the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Your Perception of Me

This post is more for me than you. I’m still playing around with that idea of my “brand.”   Here is a list of seventeen descriptions of Neilochka, this blog’s writer.  Could you do me a favor and pick the three that best describes this person?   I am curious if your perception matches my own sense of reality.   Don’t be shy about saying that I seem like a neurotic mess, if I come across that way.  You can always email me rather than commenting if that makes you more comfortable.

1)    Super-confident storyteller who knows exactly how to manipulate you with words.

2)     Anti-social grouch who finds most of you hypocritical and annoying.

3)     Idealistic sentimentalist who cries at blog posts and loves to unite others in “holiday concerts.”

4)     Gay friendly dude who likes old musicals and talking to platonic girlfriends about their shoes.

5)     Bullshitting male who enjoys nothing better than chatting with “the guys” in a coffee shop.

6)     Polite momma’s boy who is “respectful” of women.

7)     Flirt who dreams of f**king most of the women he has met on their kitchen tables.

8 )    Artsy bohemian who walks around wearing a fedora.

9)     Bookish, pretentious twit.

10)    Imaginative, head-in-the-clouds guy who can never find his own keys or his own underwear.

11)    Screwed-up neurotic, afraid of his own shadow.

12)    Star Trek-loving dork

13)    Ambitious take-no-prisoners go-getter.

14)    Social-climber, constantly on the look-out for the “cooler” people.

15)    Class clown.

16)    Confused and aimless.

17)    Loving ever minute of life!


  1. piglet

    a few of these combined–#2, #8, and #4–and, maybe just maybe #7 (the 1st #7).

  2. :: jozjozjoz ::

    I dunno.

    I just think of you as Neil.

    What number is that?

  3. PAPA

    16) Someone who doesn’t like to be pigeonholed into a BRAND but be the life of the party, nonetheless.

    What’s next? Google adwords?


  4. All Adither

    Noooo way am I stepping in that.

  5. Neil

    Uh oh, did I just write another post that was not proper blog etiquette?

  6. Avitable

    I don’t really see any of those as fitting into the image I have as you, which is created solely from your blog and Twitters and hearing people’s impressions of you.

    I’d say, and I hope you appreciate that I’m being horribly blunt and honest with you:

    Nervous, overly apologetic momma’s boy with a good sense of humor and a need to find affirmation from others rather than within.

  7. Neil

    Avitable — thanks! Interesting.

  8. Neil

    I think everyone should do this at some time. This might be better than paying for therapy. Just ASK people.

  9. Backpacking Dad

    I gotta say, in all seriousness, that I go with Avitable here. I wondered where the “looking for approval” entry was. Because that one belongs on just about all our list (<—-grammatically correct. in Latin, anyway) and its absence seemed to scream “this is the one I see but will not acknowledge, because it is too true.

    And I read that in you in no small part because of just looking at myself and believing you kindred.

    Also 15 and 16.

  10. Pumpkin

    I think people are too complex to discribe in a sentence or two. Well, most people are…there are some I can accurately discribe with only a few choice words? 😉

    Happily, you are not one of them. I think you are fun and that you are a good person. The rest is all intertwined and too complex for me to pick apart. I would say you are a normal person that is intelligent and makes others think and laugh at the same time. I think those are the makings of a very sexy man. 🙂

  11. Danny

    Interesting that people are so reluctant to label you. Maybe because they’re being forced to use YOUR labels which don’t really fit that well. But I’m game…If I HAD to pick three of yours, I’d say #3, #4, and #10. Am I way off?

  12. Postmodern Sass

    OK, here goes: 3, 10, 16.

  13. suze

    Really? You really want us to be that honest? Okay then – I’d say 6,7 and 16. But how much of the sex talk is because that’s what you think you should be talking about to be thought of as sexy? I think most of everything else falls under 16 – confused and aimless – and once you figure out what direction you’re going in life the rest will work itself out.

  14. Whit

    18) all of the above

    it depends on the day, the time, the moon and what you had for lunch

  15. Katherine

    Man, I wish I was getting more of the Star Trek-loving dork!

  16. Mattie

    You’re just a guy who wants to love and be loved unconditionally.

    And #16.

  17. SciFi Dad

    Like Avitable, I didn’t find your list had what I think of when I try to verbalize my perception of you.

    I’ll agree with his approval-seeking, but I wouldn’t say momma’s boy. I’d also say you’re somewhat neurotic and have a tendency to obsess on stuff (or maybe “have a hard time letting some things go” would be a better way to say it). You’re also articulate and can be quick witted (although admittedly sometimes it comes across as pretension instead of humour).

  18. better safe than sorry

    this is hard to do, because the person you are is probably alot different then the person i read, it becomes more about how i interpret what i read than what you write.
    to me, you come across as 3, 6 and half of 16, the confused part, i don’t think you’re aimless.

  19. Chag

    I’ll tell you what — you’ve got bigger cajones than I do. I could never do this. The truth would make me cry.

  20. Neil

    Chag — that’s funny that you would say that. Maybe I am so hard on myself that I’m not too concerned about what people say.

  21. Finn

    I think Avi’s got it right, too. Or as close to it as possible. But he did forget the fact that you have a big, lovely heart.

  22. Moviequill

    1, 7, 15

  23. Annie

    I don’t think any of these fit, Neil.
    I think of you as a nice, caring man, who is a bit lonesome and lost, but who I am sure will find his way. XOXO

  24. Rhea

    3, 6 and 11, sort of

  25. JanePoet ~ JP/deb

    #3, #7 and #6 … and smart, witty wordsmith who is doing his damn best to figure out this thing we call life.

  26. churlita

    That’s funny. I don’t really care that much how people see me. As long as I work on the things that bother me about myself, I’m doing the important work.

    I agree with the people who say that you are probably a little bit of all those things depending on the day – kind of like all of us.

    As long as you’re the person, you’re happy being, how we see you shouldn’t matter.

  27. patty

    Churlita took a lot of my words straight from my mouth.

    However, I would amend that last paragraph. It seems like what others think about you is important to you. I come at it from the other end of the spectrum (more internally, and less externally, focused), and I think we are all hard wired to be mostly one way or the other. While what others think of me isn’t important, I recognize that there are loads of people who see things differently and are very concerned with other people’s opinions.

    And that’s cool. It’s just as valid as my way of looking at the world.

    I think things get uncomfortable when we are either struggling with the way we see the world, or being judged harshly (by people whose opinions matter to us) by others because of the way we approach self-image.

    It’s all good.

  28. Neil

    Churlita and Patty —

    I agree with you, mostly. Actually, I don’t think I am as concerned about what other people think about me as much as care what I think about myself. But I think it can be insightful to see how others view you. Sometimes I feel that the one who has the most inaccurate, skewed view of who I am — is myself.

  29. TMC

    At the risk of being kicked off the blogs of soul list, I’ll go 4, 10, 14.

  30. wendy

    7,10,15…..and in secret…8.

  31. Danny

    This exercise makes me realize how much I DO care about what people think of me because I would NEVER instigate something like this about myself. I guess I really DON’T WANT TO KNOW what people think of me, especially if they had to choose items from a list like this. My skin isn’t think of enough to give people the option of calling me a “pretentious twit” or “momma’s boy.” Oy.

  32. Danny

    Make that “my skin isn’t THICK enough…see, this whole post makes me nervous!

  33. Shelli

    I don’t think any of those describe you exactly. Some of them do a little bit. I think you are quirky and flirty and funny and talented and sometimes angst filled and unsure of your life purpose sometimes and courageous and kind and helpful and witty and supportive. Want me to go on?

  34. Neil

    Danny — But isn’t it true that most of us are ALL of these? And while I wrote these descriptions in a negative way (which says a lot about me right there), each of these characteristics also has a positive side. I love pretentious twits if they actually have something interesting to say!

  35. Nancy

    As a new reader, I am clueless. I’ll say you’re good at marketing ‘cuz now I’ll have to pilfer through the archives to try and find which of the above are the real you.

    Wanna f*ck?

    (just testing the gay factor, wink)

  36. kenju

    #7, #7, #7.

  37. maggie, dammit

    Would it be weird if I said a little bit of all of those things?

  38. apathy lounge

    7, 10 & 11. Possibly 16, though I think that one pretty much defines all of us. Can I add one? 18. Better at everything than he thinks he is.

  39. katie

    Lota smoke up above. But I’m a newbie here.
    I only see 17 and 13 applying to you.

  40. Amy K

    I truly hope you are a Star Trek dork!

  41. Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah

    8 definitely 8.

  42. Fancy

    I don’t like the way the choices read. Why can you not be polite and respectful of women, the way your mother raised you, without being a momma’s boy? Bookish? Probably. Pretentious twit? Probably not. Dreams of f*king almost every woman you’ve ever met – I’m going to go with yes. Artsy, bohemian Star-trek lover, why not? I’m not going to analyze each one, but I have the feeling that you already identify yourself with almost every one of those, and you Want to identify yourself with the rest. You are a good person who is going through a rough patch. You have a unique opportunity to examine your life and find out who you want to be from here forward. Run with it and don’t look back!

    If this made any sense to you, you can expect my bill in the mail. 😉

  43. Neil

    Thanks for your comments on the post. It was useful to me. It got me to think about myself.

    How do I perceive myself? That is a complicated question. I went back and explored the same choices that I gave to you. I may be wrong about myself. In fact, I probably am wrong. We all delude ourselves into thinking we are different than we are in reality.

    This is how I “see” myself, ranked from the top characteristic to the least —

    1) Imaginative, head-in-the-clouds guy who can never find his own keys or his own underwear.

    2) Bullshitting male who enjoys nothing better than chatting with “the guys” in a coffee shop.

    3) Viewing world with humor

    4) Nervous, overly apologetic person, needing affirmation from others

    5) Idealistic sentimentalist who cries at blog posts and loves to unite others in “holiday concerts.”

    6) Screwed-up neurotic, afraid of his own shadow.

    7) Super-confident storyteller who knows exactly how to manipulate you with words.

    8 ) Flirt who dreams of f**king most of the women he has met on their kitchen tables.

    9) Loving ever minute of life!

    10) Gay friendly dude who likes old musicals and talking to platonic girlfriends about their shoes.

    11) Anti-social grouch who finds most of you hypocritical and annoying.

    12) Bookish, pretentious twit.

    13) Polite momma’s boy who is “respectful” of women.

    14) Artsy bohemian who walks around wearing a fedora.

    15) Ambitious take-no-prisoners go-getter.

    16) Social-climber, constantly on the look-out for the “cooler” people.

    17) Confused and aimless.

    18) Star Trek-loving dork

    19) Class clown

    Again, thanks!

  44. sizzle

    If I HAD to pick, I would pick these (with total affection for you, my friend):

    3) Idealistic sentimentalist who cries at blog posts and loves to unite others in “holiday concerts.”

    10) Imaginative, head-in-the-clouds guy who can never find his own keys or his own underwear.

    11) Screwed-up neurotic, afraid of his own shadow. (takes one to know one!)

  45. mentalmosaic

    I am brand new, pun intended, to your blog, so I haven’t much to report. I really like your hat, and you strike me as someone with a snappy fashion sense at first glance! Happy NaBloPoMo to you. I shall return. ~Tui

  46. blissfully caffeinated

    Definitely #3, #4 and #12. Absolutely.

  47. headbang8

    I love you. It’s all that matters.

  48. Neil

    Sorry, sci fi dudes and dudettes. While I have watched every single Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation episode, these shows never meant as much to me as say, I Love Lucy.

  49. wendy

    I do not believe that you would rank class clown last. You know you think you are one funny dude..if even only to yourself…..

  50. followthatdog

    Wow, none of those really fit my impression of you. Maybe a combo of #10 #15, but a bit of #7 in there too. No, those don’t do you justice. Sorry, I can’t sum you up in any of those. You seem like the person I’d end up hanging out with at some really dull seminar. We’d sit in the back of the room and make fun of the course content, people watch, make wisecracks and generally have a great time, but probably not get anything out of the class. Does that help at all?

  51. Brenda - SeriouslyMama

    I’m really late in getting here and found the comments really interesting. Neil, what I want to know is… Did you get what you were looking for out of this post and subsequent comments? Did any comments shock or offend you?
    What an interesting experiment.

  52. Kate


  53. Neil

    Brenda — Actually, it was very interesting to me. It also gives me a whole lot of ideas for future posts.

    I don’t think I present a false impression of myself online, although there is always a difference between what is in my mind and what it is I actually do in real life. I was not offended by anything. I am more touched that someone would play along.

    I’m also interesting if other people have as much trouble defining themselves in simple terms, as if you were a character in a movie, or a “brand.”

  54. SwanShadow

    I don’t care what Avitable says about you, Neil. I like you anyway.

    He’s got a point, though. 🙂

  55. brettdl

    I was careful to not read anyone else’s comments before writing this down:


    With 6. close behind.

  56. brettdl

    Wow, I guessed exactly same as post modern sass.

  57. teahouseblossom

    Neil, whatever you’re doing you’re clearly very popular at it, since I’m chiming in as commenter #57!! I wish I had your popularity :o)

    I have never seen you wear a fedora, but I wish you would wear one more! That would be my guess.

  58. TorontoPearl

    From A to Z, here is how I perceive thee:

    H–honest (truth quotient: 10%)
    W–woolgatherer (n.)
    Y–yammerer (n.)

  59. Neil

    Toronto Pearl — such a Jewish mother!

  60. Heather B.

    My first instinct is 16. Though you are a bold, bold man for asking people to do this. So add that in there as well.

  61. Memarie Lane

    2, 3, and 6. and i mean that in the nicest possible way. i’m rather antisocial myself.

  62. gorillabuns

    Number 2 would be me not you.

  63. CharmingBitch

    Hmmm this is interesting; I read all of the comments, yours included and I am really surprised at the number of people who perceive you as an approval or affirmation seeker. Maybe it’s because I haven’t known you for long or interacted with you for years on end but I think you’re fairly confident in who you are and what you believe regardless of outside support or encouragement. And this is where I get possibly a little too personal because again it isn’t as if we’re life long buddies but I honestly believe the state of flux your marriage is in and has been in could be coloring not just your own self perception but also the image projected to others; meaning that having those loose strings hanging out there without a (public) resolution in site it gives the impression that you’re willing to just hang in limbo instead of taking definitive action to, ‘get on with your life’ but (to me) the reality is that you are still the same person with one area of life in chaos rather than a generally meek person living a life thrust on you rather than one of your choosing.

    Lordy majority, I sure do like to hear myself talk at 430 in the morning when I need to be asleep. All that said, I think you’re a good kid, Neil. And I don’t think you need to hear that from me to make your day any better or worse than it would be otherwise.

  64. Janeen

    Well, I just came across your blog via my good friend over in “Norwindia.” So I’ll have to check back, maybe dig into the archives before I can determine what my impressions are. First impression: intriguing to say the least!!

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