As I mentioned the other day, Mark is trying to lose weight. He’s nearly down to his target of 70kg – that’s between 11 and 12 stone in real money I think – and he commented today that counting calories is like capitalism.
‘How is it like capitalism?’ I said, in a do-please-enlighten-me tone of voice.
‘Well,’ he said, ‘you know the comment about capitalists knowing the price of everything but the value of nothing?’
‘Wasn’t that George Bernard Shaw?’ I said.
‘Either him or Emelda Marcos,’ he replied.*
‘Mm. Anyway, how is that like dieting?’
‘When you’re dieting you know the calorific value of everything but the nutritional worth of nothing.’
I hate to say it, but he’s right. I hate counting calories; it just makes you obsessed with what you can and can’t eat and what portion size you should have and all sorts of crap like that. Still, I guess it depends on your personality type. And that’s another obsession of Mark’s; he keeps trying to get me to do an enneagram. This sounds to me like a telegram sung by an Irish woman; but in fact it’s some kind of personality test.
I don’t really have much interest in doing one, since I think I already have a fairly clear idea of what my personality is like, and this would be just one more thing to get my head around. But it set me thinking about theories of personality and what my theory actually is. I guess it’s a mish-mash really: bits of Freud, smatterings of karma, a hint of Myers-Briggs
and more than a dollop of genes.
Whereas in my parents’ day you were defined much more by class and gender; and there’s nothing in this world more tedious than people behaving according to prescribed class and gender roles. Whereas in America they have much more of a ‘you are who you choose to be’ ethic. But how much of our behaviour today is conditioned by social norms?
*We were both wrong. It was Oscar Wilde:
I’ll leave you with that thought.