It always has’ read a job advert looking for ‘quiet mousey types’?
I fully accept that some people are naturally shy, while others cannot see a potential spotlight without jumping in and giving a performance. What I don’t understand, though, is why shy, quiet, retiring sorts are generally seen as morally superior to the gregarious types. Demure wallflowers are given gentle encouragement, while those with a bit of chutzpah are told to sit down, shut up and stop showing off. And no one questions this madness.
I’ve spent my entire life battling with my inner show-off – almost certainly because of being told endlessly to rein it in. It was only recently when I was telling my own eight-year-old son to ‘stop showing off’ that it dawned on me what a load of rubbish it is. Someone always has to be the show-off. If we were all shy, retiring types, nothing would get done. Ever. The world needs show-offs. It always has, and always will.
Yet, because of the way boys and girls react to parental authority, that show-off will almost invariably be a boy, who will become a man, and then a CEO, a judge, a sports star or the president. Telling boys to stop showing off is a complete waste of time and energy, because ultimately they just ignore you. Males are hot-wired to compete with other males. That’s just the way they work.
In a shopping centre recently, I watched two men, obviously complete strangers, start to race each other down the escalator. As they got nearer to the bottom, they actually began to nudge and push each other – grown men who had never laid eyes on each other until that point in their lives.
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