Saturday, May 12, 2007

On not looking as intimidating as I should

Shocking thing I learned at the medieval bloggers breakfast: medieval bloggers look like ... medievalists.

OK, I'll pander: like cream of the crop, good looking medievalists. Just check out Dr Richard Nokes: his blog photo really is his dapper self. And he is just as humorous and collegial in person as on blog.

Except that I don't seem to live up to the expectations people have of how I should look. Eileen said, with evident tristesse, that I am nothing like my Thomas Pynchon-esque photo on this blog. New Kid on the Block avers that I am not nearly as intimidating as I'm supposed to appear (I think that translates to "He looks just like an ordinary professor of English -- not the divinely inspired, enhaloed prophet of medieval futurity that specious blog of his makes him out to be.")

I should also add that the numerous people at K'zoo who have long known me also remarked that I look nothing like I should. Karl Steel, for example, shook his head and announced that once more he expected me to be taller and better dressed. He does this each time we meet, with sincerity.

17 comments:

Tiruncula said...

Hee! I learned that people expect me to be "spikier". Perhaps this will inspire a new hairstyle, but then I'm about the least spiky person on the planet and don't think I could carry it off. Maybe I just need to make my blog persona rounder and fluffier.

Michael O'Rourke said...

At Leeds a couple of years ago people talked about nothing else, before and after they had met him, about what JJC looked like.

Liza said...

I think you look intimidating. Or at least, I did while at GW. It's the nerve-wrackingly still face, and THE (politely intense) STARE! You may have noticed I always came armed with notes to hide behind.

By the way, that ten-year-old about whom you wrote earlier looks so much like you it's scary. It's like you're related or something.

J J Cohen said...

Tiruncula: spiky is better than prickly ...

Michael: OK, you oblige me to ask (since it never even entered my mind that such could be the topic of any conversation): what was the consensus, before and after? I can take it, I have thick skin.

Liza: I think that Eileen and I share the propensity to stare at people until they are unnerved, usually attempting to glimpse their soul by looking through their eye's pupil. And yes, your defensive armor of notes was observed and silently mocked. I don't know if that is an insult or a compliment to Alex!

Glaukôpis said...

Well, I presume that in person you don't walk around with your hand in front of your face! ;-)

I must say, I'm quite glad that (as far as I know) nobody talks about what I look like! Or maybe they do. Now I'm going to have to ask! Bah!

Eileen Joy said...

Oh no--you noticed the intense staring thing I do. Now I won't be able to catch certain persons off guard [haha].

Liza said...

re: I don't know if that is an insult or a compliment to Alex!

Let's just say this -- if he has inhereted THE STARE I'm going to fall off the punt. Otherwise, good thing.

Michael O'Rourke said...

Jeffrey, the consensus was that you didn't have a nerdy look which people were expecting! I was once told at a conference in Cambridge that I was the kind of person scholars would cross the road to avoid. I did have pink dreadlocks and a generally dishevelled appearance at the time.

J J Cohen said...

OK, so I take away from this discussion that I come across as either (1) a nerd or (2) intimidating (or perhaps even (3) an intimidating nerd) in my prose style. In person, however, I am ... well that is still unknown to me, just that I am not necessarily those things.

Except that I am intimidating in person as well, according to Liza, and stare too penetratingly.

New Kid on the Hallway said...

Heh, I didn't overlap with you long enough to notice the penetrating stare, so I guess I have to reserve judgment about the intimidation factor.

I'm not sure if this translates into intimidating to anyone else, but from the blog I pictured you as a very tall person with dark hair (strangely enough I always default-imagine people as having dark hair and am usually surprised if someone is blond or a redhead) and a big booming voice. Do not ask WHY I thought this, I can't answer - maybe it's just that you write, you know, polished academic prose (unlike myself), so I defaulted to authoritative professor image. IRL you looked much more approachable and seemed much more soft-spoken than I'd imagined.

And if I continue to try to explain I will probably start to look really truly weird, so I'll stop here.

J J Cohen said...

But if you stop there, New Kid, I will remain immortalized here as a dwarf-like blondish redhead whose voice fails to boom!

Anonymous said...

"Dwarf-like?" No, "elvyssh" would be the operative term for JCC. And I mean it in the best way.

N50 said...

Heck - that's why I didn't go to the zoo - people might not only see me but talk about my appearance too!

Here it is pretty much compulsory to place images on our departmental website - perhaps that is why I cultivate anonymity elsewhere on the WWW!!

FWIW you looked very charming (and animated) when I bumped into you last year.

50

New Kid on the Hallway said...

But if you stop there, New Kid, I will remain immortalized here as a dwarf-like blondish redhead whose voice fails to boom!

Oh dear, whatever I say digs me deeper in a hole!

But I should probably add that you are not dwarf-like, and that a voice that fails to boom is usually a good thing (says the woman who is often rather loud). ;-)

Another Damned Medievalist said...

I thought you'd have curly, dark hair, as it happens. And perhaps be slightly more robust-looking. I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to say hello, though.

Dr. Virago said...

On stares...In both Eileen's and Jeffrey's case, I'd say they both have the "I'm listening stare" of a therapist. You know, the one that is simultaneously interested and invested in what you are saying, but that also encourages you to keep babbling and eventually say something you wouldn't otherwise say, for better or for worse. It's a neat trick and I need to learn it!

Eileen Joy said...

Oh Dr. Virago, you are too kind. But yes, I really *am* listening.