Hello friends! Hope everyone had a lovely holiday, and continues to do so throughout the rest of the year. I’m going to be on the road for the remainder of 2012, so your questions are more appreciated than ever as I make my way across the country and partake in family times. You know where to send ’em!
“I’ve got 3 kids. The oldest is 16 just like me. Comics, cartoons, toys, and video games, he’s into it and proud of it, moreso than I ever dared to be at his age. The youngest is 6 and hopes she’ll be picking up the G3 baton one day. She loves cartoons, Robin (don’t mention Starfire to her, she gets pissed), and loves her Batman and Ahsoka tee shirts. The middle one is my problem. I think she’s embarrassed by me around her friends. If I pick her up at dance class, she’ll wait to associate with me once her “friends” have left the building and will stall until everyone else has left so they don’t see her leaving with me. I’ve accidentally worn my Secret Wars cover tee shirt and after seeing the side-eyes and behind-the-hand comments from her friends, have chosen to throw on a sweatshirt or change my shirt when on taxi duty now. What do I do? Let Mom pick her up from now on? Wait in the car?”
Well this is a bit of a delicate matter. I’m torn between championing you as the parent and her as the young girl dealing with everything that comes with growing up. But seeing as you are so gracious as to put your daughters comfort above your own, even if in the face of her ignorant “friends,” then we’ll take that route.
Since you indicated that your appearance is only a problem when you’re picking her up from dance class, the simple solution seems to be just trading those days with Mom if possible. If not, there are some things you can work out. I’m not sure if you’ve had a heart-to-heart with your daughter about how some friends aren’t really worth having, etc. It would probably fall upon deaf ears for the time but it might do some good in the future. I know that eventually all of the things that my parents told me found their way into my actions rather than just the back of my head.
Aside from that, your suggestion of waiting in the car seems like another option. I’m sure you don’t want to be sitting around until everyone else files out, though, so maybe have some ground rules. Whatever you’re comfortable with. You can incentivize good behavior (coming out of class on time), which seems to work well for young girls. You can also go the opposite route. It all depends on your parenting type, and you seem to be a go-with-the-flow kind of dad.
Since your daughters comfort level is your top priority, perhaps you can ask her what she thinks is the best option. Talk it through and work something out together. Hopefully you can have a frank conversation about what’s really going on and the best way to solve it for the time being. At an appropriate time afterwards you can sneak in that “Star Wars is the best and if you’re lucky one day you’ll understand,” and also, “Boys like Star Wars.” She’ll come around one way or another.
“I’m a 20-something nerd and proud of it. I feel at my best surrounded by my like-minded friends and co-workers. But during the times when they aren’t around and I have to interact with normals… I have trouble. I feel stripped of identity- I have nothing to talk about. What should I do?”
This is my life in a nutshell. Throw me in a room full of comic nerds – any nerds, really – and I can believe myself to be a social butterfly! Flitting about making interesting conversation with everyone! Put me in a room with people I don’t know – and who I believe to be mundies – I clam up faster than you can say “Batman.” Here is what I normally do to ease the pain of these situations.
I know all about palpitations and cold sweats in social situations. If you find yourself spiraling into a mild panic attack at the thought of engaging strangers in conversation, just chill out. Do you have a vice? Is it cigarettes? Go outside and have one. Martinis? Go to the bar and drink one. Xanax? Absolutely. Now compose yourself, and get ready to talk. Now…
Just because someone is in a suit and tie or cocktail dress and you are in jeans and a graphic tee does not mean that you have nothing in common. I know you are all wonderful, multi-faceted people with many interests and things to talk about. I’m sure it feels natural to breach the nerdy topics in conversation, and you absolutely should. Maybe these people you take for normals are nerds just like you. But if it turns out they aren’t, don’t fret.
*You have lots to talk about!
The majority of your friendly conversations might revolve around Marvel vs DC, but that doesn’t mean that you have nothing else to say. Make a list. What are your other passions? Take into account the setting/reason for this awkward interaction you are having or soon to be having. Personally, I really like food and drinks. I’ve gotten into many a lengthy conversation on the simplest of topics like sushi, ramen, and gin cocktails. Make it work for you. Talk about cheese. It’s almost universally loved!
*Scan the room and find your prey.
There are many ways to start a conversation. What is the situation? If it’s more intimate, I recommend finding a buddy. I just need one person to quip at and I’m set for the evening. Find someone that looks lonely and go talk to them. I like to start out by making sarcastic comments and vague statements to figure out if I’m going to get along with the person. If that’s not working, inject yourself into another groups conversation. This can be tricky, but if you happen upon a discussion that you have common ground with, jump right in! They will not shun you.
*Ride it out.
Hopefully at this point you are engaged in conversation with one or more people. Now just sit back and relax. You have made it this far. You have established yourself and your interests and talking should feel more comfortable. Hopefully there is food and/or drink in front of you to occupy yourself with should the discussion start to be strained. Take the rest of the evening at your own pace and leave at your convenience.
And that is about the jist of it. As hard as it is, just try and be yourself, though perhaps a more outgoing and fearless version. These situations can be rough, but if you’re properly prepared and are managing expectations everything should go swimmingly! In the unlikely event you find yourself at a total crapshoot event, however, feel free to hightail it outta there. Nothing is worse than trying to save a sinking ship and parties with a 4 drink minimum are never worth the morning after.
“My kids are really into the show Adventure Time. I’m starting Christmas shopping and I was wondering if there were similar things in comic books since I’d like them to read more.”
I am so glad you asked! It seems to me that most people I talk to about Adventure Time are only aware of either the show or the comic, and not both. But there are totally both and they are totally awesome! The Adventure Time comic was in fact just compiled into a trade paperback! Yay! It collects the first 4 issues of the comic as well as the bonus strips by indie artists and it will run you $14.99. There are more issues after that as well, with #10 coming out this Wednesday.
An Adventure Time spin-off comic is also available called Marceline and the Scream Queens which is currently at issue #5. It’s more girl-centric but an enjoyable read for all!
And lastly Pen Ward’s newest creation was recently released titled Bravest Warriors. Let’s just say it is closely related to Adventure Time but with more SPACE and maybe geared towards a slightly older audience. There are some beat-downs and censored middle-fingers! This series is currently on issue #2.
Hope this helps!