I had way more energy to party in 1999.

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So, I’ve had a couple of different peeps post about awkward meetings, and I was double dog dared to respond in kind.  Which isn’t really hard.  I have that terrible middle child syndrome which doesn’t allow me to lose a bet or dare.  So here I go.

Truth is, I really hate parties.

I am not a good socializer.  I could be, but as part of my job I smile and encourage conversation.  I talk for 8 hours straight.  The thing is when I clock out, I don’t want to continue the trend.  I just want to sit back, not feel forced to smile, and zone out for a while.

This is generally not approved behavior at a party, and I’m labeled antisocial.  Of course, if I don’t show up at the party, my friends think I’m antisocial.  You see a problem here?

Now, if I only had friends I knew at a party, I wouldn’t need to feel like I should chitchat and in defiance sullenly sit like an emo kid at a Barney party.  But of course there are always strangers there.  Duh.  It’s a party.  The problem being, people see me chilling out, only making the occasional comment and think that I’m being all judgemental and bitchy.  WHich is unfair, but there you go. And one of two things happen:

1.  They ask what I do for a living.  Their response is always this:

And I sit there with a fake smile on my face, wishing I’d taken that left turn at the road to the party instead and driven myself straight into a tree.

2.  They don’t ask anything and sit there, continuing to look insulted that I’m not instantly attracted to their great magnetism.  I get evil glares that say “bitch, bitch bitch” until I cave and try to do the right thing and be pleasant.  Even though I’m tired.  Even though I’d like to just hang out with people without having to fill the void with useless conversation.

This sad attempt at conversation is usually met by a lame one syllable response, which really doesn’t give me much to work with.

Because I really don’t want to talk about my job, which is what ninety percent of americans see as their one identity.  Unless they have children, and then they are also Parent.  But I don’t, so I can’t sit there and talk about my kids for hours on end.  I have pets I can talk about, but that makes me crazy cat lady.  Even if I am married.  My husband either isn’t there, or trapped in a conversation with some drunk who can’t realize he’s trying to sidle away.  You know those, right?  They follow you around the party, even attempting to talk to you through the bathroom door while you take a fake piss?  No?

I think I would do better if I had more things in common with my friend’s friends.  I like to debate the worthiness of 80s movies, but so many of our friends are about 5 years too young.  I like talking about food–my hubby and I are serious foodies, but most of our friends are Doritos and Budweiser people.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but discussing the difference between braised or smoked pork shoulder falls a little flat with that crowd.  Or we just seem snobby.  And worrying about that, I start to get stumped.  I mean, there’s usually one particular interest that has lead to my friendship with whomever at the party, and if there isn’t a common bond, I freeze.  Totally freeze, yet feel pressed to be a normal person and communicate. Unfortunately, this is usually the end result.

I just stuff my pie-hole.

And the f*cked up thing is, as a professor I know how to talk to people.  I have no stage fright, no issues creating a conversation, no problems with sharing my opinions or experiences…It’s just that I spend so much energy trying to do it during working hours that I can’t quite put forth the energy to do so outside of the classroom, because it seems like…well, work.  And even though I work a lot, the rest of my day makes it impossible to function well at a party.

It’s all an excuse, I’m sure.  It’s all about embracing life, blah blah.  But we all have our picadillos.  I do better with small groups and one-on-one conversations (when not at a podium).  Maybe I’ll work on it, when I start chugging redbull and am magically transported back into my 20 year old body with tons of excess energy and still feel the need to impress people.  For now?  If someone shoved fairy dust up my butt I’m sure I could be happy happy joy joy.  Or prozac plus speed might work.  But I’ll take that orally, thanks.

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