Icebreakers are the worst.

It never fails that whenever you find yourself among a group of strangers, at some point you’re forced to do the drill: name, origin, occupation.

Living in Los Angeles, this is pretty standard. Every week there’s a birthday party or networking event or random conversation in Trader Joe’s where I end up giving someone my thirty-second autobiography. The one-on-one’s not so bad, though. My new friend and I will inevitably swap “why I moved to LA” stories, praise the sunshine and complain about the traffic. It’s how we vagabonds bond LA style.

The group icebreaker is an entirely different story.

Rewind to last weekend. Once again I found myself at Pepperdine University, this time for a volunteer event. I participated last year as well, but apparently they wanted to shake things up a bit. The volunteers – fifty women in all – were told to go around the room and talk about themselves before the day’s activities were to begin.

Oh boy.

How do I put this delicately? When I was a kid, I broke my wrist. I broke it so badly that it was re-broken twice, once while I was fully conscious. I would have preferred a third re-break to this icebreaker.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not shy and I really do like people. But seriously… Fifty women talking about themselves? How is that ever a good idea? Yeah, we were there to be all charitable and stuff, but let’s get real, y’all. No matter how charitable we all may be don’t forget everyone’s favorite humanitarian project: themselves.

For the record, I’m not bashing just the womenfolk. Men love to brag, too. However, I will concede that at least men get right to the point. “I am the greatest!” I can respect that. Women on the other hand… We never shut up. Because we all consider ourselves ladies, we wouldn’t just blurt out, “I’m better than all of you!” However, we will nonchalantly tick off an endless list of activities and accomplishments that unequivocally prove that of course we’re better than you. Men go in for the kill with a single bullet to the temple whereas women prefer Chinese water torture.

The most excruciating part of this exercise in narcissism was the dream class segment. Aside from giving the requisite name, alma mater and job description, we were told to list what class we would teach if given the opportunity. Apparently women feel a pressing need to teach other women confidence; far and away it was the number one answer. Other popular responses:

Learning self-esteem. (Just another word for confidence.)

How to find your destiny.

Personal accounting.


Wine tasting.

I felt like we were at an Eat, Pray, Love conference. Then it was my turn… What class would I like to teach?

“Screwball comedies of the 1930s and 1940s.”

A few surprised murmurs went around the room. That’s right. I didn’t care about other people’s self-esteem. I didn’t care about their destinies either. I just wanted to talk about movies no one else has watched since FDR was in office.

I didn’t make any new friends that day. Was it something I said?

Image: africa / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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6 Responses to “Hello, My Name Is…”

I would totally take your class, by the way. It sounds way better than “learning self-esteem” LAME.

October 17th, 2011

Thank you, sweetheart! For that you get an automatic A. 🙂

October 18th, 2011

I agree with Annick. Where can I sign up for your class.

October 20th, 2011

I’m the exact same way, Anna, good for you!

Bun Boy
October 20th, 2011

Aww… Thank you, honey! How ’bout you teach a British cinema class, too? 🙂

October 20th, 2011

Haha! I wish you were there… Would have loved to see your facial expressions during those intros. 😉

October 20th, 2011