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Have You Considered an Affectation?

30 April 2010 Lies and Entertainment 25,305 views 2 CommentsPrint This Post Print This Post Email This Post Email This Post

While it’s not a necessary component of being an awesome person, a well-selected affectation can help to make you more memorable and add an extra layer of pizazz to your every personal interaction. Just to be clear, an affectation is something that you choose to do, not something that is the result of just your natural being. Some people display behavior that you might assume is an affectation, but is really a result of mental illness, or it’s something that they have been forced into by fate.

The single greatest affectation I have ever seen was a guy that showed up to a job interview with a prop. Now, before I get to into the specifics, I should say that the business I’m talking about was a really loose business environment that prides itself on being inclusive. He showed up to the interview with a stick on his shoulder. On the end of the stick was a string as if it were an old-timey fishing pole. On the end of the string there was a dirty, broken plastic doll that looked like a prop from a Marilyn Manson video.

No one mentioned the doll. But, I still remember him years later. How many job applicants do you remember after 20 years?

This is the power of the affectation.

To help you in choosing your affectation, I am going to list a few of my ideas below. This list is by no means a comprehensive one; it’s just a few suggestions to get you started.

Change Your Name

This used to be easy, but has recently become far more difficult. Parents used to try and give their kids names that would allow them to blend into society, but now everyone wants their kids to be unique. Still, having a very strange name that you force people to use can be very memorable if you choose well. You could, for instance, make them say your name twice. For example, my new name would be David David. Whenever anyone referred to me as just David, I would say, “No, it’s David David.”

They might roll their eyes, but I’ll certainly be the center of attention.

Another area that remains unexplored with names is verbs and other non-noun parts of speech. There are a few verb names, such as Rip Torn, but imagine how memorable Fondle, Repel or The would be as names. Rename yourself that and you’re practically guaranteeing a permanent place in other people’s heads.

Conversational Topics

This is an under-appreciated affectation because it takes multiple contacts for other people to notice. Pick a topic or word and always strive to pull the conversation back to it. A good example of this is demonstrated by John Goodman’s character in “The Big Lebowski,” Walter Sobchak: No matter where the conversation starts, he works as hard as he can to pull it back to his experience in Vietnam.

Imagine if you chose “hobo” as your affectation. You could be driving by a beautiful forest scene with a car full of strangers and say, “Gosh, that is so pretty. You know, if I was a hobo and there was a serial killer that killed only hoboes and he killed me, that’s where I’d like him to stash the body.”

Do that a few times and I bet they make a note about you in their mental diary.

Physical Attributes

This is a difficult area, because there are people with actual physical problems that are not affectations. In no way do we mean to imply that anyone’s physical problems aren’t real, but there are also people that choose them as part of their personality. Allergies, for instance, are certainly real, but no one is allergic to facial hair or accountants. If you choose something like that and claim it as an allergy, through sneezing and coughing whenever they come near, it can be very effective.

Another great one is to make an unprovable claim about having something stuck in your body. For instance, you could say that as a child you swallowed a toy car and that it’s still visible in x-rays of your stomach. My choice would be to claim you have an unborn twin embedded somewhere on your person. Extra points if you name it and argue with it.


There are two kinds of prop affectations. One is the kind I talked about in the intro; you pick an object and carry it around with you until the object becomes a part of your identity. Some people do this with a common object like a hat, cane or style of clothing. Others, such as the Log Lady in “Twin Peaks,” choose something else to link to their identity.

If you decide to go this route, I suggest you choose carefully. Make a few trips through thrift shops and antique malls. Make sure your prop couldn’t be construed as a weapon as you will have to carry it through airport security if you plan on traveling. Think about things like wear-and-tear on the item, and how often you’re going to have to touch it.

If you go too crazy — a giant foam cowboy hat, perhaps, or squirrel on a leash — realize that your movements will be restricted by your choices.

Still, it may be worth it to you to be known as “the squirrel lady.” I am not here to judge your choices.


I hope my suggestions helped you on the road to acquiring your own affectations. Now, excuse my while I put on my stovepipe hat so I can take my ferret, Hobo, for a walk before my unborn twin starts to get cranky.


David David


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  1. Ah, How well I remember Doll Head Guy. He is probably the Head of Marketing for the Warp tour now, either that or he lives in a treehouse on his parents property in rural Idaho….Maybe we should have hired him after all…

  2. I’m going to take you up with the double name idea. It sounds like the word “armpit” in Tagalog. Which I guess is a plus.

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