Sarcasm is a tricky trait to break down. As a girl who grew up with a bonafide British mother and a native New York City father, sarcasm has always been an ever-existing part of my world.
It’s something that’s deeply seeped into my culture, and I can’t remember a time when the bitter seasoning of sarcasm wasn't peppered into my day-to-day routine.
I, like many of my tristate-area compatriots, can feel myself resorting to sarcasm the exact moment insecurity hits me with an unexpected fist to the face.
When I begin to feel like the wildly unattractive token krone in a sea of stunning supermodels or am threatened by a fabulous female force that will clearly swoop into my place of employment and whisk my job out of my weak, feeble fingers, my twisted old friend “sarcasm” slyly makes her way into my brain.
Sarcasm kicks my inner kind girl off her precious pony and hops on to the high horse. And truth be told: She is mean, and she is ugly, and she is a judgmental bitch.
She’s akin to the neighborhood over-tanned, leather-skinned, thrice-divorced, bitter, old broad who chain smokes mentholated cigarettes on her front porch and never has anything nice to say about anyone.
Funny, I never resort to falling into the ice-cold arms of sarcasm when I’m feeling buoyantly happy or soundly secure.
Sarcasm serves as my momentarily effective defense mechanism, and much like a narcotic drug, she temporarily fills the gaping holes of vulnerability with her vigilantly protective zeal.
Sarcasm provides a falsified sense of well-being, like cocaine or booze.
The thing with drugs though, is they never quite last long enough do they? Like anything temporary, we're left feeling even emptier when they exit our system.
The Sarcastic Friend
While most of us in the Western World are hit with waves of sarcasm that uncontrollably wash over our brains from time to time — we all have that one friend, a friend who permanently resides in the great state of Sarcastica.
The friend who gives you anxiety the moment before he or she graces you with a compliment because receiving his or her praise is what I imagine a tickle from the devil to feel like, a confusing combination of sweet and sour nastiness disguised as sweetness.
When you have a friend whose default energy is set at the temperature of “sarcastic”— it can be difficult to navigate what part of him or her is genuine and what parts are false.
You find yourself endlessly questioning if your sarcastic friend even likes you at all because never does your friend express excitement for your triumphs, and he or she tends to tarnish tender moments with a punch-in-the-gut jab.
So what do we do with the sarcastic friend? Maybe we like to think we see through her tough façade and are yearning to pull out the good person we know she really is, or maybe we're simply vying for her always-unattainable approval.
It’s human nature to seek the validation of the unimpressed cynic, right? I mean, receiving the approval of Ms. Negative Bitch would mean something right?
Regardless of the why, it’s oh so hard to ever confront “The Sarcastic Friend” because:
Sarcasm is deemed “cool”
Being cool is about being removed. It’s about being chicly unaffected, stylishly unimpressed and effortlessly uninvested.
It’s Kate Moss with a lit cigarette staring blankly into the lens of a camera emoting absolutely nothing.
It’s the vacancy inherent in the modern popular girl. It wasn’t always this way; it happened around the advent of the detached waif model in the early 90s.
Suddenly, to be removed was to be stylish (and to be stylish is to be cool; it’s viciously cyclical).
It’s hard to call the cool girl out for her incessant storm of sarcasm because the cool girl is the authority figure. She’s feared by the masses (until a certain age when everyone gets f*cking tired of it).
To confess to the cool girl that she hurt your feelings with her knife cuts of sarcasm would be admitting to having feelings, and feelings aren’t "cool."
Breaking Down The Sarcastic
Sarcasm is a widely coveted trend among young adults in their early 20s — and it’s as mind-blowing as it is deeply disconcerting. What makes this trend dangerous is quarter-lifers are confusing sarcasm with wit.
Sarcasm and wit are two vastly different animals – it’s like comparing a domestic house kitten to a wild tiger. It’s easy to be bitchy; even the most simple of souls can say something nasty and coat it with the artificial sweetener of contempt.
Wit, on the contrary, takes talent. It’s a matter of sharpness over bitchiness. It’s cleverness over calculated. Wit is about manipulating words in the most creative of ways, faster than the speed of light.
Once you scratch the surface of the ultimate sarcastic, you come to find she’s usually a highly anxious creature, shackled by an ever-expanding laundry list of fears and phobias.
So what, what exactly is she so fearful of?
The Fear of Rejection
Isn't it so much easier to write every pending opportunity off as meaninglessly stupid, rather than to admit we would most likely sacrifice our first-born child to get the gig, the job, the part, the internship?
It’s vulnerable to openly WANT something because if we don't get chosen, everyone knows we’re feeling the sting of rejection. And it feels f*cking vulnerable.
Sarcasm is our way of proclaiming to the universe, "YOU CAN’T REJECT ME; I REJECTED YOU FIRST."
The Fear of The Truth
A sarcastic person is hesitant to partake in the unearthing of the gems of truth, so in turn, everything he or she says falls into the murky territory between honesty and dishonesty.
It’s never quite clear how a chronically sarcastic person truly feels about anything because every word leaving his or her lips is pregnant with the heavy weight of hidden meaning. It’s jarring for the recipient.
When I asked if you liked the major fashion risk I took today, you replied back with a drawn out, husky toned “It’s greeeeat,” accompanied by the subtle roll of your left eye. Well DO my tribal print harem pants look great, or do they look like sh*t?
I want to know the truth. Why can’t you tell me what your real thoughts are?
Because you’re afraid. When people tell the truth, they’re taking a stand — owning their personal perspective and unique vision.
It’s far less intimidating to be noncommittal. If you don’t firmly speak your mind, no one can judge you for your thoughts, right?
The Fear of A Real Connection
It’s not possible to have a true connection to another human being when always hiding behind the dense veil of sarcasm.
A connection is derived from a shared experience. It’s impossible to engage in an exploded moment with a person, when he or she is removed from the heartbeat of the moment. To be present is to be vulnerable, and to be vulnerable is to connect (again, it's cyclical).
And sharing a real connection with another human being is far more gratifying than resigning to a life spent hiding behind the transparent mask of sarcasm.