Sincerity

Sincerity is such a tricky wicket.

According to wordnik, sincerity is “the quality or condition of being sincere; genuineness, honesty, and freedom from duplicity.” All good things, right?

Yet in this snarky, self-concious, hipper-than-thou culture of ours, it is cool to mock everything.

I am, I think, a painfully earnest person. (“Marked by or showing deep sincerity or seriousness”–I love you, wordnik.) I take what people say at face value, responding seriously to the most ironic of comments and embarassing myself tremendously in the process.

One of my closest friends rarely passes a moment without engaging in heavy sarcasm. I knew her FOR AN ENTIRE YEAR before I decided that yes, she did like me, and she wasn’t just putting up with me for a mutual friend’s sake. She is that snarky.

Therein lies the rub. Like most of my generation, I think sarcasm and irony are funny. I love The Daily Show and Tom Lehrer. I try to be quick-witted and smart-mouthed at parties, because that is entertaining to me and my circle. Sometimes I even feel my face burn when a quip goes awry, especially in the presence of my second-snarkiest friend, whom I have for some reason never stopped trying to impress.

And yet. And yet.

I feel vaguely guilty and hypocritical when I’m sarcastic. Especially when it’s mean sarcasm. (To be honest, when is sarcasm not mean?) It’s hard for me to meet anyone’s eye when I’m snarky.

It’s a vicious circle. I’m not a sarcastic person. But I enjoy sarcasm, or perhaps I just enjoy the company of people who do. So I employ sarcasm. But it doesn’t come naturally to me, so I embarass myself. And the whole time I wonder if I’m doing something wrong, acting so blase and snarky about things and people I really do care about.

Too sincere for sarcasm, I think. Does that make me boring? Does it matter? Perhaps I should stop trying to be something I’m not.

“Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.” — Galatians 1:10

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