“Men aren’t a**holes. But men can be a**holes.” – Scott, 30, Healthcare Worker and WTF?! Interviewee
We Millennials are good at many things (modesty not being one of them, obviously). We’re especially good at, well, being good at things that other people assume we will be good at.
Let me say that in English: we Millennials are good at fulfilling others’ expectations of us.
It’s part of our whole overachiever vibe. We’re like one big generation of teacher’s pets. We love breaking rules, of course - but only after we’ve already proven that we can play by them and win. We prefer to be loved and appreciated before we strike out on our own.
It started out for most of us in childhood, when some random person would set forth an expectation of us - of what kind of person we were, or what we were good at. Our parents, who were convinced we were special but just weren’t sure how yet, would jump on that potential for talent and success and then encourage us to meet that expectation. Which we often did, and then some.
So a second grade teacher noticed that we could read faster than the rest of Reading Group 3, and suddenly we were being carted to the library every other day to make our way through all the Shakespeare for Kids and Boxcar Children and R.L Stine series (thus we became good readers, as expected). A CYO basketball coach mentioned that we had a nice free throw, and from then on, our summers were spent at sports camps (thus we became star athletes, as expected). Our mothers caught us humming along to the radio in the car, and next thing you know, we were enrolled in every music, theater and dance class in the county (thus we became talented performers, as expected).
Even as adults, we Millennials are good at fitting into boxes that others present to us. Thanks to the many varieties of activities, media and relationships that consume our lives and brains, we’ve become a versatile and well-rounded generation. We can talk sports with the Career Boosters in our gaggles, dance seductively with our Hot Sex Prospects, and compare favorite works of literature with our Boyfriend Prospects. We can fill lots of different roles and show many different sides of ourselves throughout our own personal journeys of self-discovery – all shifting in accordance with our surroundings and the immediate expectations that others happen to be holding of us at any given moment.
Which brings us to jerks.