Adulthood brings personal freedom, responsibility, and a
keener, more subtle edge to insults. Such is the level of
sophistication that many insults don’t even have to be spoken
to be conveyed. A simple turned back, a dismissive snort, even
a perfectly timed rolled eye can all translate into an insult.
While the developmental process of nonverbal insulting starts
to manifest at an earlier age, adulthood allows one to perfect
the technique, and not end up dismissively snorting too
loudly, for example, or in the company of one’s employer.
fact, most insults at this level are usually very personal and
based on one’s success level within a particular social group.
Work-based insults often become the focus of one’s adult
insult methodology. If you are involved in architecture, for
example, to say that someone “doesn’t know the difference
between an escalator and an elevator” is shame-inducing stuff.
To anyone outside the profession, this would just sound like a
critique. Food industry professionals insult chefs who handle
other chefs knives as having unnatural sexual desires. To be
called “DJ Doctor Robot” in a radio setting is akin to being
excommunicated, and so on.
is a general marker, above and beyond one’s professional
affiliation, for adulthood insults? Those who exhibit
strangled laughter, poor driving skills, questionable eating
habits and a tendency to talk obsessively about the habits of
their pet animals in lieu of actual human relationships are
considered to be personal failures, and as such will be
drubbed, both in front of and behind their back, with unkind
course, one’s interpersonal skill level is a ripe target for
insults. Knowledge about geography, wine drinking customs, tax
laws, unfashionable hotels and things to say in an intimate
setting are all subject to being insulted. The best thing to
do if you are ill-equipped to deal with other adults is to
keep your mouth shut and your eyes fixed straight ahead, at
which point you will be branded an “isolationist nutcase,” a
“hermit,” a “terrorist,” a “serial killer” or any of a number
of socially isolated and threatening figures.