Here to grace us with a stellar example of some of the amazingness that our city New York has to offer, here's a post by our guest writer, The Ginger Man:
Those people that know me well enough have a particular nickname for me. Every time I enter the room in (what in my honest opinion is) fashionable clothes, or when I make a statement that exudes some form or another of snobbery, they’ll announce “PRETENTIOUS MAN!” in the tone usually reserved for announcing a radio era hero, like the Green Hornet or Superman. And I don’t get offended; yes, I tend to fight it, saying “I’m just a snob, I know what I like and I have my reasons for it” or I’ll just continue what I had been saying. The truth is, I am slightly pretentious. I act in highfalutin ways sometimes without knowing why, or just to follow certain trends. I do retain a basic image of myself; I know my tastes, the way I speak, the music I listen to and enjoy, but sometimes I force myself past that in order to seem a certain way.
It’s no surprise, then, that last Saturday night I found myself in a taxi on my way to the Met, in order to see the opera known as The Barber of Seville. I was dressed in the finest clothes I had; my black suit (which, to be honest, I had worn the night beforehand for Shabbat), a slim tie with a matching pocket square, and a cane, which I had to aid me when I walked due to an injury I sustained a few weeks beforehand, but served to add to the image nonetheless. The people who traveled with me were similarly attired; after all, we had planned this well in advance, a night of unadulterated pretention and sundry. For most (I assume), this was a one-time thing, an adventure into the lives of people who made substantially more than we do, who dressed up and went places on weekend nights and danced ‘til the sun rose on the horizon.
I assumed that I would enjoy the opera somewhat. I have an affinity for music, and so long as it isn’t terrible rap or a song with really bad lyrics or terrible structure, I appreciate the sound that’s coming into my ears. So let’s fast forward to when I was actually sitting in the theater, listening to the opening music, the vocalists, singing their lines with a force and clarity I’ve rarely heard live, watching the subtitles (this was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen) on a bar built into the chair right in front of me, where I was thinking to myself, It's all right here in New York. Why have I never done this before? Why have I barred myself from culture such as this? The lines are humorous, the characters flamboyant and vivid and alive on stage, and…well, there was this anvil that made the entire set. I felt elated. I felt thrilled. This was something I had never experienced before, and I felt myself lacking for it.
The realization came to me later that night. I’m not the most social of people. True, when I’m amongst a crowd and I feel somewhat comfortable, I can be a king. It’s not so simple for me when I wake up on a Sunday at the crack of noon, and I feel like doing nothing productive, let alone see human faces, or at the end of a work day, when I’m tired and bone-weary. Sometimes, though, when I break through the discomfort and try something new in this city, something that I’ve never done before, I find that I actually enjoy it, and even if it’s something others would see as pretentious or snobby. And even if people would call me out on it, I know that if I try something just once, maybe I’ll like it.
-The Ginger Man