Today in my advanced writing class, as a starting exercise the professor had us all find a partner, lean in close (about 6-8 inches away) and then look into each other’s eyes for a period of time (about thirty seconds). After the exercise she went around the class and asked what the exercise made us feel. We got a few “awkward” and “uncomfortable”s, one girl commented on the other girl’s eye makeup.
After having been squished against people I’d never met before or since on crowded metros and buses in Paris and London, my space bubble is more constricted than your average American’s, so the 6-8 inch distance between me and my (male) partner’s face didn’t especially bother me. When it got to me, the only word I could really come up with was “ambivalent.” There was some mild surprise, and then she moved on until she reached my partner.
“Honestly, I found it easier to look at my reflection in her glasses than to look into her eyes.”
My professor decided to interpret this as “narcissism” and proclaimed “No wonder she felt ambivalent! She could tell that you weren’t looking into her eyes!”
We were then labeled as the “Ambivalent and Narcissistic” group.
I think I’m going to keep this class.