It’s who you meet at a party that determines if it’s a “great party” or a waste of time.
I want to know at least one person there – that way I can be confident, an extrovert. “I am accepted” I think … and then can reveal myself to everyone else.
Without that security of a friend – I’m a different person. I am too self-critical. I’d dressed too slutty. I dressed too out-of-date. My ensemble is fickin’ ridiculous, “What was I thinking”. Anything I feel like sharing about myself seems like vain bragging. Or boring as hell – “why would I think anybody else would be interested in the weird stuff I like”. And then there’s talking! Oh. My. God. – My voice. Is that THE Chipmunks? My parents trained me to talk too high; when I get nervous the 30 years of training a normal range go out the window, into a wood-chipper. And my mouth feels wrong inside. My tongue is hitting all the wrong spots. It is in an alien land.
And why is it so hard to coax the other person into filling the silent space? You would think that asking them questions about themselves would encourage more than a 3 word response. With at least one word I can respond to and build a conversation on. – No. It is them sensing my awkwardness. They want to leave but don’t want to seem rude. Me standing before them trying to hide before their eyes.
But with a friend …
My face, my muscles is my own again. I’m aware of how to move my lips, my eyes my eyebrows. I’m aware of the image I am projecting & how to make my face, my body mirror my conversation. This is the person most people think of me as. Knowing but open. Confident and quirky. Serious and a flirt.
I can break the ice with introductions. Our duo can draw someone out. Do like Shirley & I would on the bus – have a fake argument; draw the on-looker into the discussion, have them take sides, get emotionally involved. Discuss a book a current event. Swap recipes. Compare favorite camping spots. Incidentally, this is how I got introduced to my favorite camping spot.
Even if we separate, my friend & I, working the room and meeting new peeps – you can point towards the other person like a Beard – “I just finished doing a play with my friend over here, Man it was a blast! That chick is cray-cray. Let me tell you what we did after Friday Night’s run …”
Yes – who you meet, when you meet me at a party, depends on who is already here.
It doesn’t even have to be a friend. As long as it is someone I have met before. Trust me – if we’ve met before, I remember your face. Not your name – but definitely your face. I can get a conversation going and flowing easily. “I know you, where did we meet? Wasn’t that place (fun, crowded, weird, cold)? What have you been doing since? Shall we get some food and get reacquainted?” … Okay – this one has resulted in quite a few affairs; my inner flirt comes out dancing with this set-up. But, man, what fun!
Start talking books – my literary side comes out. You’ll find I have an acquaintance with a wide-range of books. And if I don’t know the book, I’m all for you filling me on it. Film-talk will also bring that one to the fore – especially talking about 1940’s film noir.
Start talking plants, places of current events & my tree-hugging activist is going to own the floor. Don’t get me talking politics unless you can commit to an involved 2-way conversation. And possibly any rally I know coming up in the next two weeks. Yes – I’ll get you excited about that.
And start talking food or domestic stuff – or act like a kid – and my mother-side will come out. And then head straight for any baby in the room to scoop up.
Turn on the music and I am pulling you on the dance floor – adapting my sweet moves to your level of ability. No one likes a show-off – I want you to be comfortable and to have fun.
Because I really am a person with a diverse base of knowledge and interests. I’ve been places and done things. I’ve read things and visited places. I’ve explored and am still exploring this crazy thing called life. I’ve taken risks, haven’t played it safe. Known some amazing people. Heck – I’ve had five successful careers already and I’m only half-way through life. It helps that I lack inhibitions when I get out of my own skin and into someone else’s. I’m that crazy person that suggests skinny-dipping or body-painting.
And I will get you realizing, as we talk, you are a pretty amazing person in your skin as well. You’ll find your words are compelling, your experiences interesting & worthy of sharing. And, damn, you gots skillz, G.
When you meet me at a party – you never know who you’re gonna get.