Would you like to hear a story?
It’s about my brief brush with fame. Maybe “scuffle” is a better word than “brush”. Actually, the most accurate choice is probably “chest bump”.
This is the story of the day I accidentally chest bumped former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
I have a weird obsession with the U.S. President.
Not the current president, specifically. All of them. I love those guys. I’m the kind of gal who finds ways to talk about Calvin Coolidge at parties. (OK, seriously, why doesn’t anyone ever want to do that? Ask me about Silent Cal and Vaseline some time. You will not be disappointed. )
I make a lot of Bad Life Choices. I’m trying to cut back, which is why I have a Bad Life Choice jar ($1/BLC), but the truth is that I’ve had this jar for two years and lately I’m so broke I keep having to write IOUs to it. Since the financial appeal clearly wasn’t effective, I also taped a quote to my wall this year.
“Deciding on the right thing to do in a situation is a bit like deciding on the right thing to wear to a party. It is easy to decide on what is wrong to wear to a party, such as deep-sea diving equipment or a pair of large pillows, but deciding what is right is much trickier. The truth is that you can never be sure if you have decided on the right thing until the party is over and by then it is too late to go back and change your mind, which is why the world is filled with people doing terrible things and wearing ugly clothing.”–Lemony Snicket
I want it to be clear that no one rocks the X chromosomes like I do, but there are some stereotypically female things that leave me confused. I obsess about my hair and squeal over shoes as much as the next cliche, but things like “applying lipliner” and “understanding emotions” are sort of beyond me. Because I missed some important female lesson at some point, I get all my relationship advice from Google.
Tuesday, I was asking Google how to flirt and every result was from Cosmopolitan, the magazine for fun, fearless females. If you’ve walked past a magazine rack in a grocery store and you have eyeballs, you know that Cosmo’s advice can be crazy. Not fun, you-never-know-what-your-girlfriend-will-do-next crazy. The your-girlfriend-is-going-to-stab-you-in-the-face-in-your-sleep kind of crazy. Nevertheless, there are girls out there who live and breathe Cosmo. If sex sells, a thousand different euphemisms for it plastered on a pink cover must sell a thousand times as well.
I fervently believe there’s a level of hell that’s full of people standing awkwardly around a bowl of pretzels, trying to make small talk. I really hate parties. I never know how to dress, how to act, what to say, where to stand, or what to eat. A lot of my party-going time is spent standing in corners, staring at the wall across the room, with an expression that I think is a friendly, welcoming look, but which has been interpreted as a withering, “stay-away-because-my-best-friend-just-died” look. (Those aren’t my words. A stranger once described my face that way in high school.)
I spend a lot of time being awkward. It’s such an innate skill of mine that I’m thinking of turning it into a street performance act and making a little money. Unfortunately, it’s not a skill you can really brag about at dinner parties or after-work get-togethers. I demonstrate it for people instead, but no one really gets my art. The point is, I’m terrible in social gatherings of four or more. I can’t be the only one, either, so I made a guide. (I know I’ve been making a lot of guides lately. It’s all in the hope that they’ll help me, too. So far no dice.)
Stephanie Summar, Conjuror of All Things Awkward, Presents “How Not to Act at Parties”
Don’t rely on food to help you.
This is a rookie mistake… that I make all the time. I spend a tremendous amount of my life vigilantly avoiding food that isn’t bite-sized because I know the instant I put it in my mouth, someone will ask me a question or need CPR. At parties, however, I do the opposite. Some foolish part of me believes that if my mouth is full of food, it will discourage conversation. This is wrong. Exactly as you’re struggling to close your mouth over a piece of sushi the size of your fist, someone will ask how you know the host. Then you’ll both have to stand there in embarrassed anguish, while you plead with your eyes that they walk away so you can tilt your head back and swallow the raw fish like a pelican.