Do You Have A ‘Thing’ That Defines You?

Recently, I’ve been thinking about things that define people (clever headline, wasn’t it?). It all started when I read this tidbit about Oliver Peck, Kat Von D’s ex-husband:

“Oliver’s…known to adore Friday the 13th, and always does at least one tattoo of the number 13 each time the calendar tells him to.”

It’s not the most unusual piece of trivia; plenty of people have random things that they claim to love, and that they use, in part, to define themselves. In this case, I imagine that every 13th of the month, all the people in Peck’s tattoo shop roll up to him and make a comment about how it’s his day, and he gets some attention, and that’s that.

But I’ve never quite understood this need to have a “thing.” Is it genuine? Is it just for fun? Or is it a legitimate way to stake a claim on your personality?

Either way, I know people for whom having a thing has backfired. For instance, a friend of mine’s husband once made the mistake of telling people that he was kind of into penguins, and now he gets penguin paraphernalia for every birthday and holiday. It’s an easy out for his family — they never have to wonder what to get him, ever again. But it sucks for him, because not only does he not like penguins that much, he also is never going to get anything remotely cool ever again.

So that’s a case of having a thing being perpetuated by an outside source. But that’s not really what I’m curious about here. My question to you is, do you have a thing? If so, what is it? And why?

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    • Barbie

      My thing is anything pink and sparkly… Its definately something that I love and have a lot of. But it hardly defines me and thats what I kind of like about it. It doesn’t make sense if you know me because I’m such a tomboy and a nerd at heart but on the outside im a pink sparkly barbie haha. This is a good post tho, its interesting hey :) xoxxoxo

    • Arnie

      My mother is like that with pukekos. Although she also buys them for herself. There are now several hundred of them in the living room alone, and she always proudly shows me her newest additions when I visit.
      That stems from her days as a guide leader, where they all had to have bird names. Her first choice of Piwakawaka was already taken, so she became Pukeko, and the obsession began.

      I don’t think I really have a thing. Maybe planes? Or music festivals and the associated music? Or my alter-ego Arnold. But that’s a whole other story.

    • sarahnoid

      I have several “things” I think. It depends on which group of people you’re talking about. My glasses, my love of garden gnomes, my nickname “Pants,” my roadrunner ring, my ever-present bottle of Judy Garland Trail Mix….

    • Dove

      I’ve made some half-assed attempts at a “thing” but there really just isn’t anything I like that much. And I’m afraid of the penguin wormhole… I’ve seen it happen with apples and the results weren’t pretty.

    • anna

      When I was like 14 and making my first email address, I had read some article that said if you were a teen girl, you shouldn’t use your real name as your email address because of Internet Pervs, so I used my first two initials and the thing I currently thought was cool: lobsters. I had, prior to that, gotten a stuffed lobster (like a fuzzy stuffed animal, not like taxidermy) while visiting my dad in Boston because I thought it was funny, and somehow it became My Thing. It is now 16 years later and I have had all manner of lobster objects (lobjects?) – platters, mugs, cheese knives, shoes, hats, pants, dish towels, etc, etc, etc. I’m not mad at it, but also it doesn’t make very much sense.

    • JT

      The Hello Kitty Man picture is funny because that’s pretty much me. I don’t remember when the Hello Kitty thing started for me but now, that’s all I get as gifts. I don’t want to be that adult woman with HK everything. Like HK glittery lip gloss, pencils, note pads, stickers… At 26, who uses stickers anymore?! Hello Kitty massager though, that’s a different story.

    • M

      Outside of school, I’m generally That Chick That Works on Cars. In school [because it's trade school and we're all car people] I’m the crazy cat lady. Though I’m also the crazy cat lady out of school, but more people love their cats than there are female mechanics so the car thing sticks out more. And I do love my cats. And cars.

      The crazy cat lady thing is only going to get worse though: next month my two cats and I are moving in with my boyfriend’s mom [which I guess to the outsider sounds like it adds to the 'crazy' portion too] and she already has three cats. 60something pounds of felines is a lot for a 2/1 condo.

    • breezy

      Is it sad that my primary identifier is giant boobs? I’m pretty sure that’s how people know me.

    • Kelly

      I think in certain circles I have a “thing.” Like baby animals. Or the fact that I don’t want kids. Or my strong high-fives. Sure, I DO like baby animals and I DO dislike children and apparently my high fives ARE strong, but I don’t feel that any of those things are big enough a part of me for them to be my actual defining factor. But in groups I don’t know very well, that’s what they know me by. I think when people think you have a “thing” it just means they don’t know you well enough to be aware of your other sides. And when I think someone else has a “thing” obviously I think it just means that we’re not close enough for me to know about their other strong interests.

    • Kim

      My personality tends to change between schools. In primary I was known as The Girl Who Hates Vegetables (still do). In secondary school I was The Quiet Girl With The Huge-Ass Books.

      Now I’m The Psycho With A Creepy Laugh Who Hangs Knives From Her Belt Loops. I’m liking this one so far.