Guest post: how to get out of uncomfortable situations

Sep 17 2014 Published by under Uncategorized

Today we have a guest post from good friend of the blog, MyTchondria, who has an SfN-related story to share. There is a lesson here, people.

Why Namenzia is My Hero

As SfN14 approaches, I eagerly await the silence that will envelop my building as the neuroscience masses flock to DC for the gathering of the hive mind.  I’ve attended a lot of SfN meetings but this year I couldn't bring myself to do it financially or emotionally.

This would have been the first year for me where the impact of #RipplesofDoubt had settled in for me and, coupled with my massive loathing of Nature’s year of multi-tiered failures of misogyny, bias and arrogance, I had sincere concerns I might end up in stabby-pants prison.

The stories of assault, harassment and bullying of women in science this year were written about with such pain and eloquence that their truths were undeniable for those of us who had experienced these things in the field, bench and in our professional social lives. I know quite clearly that I have been part of the problem - guilty of taking my history and putting them into a tight little ball deep in my innards that would surely cause cancer one day.  Making the guilt worse was what turned out to be my totally unfounded hope that harassment would end with my generation of female scientists. These hopes were soon dashed when a neuroscience trainee detailed harassment at SfN in a new lawsuit filed this summer against her mentor and other BSD scientists.  All very depressing things. But I find hope in last years #SfN13 banter and wanted to share the utterly hilarious and totally reflexive behavior of last year’s “Official Winner of #SfN13*” @Namenzia.

One of the most compelling and annoying hobbies for new Twitter folks is trying to put a pseudonym with an in real life person (by the way, don’t do this). Last year, I sat at a table as a particularly drunk follower tried to figure out who I was. I told her where I was, but in the time that it took her to find ‘me’, Nam had taken my seat as I squashed in with @gertyz.

Said drunken scientist arrived on the scene and proceeded to plop on @Namenzia’s lap. No sooner does her arse hit his quad then Nam immediately jumps up with both hands in the air. The unceremoniously dislodged woman was left holding the chair for dear life as Nam professes at the top of his lungs “I WANT NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS!!” He then dashes into the crowd, leaving @gertyz to applaud.

This, my friends, was a master class on how to deal with inappropriate interactions.  There is no doubt it won’t work for all interactions, I get this, but damn, it sure was brilliant.

*Official Winner of #SfN13 selection was made by a jury of two scientists at the time of the event. Therefore ‘scientists say it’s true’. Alert the press and update your CV, Nam.

27 responses so far

  • DrugMonkey says:

    Nam is a mensch!

  • Dave says:

    I always wondered: when you neuro guys all get together at SfN, is there like a big unblinding that goes on where you all reveal your real names during a big fancy ceremony? Or do you walk around with name tags that say 'Drugmonkey' and 'Dr Becca' and wear masks?

  • mytchondria says:

    Dave - I just introduce myself to everyone as DrugMonkey. Last year someone said "I KNEW you were a woman!'

    Also: I deceived Nam in asking permission to write about him 'being at SfNbanter' (which he agreed to) as I was thinking about this event. He had no idea I was writing about the tottering person. I apologize Nammy!!

    Nam is awesome and shy and was, I imagine, horrified by the whole thing. I hope he one day forgives me for outing him as the most awesome dood ever, because the amount of beer that came spewing out of Gertyz nose during the event will pass with me to the grave.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    I introduce myself as "Bob".

  • AcademicLurker says:

    Now I'm picturing an "I am Spartacus!" moment at SfN with a huge lecture full of people standing up saying "I am Drugmonkey!"

  • DrugMonkey says:

    Seriously though, for those contemplating Banter for the first time, it is all quite natural and not weird for the most part. Just take whatever answers people give you and don't pry if they are evasive about some detail.

  • Dr Becca says:

    Seriously though, for those contemplating Banter for the first time, it is all quite natural and not weird for the most part. Just take whatever answers people give you and don't pry if they are evasive about some detail.

    This is exactly right.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    And it is fun. I forgot that part.

  • Pascale says:

    When in doubt, introduce yourself as Comrade Physioproffe.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    "Is physioprof here" is all anyone really wants to know.

  • mytchondria says:

    "Is physioprof here" is all anyone really wants to know.

    Untrue.... everyone wondering if we have reached our drink spending limit is a big question.

  • I confess to a faux pas last year regarding Twitter pseudonyms. N00b mistake... Having adopted a pseud since, I sometimes cringe when I think about it. On behalf of the ignorant first timers, I apologize!

  • mytchondria says:

    Its really NOT a big deal. Most people will just give you the lay of the land particularly if you chat with them on the Twits. I was super stalked once at my first banter and DocBecca told the dood to f*ck off.
    'member him Becca? >_<
    He must have asked me 15 times for my real name (I didn't share). Then he went to his super villian cave and did whatever one does and wrote me the following week using my work account asking if we could talk more.
    "Yes, yes, we can..... As long as it involves the cops."

  • Dave says:

    Now I'm picturing an "I am Spartacus!" moment at SfN with a huge lecture full of people standing up saying "I am Drugmonkey!"

    Not too far off what I had in my head hahahaha!!! Sounds entertaining.

  • Anonymous says:

    Gee, mytchondria, might wanna spell the guy's name right.

  • gerty-z says:

    Holy shit that was hilarious. Though beer coming out the nose actually doesn't feel that good. Also, Nam is quick like a ninja!!

  • DJMH says:

    I usually spend my time at Banter trying to avoid the people I know IRL, who are presumably wondering what I'm doing there.

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  • Jessica Tollkuhn says:

    I think there should at least be pseud nametags, no? I talked to a lot of people, but if I didn't know their names (real or otherwise) already, I never found out who they were. And I left my badge on.

    • Dr Becca says:

      It's completely up to each person what they want to reveal about themselves. Pseud nametags would allow others to associate a face with the pseud, so if you then saw that person give a talk or at the posters etc, they're then depseuded to anyone they met. Some folks with pseuds choose to just introduce themselves with their real names, and not acknowledge that they have pseuds at all.

      I will try to bring nametags so people can wear them if they want, but certainly nothing will be required!

      • Jessica Tollkuhn says:

        Def not your responsibility to make name tags for the entire community! I just was bummed I missed talking to so many people who were right there.

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