Being Optimistic About the Future: How to Fake That Shit

Good god, people are the worst, am I right? Always lying to you and claiming things you know are bullshit are true; always having relationships and talking about them. Those assholes, am I right?

Lunch by Alexander Frais on 500px
Lunch by Alexander Frais on 500px [x]

Luckily, we’ll never be those people who spend their days conforming to what they think the person they currently fancy wants them to be. We don’t have to worry about impressing anyone because we learned young and often that, at most, people look at us and go, “eh.” And that was always a best-case scenario!

That being said, we will occasionally come across people who, by some strange trick of physics or the universe or magic, seem to want to be around us. For whatever reason. That reason will most likely be work or family-related—something borne out of necessity rather than actual attraction to our personalities or physical form, but it’s legitimate nonetheless. The problem here will come when the people you’re spending time with want to get to know you on some superficial level. They’ll want to ask what your plans for life are, or where you want to be in a few years.

Well, naturally you know you’ll still be single, celibate, and alone, but you will have spent the last few years working on the goals we’ve already established. You decided you wanted to learn Japanese? Well, in five years, you’ll know at least, like, ten words in Japanese. Probably even upwards of twenty words! (I’ve heard it’s a tough language, so I’m being lenient on you, champ.) You’ll have lost weight (or given up and just enjoyed a lot of bread sandwiches [bread between two slices of more different bread possibly fried because, fuck it, no one will ever love you anyway]), kept a clean house, read hundreds of books, started your own podcast, or at least watched every episode of the Simpsons. You will have accomplished something even if that something has never once led to orgasm.

That’s what you have to focus on when people ask how you are or what you’re up to. As we discussed before, the majority of people you come across will either be birds or crocodiles and, as a fish, you should be wary of both these groups.

In the wild, they would eat you.

Sadly, just spouting a laundry list of hobbies and goals or answering the person in broken, incorrect Japanese isn’t enough to get those intrusive jackasses off your back. You’ve got to really know how to fake being fulfilled so that the birds and crocodiles don’t pounce and try to drag you out of the water where you’ll asphyxiate and die. You may have to fake your ease with being alone when you one is around to really get the hang of it.

Now, I know looking in the mirror is a painful process that likely makes you want to light yourself on fire, but if you really want to avoid being given stupid suggestions by people who are “just trying to help,” it’s probably going to be necessary. Imagine someone, maybe your aunt Cecilia, asking if you’ve got a significant other. Quickly move past the sinking feeling of heartache, do not give in to the urge to scream at Cecilia that she looks fat in her plaid jorts, and move on to the task of faking optimism.

The first two may take the most practice, especially if you’re like me and disappointment shows obviously in every crevice in your craggy face. Watch your expression in the mirror, take a few beats after imagining Cecilia asking her stupid and meddlesome question, and answer plainly with something that will quickly deflect her line of questioning off your arid nether regions and onto something you know she can’t resist talking about.

For some people, you’ll know them well enough to have this on the tip of your possibly forked tongue. If Cecilia has a pet, respond that her question reminds you of how happy it makes you seeing pictures of her flatulant pug Sir Francis of Baconshire and ask how he’s been doing since his eyeball popped out and had to be surgically placed back in its socket. No doubt, this will immediately erase any interest in your loveless life and give Cecilia something to talk about until you can extricate yourself from this godforsaken family picnic.

If you don’t know someone, however, the task of getting them to stop sticking their nose in your business can be much trickier. This is where it pays to have a few inflammatory current events tucked up your sleeve. If the person asking is an old white man, bring up something related to a sports figure who did something wrong or said something outrageous. Or, just ask him what he thinks of the Black Lives Matter movement. Regardless of how he feels about it, you certainly won’t be talking about how the closest thing to romance you have in your life is when a server asks if you’d like anything to drink besides water.

The key to faking optimism is always going to be in your expression. If you’re lucky (so to speak), you’re so ugly that people never even want to look at your face and you won’t have to try that hard. Regardless, practice your responses, make sure you’re doing your best to keep your face neutral, and don’t ever pick a rom-com when browsing Netflix with friends.

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