We make a lot of assumptions about people based on their descriptors, don’t we?
I’m Catholic, and so many people assume I feel strongly against birth control, and like to kneel. I don’t, but I do know that being Irish and Catholic are practically synonymous, and calling myself Catholic gives my 91 year old Irish Mommom a small shred of hope. And, if I stopped doing so, all my deceased Irish Catholic relatives would collectively roll over in their graves, creating the kind of seismic disturbance that could really hurt us all. And I don’t want that. So, you’re welcome.
When people find out I’m an artist, they make assumptions, too.
Recently a neighbor, who is a teacher, earnestly asked, “So, I bet you know a lot of gay people, huh?”
“Yes! But they’re mostly teachers, so maybe you know them?”
I did tell her that I really know very few gay artists. I know several gay graphic designers, though, so maybe we need to rethink the stereotype and go after them. The art community is very accepting of different values and paths, and so perhaps there aren’t any more gays and lesbians in my community than in any other, but those who are feel more free to be open about their sexuality. They won’t be met with judgment.
The great drugs that artists use is a topic which comes up quite often, too. People, artists are not known for their wealth, and if you want the really good drugs you’ll need to look to the business community, because that’s where the money and the drugs are. Also, almost every artist I know has had a Morning After experience. Usually in college. During an evening of undergraduate revelry a young artist misguidedly assumes that while in the throes of heavy substance use he can produce brilliant work. Profound! And in the morning? Well, that didn’t play out well at all, now did it? Lesson learned about the drugs.
In dating, the stereotype of “artist” has an impact, as well. Several years ago a British journal published the results of a study on the average number of sexual partners people have in different professions. It seems that artists needn’t even invest in pants, because they really don’t keep them on long enough to be a wardrobe necessity. Walking around in their knickers would be a great time-management tool for the artists! But those are the British artists, and we all know about the Brits….
Every single man in North Carolina between the ages of 35 and 45 received a copy of this article, and they are so happy for me that I am so liberated. The hazy, euphoric look that glides across their eyes when I say the magic word “artist” is something that should be bottled and sold (if the price was right, it would be a huge hit in the business community). Talk immediately turns to sex, because I LOVE sex, RIGHT? WITH EVERYONE! The British article promised. It breaks my heart to tell the nice men that, actually, I have guidelines, and they include not taking my pants off for anyone who read that article.
But! I do know some nice Catholic, drug-using, gay graphic designers in the business community they might want to meet. I hear they’re a lot of fun.