The Misses Vickers
John Singer Sargent
John Singer Sargent is one of my favorite painters, because although his subject matter is often groups of people, there is a formality about his paintings. I feel more comfortable with formality than informality. I grew up in an era when adults were called "Mr." or "Mrs.", but never by their first names -- ever. People slowly got to know one another, and friendships took time to grow. Insant familiarity did not exist. I am not comfortable with instant familiarity but it seems to me that today everyone is everyone else's best friend forever, as soon as they have met. There is something unsettling about that for me.
We have a new colleague at work, whom I like very much. I am slowly getting to know her, I think she is a decent sort, and she has a great sense of humor. We have brief conversations about art, literature, movies, current events ... and we are of a like mindset. She's an interesting person. I have noticed, however, that some of the folks at work have established a familiarity with her to the extent of calling her endearing nicknames and giving her hugs -- sort of like a car going from 0 to 60 instantly. I have never been able to do that, and in fact I find it odd.
Even in the blogging world, people who have never met each other and who probably would not recognize each other if they were to pass on the street, are instantly and famously best friends, and leave endearing comments on each other's blogs. I sometimes wish I could be that sort of person, but I am not. It takes me a very long time to get to that point.
Is this instant familiarity a new trend? Am I missing something? Am I too stand-offish? Should I be hugging someone whom I just met and exchanging intimacies with them? I think there is a fine line between being friendly and being too familiar, and in my opinion it takes much longer to get to know someone on a deeper level. Until then, don't expect any cute little nicknames from me.