Pretentious vs. Prissy

This is the definition of the word pretentious: attempting to impress by affecting greater importance, talent, culture, etc., than is actually possessed.

This is the definition for the word colloquialism:

  1. a word or phrase that is not formal or literary, typically one used in ordinary or familiar conversation.”the colloquialisms of the streets”
    • the use of ordinary or familiar words or phrases.”speech allows for colloquialism and slang”

Years ago when the perfume community online decided to hate me the loudest hater called me pretentious because she thought it would hurt me. But also because she felt I was pretentious.

The thing is…she wasn’t using the real definition for the word. Language evolved into the definitions we use and it’s still evolving but until the continuing evolution manages to persuade the dictionary I don’t care. I don’t care what colloquialism you are using. It’s still technically incorrect. And it’s very annoying to me.

*smile*

Why is it annoying? Because I have no way of knowing what you really mean. And as someone still healthy enough to crave real human interaction and not narcissistic battle I find that depressing.

The thing is, after years of trying to sort through it I suspect that that hater meant pretentious in a colloquial way to indicate: a haughty, unnecessarily fancy, overly fussy, ornate and elegant manner.

I don’t think she meant it to indicate falsehood. That is the real definition. But it’s used by some (often in lower classes in the US) to suggest a sort of obnoxious quality of excessive refinement.

She may have been trying to actually insult me. Not rip apart the fabric of society by accusing me of being a horrendous liar. The insult was that I was…prissy.

Prissy?!

Yes.

I’ve been called prissy since childhood.

Here’s the definition of the word prissy: fussily and excessively respectable. “her prissy mother”

I seemed fussy and excessive to the perfume community. Not because I was wrong. Or fake. But because they were often from lower classes and couldn’t understand my perspective. Or their parents were from lower classes. Or their grandparents were from lower classes. And in a sort of raw, hurt, violent American sadness…our sense of beauty diverged.

They wanted what’s new. Because their money is new and the past is bleak. The future is bright. The future is where the effing money is byotch? Bring on the new and further the winners of the past!

“We’re here now, bitch! Move out of the way, loser!” they all yelled at me.

A Native American woman shakes her head to the badass-American-beat.

“They stole that beat from us!” says a negro man.

“They stole a lot from Lacey too!” says the Native American woman.

The black man looks at Lacey in empathetic comprehension.

He sighs.

“They spread their gospel of greed to the rest of the world through cultural hegemony in the last 100 years too. So what’s American has become a worldwide issue.” he says, overwhelmed to the point of comedy.

“Yes.” says Lacey.

“Is Putin American or Russian?” asks the man.

“American. Like the plastic in the ocean.” says Lacey.

Silence.

“But he doesn’t want to be anymore.” says Lacey.

Silence.

“So you think he’s attacking Ukraine to reclaim his Russian heritage?” asks the black man.

“Yes. It’s about asserting his Russian identity.” says Lacey. “And the non-American identity of the region.”

“But we aren’t that bad!” says a popular American.

“We worked out our deepest issues well enough post Civil War to look cool and have our act together until the 1950’s or so. But then we slowly and progressively fell apart.” says Lacey.

“But you don’t think our conformity was the issue so much as our innate lack of regard for human rights?” he asks.

“I don’t think our conformity was the issue so much as our innate lack of understanding for a certain facet of human rights.” she clarifies.

“Which facet?” he asks.

“We have the old English Imperial desire to control and conquer the world on the backs of minorities. But we deny it. Because like a nation of Boomers we think we are better and different than our origins.” says Lacey. “Or we cover up for it.”

“Fuck. That’s true.” he says.

“But that’s why I’m fussy. That’s why the gospel matters. Because God is the only one who can redeem us. It seems that no social justice warrior is ever honest about the origins of evil. And no religious person is ever able to outdo God. And no atheist can ever explain the observable unknown without resorting to some lie.” says Lacey.

“So we try to perfect it.” he says as a Catholic. “Humbly, meekly and hopefully.”

“That’s all we can do.” says Lacey. “I suspect.”

“And we had a great start with Roosevelt’s Bill of Rights?” he suggests.

“Yes! I suspect that was a moment we almost held actual redemption.” says Lacey. “We had just won what a good number of people would consider a just war. Valiantly. And then we had the world at our disposal and we could have reformed our country and created not utopia but a far more gracious and holy nation. But instead we chose to embrace our historic, foundational greed.” She thinks. “Or so it seems.”

“So that was our death?” he asks.

“Yes. Possibly. Unless we can find our way back. But that’s a long time ago.” she says.

“Well, if you’re illegitimate…you remind me of them and you’re only 39.” he says.

Silence.

“Yes. And I’m worried.” says Lacey.

“Why?” he asks.

“We’re a crass, confused country. Relatively speaking.” she says. “And youthful optimism doesn’t compensate for lack of discipline.” She thinks.

“Elon Musk would agree.” he says. “So would Mark Zuckerberg.”

“I like those men.”

“Maybe we can worm our way back towards something slowly? Carefully.” he says.

“Yes! And that’s bound to build a healthier world. In every way. But it’s people’s hearts I worry about. Our innate perception of ourselves as Americans.” says Lacey.

“Must we always think of ourselves as outsiders on the world stage though? As the English lower-caste with religious scruples? The un-cool kids with zeal and gumption?” a man wonders.

“Yes.” says Lacey. “But not in such a self-pitying way. We’ve established a lot about ourselves. And while our start was half evil we don’t have to embrace that part. It’s really a matter of what God thinks, in my estimation.” she says.

“Allah or God?” he asks.

“God.” she says. “We’re a secular country but we have plenty of Christians here who brought great light. And ignoring that truth is futile and toxic.” She sighs. “The need to egotistically partition off into religious sects based on race is American and gross.” She thinks. “It’s something we’ve tried to amend for but essentially we get very uppity about our identities.” she says. “In order to avoid underlying seismic problems of social class, I suspect.”

“But that issue just keeps re-emerging in the US.” says the negro.

“Other established cultures dealt with it more openly. And brutally. Possibly incorrectly. But they didn’t tend to shove it under the rug in order to be hopeful.” she says. “Because I think that’s part of our better nature. We want to remain hopeful on that issue.”

“Which is why you seemed so offensive.” the negro says.

Lacey sighs. “Yes. But that’s just it. Why do I exist? And what does my existence say about our underlying issues as a country?” she asks.

He laughs. “People have been subconsciously misreading history to ignore the ugly truths on this all-encompassing so-called issue for decades now.”

“Yes! And we had a moment after World War II when we were all united together, despite it all, when we could have possibly sort of…fixed it with dignity. But we didn’t.” she says.

“Dammit.” says a popular American.

“Well…we have the past now to reckon with. And I don’t mean slavery so much as Flint, Michigan.” says Lacey. “And Katrina. And a great many other evil disasters.”

“Why did we choose to self-destruct?” he asks.

“Because we couldn’t stand the pain.” says Lacey.

“Which pain?” he asks.

“The lie that by killing us off you could create literal Heaven on Earth.” says the Native American woman.

“Huh. Not a just country but Heaven?” asks Lacey.

“The American Dream of Heaven.” she says. “Yes. A cult.” She laughs.

“There’s nothing wrong with trying to create a better country than England.” protests Lacey.

“Yes. But that’s not necessarily what they were really thinking.” she says.

“That’s harder to believe than me being truly heterosexual while alive?” asks Lem of Lacey.

“Yes. Well, almost. Maybe. The thing is, it’s always been presented to me as more of a realistic thing.” says Lacey. “Thinking secretly that they could create actual Heaven is…deranged.”

“How is it deranged?” Lem asks.

“Well, if this true I can see why the Boomers just got high. Because it’s…insane.” She thinks. “It’s like trying to force a country to evolve into a communist utopia by starting a Holocaust.”

Benjamin Franklin is embarrassed.

Lacey looks at him.

“Am I related to you?” she asks. “You keep showing-up.” She thinks. “I have no idea how we could be related. But it feels like we are?”

He refrains.

Silence.

“I might be related to Lem.” he says coyly.

“Well, regardless, what in the world? Were you really that delusional?” she asks.

He looks sad. Very sad.

He cries.

“People needed hope.” he says. “They needed something to aim for. A goal. A unifying deeper meaning.”

“So a simple improvement wasn’t good enough. They needed the hope of actual Heaven on Earth?” asks Lacey.

“Yes.”

“That’s absurd.” says Lacey. Possibly on behalf of Dutch farmers who settled in Manhattan.

“Well, Miss Pretentious.” says Benjamin Franklin, humorously.

“That is why they think I’m pretentious.” she muses. “Prissy.”

“It’s anti-God. Too English. Too…Satanic!” he says comically.

“Lem, if you don’t have any pretentious old-money…and you don’t find men attractive…it almost seems like you thought you were almost literally me.” says Lacey.

Benjamin Franklin laughs.

“Yes. But the thing is, we may have been trying to create an actual Heaven.” says Ben.

“That’s insane.” says Lacey.

“I agree.” says Hitler.

Lacey cries.

“He can be very kind at times.” says Wallis, thoughtfully.

“There’s nothing wrong with hoping for Heaven. But that’s like hoping for God to redo the entire world.” says Lacey. “And theoretically He will. But it’s not something we can unfortunately count on for next week.”

“So you think that happens or not?” asks a Boomer.

“Yes! But it could be soon or it could be hundreds of millions of years from now.” she says. “I mean that’s an entire annihilation of the Earth possibly.” She thinks. “And I’m not talking about the so-called End Times but the remake of the entire Heavens and Earth.”

Silence.

“But that’s God’s business. We don’t know everything.” she says.

A Boomer wants to cry.

“So we can dream of making Heaven on Earth but it’s not entirely like Heaven?” asks a Boomer.

“It’s not likely to be. But that’s okay. The point is to get close but not to expect to get there. And that sounds sad but it isn’t once you think about it enough. …People die. Bad things happen on Earth. Mistakes are far too easy to make. Even when you’re really trying. But in actual Heaven God is present and moderating. At the very least. And so it’s infinitely possible to be wholly what God intended. Not something to merely try for or dream of with hope and faith.” says Lacey.

“You don’t find that hopeless?” asks a so-called liberal humanitarian.

“If a person has a conscience governed by the Holy Spirit you can recognize that the four separate loves are real. And that that love is connected to God and Heaven. And love in of itself isn’t God. Because God is beyond our comprehension. But real love belongs to Him. And that puts everything else neatly into its proper place if you examine it honestly long enough.” says Lacey.

“Why Him?” asks a womanist.

“That’s how He identifies in the Bible.” says Lacey. “Maybe He’s actually a He/they? But He decided to describe Himself as a male father so I want to respect that. Why not? Men are human too.”

“So you think it’s a Puritanical need to label God’s gender and not leave it as was? And it’s part of the Heaven-Cult that is our worse nature?” asks a popular American.

“Yes! Very much so!” says Lacey.

“It’s funny how they want to make us, conservative Christians, the Puritans.” says a far less popular American.

“We stopped being that in the 1960’s maybe?” says Lacey.

Benjamin Franklin nods.

“And our origins aren’t necessarily all that…altruistic anyway.” she says. “Aside from the Christianity we have.”

“The Dutch were more…practical?” asks a Boomer. “Is it any wonder we liked the comfort you, so to speak, brought us?”

“No. We, so to speak, maybe are less idealistic in that way, at least.” says Lacey. “But Heaven is real.” She thinks. “At least, I think. And that’s the beautiful problem. How to work toward that immaculate, unimaginable glory in a fallen world?”

“Where everything is out of its proper time and place?” he asks.

“Yes! Everything has fallen. Even time, I bet. And…it’s gruesome. But it’s good to be defiant. Because if Heaven is real, this certainly doesn’t seem to be it. And that’s what I mean. We can try for it, but when bad things happen it’s comforting to remember how short fallen human life is compared to eternity. And then you start to see how silly and futile evil is.” She thinks. “I mean, genuinely humorous.”

“Does that actually make you feel better?” asks a popular American.

“Yes! Death is seemingly a joke. A horrible joke. And the joke seems to be that we exist after it. Either that or what? Aliens or time travelers are being cruel and pretending to be ghosts? Or supernatural beings? But it ceases to make sense after a while and it looks like there’s just an afterlife. Of course, it’s too dangerous to make any assumptions about. And suicide is foolish. But it seems highly unlikely to me that we cease to exist.” says Lacey. “And of course, through Christ death is supposedly beautiful for a Christian.”

“What’s it like?” he asks.

And as it so happens this time last year Lacey fell down the stairs.

“I don’t truly know. But I imagine you lose control of your physical body.” she says. “When I heard a rip in my neck or head or both and couldn’t control myself as I fell down the stairs I lost my sense of control. And I crawled into a very small place within myself and gave myself up to God.” She thinks. “I don’t know but I’d bet that that’s the moment people could die. And my guess is that it’s like putting down something on a table. You just lay it down. And let go. But that thing is your body.”

“It’s that easy?” he says.

“I suspect it could be. You just rest it and move on. But that’s with God’s hope of course. The idea that He’s waiting to take you home, so to speak.”

“So it’s almost too easy to die?”

“And you have to fight to stay alive?” she asks.

Silence.

“Oh dear.” says Lacey.

“Yeah.” he says.

She smiles. “Well, the thing is, if waking life and so-called sleeping life are so much alike, especially if there’s Purgatory, then there is a huge temptation to end the misery of a fallen world. But it’s dangerous, at the very least. Because the sanctification of your soul is what matters. And you can’t escape that by dying. So you have to stay the course until God ends it.” She thinks. “God through modern science at times. But I think a person can pray to God in Jesus’ name to die if they want to. But I think you’d have to ask Him to do it at His mercy in His will.”

Silence.

“But it’s egregiously sad that anyone would ever be that sad.” she says.