Scha·den·freu·de (N): a feeling of enjoyment that comes from seeing or hearing about the troubles of other people.
If there’s one thing I can count on in Americans, it’s the Nelson Muntz archetype. We love watching other people suffer. Any standard comedian will have some level of enjoyment in other people getting the short end of the stick, whether it be slipping on ice or missing the train by a few seconds. In fact, one of my favorite musical numbers is called “Schadenfreude.” (Warning: NSFW)
This leads me to interacting with attractive people, and my austere sense of manners. Emotions aren’t something you can simply turn off. If you can, you’re on your way to being a sociopath. I get extremely uncomfortable in avoiding embarrassment in front of 9s and 10s. These are people I consider 9s or 10s. Please keep that in mind. So, you can imagine the sheer terror I had when the physician’s assistant at my most recent doctor’s visit was a 9.
My mind starts in with the comments:
Antagony: “Hmm, what do her hands look like?”
Me: “Please don’t.”
Antagony: “Hey, eyes, pan down to the left hand. Would ya?”
Antagony: “Would you look at that? She brushed up against your knee.”
Me: “What?! Oh God, mouth, keep shut!”
Antagony: “Ha! While you weren’t paying attention I got word she had no rings on her finger.”
Me: “This is a medical exam. Cut it out!”
Antagony: “I’m sure she’s in a terrible relationship with a 26 year-old med student playboy who drinks his dinner and is sleeping around behind her back.”
Nate: “None of that matters. Enough!”
Antagony: “WHAAAaat? Are you saying a 34 year-old neurotic with body by Patton Oswalt doesn’t have a chance with a gorgeous physician’s assistant who looks like she’s 10 years your junior?”
Me: “This is not the time nor the place for this!”
Antagony: “Relaaaax. Mouth hasn’t been paying attention anyway. He is going on about any known allergies in the past… what… 10 years? Besides, I’m having a LOT of fun here.”
Me: “Stop it!”
At this point I would be completely anxious I wouldn’t pull a Jon Lovitz’s character, Jay Sherman, and say it out loud. Then it would be just too awkward to bear.
I hate awkwardness, and think that’s why I couldn’t enjoy Meet the Parents. That’s all it was. I’ve been awkward many times before, and have made a concerted effort not to be awkward. Being reminded of that isn’t pleasant.
So, maybe you’ve found some enjoyment in my discomfort in striving for propriety? If so, that doesn’t make you a bad person, just human.