Hate The Player, Play My Game

You might think that there are a limited number of legitimate reasons to hate someone. Some classic examples:

1) The person in question killed your mother/father/brother/sister/clone.

2) The person in question hates a group of people to which you belong involuntarily.

3) The person in question walked out on you and/or your mother/father/etc. while one/both of you were being mauled by a wolf/bear/Balrog (“You! Shall! Not! Pass!”).

I hate to break it to you, dear reader, but there are a near-infinite number of reasons to hate someone. I’ve collected some of my favorites below:

1) The person in question has a stupid face.

2) The person in question is just the most boring person you’ve ever met, so much so that it would be better if he/she were a complete asshole, because then at least you’d have something to work with.

3) The person in question makes a habit of getting too drunk and throwing up on things that aren’t his/hers while attempting to kiss people with whom a romantic rapport has not been established.

4) The person in question is under the impression that he/she is clever/has a good sense of humor/is the life of the party even though he/she clearly lacks the wit/timing/good sense/good taste to successfully fill that particular niche.

5) Other people present at the aforementioned social occasion encourage the self-appointed jokester by laughing along to his/her bullshit behavior even though such a reaction is clearly undeserved.

6) Again, the person in question has a stupid face (i.e. you see him/her from a distance and know from half a second’s glance that you a) don’t know him/her, b) don’t want to know him/her, c) don’t care if your friends say that he/she is a nice guy/girl because there’s no way that someone with a face like that could be worth wasting a second of your life on).

7) Just ’cause.

Before we go any deeper, I’d just like to clarify that I am not a hateful person. I’m not FULL of hate. I don’t hate people due to some inherent quality of their identity or deeply held belief. Some classic examples:

1) Political association

2) Skin color

3) Ethnicity

4) Gender identity

5) Sexual identity

6) Religious affiliation

People who hate for those reasons are irresponsible haters. They use their hatred to do douchey things, like run for public office on ignorant or hateful platforms, or beat people up (or worse).

It’s not a good thing that we hate, but by the same token, I think there’s a harmful tendency for us to whitewash our petty hatred because we’re ashamed of it. A recently spurned friend may say of the offending party, “I hate him/her/it!” and we may pat that friend on the back and say, “Yes, yes,” but we often secretly think that really, this feeling is not hatred. It’s a more superficial emotion, like strong dislike, or embarrassment, or anger. We use “hate” as a catch-all euphemism for “negative, nebulous, angry emotions.”

What I’m arguing is that sometimes it isn’t a euphemism! Sometimes we just full-on hate somebody for no good reason, and when that happens, we should stop bullshitting and just admit it.

Sometimes I’ll hate someone for a fleeting moment, like if he/she needlessly uses a polysyllabic word when there is a clearly available monosyllabic alternative. Sometimes I’ll hate someone for a few minutes, like if he/she has a contrived accent or cadence or posture or personality, and then I’ll get over it. It’s liberating, even just to know by myself in my own head that the feeling is there, that I recognize it and that I’m going to move on with my life.

I don’t hate people for long periods of time, and I don’t hate close friends of mine, and I don’t tolerate outwardly hateful actions. Admittedly, I might whisper to a friend, “Check out Stupidface over there,” but I would never tell Stupidface that I hate his/her unfortunate arrangement of facial features.

Short of Suzuki or Jesus or the Buddha, we all hate. Of course, we’re told as children that we shouldn’t hate, and that’s a good thing, because kids can’t handle hatred appropriately, and telling them that it’s okay to hate fucks them up in annoying, dangerous and potentially irreparable ways.

But I’m a fledgling adult. Don’t guilt me or infantilize me for having an emotion that I’m self-aware enough to recognize as hatred. For God’s sake, don’t let me act on it, and please tell me to shut up if I start being a douche about it, but don’t tell me not to hate silently, in my head, for no reason, because that secret harmless irrational hatred is what keeps me from turning my angst into something usable and dangerous and hurtful. If it weren’t for my little secret hatreds, the cartoonishly large anvil of maturity would crush my soul into a fine powder that would blow away in the breeze from the next passing bus.

If you can honestly say that you don’t hate a little bit on a regular basis, you have my blessing, really, even though I think you’re probably a bullshitter. And if you hate me right now after reading this because you think I’m espousing hatred even though I’m not, good! Because that’s the idea.