• Thu, May 2 2013

Winona Ryder’s Cringe-Worthy Small Talk Reminds Us Why There’s An Expiration Date On Bragging

0502 ryderWinona Ryder (allegedly) did something (indisputably) humiliating at a party this week. Her gain is our pain: This is the perfect excuse to remind ourselves not to keep earnestly touting our professional accomplishments years after the fact. Yes, women need to speak up for ourselves and be our own advocatesSheryl Sandberg-style. But surely we can do it without being tools.

Here’s the painful anecdote, reported by Page Six from a party celebrating the new movie The Iceman, which Ryder appears in:

The actress was heard telling a guest at the bash at Soho House that she received a 1600 on her SATs and could have gone to Harvard, but instead chose to shoot cult classic “Heathers.”

OUCH. If that actually happened — and it was in the New York Post, so obviously it did — it is so awkward that I can feel the reverberations days later in a completely different state. I am literally grimacing.

I hereby propose a statute of limitations on bragging about one’s past scholastic and professional achievements. Here are the new rules for how long you’re allowed to keep bragging about stuff at parties:

School accomplishments, eg “I got a 1600 on my SATs!”: 1 year

Anything school-related at all, really: 18 months after graduation max, no excuses

Routine professional accomplishments, eg “I got a promotion!”: 1 year

Major professional accomplishments, eg “I was on the team that helped cure bragatosis!“: 5 years

Major accomplishment, mentioned in an offhand way, eg “When I was Secretary of State, I ate a Cholupa at least once a week”: Lifetime license; never, ever stop

Photo: s_bukley / Shutterstock.com

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  • Lastango

    Here’s another possibility: she’s not bragging, she’s compensating — for the fact that she never went to college and doesn’t have a degree. She wants people to know she COULD have. And not just any school, but a competitive, prestigious one.

    Also, degrees are a proxy for being smart, and in a meritocratic value system we want people to think we are. I sense some athletes project this too; they want others to view them as more than dim bulbs lucky enough to have been born with great hands and feet. (Especially since sports careers don’t usually last very long, and they could soon morph into a 28-year-old has-been nobody respects or cares about anymore — at least not compared to how it was to be a star. I remember what a former Chairman of a megacorp said about his retirement: “You go from Who’s Who to ‘Who’s that?’ overnight.”)

    So, this could (ferinstance) be a deep-seated regret, or an insecurity, or a sign something isn’t going well in Ryder’s life and she’s clutching at straws. But “bragging” would be my last guess.

  • Rupert Siaotong

    Oh man! I only got 1200! She beat me by…wait where’s a calculator?

    Ruth, I guess your proposal is not gonna take. People love bragging about their accomplishments.

    But as for this story goes, it just doesn’t seem likely. Winona doesn’t seem like the bragging type. Leave that to her former gal pal Gwyneth.