For some reason people think I’m a lot more confident than I actually am.
Don’t get me wrong, I have no qualms with acting a fool in front of strangers. I kind of thrive on those moments. In fact, in awkward situations with strangers, I tend to to start word vomiting up embarrassing and/or inappropriate stories about myself.
It’s a special talent really.
I figure if everyone is feeling as awkward as I am, I might as well make everyone feel a little bit better about themselves by letting them know that hey, at least they aren’t as big as a dumbass as I am. It tends to be a good ice-breaker. It also tends to give off a really awful first impression of myself.
That being said, I’ve realized in the last three weeks, that moving to a new city has really brought out the awkward in me.
I’m used to being the person that brings people together. In my old life, I had different groups of friends all over the metro-plex, who REALLY knew me. I was rarely in situations where I didn’t know anyone.
Here, I only know a few people, and most of those people are new friends and acquaintances, which I am very much enjoying… but also lends itself for ample awkwardifying situations.
I recently started taking an improv workshop to brush up and get to know people. Last week, a guy in my class came in with a cast on his arm. I asked him what happened, and before he could reply I went into the story about how I recently fell asleep on my arm after a rough night at SXSW. When I woke up I had no movement in my hand. I did not regain movement in my hand for 2 months and had to undergo weeks of Physical therapy with a therapist that looked exactly like Jake Gyllenhall. Yes. I fell victim to a circumstance commonly known to old-man drunkards as “Saturday night Palsy.”
While a true story, this is not the kind of first impression I should be sharing with people whom I respect and would like to respect me. I have an opportunity here to exist in a world where this didn’t happen, but noooo.. I go and blab my shame-filled stories with could-be friends who will now be weary of sharing a drink with me.
Por Ejemplo numero 2.
Today, I was in a coffee shop chatting it up with a very David Grohl-esque barista. We shared the usual small talk. I’m new to town. He’s in a band. I’m all hopped up on the caffeine, pa and can’t seem to concentrate enough to write. He’s in 2 bands actually. I saw a band last night. What band was that?, he asked.
“Oh just one of my favorite bands in the entire world, Other Lives. It was a kick ass show. Yeah, they play every instrument in the world. I think at one point they even pulled out a bazooka. I actually don’t know what a bazooka is… maybe it was a trumpet. And then this dude that made cool paintings started talking to me, and all his friends were really cute. I kind of wanted to make out with a guy in the band but that was stupid he was in the band and probably wouldn’t want to make out with me… I’m pretty sure he saw me pick a wedgie… so instead we went and hung out with these other guys. Yeah they were a Daddy’s with daughters meet up group.”
“Oh… hmm.. OK. Well nice meeting you.”
And then I hugged him goodbye.
I HUGGED him goodbye.
As if spewing a nonsensical, snoozefestivus version of my night wasn’t enough, I found it appropriate to two-arm hug a complete stranger.
And that’s not the first time I’ve found myself in the role of Uncle Creepster hug-girl in the last few weeks. No. It’s like I’ve completely lost my sense of barriers with strangers. I’ve found myself reaching out to hug a friend of friend’s mother after run-in at the mall. Rather than shaking hands at the end of an interview, I go in for a big embrace. “Hi homeless person, no I don’t have any money… But I will give you a giant sweaty hug to make you feel better for not having any alcohol. I feel ya bro.”
And every time I’ve been met with the same stiff armed pat on the back.
I don’t know what’s come over me. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m loving being in a new city that makes me want to take every faux-relationship to the next level. Maybe I’ve just been feeling more insecure than usual and am asking the world accept me and love me for my awkward self. Either way, it’s very unlike me. In the past I’ve always had very strict rules about my personal space.
In fact, perhaps it’s time we review these rules and take note.
Hugging: OK when greeting friends and family, saying goodbye to PEOPLE I KNOW, and meeting celebrities.
Not OK when greeting people I have not known more than five minutes, homeless people, gas station cashiers, sweaty people, or ex-boyfriends whom I dislike.
Shoulder massaging: OK anytime I’m the recipient or if there is a cute boy that I want to impress with my strong manly hands.
Not OK when I’m in the back seat of a cab and I mistakenly think that a massage will pass in lieu of actual payment.
Hand Holding: OK when crossing a busy street, playing Red Rover, on a first date at the movies, walking through a crowded music festival, or comforting an elderly person.
Not OK when I haven’t known you for more than five minutes or after I have had over three drinks under any circumstance.
Gently touching knees: Never appropriate. No. I don’t like it in a car. I don’t like it in a bar. If we’re sitting so close that our knees our lightly brushing against each other- back the eff off. It gives me the oogies.
Gently Tickling the inside of arms: I will never say no to this. Strangers, creepers, bums, hotties- BRING IT ON.
Tickling arm pits: I WILL PUNCH YOUR FACE!
Touching my butt: Only OK if you are boosting me up into a tree or over a fence.
I’m sure there are more but I will tell you if you’re over crossing any important boundaries. As for me, watch out, yo. My rule-breaking awkward ass is sure to hug you in the near future.