We interrupt this transmission for some adolescent self-examination.
My high school Swedish teacher – I’ve forgotten her name – played the saxophone and kept an Irish wolf hound. They’re pretty wussy creatures as a rule, but my teacher’s pet was extreme. She explained that though big as a calf, the dog had been brought up by a dachshund bitch, thought it was a dachshund and was afraid of anything larger than a dachshund.
I’m a bit the same. I keep getting these hints that people see me as way meaner, taller, more critical and better-looking than I see myself. To me, anybody above 170 cm looks disproportionately tall. When I think I’m asking a polite question or making a friendly joke at an academic event people often react defensively as if what I’d really said was “You’re full of shit and you know it”. During my brief inter-marriage dating period in the 90s I was surprised when this one fine woman told me “You’re unusual for me, I’ve hardly ever dated handsome men”.
Me and other people are in agreement though that I am loud and confident. And I can kind of perceive that if a person has the mistaken idea that I am mean, tall, critical and good-looking, then this will add up with the loud self-confidence to the image of quite an overbearing person. But in actual fact, of course, I’m a dachshund and I’m afraid of anything larger than a dachshund. Everybody should be able to see that.