Thursday, February 25, 2010

The People You Meet in Grad School: Part 2

After attending a class or two this week (just kidding, Mom, I went to all of them!), the second installment of my TPYMIGS serial-post is basically begging to be written. Higher education, I have discovered, produces some rare, rare breeds of crazies, and also apparently eliminates a lot of people's filters for what is and isn't socially acceptable. Or even just socially tolerable. Having said that, without further ado, I give you....

2. The Flaming Liberal

First things first. I mean no harm or offense to any political views with this category. It's a free country. If you want to hug trees or burn bras, more power to you! At some point though, can't we all just put away our social agendas and get along? Well, no, the Flaming Liberal (FL) has lost the capacity to do that. It's amazing to me that, just like with the PS, there is a Flaming Liberal in every. single. class. you're taking somehow.

This person usually rolls into the classroom with just a few minutes to spare, or maybe even a few minutes late, you know, just to really stick it to society. If your particular FL classmate is male, they will typically be dressed in one of two ways. The first involves ripped up, ratty jeans of some sort, possibly even cuffed at the bottom in an attempt to express their free-spirit hippie lifestyle. And sandals. The male FL loves him some sandals. Even better if they are made out of hemp or some other natural, if not controversial, material. Their upper bodies are usually adorned with a thinning t-shirt with phrases like "Creativity, not Conflict," or "I Think, Therefore I am Not Glenn Beck." These would be more impressive, I suppose, if the FL had not bought it on for 7 bucks.

Yup, we get it. You hate conservatives.

The second way they might be garbed is less of a hippie-FL and more of an intellectual coffee shop-FL. They usually wear slacks, argyle sweater vests, and possibly even a fedora. And facial hair. OH, the facial hair! The more and the scragglier, the better! I think somewhere there must exist an unwritten rule/bond amongst Flaming Liberals that they Even the girls. Just kidding. Soul patch, goatee, chinstrap, sideburns, full-on ZZ top beard....doesn't seem to matter to the FL, they just gotta have something.

As for the female FL, they are not as easy to immediately pick out of your new classmates. One good indicator is an ankle length skirt or leggings. Also, the apparent lack/need of any appropriate chest-area undergarments. They must have burned all of theirs.

For Flaming Liberals as a whole, I can pinpoint two of their most distinct characteristics. The first is their uncanny ability to uncover hidden political agendas behind every freaking piece of literature you read. The Flaming Liberal could probably tell you how Stephenie Meyer is somehow pushing her political beliefs on us all with the Twilight saga. And if you don't want to hear it, well, you're screwed. The FL is one of the loudest, most outspoken, hear-me-roar people in the class. They tend to contribute their own "hilarious" running commentary on essentially everything that gets said, and you will listen to them, damn it.

Better not read Twilight, might get "influenced." If you're gonna read it, at least make sure you have an FL around to steer you back to the right path afterwards.

The second distinction is that apparently the Flaming Liberal lacks any pressing necessity for personal hygiene (read: they no longer bathe.) Now, this is speculation on my part. I can't PROVE that these people no longer shower more often than once a year, I can only go off the evidence my poor little olfactory nerves are presented with when I get stuck sitting next to them in seminar. How many times can one individual wear the same "Make love not war" shirt to consecutive class meetings without washing it, you ask? Evidently, a whole shitload of times. Call me crazy, but I'm pretty sure you can still be a slightly abrasive agenda-pusher even after you've taken a shower.

But I guess the integrity of the awesome scragglyness that is their hippie beards might be compromised if they do something as radical as washing their hair. As a daily bather myself, I can, like I said, only speculate.

World peace 4 life.


  1. cha-ching! right on the money :)

  2. OMG, They drive me nuts. You can be liberal and not flaming. I think subtlety is lost on these people. You right on about how they don't bath either. I mean I get save the planet but how about save my nose.

    The worst offender in my program never wears pants- only shorts, even when its snowing.


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