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Ask Nutty B

By Nutty B


Nutty B is currently a graduate student at MIT. Please e-mail him with whatever question you would like someone to listen to, and help him have an excuse to procrastinate at 3 a.m. Please send all questions to

Dear Nutty B,

I am an international student. I think I can command the English language with ease, but I have this distinct accent that no matter what I do people always notice. My friends always tell me it’s no big deal, but I have become self-conscious whenever I speak anything to anyone. This is driving me crazy. What should I do?

-- Harry

Dear Harry,

You are worried about your accent, eh?

I have to agree with your friends in this case. There is nothing wrong with having a distinct way of speaking. Even in the U.S. people speak differently in different regions. A cowboy from Texas is very likely to be surprised by the way a Bostonian say the word pAAAk when he really just means park.

In fact, I find speaking with a little accent often adds a flavor into the language and makes the whole speaking experience interesting.

As a matter of fact, I have been trying to emulate the British accent with much effort. Whenever I see a foxy lady, I find adding a few British lingoes into sentences help me catch her attention. Indeed, even when I just excuse myself to go to the loo, my company always seems to be excited by the word. This trick is truly brilliant and it works all the time.

However, because of the lack of practice, my faking effort sometimes backfires and makes me sound like one from the ghetto side of London. Bugger!

The point is, there is nothing wrong with speaking with an accent. As long as people understand you (and you understand yourself), the purpose of communication is fulfilled. Try to relax and just speak like how you would normally speak and you will be fine. Tata.

Dear Nutty B,

I am in a crisis. I just looked myself in the mirror and I just realized I look like crap. When I look into my wardrobe, the only thing I see is jeans and t-shirts.

I am going out on a date this weekend, I am sure wearing what I have definitely won’t get me a second date. Help!

-- Fashion Clueless

Dear Fashion Clueless,

Well, I am not exactly one would call a fashion consultant. I, too, simply wear clothes that the majority of the MIT population choose. However, I will see what I can do for you.

What makes one looks good, I find, is usually of self-confidence (but not arrogance). The aura around a person who believes in himself or herself is significantly different than that around a person who is never sure of what he wants.

However, if you plan to go to this date dressing semiformally, a pair of white pants with perhaps a white jacket like the one worn by Ethan Hawke in the movie Great Expectations may look good on you. A fit turtleneck sweater with khaki pants may also be suitable if you are into a more casual look.

If this lady friend is the biker-chick type, then perhaps wearing a leather jacket will help. If all else fails, then perhaps call The Learning Channel and sign up for “A Makeover Story” and see what they can do for you.

Don’t worry too much. If she is already agreeing to go on a date with you, it means she is already attracted to your personality rather than the way you dress. Good luck!