblr, I noticed that a few people described themselves as eccentric. Like, ‘eccentric 19 year old art student loves cats, drawing, photography cupcakes and random cartoons.’
My feeling is, you don’t describe yourself as eccentric. That’s a conclusion made about you by someone else. It just seems unseemly. Like calling yourself ‘classy,’ it’s kind of a self-negating word.
Naturally my husband failed to see the problem. I explained that actual eccentrics would not describe themselves as such. They tend to take no notice of how odd they are, but rather to find others baffling. The most eccentric people I’ve ever known would never describe themselves that way.
Therefore, almost by definition, these self-described eccentrics are just being pretentious. My husband then asked me what other words I would categorize as unseemly. I came up with “complex” and “complicated’ as well as ‘lanky.” I don’t know where the lanky came from, but it’s certainly not a word to use about oneself unless you want to be sickening.
It was frustrating to try to make my point when to another wordist, I’m sure it’s all a given. It’s pretentious to use certain words about yourself, even if those words are fairly accurate. Maybe you’re quirky, but don’t bill yourself as quirky. It’s an evaluation for others to make.
I was excited about getting into this conversation with someone as sensitive and prohibitive about words and word-usage as I am. I though of calling Cousin Russell, who’s always up for a word discussion. But what I really wanted was Max, because he would know exactly what I meant and he would be eager to throw in some other words that he found unacceptable in the same way.
I need someone to be Max. When it hit me, I started to cry, even though we were on our first weekend vacation in a year and a half. Maybe my other nephew can help. I need someone who cringes when they hear a room or building called a ‘space.’
Anyone care to help out? Agree or disagree, as long as you have strong opinions about words.