Zen Bastard (jimbojones) wrote,
Zen Bastard

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Regional bravado

My buddy Nate and I were due to go grill out at his place tonight, since last night got rained out.  On my way over there, he gave me a ring to let me know this chick K kinda invited herself over.  K is from New York.  The Bronx, specifically.  Maybe you'll know that already from her accent if you talk to her, maybe you won't - I mean, obviously she's not from South Carolina, but hey.  It's not a terrible, terrible accent.  It just doesn't sound "from around here."  But within 5 minutes of talking to her, believe me, you'll know - she'll tell you.

She seems like a pretty nice girl.  She's got a good bit of spirit in her; she's fun to trade barbs with when you've been drinking.  But she cracks me up unintentionally pretty frequently, because she has this idea that a lot of "big city northerners" tend to have about southerners - she thinks we're soft down here.  She's terrified to let anybody know what apartment complex she lives in - she told Nate what area of town she lived in once, and he asked her how [name of her apartment complex] was because [apartment complex] is freaking HUGE, and it's one of only two or three on that side of town, so it was a pretty good bet.  She... FREAKED.  To her, people down here are "soft" because they aren't constantly afraid of one another.

But really, truth be told, by southern standards I'd say she's "full of bravado but fragile."  Down here, there's always an element of "talk softly and carry a big stick."  Where she's from it's more like "talk 50 pounds of shit if you want people to think you've got five pounds of sack."  I like the girl, I really do, but the culture clash is kinda difficult to deal with sometimes.  I'm not used to the kind of outrageous bravado that she's constantly got on display, and it's difficult sometimes to back down from what to her eyes is probably "standard talking shit" but to my eyes is "naked challenge" -  particularly when it's coupled with the usual talk about how "laid back and easy" life is here as opposed to there.

Like tonight, for example.  We pulled the steaks and burgers off the grill, and we're sitting around eating and cracking wise with each other.  K starts talking shit to Nate about basketball - she played women's basketball in college; Nate played football.  Nate's only 5'6" tall, so the jokes come pretty easily.  But oh my god she just keeps talking shit; and, well, I've seen Nate on the field and on the court - the guy may be short like an Ooompa-Loompa, but he ran a 4.40 and had a 36" vertical in college, and it hasn't been that long since college for him.  The only time I've seen him humbled is when we were playing pick-up ball one time last year and a guy who used to play pro ball for the Panthers (no shit) wound up on the field.  Nate's no joke.  But the funny part is she keeps talking shit she can't back up, like asking Nate can he span the ball - and intimating that she can.  K claims to be 5'9" - I'm a hair over 5'10", and she's two inches shorter than I am, you do the math - and she doesn't have freakishly big hands.  So while I've been pretty quiet up to this point, I have to call bullshit.  "Put your hand up", I say, and hold mine over the table towards her.  She puts hers up, and I can curl my last knuckle over her fingertips - and I know damn well I can't span a rock.  "BULLSHIT!"  She's still swearing she can span.  So Nate's got a ball right there on the floor in the corner, and we get it, and of course she can't span it.  "But I can span a woman's ball!"

This leads to jokes about well-hung lesbians, which she pretends innocence to, and I ask her "are you sure you're from the Bronx, and not, say... Bamberg?"  But what got really bad is that she started pretending to be a lesbian.  It was a joke, of course, but she's got that fire-in-her-eye look and tone in her voice that says "you can't go toe-to-toe with me, sucker," and it was killing me.  See, the funny thing is, she's been THROWING herself at Nate the entire time we've known her.  It's sort of a good-natured joke between Nate and me - she's not annoying or anything, but it's really (REALLY) obvious.  And here she is challenging me to tell her why she's not a lesbian, like I can't come up with anything, and I'm saying "oh we do not want to go into this topic..."  Nate changed the subject quick.  He knew both of us.  And, hell, it's not like I really wanted to make her uncomfortable (to put it mildly).

But why do people, especially northeastern types, issue challenges they really don't want to deal with?  I don't get it.  Was the unspoken challenge actually "how are you going to answer this question without going into the fact that I'm obviously horn-dogging bad for your buddy," or did she just think nobody could tell?  Who the hell knows.  It's funny sometimes, contrasting what you do understand with what you don't.

Oh well.  They're still over there, watching Miracle on the couch, and I'm back home because there's work I still have to finish up tonight.  (Don't ever let anybody tell you that being self-employed is a carefree gig.  It's not.)  Have to ask Nate what happened after I left, tomorrow, if he's still speaking to me. =)
Tags: girl-related, philosophical, vignette

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