For the first time this year, the cold has frosted over the windows of my little campus suite. I live with three people my own age here, none of whom I know very well or see very often.

One of my them plays the violin. I've seen its case, slung under her arm or resting against the storage room wall, but I've never seen the violin, or heard her play it. Music majors, she tells me, have practice like I do lecture, have recitals like I do exams.

She wanted, once, to read a poem I'd written. Easy to accomodate, and impersonal: in this building, take this paper. To ask somebody to accept your silence and appreciation in return for their time and their gift, though, feels too intimate.

Of violinists I have known, she is the second, after a Sarah in high school who'd perform during morning services. I'd listen for her instrument beneath the piano and the choir, my hymnal left unopened as I caught and held its sounds. I remember, too, our graduation ceremony, when she played alone. Beneath the stage lamps, the sequins of her red dress threw light against her noise.

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Ok, I don't know how anybody can live with all these ridiculous pictures of 15 year old slags-in-the-making spamming precious bandwidth.

First of all, women/girls (in my experience) are worst. They claim that half of their pictures are terrible, but if they really thought that, they wouldn't put them online in the first place. Almost invariably, they are either insecure about their appearance and fishing for compliments when they say 'i hate this one, i look like a right mong!' (because they know that many of their friends feel obliged to comment them saying generic positives such as 'ooh! what stunner babe! I would rag the shit out of that even though im a girl lolololol!' when at least 50% of the time these are entirely empty words), or they genuinely believe they are categorically beautiful in no less than everyone's eyes and feel the need to share themselves with the rest of the world.

This is why i do not value picture comments at all. I know some absolutely hideous people (shallow, I know) who have awful pictures, laden with comments and exclamations of disbelief that anything so pretty could possibly exist (and yet on their profile they still claim to hate 'fake people').

The next annoying thing for me is the form that many of these self-indulgent pictures take. As someone wise once said, there are no exceptions to the rule that everyone thinks they're an exception to the rule. Just because you've taken a black and white photo of yourself from a steep angle with you looking just past the camera, or a mobile phone picture of yourself in the mirror where the flash is so bright that you can't see your own face, doesn't mean that you're any different. It isn't artistic, it isn't 'deep' and it certainly doesn't make me respect you. They are as petty and shallow as they are unoriginal.

Now, guys tend to be a little less guiltty of this as they often don't feel the inherent need to compare themselves to others, or that their existence is only validated if it is documented, textually and pictorially for all to see, as girls often are (again, in my experience). Never the less, they still find ways to make sure that a vastly greater number of people are looking at them than would normally. There seems to be an obsession amongst young guys in my area to post topless pictures of themselves online. Sidestepping the arrogant factor here, this is often shameful and embarrasing for me to look at. Unless you're stacked, I see no reason to post pictures of yourself in extreme shadow, tensing till your jaw grinds and still lookin thin, sometimes even vulnerable and distinctly very fourteen years old. You look pathetic. Remember that.


Clearly, all of the above is a gross generalisation, but one not far from the mark, in my honest opinion. Hell, from what I've seen, it's bang on.


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