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Random Rants

It seems that last week’s Random Rants column was not nearly controversial, provoking or insulting enough to generate the scores of angry emails I was hoping to see flood my inbox. In attempt, therefore, to prod my beloved readers out of their mid-Fall rainy day apathy I have chosen this week to rant about people rather than things, in the hope that I touch a nerve somewhere for somebody.

Boston Drivers
Needs no explanation.

However, this column is about rants, not explanations, and this is a subject I need to vent about. I hate drivers in Boston. All of them. I particularly hate those zooming along Western at 8.20am completely ignoring my forlorn presence at the edge of the crossing and my feeble attempts at looking as though I have some sort of right to be on the road. I hate their scornful glances out of the window, clearly expressing their contempt for anyone who chooses not to own a car. I hate them even more when they are forced to screech to a halt when I decide a suicide dash is my only option, and then condescendingly wave me across, oblivious to the fact that the traffic coming the other way is also going to take a good ten minutes to deign to stop for me. I hate the ones who, despite being in bumper to bumper traffic, stop their car directly over the pedestrian crossing because they are too engrossed in their cellphone conversation to notice great big white lines painted on the road. I also hate all drivers that seem to think that the orange flashing lights on either side of their car are some kind of holiday decoration, as clearly giving other road users an indication of which direction they intend to turn would be to spoil all the fun of shouting at them as they swerve out of the way of an unannounced manoeuvre. I really hate all Boston drivers. (Except those of my friends that give me rides, they are the best drivers in the world. Especially when they let me ride shotgun and pick the music.)

People on Diets
Girls who think ten lettuce leaves and a bottle of coke zero constitute lunch. People on low-carb diets who will munch their way through a plate of steak and eggs but run screaming from a decent baked potato. Guys who force themselves to drink a variety of disgusting-looking different coloured power-based drinks after a workout instead of celebrating their achievement with a bag of chips and a candy bar like a normal person.
If you really want to lose weight, I will share with you a secret that never fails for me: replace food with alcohol, sleep with sex and drink huge amounts of coffee. You will lose weight and have more fun. You will also die young and leave a beautiful corpse. Win-win, really.

Alternatively, spend a summer living in San Francisco with a handsome gay gym Nazi who sulks if you miss a workout and can tell you the calorie content of every single food item in the kitchen.

Consultants with Guilt Complexes
OK, so you’re going back to the consulting firm that spawned you, tuition fees paid and relaxed from spending Hell Week on a beach. Just don’t say it so apologetically. Don’t pretend you’re only doing it for a few years while you start your own company on the side. If you want to work in consulting because you find the work interesting, the people stimulating and the pay more than adequate, deal with it. You’ve made your decision, so be happy with it. The investment bankers have far more to look guilty about, and they rarely do.

People Who Mix up Metaphors, Similes and Analogies
Don’t announce that you are about to use a metaphor in your comment, if you are announcing it then it is almost certainly an analogy, or possibly a simile (the latter being identifiable due to their invariably containing the word ‘like’, as in ‘sweet like chocolate’). If you are writing a book on management theory that draws occasionally strained parallels between successful business strategies and warfare, sport or martial arts then that is most definitely an analogy, whatever the CEO quoted on the cover says.

Princessy Girls
A term coined by my friend Sam to describe girls who give my entire sex a bad name by flouncing around twirling their hair and making puppy eyes at men in order to make them do things such as lift heavy objects, fetch drinks, buy expensive jewelry etc. They obsess about their appearance, take forever to get ready to go out and think that being decorative excuses them from having to make any effort socially. They have a ‘photo face’ that means that they have exactly the same expression and head angle in every picture taken of them, because the have practised their most flattering angle until it is a reflex that kicks in every time a camera is pointed in their general direction. They dress far better than me, probably in a size zero, and have haircuts that cost more than my entire wardrobe.

People Who Think I am a Man
Alex can be short for Alexandra as well as Alexander. I am the former. I had hoped that my article last year of the problems that my gender-inspecific name causes me would have cleared up the confusion, and even generated sufficient sympathy to ensure people made an effort to remember, but apparently not. There are still ECs who read my columns and think that I am a man, although presumably a slightly odd man given comments I have made about wearing heels, hating sports and why on earth given our astronomical tuition fees HBS can’t afford locks that work for any of the ladies bathrooms in the whole of Aldrich. OK, that last one is a new one, but my point stands.

I may experiment with a byline photo, like my dear colleague Jonathan Kelly, to prevent continued confusion. Sadly, as I am not a princessy girl, I photograph terribly badly and would probably put everyone off their yogurt parfait as they discreetly unfolded the Harbus behind their namecard in their Monday morning class. Maybe I should ask to be referred to as Ms. Alex, or marry a member of the British nobility and be known as Lady Alex (definitely no room for confusion there). Or perhaps I can solve the problem by mentioning it in my column again. Oh look, I just did.

Unavailable Men
Why are they so damned attractive? It’s really not fair. Particularly gay men, married men and professors. Good thing I’m not Catholic, otherwise I’d undoubtedly have some weird priest obsession too. Spare me the ‘avoiding a real relationship by pursuing the unobtainable’ analysis, this is purely about the lure of the forbidden and a healthy dose of authority fixation. Plus, some of them are just really hot.

People Who Run All the Numbers
You know who I mean. You hate them too. Nobody is impressed by anyone who stays up all night running multiple excel models of every single combination of exhibits. In the words of one Professor: “I think you missed one of the page numbers out of your analysis there”.

November 19, 2007
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