Saturday, December 31, 2005

sneezy, sleepy, happy, grumpy, dopey, doc, and me, only shorter

I went to a party this evening where the only person I knew was one of the hosts. There, I was reminded of the Cocteau quote about how stupidity was amazing "no matter how often one encounters it." Not because of any stupidity at the party; indeed, everyone there seemed quite bright. Rather, I was reminded of it because relatively early on it occurred to me that what Cocteau said about stupidity I could say about my own ineptitude and awkwardness when placed in the company of strangers. I am still amazed by seeming insuprability of my shyness, each and every time. I imagine that I will be better, and then once again I am not.

Someone once described me to others as being so shy that when she first met me, she presumed there was something wrong with me. I recalled this tonight as well. As in me thinking: "Come on, Jeremy, you're doing that thing where you're so awkward you come across like there is something wrong with you." Such thinking does not, as it happens, help.

15 comments:

nina said...

Knock it off. You come across way better than you let on here on JFW. I distinctly remember thinking (first time I met you) that your twitches and squirms and grunts were rather entertaining.

Absolut said...

I once went to a party where I didn't even know the host much. I still had a good time. So what is it exactly that makes it hard for you to have a good time?

On a different note, I read the post title as starting with "sleezy".

Anonymous said...

Lots of people in Cambridge are very awkward (Summers!).
And scared. Someone might start talking about something outside of their expertise.

You really ought to take pity on them.

Rhymes With Scrabble said...

Actually, the first time I met you, and on several subsequent occasions, I felt like there was possibly something wrong with ME. I think I have been more awkward since starting graduate school. I'm not sure why. Anyway, you know, you don't make me feel like there's something wrong with me anymore. Mostly.

The last time I went to a party where I knew only the host, it was full of clinical psychologists, one of whom said to me at the buffet table, "Wow, you're like a textbook extravert." I think this diagnosis was based on incomplete information, but it's true that when really nervous, I tend more towards talking a LOT than not talking at all.

Anonymous said...

RWS, that sounds like the creepiest party ever.

Rhymes With Scrabble said...

Yeah, it was pretty creepy. And I thought sociologists were bad.

Anonymous said...

social anxiety disorder has always kept me from social situations. As a rule, I consider the pharmaceutical industry to be a racket, I don't endorse long-term medication for mental illness, and I am searching for an alternative therapy, but for now, Xanax helps me.

Anonymous said...

Oh, other people!
Now excuse me while I get ready to continue this week's celebrations. Enjoy!

Anonymous said...

I'm going to a Harvard/ Cambridge party tonight and have been asked to bring my tiddly winks and miniature roulette games. Believe me, you don't have to stand around with dullards in this town.

Steve
(oh, and I'm bringing a couple of bottles of champagne)

Anonymous said...

Hey, if you're one of the seven, you're doing fine.

Annie B said...

You're too hard on yourself, Jeremy. That took courage to go to a party where you hardly knew anyone.
My best friend in high school was very popular, and she gave me a tip I use to this day: Just ask everyone you meet lots of questions about themselves.
It's so simple, but you don't have to scratch too hard to find that most people are really fascinating (hobbies, preferences, obsessions) and once you get them rolling, the conversation gets easy.
(That said, you don't want to walk up to a stranger and ask them where that smell is coming from, or what they think of Rogaine, or how they voted in 2004.)
Another trick I use before going into a party: I tell myself that I'm going to have a really good time, and then I usually do.
Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

Good suggestions. Hope he tries them.

astrid jane said...

The first time I ever went to a party at the house of my academic advisor, I wound up entertaining said advisor, the visiting professor for whom the party was being thrown, and assorted other UW faculty and grad students with what I thought was a very funny anecdote having to do with vaginal yeast infections. Granted my ideas about appropriate behavior in work-related settings have always been a bit...unusual, still, I thought the story was received rather well. After we left, though, the graduate student I caught a ride with took exception to my conversational skills. I think the word she used was "appalling."

Whatever. So I'm loud and disgusting, it's not like I've never been invited back.... anyway, I've always liked inappropriate and awkward people far better than the blandly friendly and boring kind. So if you're weird, go to parties and be weird! That's my advice.

Anonymous said...

The first time I met Jeremy was at a party (or rather happy hour at a bar) where I didn't know anyone except the host (J's current squeeze). Immediately upon my arrival he began amusing me with stories about women's menstral blood and how he liked to collect it for use in "experiments." I believe/hope he was joking (still). Needless to say, he's quite bold when he's knows many people at the party.
-E.A.

Anonymous said...

Sad