Outside of the In-Crowd – Drama: Accept synonyms as your lord and savior

Courtney Enlow

Courtney Enlow

There are words that make people feel strong emotions that vary in range from semi-twitchy to stabby with a pitchforky. These words include:

  • moist
  • supple
  • cloister
  • panties
  • smelly
  • ointment
  • sticky
  • slovenly
  • webinar
  • butt

And many more of course. But my most hated word? Drama.

Okay, so here’s the thing. If you use “drama” in day to day conversation, and you’re not a theater major, chances are you’re using it wrong. Like, really wrong. Like in a way that makes you sound dumb.

Not dumb in the way one sounds when saying words like “irregardless,” or when misusing “literally.” The kind of dumb that tells me that you are only getting your associate’s to prolong things until you find a man who will let you stay home and do nothing, then you’ll post your career on Facebook as “trophy wief!!!” and then you’ll die of hepatitis or something. That kind of dumb. And no one wants to sound like that.

What it does mean:

    Drama – dra•ma (drä’mə, drăm’ə)

    1. A prose or verse composition, especially one telling a serious story, that is intended for representation by actors impersonating the characters and performing the dialogue and action.
    2. A serious narrative work or program for television, radio, or the cinema.
    3. Theatrical plays of a particular kind or period: Elizabethan drama.
    4. The art or practice of writing or producing dramatic works.
    5. A situation or succession of events in real life having the dramatic progression or emotional effect characteristic of a play: the drama of the prisoner’s escape and recapture.
    6. The quality or condition of being dramatic: a summit meeting full of drama.

What it does not mean:

    1. The dumb shit you’re fighting about with your friends.
    2. Your thoughts, feelings or emotions.

When I picture true drama, I picture streaked eyeliner, a voice that sings of cigarettes and gravel and the possibility that at any moment, you could beat the shit out of me with a hanger. That’s drama. It is fancy, it is insane, it is awesome.

Unfortunately, as a modern colloquialism, drama usually means “I’m fighting with my friend because we’re fourteen years old and that’s what fourteen year olds do.” Fun newsy tidbit! If you’re older than high school and still experiencing anything that constitutes as “drama,” you might be only be older than that in physical form. And I hate being the one to tell you this, I really do, but that, apart from being some Benjamin Button shit, is lame.

As annoyed as I get by the first point, the second point is where I get the sad kind of upset.

People, largely female in nature, have a tendency to apologize for thinking. And anytime they think something negative that could cause a kind of mild confrontation, they may preface it with “I’m not dramatic, but …” This is stupid. And menfolk, don’t think for a second you’re off the hook here. You most certainly are not. Because the reason some of this ladies tend to think this way is because of you and your laziness.

Oh, take my hand, sirs. I’ll guide you through this rocky road.

There are people in this world who are, for lack of a better word, weak. Some emotionally weak, some intelligently weak. Sometimes in a relationship, the emotionally weak and the intelligently weak come together in a big pile of sad. The emotionally weak (ugh, gross, sorry, but in my experience, it’s usually the sadder chicks) and the intelligently weak (again, sorry, but they’re usually dumb boys) will inevitably hit a roadblock of some kind. The EW will feel a feeling, and weakly express said feeling. The IW will hear words, and the words will make him have to flex a brain muscle and that will give him an owie, so he’ll write off said words as “drama.” The EW will shut up and cry in the corner and daydream of Edward Cullen.

This is sad for many reasons. Primary reason – Ladies, quit being weak.

“Seemingly unrelated, but I’m totally going to bring it around to my premise in a way that will attempt to indicate cleverness” bit – a few years ago, a book was released. This book was written by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo, and was called He’s Just Not That Into You. The book was awesome. It was basically an entire book filled with classic relationship mistakes women insist upon making (and I’m not above admitting a number of them spoke to me) and continued reassurances that no matter what, they were too good to be dealing with these bad situations they’ve either found or put themselves in. I loved this book a lot, and considered it required reading for all of my similarly early college-aged friends.

Last year, a movie based on its premise was released. This movie was basically if you’d taken vomit, mixed it with AIDS and added some insulin spiked with the 28 Days Later virus. That’s how much I hated this movie. And here’s why: the movie took all the empowerment out of the book and made it an endnote. The whole movie follows these pathetic simpering characters and then at the very end they kind of get their shit together, but only because they’ve landed a man. The fact that they did it in the right way is really clouded by the fact that they’ve spent the whole movie being terrible idiots. Again, I hated this movie.

Unfortunately, because reading is hard, lots of people saw the movie that didn’t read the book. And they loved this movie. And smart people loved this movie too (she says, remembering that her best friend really liked it).

And that’s what makes me sad. Because they identified with the weak characters all the way through. And the end gave them hope, but they didn’t get the very real message of “you don’t need this kind of hope. You need to be happy with yourself, and then once you’re strong enough to find the right guys, you’ll find the right guy.” And because they didn’t get that message, they continue to write off their own very real emotions as “drama.” Sad.

You go right ahead and have your goofy fights with your friends, or have totally rational (or entirely irrational) fights with your significant other. But unless you’re Joan Crawford, Tallulah Bankhead or Bette Davis, quit flattering yourself that it’s remotely dramatic. Drama takes skill and crazy. If you’re just fighting because you like the same boy, you better bust out the baseball bats or cyanide tablets, because otherwise it’s just an argument. And a lame one. Call me when blood is drawn.

Courtney Enlow is a writer living in Chicago and working as a corporate shill to pay the bills. You can contact her at courtney@hobotrashcan.com.

  1. Kelz November 2, 2009
  2. mello_tactics November 3, 2009
  3. Court's Dad November 4, 2009

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