There’s a certain art to first impressions. Shit ones are like a set of 100 million-year-old dinosaur footprints: for some reason they are really hard to wash away. Ultimately people change over time with the winds of circumstance, and situation is always the catalyst. Be it a new job, new friends or some other (generally tragic) event, being exposed to different environments challenges you to adapt in some fashion. Suffice is to say I’ve clearly learnt nothing in my twenties, and the only thing growing in my otherwise completely barren ‘Garden of Eden’ is a healthy hedge of disdain for the general populace. In spite of that I’m relatively predisposed into thinking the best of others, but I guess we all are in a “yay let’s all be friends” kind of fashion, because rejection is a generally shitty concept. In fact from my experience, people are often so anti-confrontational that they’ll put up with almost anything a person on the outside of a situation would consider “fucking ridiculous”. Forgive me brethren for I have sinned.
“That’s putting it mildly 007.”
From personal relationships to business dealings, making a good impression is important in what is simply another of life’s pressure cookers. Although some of us collapse under pressure as if the atmosphere of Venus was bearing down, an equal number develop the capability to thrive on it. As one of the Venusian basket-cases previously described, I’m less inclined to live as dangerously as Austin Powers, and more likely to be screaming internally. This introversion however has also given me the clarity to identify and pigeon-hole a brand new character trait in others, rarely witnessed, and in a sample size no larger than my middle fingers. These creatures, allegedly human, thrive off the pressure created by any scenario that permits them to meet people for the very first time; a first impressions monster, if you will. They are great at it as you’d expect, and walking away from a first conversation with them leaves you with almost the same warm and fuzzy feeling you get when you think you’re about to become friends with someone cool. Almost, for you see, that is but the first sign post. But like the door-knockers that miss a really obvious sign at your front-door asking them to please not knock, you will miss it with gay abandon. You are still asleep, and the knocking has only just begun.
Alas the true ghoulish beauty of the monster still lies in wait, just below the surface. As an outside friend or acquaintance at this point, your encounters with the monster will be remarkably similar – the level of conversation has deepened slightly, with general banter and talk about recreational activities you equally enjoy. Tap, tap, tap. To the banter participant, there are still no red flags in sight. This is probably the executor’s most comfortable position in the grooming process as confidence improves between both parties, already affording them the opp to pad out self-obsessed social gatherings and other activities with their new-found ‘friends’. Make no mistake, they’re not your friend, buddy, for you see another sign post is right in front of you. Imagine filling a room with those Facebook friends you see all the time in your News Feed, that you haven’t actually seen since Year 12 – that is the finite depth to the monster’s actual social prowess, in what is a simple game of perception. If it looks cool, it is. Yes, the monster is employing a nightclub modus operandi, but think more Mustang Bar than The Family (that is to say, fucking terrible).
The first impression has become the domain of the master manipulator you now find within your midsts. Tap, tap, tap. For months they tap, and blindly you follow. Done right, the monster sees you for a fixed amount of time per week. Just enough to ‘be friends’, but not long enough to give up the ghost, for you see the last sign post is lit up like the Vegas strip: you have been manipulated the entire time. There is literally no substance to the monster – they stand before you in something resembling a human body, but it may as well be a sugar glass glasshouse. An epiphany is not just an unfortunate naming incident
(recycled joke/10); it’s something that dawns on you suddenly, and there is no one specific event the monster can do to lift the vale of ignorance. Your milage may vary, but somewhere around the eleventh time you get jerked around, something clicks. A renewed, heightened sense of awareness that suddenly highlights the sugar-trail of previously ignored evidence, leading you back to the tiny, matchstick-sized cowering liar that’s really at the heart of the beast. The beauty of their manipulation only serves as a coda to the now-terminated relationship: you are merely a grain of sand in a dune of party faithful.
You were like them once, but they will find out – as you did. Only through age and spending enough time can the first impressions monster be revealed. Because hindsight allows for searing clarity, a person’s first impression is gradually chipped away in the present and only really given a post-mortem as the truth reveals itself. It’s human nature to study the past, so much so that we become our own shitty historians in a misguided effort to answer a single question: why? The actual question is, why waste additional time and many a precious breath of oxygen trying to pick up the pieces and put the story together again? It’s too late, the context of Humpty Dumpty’s first impression is irreparably fucked up and your time is gone forever. While other key questions like “how did they avoid natural selection?” are important, they are ultimately a waste of time too.
Have you ever felt alone in a room full of people? The monster has.
I think one of the big realisations of your twenties, apart from no one cares, is that you don’t have to care either. In the early half we are so anxious to be liked and appreciated, that we become blind to the false and insignificant disgraces for humanity we discover in the later half. The psychotic existence of the monster is fine for a while, but even a good liar can be undone by the smallest detail. If the foundations are just no good, any facade eventually falls in on its own anyway, and without it the extent of the monster’s worthlessness is revealed. Sure, it can be disappointing to know that part of your time on this godforsaken Earth was forcefully used by someone else, but at least the thievery opened your eyes.
At any rate, don’t worry about me. I can sit here and make comparisons all day; the panes of my sugar glass glasshouse are laid five thick.