my life as a poser

i am many kinds of poser, but what distinguishes me from the regular poser is that i have absolutely no shame in admitting my pretense: it is an essential part of being a social animal. we are usually part of groups that have very specific interests. some of us acquire these interests, sometimes superficially, while others look for people who share theirs. but some people have acted on their pretenses so convincingly they’ve confused passion with a simple desire to belong. here is a non-exhaustive list of the different pretenses we assume when we want to be part of something, or in order to appear smart, or just to be current and “with the times”.

athletic poser

i'm so stoked right now. found my new sport.

i am not sure whether pronouncements about running one’s first marathon after a dismal hour covering a measly 5 kilometers during an overcrowded road race should be considered an exaggeration, a weakness in understanding distances, or a failure to appreciate greek history. a marathon, of course, is 42.195 kilometers or 26.219 miles, and anyone who wants to know why could check out wikipedia. the athletic poser makes frequent references to training sessions and feeling tired but accomplished and races or competitions lined up for the next few months but has little results to show or anything that’s self-congratulatory. worse, this poser is more concerned about announcing participation in an athletic event, complete with mid-event selfies, as well as a finish line photo with both thumbs high up in the air.

ran 16 kilometers in my vibrams. achieved a personal best.

literary poser

of all the different kinds of posers that i am, i am possibly a literary poser the least. but it’s easy to spot one: he quotes paulo coehlo often and posts lines from literary masterpieces he’s never read before, unaware of either the context and the circumstances when those words were written. he will proclaim his love for poetry by reciting joyce kilmer’s “trees” and thinks that j.k. rowling’s harry potter series is a classic on the same level as j.r.r. tolkien’s lord of the rings. he probably most recently googled maya angelou immediately after her death to post a few lines from her poetry even though he’d never heard of her before or has this myopic idea that pablo neruda had written love poems exclusively. on occasion, this poser would post photographs of the book he’s currently reading alongside a hot cup of an expensive beverage from his favorite café.

political poser

china is a bully!

in an exciting democracy such as ours, everyone has an opinion about how this government should be run, and what was once restricted to drunken conversations on the sidewalk in front of your neighbor’s house has become the jurisdiction of filipinos convinced that they have it all figured out. the political poser often makes critical comments on national (sometimes international) issues and of government policies but does not offer any concrete alternatives or solutions, although he appears to be informed and updated of current events, while at the same time expecting everyone to agree with him, and offers no place for opposing views. much like the unemployed drunk man giving unsolicited advice to the executive department and all our lawmakers, he doesn’t actually really care, but just wants to be heard, even though he has nothing important or articulate to say.

spectator or sports fan poser

real sports fans are obsessed with a sport and the athletes who play it rather than the need to inform the world that they are dying of excitement watching a finals match between two greats. he couldn’t be bothered by anything that’s played locally, or one that’s not being followed by everyone else, but suddenly stays up late to tweet sound effects and a surplus of letters (such as whaaaaaat was that? or nooooooo!) to show that he’s extremely excited, frustrated, or happy about someone’s defeat or another’s triumph.

world cup of football poser

¡viva la furia roja!

she is a very specific kind of spectator poser, with an unparalleled obsession with the beautiful game and a devotion to the world cup’s participating teams that would put a citizen from a world cup nation to shame. she goes to sports bars and other pubs frequented by foreigners, wears the colors of her chosen team, and sometimes even waves the flag of the nation playing. she has, at best, very tenuous links to the nation she’s supporting (such as a friend who visited that country, or a major crush on one of its players). she will post updates on the progress of her team, expressing unparalleled joy when they win, and grief and heartbreak when they lose. she turns to google translate to post things in her team’s mother tongue, which she does not speak herself. she’s unconsolable now that the world cup is over, but will quickly find other ways to be a poser.

cultural poser

my cultural calendar will be bursting at the seams. thanks pasinaya 2014. i'm such a culture vulture.

this culture vulture will be spotted outside theaters featuring shows by traveling casts or local productions of successful broadway musicals, but has not heard of emerging works of local playwrights. she will go to film festivals but won’t remember any of the movies, nor will the films have any impact on how she sees the cinematic artform. she forms no strong feelings about the movies and makes general and generic comments when asked what she thought about them. she’s bored by music where there are no words or where the words are in a foreign language, but endures it nonetheless. she will purchase works of art without understanding art, only knowing that it’s a worthwhile investment. the most important thing is that she’s always in the scene, supporting the works of film directors, painters, playwrights, musicians: artists of all kinds, because art will save us all.

the good life poser

thank you nepal for opening my eyes. what a special experience. #100daysofhappiness

this is basically your social climber with an instagram account. she will shamelessly plug recent material acquisitions, expensive trips (without confessing that she didn’t pay for them), beautifully-plated meals at reservations-only restaurants, peeks into palatial rooms at 5-star hotels, and many other things that make us believe her hashtags: she’s living the good life and completing her bucket list. more often than not, she is living beyond her means, or is deep in debt, or is a much-loathed freeloader, or is involved in a questionable form of business, or is a criminal (or benefitting from criminal acts). it’s not evil to want to enjoy life or to enjoy the kind of life you can afford, but these humble brags and outright lies about being thankful for blessings only support the notion of an unfair God.

the posing poser

a mountain summit is the best place to think about the future.

i don’t know anyone who isn’t. in our desire to update the world about the exciting developments in our lives, we ask people to take pictures of ourselves doing something we like to do, or something we’re doing for the first time, or something we’ve always wanted to do. instead of looking at the camera to flash those pearly whites, we pose as if in mid-action, pretending to have been caught off-guard while doing something, because really, how often do people take candid photos of us engaged in real work, pensive while looking at an amazing view, helping out others less fortunate than us? and the rest of the world knows our photos are posed, choreographed, designed, but it doesn’t care, because we are guilty of it too.

the music festival poser

take me back to wanderland!

music festivals are different from the events attended by the cultural poser: these feature obscure bands and musicians that are famous somewhere in the world, or are relatively unknown that only hipsters are aware of their existence. the music festival poser will purchase expensive tickets to attend an event where she knows none of the bands performing, knows none of the songs performed, but still she allocates an entire week curating an outfit (including a crown of fake flowers or feathers) copied from other posers or hipsters who attended coachella and burning man. apparently, they’ve received detailed memos on how to dress in these festivals, leaving out uncool attendees who are not in uniform.

breaking news poser

i'm not sure whether i should consider this person a poser or a menace, but she's the type who delights in sharing breaking news from unverified sources about old people getting bad customer service or individuals being given the run-around by public agencies. she doesn't really care about the truth, but because of some bad previous experience, or her general disdain for people in the service industry or the government, she shares these sometimes untruthful anecdotes and testimonials and makes her own conclusions about people and places and our civil service. when it turns out that the news is false or that there was only a grain of truthfulness to it, she's suddenly quiet and does not make any follow-up. she's really just an online bully who somehow derives pleasure from joining a mob without wanting to know the real facts. she has not heard of due process, and has judged and crucified those accused based solely on the testimony of one interested party, but always on the pretense that we should be informed. i am never this kind of poser, but i had to put it out there.

the charitable poser

so happy to share my blessings.

without taking anything away from our well-meaning intentions when we decide to help out those less fortunate than us, those most affected by disasters, those suffering under far-from-ideal circumstances in whatever way we can by donating money, time, food, clothes, contributing to reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts, visiting evacuation centers or orphanages or senior citizens’ homes, our need to broadcast our good deeds to the world takes much away from the purity and sincerity of our actions. those who are truly generous should be less concerned with informing a public that gets no better from that knowledge, but more focused on determining how best we can make an impact on those we wish to help. besides, does our charity come from a sense of duty, or are we merely finding ways to exorcize our guilt and apologize for our excesses?

the grieving poser

there are more than 40 wars being fought in the world today, and newspapers do not report on all the gruesome deaths that take place each day, but some posers will send their condolences to families they will never meet, and RIPs to the departed they never knew, because people are talking about it, but not to others who suffer and die as well, as if our grief and concern should be the exclusive domain of current events that have received international attention. the problem with this kind of poser is that she really doesn’t care; her tears are fake, makes no prayers, and does not send her heart out to those who perished in the conflict or the mishap. but she clearly wants the world to know that she’s too affected by this tragedy.

the healthy poser

measuring my thoughts on nuclear power by doing a scale.

after doing one body balance class or reading about the paleo diet, some people extend the lifetime of their temporary fascinations and make it appear that they practice meditation in the strangest of places, or stick to a strict meal plan and expect the world to encourage them until the goals are achieved. they would go on to announcing their progress online, but only temporarily, until the fad dies, or when people stop noticing. they talk about exercise and resisting temptations, but have not achieved much in reality, neither losing weight nor getting better.

posers do not pose a threat to society. in fact, they may be the key to the survival and continued patronage of certain art forms, and their actions probably bring attention to issues that need to be discussed. but sometimes we get too obsessed with impressing other people, or feel that it is our solemn duty to inform them about what’s going on in our lives, no matter that we exaggerate, boast, or lie, that we no longer do anything we truly enjoy, but only do things so others may take notice and applaud.