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Saturday, September 25, 2021

Column: Geoff Mak

When a girl asks you what you really think of her, lie.

This is the conclusion I came to when I found a girl I was interested in crying in front of me because I thought honesty was a good idea. We had been going at this hot-and-cold chase for months, but I think any 21st century advice guru from Paris Hilton to James Dobson would agree that the moment tears are involved, that game is over and you need to go home.

This was one of the dumbest ideas I’ve come up with, ranking right beneath the time I decided to apply as a columnist two years ago with a how-to guide on stealing from local Davis businesses.

“Do you think I’m fake?” she asked me.

“Of course not,” I replied. Okay, could’ve been better, but not bad. “I just think you have multiple personalities.” Fail.

I proceeded to tell her she had different modes in different situations. There were times when we were driving alone, and we were comfortable without having to say a thing. Other times, she felt she had to ask a new question after each 10-second interval. Then when we hung out with my friends, her voice got higher. But when she was with her girlfriends, her voice got lower and her humor turned sarcastic. Then there were times when she couldn’t stand being in the same room as me because I was too intimidating. And then there were times when she could look at me straight in the eye and tell me I was the cockiest person she’d ever met.

“No, I don’t mean that as a bad thing. It shows you’re a genuinely caring person,” I tried to say after she covered her face with the collar of her blue windbreaker. That didn’t work, so I bought her froyo from Swirl and donated 10 dollars to a homeless man to make her think I was a good person again.

Needless to say, she did not believe me. But allow me to make my appeal. From the moment I first encountered this great philosophical truth upon calling a paper-eating middle school girl a retard, I have been a firm believer in the universal, cross-cultural truth of “it takes one to know one.” Yes, no one wants to confront the scathing reality that you have multiple personalities with no true identity, but really, who can claim exclusion?

There are times when I’m in standard ‘Geoff’ mode: lethargic, snarky and overall kind of boring. Then there are times when I’m beat boxing over the dinner table in my version of the Asian man’s “Ghetto Happy Birthday.” Then there are the times when I’m bashing on America’s capitalistic worldview while simultaneously shopping online for clothes. Then there are times when I’m drunkenly trying out for MK Modern with the old director of Mobility. Then there are times when I’m leading Bible studies for underclassmen, trying to get them pumped up for Calvinism. Then there are times that I’m talking at three in the morning about how suffering – which precedes love – is the only universal human truth.

Then there are times when I’m using buzzwords like synergy and cost-effective with a straight face during my business meetings at work. Then there are times when I’m writing naked on the floor in the dark so that the character I’m in sounds vulnerable. Then there are times when I’m driving with the windows down, rapping along to Kid Cudi’s “Make Her Say,” dropping “N” bombs like the unapologetic black man that Kanye West is.

I will be the first to admit that I have multiple personalities. I am Erving Goffman’s sociological nightmare. I am the 21st century Asian American male. I am Obey Clothing: an unoriginal design-minded synthesis with hypocritical anti-capitalist undertones. Okay, great. What now? Does this mean I don’t have a real identity? Does it mean anything that I’ve been an ENFP since high school? Does all this even matter when Guinea’s pro-democracy protests are being shut down by the public raping of women by government soldiers?

Frankly, I don’t know. But to all you pomos and critical theorists, I actually think there’s an answer, and I plan to find out what it is.

GEOFF MAK is desperately trying to sell three tickets for Mystery. If he doesn’t sell them, he has to stomach $45. E-mail him at gemak@ucdavis.edu if you want to save him and become his new BFF.

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