The Most interesting Man in the World Syndrome

Yesterday I cracked open a Dos Equis.


Because it was a rest day from my marathon training (ran 12 miles yesterday) and I’m a total sucker for their “The Most Interesting Man in the World” commercials so I bought a 6 pack.


Have you ever met a traveler that acted and talked as if he or she was the most interesting person in the World?

If you mention kitty litter, they’ve got a tail about their trip in the Ukraine.  Mention a hat and they’ll rundown a list of hats and their cultural significance arranged by country alphabetically.  Don’t even talk about politics!

The thing I really find funny about the Dos Equis ads are that I’ve met people who…

…said they were questioned by the police because they found them interesting.

….feel that their beard has experienced more than a lesser man’s entire body.

…live vicariously through themselves.

…think others hang on their every word..even their prepositions.

…claim that they can speak French in Russian.

I’ve got a lot of travel stories and they tend to pop-up in conversations here and there.  But I’m constantly guarding against The Most Interesting Man in the World Syndrome (MIMIWS).  Heck, I don’t ever think that I’m the most interesting man in the room, but I worry that if Bucharest, Bangladesh, Nicaragua, Nepal, and other places work themselves too readily into the conversation, it might look like I’m campaigning for the title.

When I’m in a conversation for very long at some point something will remind me of somewhere I’ve been or I’ll bring up somewhere I’ve been to make a point.  Much of the last eight years of my life have taken place somewhere else.  Even when I wasn’t somewhere else, I was probably writing about somewhere else.

I’ve been a lot of places, but that doesn’t make me any more interesting.  It just means that I’ve been made fun of in more languages than you.

Last week I was having dinner with some folks I just met and they asked me if I had ever been to New York City.  My response was that I had, but I didn’t see much of the city because I was basically held hostage by Tibetan monks I had befriended in Nepal who forced me to watch home videos keeping me from seeing much of the city.

Looking back I should have just lied and said no.

Next, the conversation turned to Dracula, as it tends to do.  I mentioned that I had spent the night alone in Dracula’s Castle in Romania.

While expanding on the Dracula tale I started to feel a twinge of MIMIWS.  After that I decided to withhold other travel stories related to our winding conversation.  When hitchhiking came up, I didn’t mention hitchhiking in Kosovo.  When manners were discussed, I didn’t talk about Bangladesh and the lack of utensils.

I’m a little overly sensitive when it comes to MIMIWS.  I think it’s because I’ve I had hours at a time stolen by people suffering from the disease. After social gatherings I’ll sometimes ask my wife if I sounded like I thought “my blood smells like cologne” or that I could “disarm you with my looks or my hands…either way.”

She’s yet to say that I over did it.  She would, if I did.  Trust me. This is the same woman who recently told me she started dating me because she felt sorry for me.

Perhaps that’s the best cure for MIMIWS: a woman that’ll put you in your place.

A question: Have you suffered MIMIWS or know someone who has?

And one last thing…

Stay thirsty my friends.

Kyle says:

I love those commercials!!! I believe you and I once met a herpetologist suffering from MIMIWS.

Elizabeth says:

Yes!! I suffer from it, and am married to the Most Interesting Man in the World too. Well, the British version. Thx for posting this video, it’s hysterical. Made me wish we had some Dos Esquis here (this week I’m travelling in…oh, well, never mind)

Elizabeth says:

PS: Great re-design on your site. Really looks unique and the colors suits your writing style/topics.

Kelsey says:

Kyle, But the Dos Equis guy is hilarious; I want to have a beer with him. The herpo guy was annoying; I want to kick him in the nuts.

Elizabeth, The British version! Isn’t that James Bond. That makes you a bond girl! Glad you like the redesign.

Angela says:

Thanks for the fun post – what a great reminder that people don’t always want to hear our travel tales. I was just talking about those ads the other day. My fave line? If he disagrees with you, it’s because you’re wrong.

lol, I actually hadn’t seen this commercial yet. Hilarious! I’m always afraid of being “that girl” so sometimes I’m a little tight-lipped about my travels… I guess it’s a pretty fine line. 😉

Cailin says:

I have to admit I have fallen victim to this and have done it a few times, I don’t mean to it just comes out! I also travel alot by myself so its once I’ve traveled and returned home it’s my time to share. But there is a time and a place, kind of like only speak when spoken to I guess haha. I apologize now and promise to be better.

Zarani Barrow says:

Ha! I always think I’m suffering from MIMIWS. Every thing reminds me of some travel story I have. I’m planning my wedding right now and sometimes I feel the urge to tell myself about the time I ended up @ a impromptu wedding in Thong Ni Pan on Koh Phangan.

Sonny Johl says:

I think it all depends on the context of the crowd. If telling of your travels elevates the conversation, then I think it’s appropriate to tell! But if you’re telling people just to make yourself look like TMIMITW, then I think you’ve crossed the line of what’s appropriate.

We’re all made up of our experiences. If you’ve traveled and seen other perspectives, I think you should share… pass along what you’ve learned to others.

Just don’t bore them! 🙂

George K says:

this is an awesome post. well done man.

Mikeachim says:

I couldn’t love this post more. Top job.

Of course, it reminds me of the time when I was discussing this very topic with Paul Theroux, Joss Whedon and the Dalai Lama at Base Camp on Everest, and ….etc. etc.

Melissa says:

How fun! Love the part about NYC. Keep it up.

Kelsey says:

@Angela – I’m reminded of sitting through a friends honeymoon slideshow. It was awful. They went to Jamaica and narrated the show with an overabundance of “Mon”s.

@Tofu – When in doubt keep your travel stories to yourself. Fortunately, I get my fix of sharing stories through writing. I’m guessing that you do to through your blog. Otherwise I’m not sure what I would do.

@Zarani – I’ve got wedding stories to. When I was in Bangladesh and telling the folks I met about my upcoming wedding I thought that a wedding with 300 guests was large. They said that that’s a small wedding in Bangladesh where they invite 1,000+. And in Cambodia…(Oh crap, there I go…I’ll stop now.)

@Sonny – There’s the crux. Pass on what you’ve learned, but don’t bore. The stories I tell the best are one’s that I’ve written. The ones where I’ve thought about the beginning, middle, and end. Otherwise if I just ramble on randomly, I could sound like an idiot that’s vying for the MIMW title.

@George and Mikeachim – Thanks!

@Melissa – One of these days I’ll write the NYC monk story.

Sophia says:

Haha! Yes, I have met many of these people–I call them Commander McBraggs, after the old cartoon character–and also try very hard not to succumb myself. Groups of travel writers can really suck the life out of you with that kind of thing.

I also think those commercials are hilarious.

Entertaining cartoon that’s on subject:

first – love the commercials, I think it might be my all-time favorite ad campaign just because its so darn smarmy.

second – found the website through google, I dont know who writes the blog, but dude, don’t use examples of dialogue from the commercials and juxtapose them with your made up examples. It’s bad writing. e.g., ““my blood smells like cologne” or that I could “disarm you with my looks or my hands…either way.”” The second one is a genuine quote, the first one was one fabricated for humorous effect. Either complete a thought with all quoted examples from the reference text or complete a thought with all original examples. Mixing the two is unclean and makes the article feel unreliable

Kelsey says:

Sophia, Commander McBraggs, nice. I will probably use that.

Craig, Thanks for sharing the link.

Just some guy, Thanks for the comment. Both of the quotes are from the ad campaign. I watched several of the commercials (I think I’ve seen every one) and grabbed quotes from each of them. And as for this blog being a reliable source…dude, it’s a blog. While I do in fact, extensively fact check any articles or books I write, here, on this blog, I just try to get it right.

If you’re turning to blogs for reliable sources that sounds like shoddy research to me. Although, researching the MIMIW sounds like a lot of fun!

Britta says:

I think the college student version of this disease is Hipper Than Thou syndrome– and I know quite a few who suffer.

Mark says:

The fact that you realize that you might fall prone to MIMITW syndrome means you probably never will. I try to watch myself as well but what I’ve learned from close friend that I know will tell me the truth is that they do like hearing my stories. Most complimentary line I’ve ever received to that end: Me: “Do I talk to much?” Friend: “You do, but everything you have to say is interesting so please continue!” (And, no, he wasn’t being sarcastic.)

Great post. Stay Thirsty!

Mr Not Very Interesting says:

I would have to say that I do not find myself very interesting. Rather, I am always interested in the adventures of others. In fact, I sometimes use it when I go out to pick up women. However, I do not bring up the conversation pieces unless asked. I do however have really nice pair of slacks, a shirt, and a blazer that I wear when I travel and go out. I also sport the beard. LOL I swear I try to be modest most of the time.

The only time I really bring up my past is when I try to make my points when in a heated political discussion. I am a conservative and many of my friends are liberal. They try to tell me I have no understanding of hardship but they are completely wrong. I have seen a lot and experienced a lot. So my worldly travels help shut up my liberal friends.

Let your voice be heard!